Thursday, March 28, 2013

A Murderous Bunch - The British Mystery 2013 Line-Up

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The BBC's mystery list for 2013 has me tickled pink. First up, more episodes of my favorite detective show: Foyle's War, starring Michael Kitchen.

Following the end of WWII, Foyle plunges into the Cold War as an MI5 agent, taking on Soviet spies and corruption in high places. I worry a bit that the shift in tone will alter the feel of the show. After all, in the last three episodes, Foyle took on racism with African Americans, and it was hinted that James Devereaux (played by Andrew Scott, a.k.a. Moriarty) might be Foyle's illegitimate son. Still, despite the shaky territory (and a slight swing in a politically correct direction), as far as I remember, Foyle was the same old modest upright fellow as in earlier series. He's one of the few characters on TV with (mostly) Christian morals who is not caricatured, or changed. Hopefully that is how he will remain. Anthony Horowitz also says that this series will be the last he writes.

Here's the first trailer, featuring very un-Foylish music:

Jakes (Jack Laskey), Morse (Shaun Evans), Bright (Anton Lesser), Thursday (Roger Allam) in ITV's Endeavour
Jakes, Morse, Bright, and Thursday
Next up, Endeavour, the BBC's unearthing of an old character: Inspector Morse. I thoroughly enjoyed the pilot last year, and I'm hoping the four new episodes will stand up to the high standard. Shaun Evans and Roger Allam return as D.C. Morse and Inspector Thursday respectively. A certain PC Strange joins the cast, along with Chief Superintendent Bright and D.S. Jakes. Fingers crossed that, at some point, McNutt from the old series will turn up. McNutt was Morse's mentor, and it was said that after the death of his wife he gave up policing to become a priest.

Benedict Cumberbatch and Amanda Abbington, filming in Bristol
Sherlock season three has started filming with the first episode: The Empty Hearse. Amanda Abbington has joined the cast as an unknown female character. Interestingly, she is Martin Freeman's long-time real-life partner, and is to have a "significant impact" on the Baker Street boys. This could fulfill the "wedding" clue about the second episode, or could just be a bluff. I rather hope it isn't, because a plain heterosexual romance (though perhaps too much to hope for) would be refreshing.

Agatha Christie's Poirot is scheduled to end this Fall, after a 23-year run of the quirky little Belgian detective. According to David Suchet's twitter, a few episodes are complete, Curtain among them. Old-timers Hugh Fraser, Philip Jackson, and Pauline Moran are scheduled to reprise their respective roles as Captain Hastings, Chief Inspector Japp, and Miss Lemon, along with Zoe Wanamaker as the scatterbrained writer Mrs. Oliver. Watching these episodes will be like re-living my childhood.

Mark Williams is HomeAnother season of Father Brown, though this probably will not appear until 2014. The clerical sleuth returned in a set of ten episodes earlier this year. I haven't watched them all, but judging by the first few, they lack the wit and sound theology of Chesterton's classics, creating instead a "Cadfael in the 1950's" and Mark Williams is no Derek Jacobi.

Terry Pratchett fans will be excited to see a new adaptation of his Discworld novels with the fantasy/police/comedy/drama series: The Watch, based on the adventures of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch. Three other Discworld adventures have been adapted to the small-screen with marvelous British casts: Hogfather, The Colour of Magic, and Going Postal (the last of which was near perfection). I have no news as to times or cast, but the IMDB page says 2013. Sam Vimes - a British Clint Eastwood/Inspector Morse - is one of my all-time favorite characters, so I'm going to be following this with avid anticipation. I also nominate Rupert Graves (Sherlock) or Rob Aspinall (The Last Detective) to play the part. The latter looks and acts just like my mental image of Vimes, but is probably too old. Anyway. Take heed, Sir Terry.

Just noticed P.D. James's Death Comes to Pemberley is expected this year. Anna Maxwell Martin (Bleak House) plays Lizzy Bennet. According to IMDb - the UK will get it in December, the rest of us will probably have to wait a while.

So, there's the line-up - and a very suspicious one it is.

Want something good to watch? Check out my full list of good detective shows.



  1. "...a plain heterosexual romance (though perhaps too much to hope for) would be refreshing."

    Amen! I'm getting sick (literally) of shipping/slasher fanfic/fanart about John and Sherlock. (I saw Martin on the Graham Norton show the other day and had to avert my eyes when Norton started holding up R-rated specimens.) Maybe it's too much to expect them to put the gay subtext to bed for good, but maybe we can hope that it will at least subside to some extent. And I certainly hope I don't see Irene Adler again for a good LONG while.

    1. Yeah, but I have found that most of that can be remedied by just not interacting or keeping up with the Sherlock "fandom" on the internet. Watching the episodes themselves I found was much less disgusting than your average YouTube Johnlock comment. While obviously the show's producers have dropped some hints and suggestive jokes, I personally can still watch it and just believe they're jokes. But of course I can see not everyone would agree with me. :)

      Frankly, Foyle's War blows them ALL out of the water so I'm kicking back to watch soviet spies with my metaphorical popcorn. :)


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