Back in 2014-17, BBC Four aired DECTORISTS, a comedy about two men living in a fictional British town who share a love for metal detecting as a hobby. I just watched the first season and fell in love with it. From the lovable characters to the beautiful British countryside to the odd mix of peace and tension behind the ample scenes of metal detecting, every single thing about the show is completely saturated with cozy English charm.
The series was written and directed by Mackenzie Crook (THE OFFICE UK version, PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN, GAME OF THRONES), who stars as Andy alongside Toby Jones (INFAMOUS, W, THE MIST) as Lance. Andy lives with his girlfriend Becky, while Lance pines for his ex-wife Maggie. Together, they explore fields around the town looking for interesting archaeological finds, though usually they turn up beer can tabs. When they secure permission to detect at Bishop’s farm, they believe they’re on the trail of a buried Saxon king, unless a rival organization gets it first.
The show is surprisingly charming in an even and understated manner, with every major and minor character standing out in some way as memorable, all played perfectly by the actors, particularly Crook and Jones. When they’re out detecting, it’s just fun to watch their gentle male bonding “talking bollocks” until one of them gets a hit, and they make it look fun enough to pick up a detector yourself and give it a go. While it’s easy to get caught up in the treasure hunting (the guys always asking each other “What you got?”), really the show is about the simple pleasure in doing something you love, while finding meaning in it. As for the comedy, it comes across as a constant tickle because you feel like you know these characters so well.
Overall, I’d recommend DETECTORISTS. There are three seasons and a 2017 special. Apparently, there is a feature-length Christmas special coming out shortly on BBC Two, so I’ll be keeping my eye out for that as well.