For several decades, PBS ran a series called “Mystery!” that was, seriously, the most low-key show to ever have a three-digit body count. (Though I understand that, technically, Last Man On Earth killed about 7 billion people in its opener so maybe that is running a close second.)
It’s cerebral in the sense that you get the idea that the people on Frasier probably watched this sort of thing when they talked about spending an evening in front of the tube. There are historical costumes, there are monologues, there are gardens, and there are throwaway lines that place the show precisely in the “we’ve evolved so much since then!” realm.
For example: Cadfael. This is a show set in the 12th century in a monastery that, for one reason or another, has a murder every freakin’ week. (Throwaway line: “you could claim the earth revolves around the sun with so little evidence!”) Cadfael is a monk who, previously, was a crusader that happened to pick up a whole bunch of skills before taking the cowl. He’s a medical examiner for corpses, an herbalist, and detective. When cleaning corpses and preparing them for burial, he notices the flowers in their pockets, the bruises that show how they were murdered, and can tell when it was his (as opposed to someone else’s) tinctures were used for ill.
This is a truly soothing television experience. Well, for one in which we watch someone die every week, anyway.
So… what are you reading and/or watching?