Out of a cold March in 2013 came an unexpected series on SundanceTV that ended up being one of the signposts of the Slow TV revolution: Top of the Lake. It would also come to define Sundance as the new place for exceptional dramas (some originals, some obtained), like Rectify, The Returned, and The Honourable Woman. And while Top of the Lake featured a lot of hallmarks of a series built around a mystery in a small, weird, remote town (you can read my original review here), Jane Campion’s story was wholly its own creation. It was also a miniseries.
It’s rare that a creative work designed as a miniseries (or limited series) should be elongated into another season; after all, it was an idea built and executed within a certain timeframe for a reason. But Top of the Lake left such a distinct impression, and created such a stirring sense of place, it’s an exciting thought that we might return to the haunting New Zealand landscape as lensed by cinematographer Adam Arkapaw. And most especially, to see Elisabeth Moss take another turn in what was such a devastating and incredible role.
Last year, there were reports that Campion and her co-writer Gerard Lee (she also co-directed the series with Garth Davis) were gearing up to create a second season of Top of the Lake, but at the time, almost nothing else was known. Now, it would appear via IF that not only is the series definitely returning, but that Elisabeth Moss will also be back to reprise her role as Detective Robin Griffith, and that the series will be shot on location in Sydney.
Though BBC2 apparently commissioned a sequel after the first series aired (and garnered so many awards and critical acclaim), the second season has been a long time in coming. And, even though we finally have a few scarce details, the timeline is still long. The production is slated to start filming in December of this year (with Campion again co-directing with an as-of-yet-unnamed director), so by the time it finishes up (and hits American shores), we’re probably looking at at least another year. And at this time, we still don’t have a plot or a cast aside from Moss (who of course is the most essential part!)
Top of the Lake wasn’t perfect (its last episode was particularly bizarre), but it was a gorgeously conceived, memorably rendered, and fully artistic production that deserves to return. And it will, I’m sure, be worth the wait.
If you haven’t caught up, you certainly have time. Top of the Lake is available to stream on Netflix.