Darby and Joan (Series 1) – DVD Review

Darby and Joan (Series 1) Review (1)

By Karl Hornsey

This Queensland-set drama isn’t too hard to pigeonhole, but it can be described variously as a murder mystery, a comedy or a ‘road’ drama, and it follows the very familiar path of two mismatched characters thrown together despite them initially wanting nothing to do with other. The clashing ‘buddies’ theme has been done many times, but that’s not to say it still can’t be given a refreshing new slant, and that’s the case here with this eminently watchable eight-part series, that has proven popular enough to already be recommissioned for a second one.

Darby and Joan (Series 1) Review (2)There are several factors that make it work, but first and foremost it’s the fine cast and especially the acting of the two leads – Greta Scacchi as Joan and Bryan Brown as Darby – who are both hugely likeable without slipping into caricatures. Both Scacchi and Brown are always good value in anything they appear, but it’s great to see them being given lead roles at, shall we say, an advanced stage of their lives and careers. Brown is still possibly best know for his role in Cocktail alongside Tom Cruise almost 40 years ago, while Scacchi has long since thrown off her sex symbol status of the 1980s, to become a solid character actor with a wide repertoire.

“Easy watch”

Throw in mile after mile of beautiful scenery and eight episodes that feature mini-plots as well as the thread that runs through the whole series, and what we have here is an ideal tonic to the dark winter months, akin to the likes of Death in Paradise offering up sunshine and light amidst the gloom. It’s an easy watch that focuses on the mystery surrounding the death of Scacchi’s husband, which has seen her travel to Australia to find out just what happened, especially as he was supposed to be in Spain all along. There, she meets retired detective Brown, who wants nothing more than the easy life and to be on his own and do what he likes, with Scacchi proving a thorn in his side as he realises he’d actually rather like to find out what happened to the late husband as well.

With an excellent supporting cast and fabulous locations, this is bingeworthy light drama that has the feeling of having been around for years, like slipping into that favourite old pair of slippers, and there’s every chance that it can run and run, judging by the ratings for the first series.

Darby and Joan is on DVD now via Acorn Media


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