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“Prescriptions for Love and Murder” treats murder as a piece of cake- VB BLOG

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This week’s other televised literary adaptation source can’t claim the same global reach as The Lord of the Rings, but Sally Andrew Tani Maria’s novels have proven to be the author’s original South African bestseller since their 2015 debut. They now provide the basis for Love and Murder Recipes ‘, a South African-Scottish co-production that represents the most enigmatic addition yet to Acorn TV’s burgeoning lineup of cute time-watchers.

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To some extent, this is a formula for fare with a capital F: comic, romantic and moderately criminal adventures in a picturesque setting. Watch enough of it, and you’ll realize that even single scenes have their own formula. Find a cozy spot, add a little spice of plot and piano, and – lest anyone feel too challenged – serve with a great group, usually someone offering to put a kettle somewhere. From its foundations up, it’s a television for tea.

However, creators Karen Jennis and Annie Griffin spin two different forms of themselves. The first is geographical. The backdrop is Andrew’s backyard, the Klein Karoo, a 350-kilometre canyon encompassing both mountainous rural suburbs and vibrant, multi-ethnic urban centers that – as evidenced by passing here – reminds you of the journey you took in the real South Africa. These past decades.

The second is a one-of-a-kind heroine: Maria Purvis (Maria Doyle Kennedy), a committed foodie who turns her hand to the aunt—”Tani” which means aunt in Afrikaans—and snoops between raspberries with honey and complete it. Mesh top for chopped ostrich pie. (No man can multitask like this.) Gradually, we discover that Maria may be hiding another secret identity, which may explain Doyle Kennedy’s changing tone. There are multifaceted female personalities, and every dish on the menu is ordered in the hope that they will sit well on the stomach.

It’s clear where the Recipes want to position themselves. Like those afternoon TV movies about bakers turned crime fighters, the show connects brightly lit cooking shows by day with the procedural drama that follows the catchment. Nothing in the early episodes garners the same rushing attention as the sequence in which Maria prepares for best TV movie, the indulgence that provides succor to a local woman accused of murder before she takes herself a bullet, noting the priceless command, “Take that cake into custody.” “

Christian Olvagen, who directed six of the 10 episodes (Janes is taking over the other four), described “Recipes” as the midway point between “Chocolat” and “The Killing,” a description that’s not entirely inaccurate, even if it hints at the transformations. Awkward tonalities on display at times. In the season premiere, Maria’s fate becomes linked with that of abused housewife Martine (Tinary van Wyck Lotus); A montage of domestic violence is added with Maria’s recipe for the perfect lamb curry (“Boil potatoes and add garam masala, you have it”).

While creating some sympathetic connection between the town women, he also betrays scattered narrative strategies that seem to be “recipes”. At the same time, the show is soapy and surreal, often seeming less concerned with any element of the crime – espionage is poorly deployed early on – than in returning to the chopping board. (The opening credits find Maria busy chopping, slicing, and marring: you could call her “Dexter”-esque, the crimson drops in the shot were clearly not Loganberry Juice.)

However, the thought has been applied to bring a consistent entertainment format into the 21st century. Maria, a Caucasian of a certain age, is introduced to a potential classmate of Jesse (Kylie Fisher), a younger black fellow whose rival advice column seems to have sparked an internet trading war. Although the characters are defined in simple, amusing terms by their sublines—”Tani Maria’s Advice for Life” versus “Jess Saying”—the pair’s growing relationship is among the more attractive aspects here, reinforced by Fisher’s natural screen presence.

Traces of conservatism are still visible, most evident in the (oddly sparsely populated) pink walls of Barbie’s editing room. And while the second episode poignantly depicts a closed-down farmer driven to write his letter for Dear Tannie, it also features capricious town butcher Doep (Terence Bridgett) who shows grouchy Detective Meyer (Tony Kgoroge) a “nice thick butt.” It is somewhat progressive. However, the eccentricities – which can be distinguished from the nascent TV industry working out how to create streaming content for international markets – grew on this viewer.

Doyle Kennedy has worked steadily since her first appearance in The Commitments in 1991, doing her best to create a cohesive character as Julia Child, Miss Marple, and a mystery beyond anyone’s immediate comprehension. There is something so fun about Jesse’s flirtation with shy police piece Regardt (Arno Greeff), that the suspected subplot has to be treated differently in any similar American drama. I even found myself vaguely invested in the fate of Morag’s confidant Mariah’s chicken, and observed her roaming on the roofs of her guard in flagrant violation of traditional health law.

There is little chance that the “recipes” will deepen and darken as the series is stable and running. She folds a letter each week to Tannie into another life experience, while expanding our understanding of the Karoo community; There’s even a flash of real sadness in Episode III, as Grace (Lee Dureux), the town elder, mourns for her murdered son. But her recipe appears to have been signed for now, and was established when Maria told the wronged prisoner “No cops, don’t worry, just cake.” If you take a knife to it, it might just be the “recipes” – a fluffy sponge held together with a light creamy filling. But in the afternoons, that can be appetizing, too.

“Recipes for Love and Murder” airs on Acorn TV starting September 5, showing two episodes per week with a total of 10 episodes (the first three episodes are shown for review).

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