Full disclosure before I start my first brief TV series review: Most of the Netflix I watch is in the interest of helping me sleep, therefore I watch a great deal of it while actually asleep. When watching something new, I try to find the place I last remember when I start the next watch, but chances of missing things, even whole episodes, are very real.
I have never or at least don’t recall reading any G. K. Chesterton, and I chose to watch Father Brown because after running out of real world forensics shows to watch, I’d realized that quiet British murder mysteries were a wonderful sleep aid. I haven’t gone as far as Agatha Christie or even Arthur Conan Doyle, but I’ll probably get there.
Father Brown acts as a wonderful contrast to series like Broadchurch or Happy Valley (which I recently watched) because it’s just not that sad. That seems like an odd thing to say, considering characters still end up dead every episode, but it’s true. Most episodes seem to be about just how many people there are who may well have murdered the victim because of what an unpleasant person they had been. That’s a far cry from lost children.
And of course Father Brown himself is just so quietly delightful in his inability to stay out of the police’s way. He’s frequently promising to leave them to their work, but then, just doesn’t, because he really needs to know how it turns out, or he’s dreadfully passionate about saving the innocent person who’s decided to confess.
He seems to fit into the trope of those meddling teenage detectives who manage to get into the adults’ business, except instead of being a teenager he’s the local meddling priest. (TV Tropes would no doubt tag him under Little Old Lady Investigates.)
I don’t have much to say about his secondary regular characters. As endearing as Father Brown is, as far as I’m concerned the people around him only serve to make him more endearing.
Father Brown sits safely in the “if this piques your interest” area of recommendation. If you’re already watching a lot of Murder TV as I call it, but are in the mood for something softer and sweeter that you can fall asleep to without anything exploding, Father Brown suits very nicely.