Thursday, September 15, 2005

TV: Distant Shores comes to Ontario

I channel surf while watching ball games. I keep the game on the secondary TV, but switch channels between half-innings. Think I'm getting ADD from too much exposure to kids this summer.

Mid-evening, I was doing the remote rhumba and encountered Distant Shores playing on the TVOntario channel. I stopped and watched Peter Davison playing a total ninny of a doctor making a ninny of himself. This six-episode series out of England was one of my year-end break pleasures last winter. I managed to get all six episodes and watched them one night. It was great!

The show plays on many of the themes of my third-favourite movie of all time, Local Hero. In that Bill Forsyth movie, a bunch of Americans arrive on the shores of Scotland, prepared to roll over the locals and get an oil refinery up and going just off the shore. Needless to say, the whimsical local folk just ignore the Americans into a non-problem and everything ends happily.

In Distant Shores, Davison's Dr. Bill Shore gets dragged to a craggy isle off the British coast by his fed-up-with-her-marriage wife, played by Samantha Bond. His beloved new car comes to a stop upon arrival, only re-starting when departure is imminent. His two kids, played winningly by Emmy Fildes and Mathew Davies, need a change of pace and place, and get it. Fildes's wild child Laney, discovers being different can be done in non-obvious ways, while Davies' Harvey rediscovers a father he thought he'd lost.

The islanders, led by Tristan Gemmill's Duncan, are an odd lot. But you come to know and feel for them, especially in the tragedy-marred final episode. I defy anybody with real blood flowing through their veins, not to give way to a tear or two when last we see Duncan.

In a way, the predictable and silly ending to a sweet tale of personal growth, was just perfect.

This is a series worth catching on TV or getting a DVD set.

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