-->
Reviews

Grafters: The Complete Second Season

Joe and Trevor are brothers and builders, trying to build stable lives along with their stable structures.


Grafters: The Complete Second Season

Distributor: Koch
Cast: Robson Green, Stephen Tompkinson, Darren Morfitt, Lesley Vickerage, David Westhead
Network: Independent Television
First date: 1998
Amazon

Grafters second season offers undeniable proof that with its solid main characters, even though circumstances have changed, the program’s high quality remains. This time, brothers Joe (Robson Green) and Trevor Purvis (Stephen Tompkinson) work on different projects, surrounded by entirely new people, yet they’re no less enjoyable to watch.

For Season 2, Trevor and Joe’s main project is a schoolhouse conversion, rather than the private residence featured in Season 1. Purvis and Purvis Master Builders must now involve more people and rely upon more than just their own strong hands, to realize their dreams.

For those new to the series, a “grafter” is British slang for a worker. In the Purvis brothers’ case, this work involves refurbishing houses and other structures. Joe is the most skilled grafter of the two, but he doesn’t have the emotional stability to run a business on his own. Although he hates to admit it, he needs his brother Trevor to survive.

And these brothers have an unusual bond. Joe is the brains of the organization, in addition to being the most handy. Furthermore, he’s highly ambitious, although these ambitions oftentimes get him into strangling messes.

Trevor, on the other hand, is timid and lacks Joe’s unstoppable confidence. Yet Trevor also has heart and integrity, two characteristics sorely missing from Joe’s personality profile. At one point during this second season, Joe tells Trevor he’s the only person in the world he can trust. And during their many trials and tribulations, where even the siblings’ uncle takes advantage of them, it’s hard to disagree with Joe’s blunt statement.

You may recall how in Season 1 the Purvis brothers had a few run-ins with a rival handyman group. But for Season 2, they encounter a true enemy. Nick Costello, played by David Westhead, is a contractor who loves competing with -- and badly beating -- Purvis and Purvis Master Builders at their own game. So much so, in fact, when he tries to demolish Joe’s camper, he unknowingly nearly kills Trevor, who is still inside when he lifts the brakes and pushes it down a hill. Giving the Purvis brothers an enemy may be a smart plot device, but the Costello character is a little too over the top at times. In fact, he comes off like a cartoon villain.

During this second season, Trevor finally gets divorced from his wife. And while he is hurt when he learns that his ex-wife has moved far away, taking his beloved son with her, he also meets a new love. But even this joyous life change is problematic, as his new bride-to-be turns out to be Nick Costello’s younger sister.

Joe also gets involved with a new love interest. But his new belle is also an architect working on the schoolhouse project. Furthermore, she has a young son and an estranged husband who doesn’t want to be out of her life just yet. Thus, both Joe and Trevor are forced to mix work with pleasure, which can’t help but cause problems in both arenas.

Joe and Trevor are imperfect people, with unpredictable lives. They often make bad choices and lack a few essential character traits for success. Yet it’s impossible not to pull for them. They aren’t TV hunks, and everything doesn’t always turn out right at the end of each episode. Instead, their lives are usually messy, just like yours and mine.

Joe and Trevor love each other as only brothers know how to love, with plenty of jealously, fights, and misunderstandings. Green and Tompkinson are so good together, they could be playing brothers in almost any other situation and I’d watch them with the same interest. I can picture them as two cops together on the police force, or a pair a fireman fighting the flames side by side. They just happen to be builders here, where trying to build stable lives – and not just physical structures – is the ultimate goal.

7

In Americana music the present is female. Two-thirds of our year-end list is comprised of albums by women. Here, then, are the women (and a few men) who represented the best in Americana in 2017.

If a single moment best illustrates the current divide between Americana music and mainstream country music, it was Sturgill Simpson busking in the street outside the CMA Awards in Nashville. While Simpson played his guitar and sang in a sort of renegade-outsider protest, Garth Brooks was onstage lip-syncindg his way to Entertainer of the Year. Americana music is, of course, a sprawling range of roots genres that incorporates traditional aspects of country, blues, soul, bluegrass, etc., but often represents an amalgamation or reconstitution of those styles. But one common aspect of the music that Simpson appeared to be championing during his bit of street theater is the independence, artistic purity, and authenticity at the heart of Americana music. Clearly, that spirit is alive and well in the hundreds of releases each year that could be filed under Americana's vast umbrella.

Keep reading... Show less

From genre-busting electronic music to new highs in the ever-evolving R&B scene, from hip-hop and Americana to rock and pop, 2017's music scenes bestowed an embarrassment of riches upon us.


60. White Hills - Stop Mute Defeat (Thrill Jockey)

White Hills epic '80s callback Stop Mute Defeat is a determined march against encroaching imperial darkness; their eyes boring into the shadows for danger but they're aware that blinding lights can kill and distort truth. From "Overlord's" dark stomp casting nets for totalitarian warnings to "Attack Mode", which roars in with the tribal certainty that we can survive the madness if we keep our wits, the record is a true and timely win for Dave W. and Ego Sensation. Martin Bisi and the poster band's mysterious but relevant cool make a great team and deliver one of their least psych yet most mind destroying records to date. Much like the first time you heard Joy Division or early Pigface, for example, you'll experience being startled at first before becoming addicted to the band's unique microcosm of dystopia that is simultaneously corrupting and seducing your ears. - Morgan Y. Evans

Keep reading... Show less
Music

The Best Country Music of 2017

still from Midland "Drinkin' Problem" video

There are many fine country musicians making music that is relevant and affecting in these troubled times. Here are ten of our favorites.

Year to year, country music as a genre sometimes seems to roll on without paying that much attention to what's going on in the world (with the exception of bro-country singers trying to adopt the latest hip-hop slang). That can feel like a problem in a year when 58 people are killed and 546 are injured by gun violence at a country-music concert – a public-relations issue for a genre that sees many of its stars outright celebrating the NRA. Then again, these days mainstream country stars don't seem to do all that well when they try to pivot quickly to comment on current events – take Keith Urban's muddled-at-best 2017 single "Female", as but one easy example.

Keep reading... Show less

It's ironic that by injecting a shot of cynicism into this glorified soap opera, Johnson provides the most satisfying explanation yet for the significance of The Force.

Despite J.J. Abrams successfully resuscitating the Star Wars franchise with 2015's Star Wars: The Force Awakens, many fans were still left yearning for something new. It was comforting to see old familiar faces from a galaxy far, far away, but casual fans were unlikely to tolerate another greatest hits collection from a franchise already plagued by compositional overlap (to put it kindly).

Keep reading... Show less
7

Yeah Yeah Yeahs played a few US shows to support the expanded reissue of their debut Fever to Tell.

Although they played a gig last year for an after-party for a Mick Rock doc, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs hadn't played a proper NYC show in four years before their Kings Theatre gig on November 7th, 2017. It was the last of only a handful of gigs, and the only one on the East coast.

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image