January 17, 2015

CRANK UP THE VCR:

Soldier, Vicar, Lover, Sleuth (NANCY DEWOLF SMITH, Jan. 15, 2015, WSJ)

The glorious new PBS mystery series "Grantchester" is a revelation on two fronts and unforgettable on both. It turns back the clock to solve crime in a different era, offering respite from the world around us now even as it reveals how little ever changes about the human heart.

Set in 1953 in the English countryside outside Cambridge University, the series is quiet like many of us have never heard or can barely remember. The silence is not just literal--although the stillness, the absence of auditory chaff as if every day were the morning after a heavy snowfall, is a reminder of how harsh the present cacophony of gadgetry, traffic, engines and yakking strangers has become. More astounding, in a time before modern distractions, is the stillness of life itself, through which passions born of yearning or fear or anger occasionally erupt like magma through the placid surface of things.

At the center of it all is a young English vicar, Sidney Chambers (James Norton), who presides over a village parish in the tentative first decade of peacetime. The Anglican reverend is old enough to have taken part in bloody combat as a Scots Guards officer in World War II, which is never far from his mind until he drops asleep at his desk, a sermon unfinished and a whiskey glass still in his hand. But he is young enough to be tormented also, in a way perhaps only the young at heart can be, with longing for a love that will make him feel whole.




Posted by at January 17, 2015 7:15 PM
  

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