It’s tough out there in the world of streaming video as the big players slug it out for customer numbers and viewing figures. Amazon Prime Instant Video may have nabbed exclusive streaming rights to Downton Abbey last year, but Netflix has landed 2014’s hottest UK show by signing a deal to carry the BBC’s crime drama Happy Valley.
The show was a huge hit in Britain, with 7.6 million people tuning in to watch the first episode. Downton Abbey, in comparison, attracted 9.2 million for its opening show. A six-part mini-series, the program focuses on the story of police sergeant Catherine Cawood (played by Sarah Lancashire) in a small West Yorkshire town.
The title is something of a deliberate misnomer, though: violence, drugs, murder and deceit are a few of the main ingredients of Happy Valley. The central case investigated by Sergeant Cawood involves a kidnapping instigated by the man she holds responsible for her daughter’s suicide. As well as attracting critical acclaim in the UK, the show also drew complaints over the brutality it depicts on screen.
“We’re proud to add this highly lauded, masterfully crafted and brilliantly acted British series to the exclusive offerings Netflix viewers in the U.S. and Canada can enjoy,” said Elizabeth Bradley, Vice President of Content Acquisition at Netflix, in a press statement. “Already recognized as one of the top dramas of 2014, Happy Valley is sure to keep our viewers on the edge of their seats.”
Despite containing some content that you wouldn’t want the kids to see, Happy Valley also has plenty of positive points to make about the strength of love and the bonds that link family and friends. It’s also very rooted in its location, offering a Fargo-esque look at policing in a small neighborhood. Netflix subscribers in the US and Canada can catch the series from August 20.
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