Help, I've Been Peak TV'd!

Peak TV Treasure: Top of the Lake

Are you overwhelmed by how much television is available right now? Is life getting in the way of keeping up with the shows you wanna try out? We feel your tube-related pain. Here’s a handy feature that’ll help you locate the hidden gems in this era of Peak TV.


NETWORK | Sundance

CREATED BY | Jane Campion and Gerard Lee



PREMISE | Set in the picturesque backwoods of New Zealand, Top of the Lake stars Elisabeth Moss as Sydney police detective Robin Griffin, who investigates the disappearance of a local 12-year-old girl who turns out to be pregnant. Her search uncovers some very dark secrets among the local townsfolk — and in her own past. The supporting cast includes Harry Potter alum Peter Mullan as the missing girl’s drug-lord father Matt and Oscar winner Holly Hunter as GJ, the eccentric, philosophy-spouting leader of a women’s commune that sets up shop nearby.

Holly Hunter Top of the LakeWORTH YOUR TIME IF YOU ENJOY… | Gritty, melancholy crime dramas from foreign lands (e.g. Broadchurch); Emmy-worthy performances from Elisabeth Moss; gorgeous cinematography of untamed landscapes; seeing Holly Hunter play a wild-haired cult leader; New Zealand accents.

YOU SHOULD PROBABLY ALSO KNOW… | Moss won a Golden Globe for her work here as Robin, and deservedly so: Hearing her speak with an Australian accent takes some getting used to, but she nails a tricky role by balancing a fierce strength with a stunning vulnerability. Campion, an Oscar nominee for The Piano who directs the bulk of the episodes, is a masterful filmmaker, rounding out the central mystery with psychological deep-dives and quirky local color. The cinematography from Emmy winner Adam Arkapaw (True Detective) is flat-out breathtaking. Plus, it’s only seven episodes, so it makes for a nice, quick binge.

IS IT COMING BACK? | Yes, this weekend! An all-new season, entitled Top of the Lake: China Girl, debuts this Sunday at 9/8c. Moss returns as Robin, and is joined this time by Nicole Kidman and Game of Thrones‘ Gwendoline Christie, so now is the perfect time to catch up.

WHERE CAN I WATCH IT? | All seven episodes are available to stream now on Hulu, and the new China Girl season will be available to stream there, too, a day after each episode airs on Sundance.