Updated: May 29, 2018
Metadata: 2015 | TV-MA | 2 Seasons of 6 and 7 episodes, 28 minutes each
Genre: British drama lite? Comedy gentle?
Why did I watch it: My dad, my mom, and my 14-year-old sister all love this show, and I thought: If all three of them are so enthusiastic about it and enjoyed watching it together, it must be something special. (Only American Idol has a similarly unifying effect on them.)
You might also like: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006) on Netflix, which is the second installment of the film series (because the first isn't available to stream). Mackenzie Crook, who wrote and directed Detectorists and plays the main character, Andy, is the pirate who keeps losing his wooden eyeball!
Honestly, I have not been this happy about a show since . . . well, I don't remember another time. It has a wholly different effect on me than most TV shows. A lot of the good television out there challenges me or entertains me or pumps me up. This show settles me. It makes me feel peaceful and present...almost as if I were the one wandering the lush fields of Essex whilst searching for hidden treasure with my metal detector. And honestly, is there anything more appealing? The members of the D.M.D.C—the Danbury Metal Detecting Club—are true oddballs, no doubt. But as we watch them retreat daily to the fields, these characters take on depth and sensitivity until they feel so deeply relatable and comfortingly normal that it almost hurts. Along the way, best friends Andy (Mackenzie Crook) and Lance (Toby Jones) offer a beautiful model for male friendship (really any friendship) that makes you feel intensely warm and fuzzy inside. The remarkable thing is just how much you grow with these characters over such a short span of time - and without all that much really happening on screen.
The show's theme music, written and performed by Johnny Flynn, is so beautiful, and wistful, and honest that I cannot get enough of it. You'll notice I linked to YouTube in the previous sentence. Well, you know how the comments on YouTube videos and other social media are notoriously nasty? Here are a few of the first comments on this video:
"This is the type of show to make you feel okay about the future"
"It's like a cure for black mirror" [Netflix's uber-dark, sci-fi anthology about the near future]
"Been a digger [metal detectorist] for forty five years...that being said, this song embodies every second of those years. Thank you."
"Probably the best TV series I have seen in a long time. Real meaning, real heart and real soul throughout that encapsulates you into their world; the real world. And this soundtrack really is the perfect icing on the cake. No matter how hard you search for gold, chances are it's already right in front of you."
Friends, search no further. This show is TV gold, and it is right in front of you. The good news that's also bad news? You can watch the first season of this show in less than three hours—so about the same time it would take you to go out and see a movie. Or about the amount of time it takes you to do two loads of laundry.
Very happy streaming, my dear friends!