‘Top of the Lake’ cements Elisabeth Moss as reigning queen of limited series
As noted, “Top of the Lake” isn’t among the cream of that crop. For starters, the plot hinges on strained coincidences and hackneyed relationships, and there’s really not much of a mystery surrounding the central storyline, which involves the body of a young woman that washes ashore.
The strongest aspect of the six-hour project — other than the amusing visual of Moss’ Det. Robin Griffin ordering around Christie, who towers over her — involves Griffin being forced to confront the emotional toll of having given up a baby, now grown, for adoption. Her challenges also include the chauvinistic attitudes of the Australian police department where she works, although those scenes unfold in a rather ham-handed manner.
As those shortcomings demonstrate, the more intricate nature of TV in the current era is no assurance of success. But even a misfire like “Top of the Lake” isn’t for lack of trying. If nothing else, those dynamics create a more hospitable environment for an actress like Moss — when the elements come together — to operate at or near the top of her game.
“Top of the Lake: China Girl” premieres Sept. 10 at 9 p.m. on SundanceTV.
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