Tuesday, September 19, 2006

As I have mentioned before, I have a strange weakness when it comes to reading detective stories/thrillers/I dunno which genre adequately describes them. I find this odd, given my lifelong support of non-violence (I would not wish you to test me on this by putting me in a room with a baseball bat and Thatcher or Bush) and my exemplary, law-abiding behaviour.

I am similarly drawn to the same type of TV program, but less often satisfied by the result. Over here in the UK at the moment we have a fair few to choose from. An alarming preponderance of utter crap they are too.

The best thing I have seen recently was the 3 part ‘Murphy’s Law’. They have run out of plots from the original books (I trust you all have at least a passing knowledge of the splendid works of Colin Bateman). The latest story was set mostly in Leicester, although none of the filming took place there. I grow weary of seeing the same actors recycled in every major drama, but Mr Nesbit is not without talent, and pretty much ideal for this role.

ITV are showing ‘Rebus’. There are plenty of stories from the books to pinch the plots from, although the books are necessarily more intricate than the films. This is inevitable when you take a 300 page novel down to about 70 minutes of film. What I don’t understand is why they don’t make the episodes spread over two or three weeks and make a better job of it. It is not as if there is a great deal else to replace it with. The main character is played by Ken Stott. I grow weary of seeing the same actors recycled in every major drama. More amusing is his assistant, Sergeant Gormless. She is required to adopt the look that is worn by soap actresses when the closing credits begin, on a regular basis. You know you are getting old when the policemen start to look that stupid.

When I was in America, my niece’s husband was raving about a series called “MI5”. Apparently, the inhabitants of the former colony are too dim to understand the term “Spooks” and would be wondering when Bill Murray was coming in with his gun. I can’t quite take the melodrama in Spooks seriously. This week’s episode featured Robert Glenister. I grow weary of seeing the same actors recycled in every major drama. I am sure that Spooks is aimed at the gay audience. Or some other group whose perspective I do not share.

Continuing to go downhill rapidly is Dalziel and Thicky. I have never read the books. It stars Warren Clarke. I grow weary of seeing the same actors recycled in every major drama. Mr Clarke is a splendid actor who appears in any drivel offered to him. The standard of writing in this series is truly awful, combined with crappy acting and the awful device of explaining background data by means of contrived dialogue between the characters, as you know, Mr Hardacre.

Even worse is the Linley mysteries. The mystery is why they bother. Ace detective fails to detect killer before 3 others are butchered, as in Morse. This series stars Nathaniel Parker. I grow weary of seeing the same actors recycled in every major drama. The books are almost as bad, but quite well written. If you can overcome the awful conceit of having a member of the house of lords serving as a detective inspector at Scotland Yard, that is. For fuck’s sake.

Generally speaking, I prefer American writing and cop series. No, not ‘Murder she wrote’, you utter twat.

At some stage, they will film the novels of Stephen Booth. His hero is neither a social misfit, nor does he have special powers, or a double life as a transsexual Olympic gymnast. Give them a try. (The books, you complete arse, not transsexual Olympic gymnasts [although if that is your bag, so be it]).

Now that you have read all that, you will not have to bother with watching TV for the next 6 weeks, and can concentrate on blogging instead.


Frontier Editor said...

Actually, I preferred "Cracker" long before Coltrane got the "Harry Potter" gig, and I always had the pseudo-intellectual hots for Helen Mirren before "Prime Suspect."

I only wish that someone would make some really good adaptations of the "Fletch" books.

Sharon J said...

I must be a twat :-(

sxugbaci - a tobacco sucking hick.

Dave said...

I'm afraid this genre is one that does little for me. PD James wrote one of her stories about a murder in a Theological College, so I read it from professional interest. It was rubbish. the same actors keep appearing in it too.

tom909 said...

I'll get the missis to read this Vicus - she is a compulsive reader and watcher of this sort og thing. As you know I only watch reality shows myself.
Having said that I did like Inspector Morse's Jag; that was in the days before 12mpg was totally unacceptable, of course.

mike said...

If you keep on updating us with what's on the box I can avoid it completely and get on with my life.

Vicus Scurra said...

Yes Mike, but what you were doing last night was so much less interesting than the latest episode of celebrity colonoscopy.

cwmusalc - welsh vegetable.

granny p said...

Lucky me/us - nothing like that accessible here - though I have been known to sneak a look at D and P when in your latitudes. Not a patch on the books. Anyway can lie in a hammock here and read the latest Kinsey Malone, so don't complain. (Oh and watch Bleak House on DVD after dark. One of the splendid W Clarke's better choice of roles, even though it is odd to see him jolly.) Keep on being dyspeptic VS. I love it.

Vicus Scurra said...

I dabbled with the Grafton books, but had no urge to get into them. I may have the urge, but not the ability, to get into your hammock.

Richard said...

No, not a huge crime follower although I've read a couple of Peter Robinson's Inspector Banks books. 'Aftermath' scared me shitless and I had to warn my Mum about it when I saw it laying about unread in her kitchen. I've read some Rebus short stories and they left me totally cold.

Like you, there is a certain amount of contradiction. I appreciate a well constructed, intricate storyline with well voiced characterisations. In a book. Yet I won't answer the door if Midsomer Murders or Heartbeat is on, preferring them to 24 or CSI.
Inspector Barnaby could take Jack Bauer any day. I think it's something to do with TV being entertaining, I don't need it to intellectually challenge me because I can do that elsewhere.

Richard said...

(Beta Blogger doesn't appear to like me posting lengthy comments)

FE, you'll be glad to know there's a new series of Cracker with Robbie Coltrane starting v.soon.

I was in the Phoenix in Cavendish Square once after work about 13 years ago and Robbie Coltrane walked in, stood at the bar next to us, ordered a whisky, slugged it back, said hello and walked out. Big bloke. Very big bloke.

Vicus Scurra said...

On the TV series, the best by far in the last couple of years has been "The Wire" even though I only understood about one word in three.

And we are about 27 years behind getting NYPD Blue over here. Bastards.

I watched Cracker, but found it more than a little silly. Not necessarily a bad thing, but I don't think the silliness was intentional.

Richard said...

I've just had to look up The Wire. I think I may find that one too depressing as a series. To be honest, I don't really go for the US ones as I find them too over-dramatised. Personal taste, obviously.

Vicus Scurra said...

I know what you mean, Richard. I prefer those with subtlety and wit, but am not averse to those that require very little brainwork. The better ones (in my view) like "The Wire" are more drama than cop show.

Cherrypie said...

Phew! I was beginning to worry what might be happening on the TV since I last watched ( I think it was June '05 apart from that wonderful Mr Attenborough). Thanks to you I can continue to avoid all such drivel for the foreseeable future.

Did anyone watch Guys & Dolls? I didn't but I wish I had

Geoff said...

We've got The Sopranos on DVD and watch it with (English) subtitles.

Got a hell of a lot of catching up to do - the Jeremy Brett Sherlock Holmes box sets plus the first two series of The Shield. Haven't seen any of The Wire yet but will probably get that on DVD eventually.

We always seem to miss the reviews at the beginning of things which are unmissable, except for Deadwood which wasn't particularly to our taste anyway.

buypim - what you do for your garden party if you can't pronounce your s's.

Vicus Scurra said...

Cherrypie! Guys and Dolls? For heaven's sake. Please take that sort of comment to a girly blog.
Geoff. Opening episode of the Shield - one of the best opening episodes in the history of this or any other universe. Sopranos is maintaining the high standard in the current series.

granny p said...

any time Vicus...but have a word with Beloved first

rob said...

Ken Stott is a fucking rubbish Rebus. Nowhere near as good as John Hannah. Also, they have fucked with the plots mightily.