Binge Guide

Weekly Binge: Top of the Lake

We give you what you need to know to dive into the popular shows everyone's talking about.

by | March 6, 2014 | Comments

The Weekly Binge shifts gears to bring you a mini-series that could help fill the void once you finish True Detective. It may not have been on your radar when it premiered a year ago, so this week, we give you Sundance’s Top of the Lake.

 

Top of the Lake

Top of the Lake

What’s the premise? A detective submerges herself into a world of small-town secrets while investigating the disappearance of a pregnant 12 year-old girl.

What’s it like? Jane Campion takes her time when telling a story, but the payoff is well worth it. This series is like watching a great cinematic achievement, except in seven well-conceived installments of continuing storyline. It may be a slow burn, but the moody storytelling combines the grittiness of Homicide: Life on the Street with the meditative pace of The Wire .

Where can I see it? It’s streaming on Netflix, and available for download on iTunes, Amazon, and Vudu.

How long will it take? Since this was only a seven episode mini-series, you can easily finish this in a weekend. And if you’re feeling ambitious, there’s no reason why you couldn’t do it all in a day.

What do the critics think? Top of the Lake is Certified Fresh at 93% on the Tomatometer and most of the critics agree that the acting is top-notch. Matt Roush of TV Guide says, “Its world is so specific and transcendently trippy, haunted by mythic legends rooted in this unforgiving geography, that it feels wondrously fresh, alien and unforgettable,” while Maureen Ryan of the Huffington Post claims, “It has the kind of premise we’ve seen many times before. Rarely, however, will you see such visual rigor, emotional intelligence and assured storytelling brought to a mystery tale told in this kind of world.”

Why should I watch this? This is a hidden gem that got a lot of love from the awards circuit, but isn’t familiar to the general public. The mini-series and its star, Mad Men’s Elizabeth Moss, were nominated for Critics Choice, Emmy, Golden Globe, and SAG Awards. (Moss took the Golden Globe and Critic’s Choice awards). Top of the Lake is a layered show in which the subplots hovering around the main plot are little mysteries themselves. Lake leaves you thinking about what you just saw and trying to make sense of it. Best of all, the end is nothing you will see coming.

What’s my next step? Top of the Lake is the first TV endeavor since An Angel at My Table by Jane Campion, who co-created, co-wrote and co-directed the series. Campion also did double duty directing and writing The Piano in 1993, starring a young Anna Paquin who went on to win Best Supporting Actress at the age of 11. Paquin was originally asked to play the role of Robin in Top of the Lake, but bowed out due to her pregnancy. Holly Hunter, who starred with Paquin in The Piano, has a role in Lake, and if you find you’re enjoying Campion’s work, check out her film Bright Star. If you have a hankering for dark, edgy dramas, you may want to check out The Killing or The Following. Also, one of the most buzzworthy gritty detective shows is True Detective, which ends its first season this Sunday, March 9, making it a perfect time to binge one of the biggest series of the year.

What do you like about Top of the Lake? How would you explain it to a newbie? Get in on the conversation here.

Tag Cloud

Freeform TV renewals critics Star Wars Celebration Lionsgate Wes Anderson Native venice Super Bowl Set visit Amazon Studios Hallmark Christmas movies 2016 Vudu Chilling Adventures of Sabrina ITV adaptation RT History crossover video on demand Mary poppins Comic-Con@Home 2021 theme song dramedy Syfy cults Character Guide GoT jurassic park cops laika USA scary HBO Go cancelled TV series leaderboard dexter mutant Showtime ABC Signature Tarantino Arrowverse Paramount marvel cinematic universe 79th Golden Globes Awards 2021 vampires El Rey Disney+ Disney Plus free movies Focus Features hollywood debate streaming movies action-comedy psycho Quiz supernatural Disney Plus parents Extras broadcast Western The Purge Fall TV justice league animated X-Men Turner AMC Plus San Diego Comic-Con Mystery cooking richard e. Grant TCM IFC gangster TCA 2017 toy story Pride Month concert halloween tv BBC America 99% king kong kids FOX series Stephen King Reality Competition Holidays independent japanese IFC Films Tomatazos witnail Summer MSNBC Best and Worst Lifetime Year in Review batman child's play Hollywood Foreign Press Association Warner Bros. TBS vs. Infographic obituary Shondaland Netflix Christmas movies king arthur Martial Arts Red Carpet Election nature criterion NBC Ellie Kemper Mary Poppins Returns Sony Pictures PBS summer TV preview slashers TIFF godzilla adventure ratings psychological thriller First Reviews cinemax cars Pop TV space Polls and Games MGM period drama video History deadpool Esquire live event biography HFPA television CBS All Access target Marvel Opinion Pop cancelled TV shows Best Director festivals crime drama comics President robots black FX rt labs critics edition Film Festival franchise TNT high school Interview indie Hear Us Out The Witch crime DGA live action Food Network Disney Channel docuseries Oscars Musical biopic Photos Epix Song of Ice and Fire Turner Classic Movies royal family anime Captain marvel Pacific Islander Video Games BBC critic resources Adult Swim Holiday movie Television Academy documentary BBC One Logo Toys TCA facebook historical drama joker prank black comedy jamie lee curtis golden globes Marathons Black History Month BET Awards Sundance Now Columbia Pictures Disney reviews films scorecard GLAAD breaking bad OWN Universal Pictures political drama popular 2018 technology trailers LGBT hidden camera Sundance TV Writers Guild of America name the review Rom-Com dreamworks women Ovation Travel Channel comic books saw Women's History Month indiana jones Box Office MCU ABC mcc hispanic heritage month SXSW 2022 heist movie New York Comic Con South by Southwest Film Festival DirecTV telelvision Music Winter TV best 93rd Oscars Star Trek Tags: Comedy Rocketman spy thriller Action BET HBO spinoff movies Paramount Network rt labs rom-coms Instagram Live true crime ESPN Superheroes Horror WGN Image Comics NBA TLC Mudbound Pirates aliens serial killer trophy The Arrangement latino 71st Emmy Awards Crunchyroll tv talk spider-man adenture Neflix 2020 Nickelodeon book award winner Brie Larson mockumentary TV One rt archives 45 Grammys police drama Trophy Talk Baby Yoda National Geographic YouTube Red TV Land versus french Family comiccon Starz Podcast HBO Max 20th Century Fox Best Actor Amazon Prime Video fast and furious sopranos Apple TV Plus Teen Comedy Central pirates of the caribbean TCA Awards Geeked Week Legendary green book politics twilight Superheroe PaleyFest Masterpiece blockbusters comic book movie nbcuniversal blockbuster Avengers casting 2019 Britbox monster movies art house Black Mirror streamig Trailer sitcom BAFTA what to watch scene in color series Comic Book Sneak Peek Animation sequels doctor who game show YA 73rd Emmy Awards Drama Watching Series TV movies children's TV summer preview zero dark thirty marvel comics classics genre FXX Netflix LGBTQ 24 frames chucky cats Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Shudder emmy awards Bravo ViacomCBS boxoffice Cosplay Binge Guide Star Wars teaser E! A&E OneApp a nightmare on elm street medical drama Sci-Fi Walt Disney Pictures RT21 Crackle australia 21st Century Fox screenings Biopics comedies mob dark news VH1 romantic comedy Fox News target scene in color Winners Calendar thriller The Academy universal monsters VOD dc new york science fiction Mindy Kaling MTV cancelled Cannes remakes Academy Awards 2015 crime thriller stand-up comedy legend 2017 Spectrum Originals razzies CMT new zealand Emmys zombie Cartoon Network Film superhero mission: impossible superman posters stoner TruTV worst movies Sony Comics on TV Premiere Dates composers documentaries disaster revenge Valentine's Day Tumblr 4/20 TV Apple TV+ Schedule TCA Winter 2020 talk show screen actors guild unscripted werewolf Discovery Channel Comedy fresh lord of the rings SXSW Apple Indigenous FX on Hulu Best Actress suspense Best Picture feel good Hulu travel international NYCC 72 Emmy Awards rotten quibi canceled halloween Prime Video wonder woman YouTube Anna Paquin PlayStation 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards romance spain Country Certified Fresh SDCC Sundance die hard new star wars movies spanish dogs dragons know your critic Peacock zombies festival directors Television Critics Association WarnerMedia football YouTube Premium elevated horror Acorn TV rotten movies we love sequel japan Spring TV reboot strong female leads CBS young adult Oscar christmas movies scene in color Amazon CW Seed worst 1990s south america Christmas ghosts Funimation basketball transformers kaiju Lifetime Christmas movies American Society of Cinematographers A24 renewed TV shows hist asian-american ID based on movie Broadway boxing canceled TV shows Fox Searchlight IMDb TV Nat Geo sag awards slasher The CW Trivia Creative Arts Emmys binge Pet Sematary Classic Film Tubi DC Comics sports italian james bond Musicals See It Skip It SundanceTV toronto satire 90s Ghostbusters comic natural history spider-verse interviews GIFs foreign Thanksgiving Spike golden globe awards Paramount Pictures Pixar scary movies 94th Oscars Exclusive Video First Look all-time APB Fargo docudrama Dark Horse Comics book adaptation anthology CNN cartoon Awards Countdown war blaxploitation Disney streaming service The Walt Disney Company comic book movies archives Heroines discovery Elton John scene in color film series Amazon Prime ABC Family Awards Tour Fantasy summer TV obi wan harry potter DC Universe Hallmark Alien VICE Lucasfilm finale singing competition Chernobyl Marvel Studios AMC stop motion aapi Nominations Reality Rocky Paramount Plus Tokyo Olympics miniseries game of thrones Mary Tyler Moore streaming diversity DC streaming service spanish language kong dceu USA Network Kids & Family Rock nfl olympics Endgame E3 Marvel Television The Walking Dead Universal social media Emmy Nominations cancelled television 007 hispanic