I’m trying to make your life easier here: Sherwood is your next must-watch show | Television & radio
YesYou’re going to have people telling you that Sherwood (Monday, 9 p.m., BBC One) is very good over the next few weeks, so might as well start now: Sherwood is very good. I think it is important to move forward.
Right now, we live in a high-intensity cultural era where there’s at least one TV show that’s bingeable and talked about every week and somehow you have to watch them all, at the moment they come out and before anyone can spoil them for you, across 10 platforms that all need their own subscription. I don’t think that’s a good thing, but it’s our reality. It’s going to happen with Sherwood, and I’m telling you now so you don’t get caught. “Have you seen the BBC One one? By the guy who made Quiz. What’s it called?” This will happen at work or in the pub. Someone will snap their fingers three times when telling you about it. “Set in a former mining village rocked by a double murder. It’s really good. What’s it called? It’s really good.” At one point, you’re going to watch a dramatic moment from the show on Gogglebox as Lee and Jenny gasp – so again, it’s best you watch it before that happens. I’m just trying to make your life easier.
We’ll start by saying how good it is and move on to how interesting it is: first of all, everyone laughs at him, which is always fun to watch. There’s a sprawling and talented cast – David Morrissey and Robert Glenister are great as jousting co-investigators who can’t argue, Lesley Manville and Claire Rushbrook are equally brilliant as jousting sisters who can’t argue. arguing, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen Adeel Akhtar bad at anything (but he’s really good at it). As a portrait of a small town with sedimentary layers of neighbor beef, a political squabble, and two people who are mad at each other because one of them said something wrong about on the other 28 years ago, it’s almost exhaustively dense, and the first episode is a perfect chess game of all the pieces in play.
A lot of shows lately have been really obvious about introducing us to the main cast, who they are, and where they’re going with it. Sometimes it feels like you don’t even have to look past an opening character montage to know what’s going to happen over the next six episodes. Sherwood has the opposite feeling, like you’ve wandered into a conversation you missed the beginning of and have to piece together relevant details while the plane is in the air – and good for that.
What is interesting is to see the concept “the city can also be a main character!” applied to a small village in the East Midlands, instead of London or New York, again. The East Midlands is one of the weirdest places in the UK, because it’s not quite the north but definitely not the south, and it has that introductory identity that you don’t see much on TV. Sherwood, it’s not just the heavy-handed, bubbly stuff that gets a place like this on edge – a conservative councilor trying to break down the ‘red wall’; a historic spat over the miners’ strike; a declining industry that drains even more wealth from an already impoverished region; the new bourgeois currency judging the working class even if it is related to it; the neighbors watch absolutely everything you do.
The series also captures the region in great detail. Sloping gardens. Entrance doors that open directly to the living rooms from the street. Pitchers of Pyrex sauce. To say “gi’ore”, to say “duck”, to personally resent someone who has lived two streets away for almost three decades. An impending adult son who never says anything. Trains with only two cars. And everyone has a weird personal preference as to what door to their house you’re allowed to knock on and get mad if you forget. I grew up in the East Midlands, and seeing this made me… well, not exactly miss it, but fancy a walk around town for a big cob of ham where I suddenly get , violently watered on the way back.
Oh, there’s a murderer on the loose, I should have mentioned that. There are arrows flying and you’re not really supposed to mention Robin Hood even if you want to. But for a killer drama — and we have so many, now — the people who die and how they die are fourth, maybe fifth on the list of what’s going on here. Sherwood is very good, then. If you’ve been watching it since the first episode, you can finally be the one to make everyone around you feel bad for not catching up.