Finally… A Good On-Screen Project!

The Stranger - Richard Armitage

I really hope they like it!

**NO SPOILERS**

The anticipation is over… Thursday and Friday evening, I binge-watched Netflix’s The Stranger starring Richard Armitage. What a relief to find that the 8-episode series is actually good! The Stranger is based on Harlan Coben’s book of the same name. Red Production Company, Coben, and Danny Brocklehurst have collaborated on two previous series, but I think this is by far the best of the three, in part because Safe and The Five had fewer episodes to develop the many characters over. From interviews, I understand that the adaptation of The Stranger changed the story significantly from the book, and apparently even some of the detailed character history written by Armitage (including an unknown something taken from his own life) made its way into the script! Coben has a small cameo in the show as well.

The Stranger - Detective

Siobhan with Richard about to do a signature move of hands over face

The Stranger is a thriller and police procedural, with a lot going on, propelling the viewer to keep watching through to the end (and some brave souls even to binge-watch over one night!). The cast is wonderful, including of course Richard Armitage and, a former fellow actor from Sparkhouse, Siobhan Finneran who is perfect as the in-charge police detective. This series actually reminds me a lot in atmosphere and tone of Broadchurch, with the lives of the detectives being also an important part of the story. Jennifer Saunders, who I loved in Absolutely Fabulous and of course was Dawn French’s comedy partner, does very well in her first dramatic role. There is a lot of great camaraderie between Armitage and Shaun Dooley, playing neighbour and friend Doug Tripp. Really, the whole cast is very good and I can’t possibly mention them all, even though all the main characters are impressive.

Armitage has really mastered the dad character now, more so than in Brain on Fire or The Lodge, and there is a natural sense of fun between him and the boys, played by Jacob Dudman and Misha Handley.  He makes dad jokes, sings along to a “classic” song in the car, and even joins in their sports. I really loved seeing him in his happy husband and father role before the that seemingly idyllic life is disrupted. (And yet, I wonder why I enjoyed so much hearing him swear. He does it so precisely and emphatically… and I would hate to be on the receiving end of it!)

The Stranger - ShoppingI really wish I knew how to screen-cap Netflix, because I’d love to include some of Armitage’s outfits. The colour choices of his casual clothes are new and look great on him, and I suppose he did a lot of the choosing himself, as mentioned in the Instagram post to the right. He plays a lawyer, and during a courtroom scene we see him with some particularly nice looking brown-framed glasses — I had to rewind a couple of times to have an extended look. On the other hand, at one point he wears a suit, white shirt, and beige trench coat, and the look reminds me of Berlin Station (even though I don’t think he wore that colour of coat in BS). I loved (for some reason) also the scenes in his house, where he is lounging barefoot — something so intimate about it.

I always appreciate how in English TV productions, the people in it mostly look like ordinary people that you might know in real life, rather than super-models. Armitage is someone I would like to know in real life, especially given the renewed interest that I’ve found through this show, but even he doesn’t look too out-of-the-ordinary. He is looking very fit in The Stranger, although the one glimpse of him in undies after a shower says to me that he isn’t working out like he used to and I think he said that he wanted to look like a regular guy. I think he succeeded… although more like a regular hot guy.

The series gives Richard Armitage lots of room to exercise his acting muscles, and he does so extremely believably. While he is prettier when he is happy and smiling, I do enjoy watching him react to strong emotions and stressful situations. I’m always on the lookout for his signature moves, such as eyelash batting and rubbing his hand across his face, and I was not disappointed, although the first is not as pronounced and the latter is quite natural with some new hand placement — wish I could screen-cap. (Recently, re-watching House M.D., I found myself very conscious of Hugh Laurie’s signature move of head down and staring to denote deep thinking about what’s just been said. The more you watch someone, the more you can’t help but notice and anticipate these acting tics.)

I would recommend The Stranger, and I’m looking forward to watching it again. I think i may even have convinced my husband to watch it!

Given that a lot of the show is about the secrets that we hide, I’m putting Billy Joel’s song “The Stranger” here (lyrics start at 1:13) as well as the Netflix trailer for the show.

77 thoughts on “Finally… A Good On-Screen Project!

  1. it really was good ,wasn’t it? i’m so pleased for everyone involved!
    i agree with the regular guy hot, i imagine he was relieved to be able to relax his usual training regime!
    i need to do a second watch, but i have a feeling they’ve done something with color and his changing situation…but i may be imagining things!
    and he doesn’t die! (though in the book, he got beat up a lot worse and you really fear for his life) and no drowning situation!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I loved it! And very happy for all involved to see it at #1 on Netflix.
    Am on my second viewing on the TV (one episode at a time now hehe) while concurrently working my way through it on the laptop and screencapping. To screencap in Windows 10, as I play Netflix on full screen, I have one finger pressed on the Windows icon key and the other hand poised ready to press the PrtSc (print screen) key – there must be a similar option for a Mac.There’s a black bar top and bottom but they can be cropped out. I’ve never watched Netflix on the small screen, but needs must when it comes to having pictures of Richard!!
    Adam Price is up there in my favourite chaRActers now. The role allows Richard’s performance the full gamut of emotions, and he does it so, so well, but I love the mundane everyday family stuff – preparing a meal, chatting with his sons over the kitchen bench, singing in the car, lying in bed, playing soccer. The stuff of fantasy…well…my fantasy anyway! 😉
    I loved (for some reason) also the scenes in his house, where he is lounging barefoot — something so intimate about it.” You’ve nailed it there, totally agree.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Sue I just finished my watch ! I did 2 on Friday night then 5 yesterday and that final episode tonight. Ep 4 to me was the most pivotal and my fav. I disliked the book especially the writing style so I did find the Netflix series switched to England much better
    I will say The Five was very good and the children in that series as well as The Stranger well excellent!!
    My mojo for Richie came back with Rachel and him last Friday Jan 24 at the Stage Door
    The physical rush of two years ago flooded back so I am glad if you have been revived as well 😘❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Good to have him back as a proper lead, isn’t it? And even a casual HOT one! I too really love the barefoot lounging scenes at home, among others! Although the plot is not spectacular I’d say it has improved the book’s story in parts, especially regarding pace, twists and the “furnishing”. The cast works together perfectly, at eye-level so to say and his outfits are very convincing. The dad bod too. 😜
    I don’t know if he really isn’t aware that he is being casted for his acting COMBINED with the unquestionable attractiveness, like others too who are aging well in his business. Is it a kind of mantra he needs for himself, repeatedly uttering his doubts in this respect? 😉
    Btw, my husband has not given it yet either… He usually needs some time and persuasion to join me when it comes to watching the Armitage. But it wouldn’t be the first time he might be positively hooked. 😁
    Thanks for your impressions, Sue!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. There is so much in here that I fully agree with – from the series being relatable (not least because it is a European setting; that always makes it easier for me to believe what is going on), to RA playing a regular guy. In retrospect I am almost shocked that my (high) expectations were more than met. It is sooo good to see Richard lead in a show that is actually all-round good. (By comparison, it is so hard to watch him excel in an average show such as BS. How frustrating must it be for the actors who give their all, though?)
    Has this revived your Armitage love again?

    Liked by 2 people

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