Should You Try It: MaryLand on PBS

PBS Masterpiece series focuses on estranged sisters brought together by a crisis
MS Society Carols By Candlelight 2023
MS Society Carols By Candlelight 2023 / Dave Benett/GettyImages

We’re making our way through the month of May and getting some interesting new options as we head toward summer. But with the longer days and better weather, you might be looking to limit the amount of time you’re sitting in front of a screen. So, what new series are worth the investment? Let us help by providing you with a snapshot of new series. Today, it’s a U.K. series coming to America via Masterpiece.

Series: MaryLand

Where to Find It: New episodes air Sunday nights during the Masterpiece slot on PBS. The first two episodes are now streaming on the PBS website, with the series finale set to air on Sunday night.

What’s It About: This new series comes from Suranne Jones, who stars in the series, along with Anne-Marie O’Connor. It focuses on a pair of sisters who, as adults, are used to living their lives with only a tenuous connection. Becca (Jones) is a wife and mother, living close to her parents and caught in their orbit. Rosaline (Eve Best) has been living on her own for some time. The sisters aren’t close.

All that changes when they get a call about their mother. While on holiday on the Isle of Man, she passed away. With their father in no condition to make the trip, Rosaline and Becca travel to identify the body and bring their mother home. Since she isn’t where they expected her, they also want answers as to why she’s there and what happened to her. Those answers end up somewhat surprising.

Turns out their mother had a secret life there. She had a close friend, Cathy (Stockard Channing), and a boyfriend, Pete (Hugh Quarshie), that her daughters and husband knew nothing about. As the girls search for answers about a mother they quickly realize they hardly knew, they also search for answers from each other, examining their relationship and why they haven’t been connected for some time.

You Should Try It If: You’re a fan of Masterpiece, a fan of family dramas, and a fan of a good mystery series.

One Man’s Opinion of MaryLand

We get a lot of interesting series that come to us from the United Kingdom via Masterpiece. Often, they are engaging dramas that tackle a variety of topics. That’s the case here, as we get a pensive and engaging drama about a family that needs to come together. It’s also something of a shorter commitment, with only three episodes. The pilot introduces the characters and the world while the second episode really starts to dive deeper to the emotional core of the story.

I like the back-and-forth with Jones and Best. They’re two veteran actresses that know how to get to the deeper emotional core of the story. Part of it is the mystery about their mother, what she was hiding, and why she was drawn to this place. But a big part of the story is about these sisters and whether they can restore their bond and learn to lean on each other.

I thought the pilot laid down a solid premise, but it was the second story that really brought me in. I’m curious to see where this ends and hopeful we’ll get something of a sweet, emotional resolution.

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