The first series of “Flowers” was an incredible piece of television. Detailing the struggles of Maurice Flowers, a children’s author struggling with depression, and his eccentric family, wife Deborah, children Amy and Donald, and his Japanese live-in illustrator Shun, the show managed to walk a fine line between laugh-out-loud comedy and genuine emotional drama. So it was with some trepidation that I learned that series 2 was on the way. The first seemed to be somewhat self-contained and while the ending was open for more, it would have felt perfectly natural to end it there.
Series 2 begins with Maurice and Deborah having apparently saved their relationship. Deborah is working on a book about living with Maurice’s depression while the two enjoy a camping holiday together. Meanwhile, Amy is now in a relationship with an older woman who is a priest; Donald has a new career as a plumber, Pipeman, utilising his inventions; and Shun seems somewhat lost, being no longer employed as illustrator for the “Grubs” books. As the series goes on each of the characters tackles their own psychological or emotional issues, whether that is depression, mania, alcoholism, or rejection. The central plot concerns a family curse that Amy is trying to fathom, but as with the first series the plot is less important than the relationships between the characters. The original cast all return, Julian Barratt, Olivia Coleman, Sophia Di Martino and Daniel Rigby as the Flowers clan,Will Sharpe as Shun and Helen Cripps as Matilda. They are joined this series by Harriet Walker as Hylda, Amy’s lover. All of them do a fantastic job in their roles and the development of each seems natural.
Will Sharpe’s writing shows a one-of-a-kind talent, packed with ideas, with a keen ear for genuine conversational dialogue, yet also excelling at the poetry of certain moments without being overly sentimental. It seems to take the magpie approach of including everything of interest and bringing it together in a creative collage of elements. The Japanese influence, surrealism and dream-sequences, the focus on nature, particularly the English countryside, all have particular resonance with me, but I feel as though such an approach makes the show identifiable for many through this technique. Commentators have spoken of the show “speaking to them” and with such an array of characters and ideas there is sure to be a particular character or theme to which you can relate. The direction shows a respect for film and a love of the art-form, from the choice of shots, the magnificent close-ups showing the beautiful minutiae of life, everything is done with care and attention. The music by Arthur Sharpe is also perfect for the shows unusual tone. By turns manic, melancholic, nightmarish visions breaking through quaint family drama.
Series two definitely lived up to the high expectations set by the first and I would recommend anyone to watch this. One of the most original shows on television. A sublime experience.