The wife and I watched and enjoyed the first two seasons of Happy Valley when they aired. I was shocked, excited, and a little nervous when it was announced that after five years, a 3rd and final season was being made by the BBC. We re-watched the first two seasons again and I have to say, it was actually even better than I remembered it being.
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The Movie Review
Happy Valley is a British crime drama and what is interesting about it is that it does not take place in the mean streets of London. The West Yorkshire setting makes for a rather different kind of crime drama setting and I think it adds a lot of personality to the show and helps make it stand out from all the other “grimy and gritty” British crime dramas that we have.
Our main character is Catherine Cawood. Catherine is the police sergeant and as well as her policing duties, she is also trying to look after her family, including her grandson Ryan. Catherine is a fantastic character, played by Sarah Lancashire is such a compelling character, a character that you like pretty much right from the start.
Now, we have to talk about Catherine’s grandson that she is rising, Ryan. You see, her daughter was raped by a man called Tommy Lee Royce and Ryan was conceived as a result of that rape. Her daughter committed suicide and she has all this anger and hate towards Tommy as she holds him responsible for her daughter’s suicide. It is pretty brutal stuff!
Catherine’s life is thrown into chaos when she learns that Tommy is about to be released from prison! She wants to face Tommy and let him know what he did to her family, but things are more complicated than just that. Turns out, Tommy is involved with a pretty hardcore gang!
The second season of Happy Valley was even better than the first! There is human trafficking, a serial killer, and Catherine is even framed! It makes for a very exciting and thrilling season that just zooms by. If anything, I think that they could have extended the second season by a couple of episodes.
A huge part of the second season that I loved was Ryan. Ryan starts to have questions about his father, but his father is also trying to manipulate and influence him from prison! No spoilers here, but this whole part of the show was pretty damn shocking, especially with who was trying to trick Ryan while he was at school! Even re-watching this show for a second time, this was pretty mind-blowing to see.
Season three I feel is not quite as good as season two, but after such a long break, I think that they did a great job with it. It takes place several years after the events of season 2 and Catherine is thinking of retiring. There is still some murder and mystery to things in the third season, but it was the “personal” stuff that I found most interesting.
Ryan is now 16 years old and he has been in contact with his dad Tommy, even though he is not supposed to be! One thing that I think is amazing about Happy Valley is the ending! They could not have nailed the ending anymore as it is just so satisfying and it is about as much of a happy ending as we could ever expected to get. If you love crime dramas, Happy Valley is one of the best British crime dramas ever made and one that is very easy to recommend.
- Catherine is such a fantastic character that is well written and acted
- Tommy is a brutal villain
- The whole story arc with Ryan growing up is done incredibly well
- This is an amazing crime drama, one of the best ever!
- Some may be shocked at how brutal and graphic the show can be
- Season 3 is great, but I think season 2 was just a tad better