Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Top Five TV Detectives

I did say I would blog about this didn't I! Ah well, this is what comes of making promises during a flight of fancy.

One of the things I like about detective shows on TV is the fact that you are, in a sense, presented with a puzzle that you have to solve. The easiest one for me was Midsommer Murders, where twice I worked out who the murderer was, the oppurtunity, and indeed the motive. I also think I got it early on the one-off Lewis (a series is forthcoming), but missed the end and will have to see it repeated to see if I am right!
So below, here are my top five favourites and why!

Inspector Morse

(Thames Television)

Have already blogged on this, but basically he is failible, bad tempered, and yet has a strong sense of decency and tenacity which always shines through.
Plus he lives and works in Oxford, a favourite city of mine!







Bergerac

(BBC Online)



Liked or loathed, I quite like Bergerac, and yes all the cliches (such as Charlie Hungerford having connections with nearly every episodes villain). A maverick, and yet decent, plus he always has lovely girlfriends (although I couldn't quite see what he saw in Susan Young!)















Shoestring

(BBC Online)
Made by the same guys who did "Bergerac". Eddie Shoestring is vulnerable (he is a recovered mental paitent), yet manages to overcome all obstacles to get results.
Plus I like the theme tune :).



Miss Marple

(BBC Online)
Wasn't so keen on the recent remake by ITV, but I do like the Joan Hickson ones. The great thing about Marple, is that, on the surface, she is a gentle old lady who indulges in village gossip, and yet underneath she has a needle sharp mind!





Sherlock Holmes

(BBC Online)
Being geeky here, I have to admit I have read all the Conan Doyle stories about this great detective. But as it was when I was twelve years old, I have forgotten many of them! Eccentric, totally dedicated to his work, an eye for detail, plus the sense of Victorian nostalga, my favourite so far is Jeremy Brett, although I think Tom Baker did well, the one time he played Holmes.

13 comments:

Shaun (ed.) said...

Not to be pedantic, but you must mean Jeremy Brett not Brent. He was without a doubt the best Sherlock Holmes actor ever. I will always remember his facial expressions and the way he always shouts "Mrs. Hudson!" in every episode. Anyway, I've read all the Sherlock Holmes stories three times over (I must get out more:-/)

I see you haven't included David Suchet's Hercule Poirot.

Andrea said...

"The easiest one for me was Midsommer Murders, where twice I worked out who the murderer was, the oppurtunity, and indeed the motive."

Apart from the fact that few people should be still alive in Midsomer (with an average crime record higher than Bogota) and no-one with a sane mind would go to live there, the easiest way to find out a killer is to pick the character who seems most normal and with less too hide. Sometimes it's quite easy considering that 2/3 of their characters are mad, blackmailer and/or blackmailed or engage in various type of sexual activities that even the Libdems would never dream about (and they've more gays than Brighton).

Andrea said...

"Wasn't so keen on the recent remake by ITV"


I'll actually see one of the ITV Marple TV movies tonight: The Sittaford Mystery.
I hope it'll be good.

I liked Margaret Rutherford (she looked a bit like Bob Marshall Andrews!) 's old Marple movies too.


"I see you haven't included David Suchet's Hercule Poirot."

Some of them are good...but I sometimes some of them pretty boring (I admit to have fallen asleep a couple of times whilst watching it). They tend to be "slow".

Paul Burgin said...

Manic
I meant Brett! Typo which I have now dealt with.
The thing I like about his portrayal, is that he brings forth the fact that Holmes was eccentric and probably a manic depressive (sadly, so was Brett), and yet brings across the fact that Holmes has some control over his emotions and shows that he has essentially the brain of a computer.
Holmes, I think, is a difficult part to play because all these strands of his personality have to be noticed by the audience, and yet Brett does it well.
Andrea, yes Midsomer is not up in the echlons of TV detective shows, and yet it does have something about it that makes it worth watching!
As for Poirot. He is good and would definetly be in my top ten, and David Suchet plays him better than anyone, but he is not among my favourites.

Shaun (ed.) said...

I liked Margaret Rutherford (she looked a bit like Bob Marshall Andrews!) 's old Marple movies too.

Margaret Rutherford in the 1960s B&W movie series was my favourite Miss Marple, even though Joan Hickson in the 1980s BBC series was truer to Agatha Christie's intended characterisation.

As for Poirot. He is good and would definetly be in my top ten, and David Suchet plays him better than anyone, but he is not among my favourites.

I'm just surprised that you prefer Hickson's Marple over Suchet's Poirot. Perhaps my Poirot bias come from the fact many of Christie's best mysteries were among the Poirot canon.

Paul Burgin said...

I agree that some of the best stories are in the Poirot canon, but it is simply the character of Miss Marple. Where Poirot is egotistical, Marple is unassuming and, on the surface, unthreatening, whereas it is wise not to underestimate her

Paul Burgin said...

And yes, Death On the Nile and Evil Under the Sun are among my favourites

Shaun (ed.) said...

Death On the Nile and Evil Under the Sun are very similiar in terms of the love triangle and who the two murderers are.

Paul Burgin said...

I've noticed, but what I like about Evil Under the Sun is that everyone has a "credible alibi", and it can be so easy to overlook a vital oppurtunity that the accomplice took and that's why I like the story so much. When I first came across it my jaw almost dropped at the sheer cleverness of it

Shaun (ed.) said...

Christie had the knack of producing the most jaw dropping mystery solutions ever. The Murder of Roger Akroyd, Murder on the Orient Express and Ten Little Indians/And Then Where None left one stunned.

Paul Burgin said...

I actually worked out who the murderer was in Roger Ackroyd, very early on, but the motive and how it was done did leave me stumped! How I worked out who the killer was was a very simple giveaway, but you would only spot it if you didn't really trust the person in the first place

Shaun (ed.) said...

but you would only spot it if you didn't really trust the person in the first place

A bit hard - spoiler alert seeing as one looked at everything from his perspective. I haven't seen the tv version, but it must be difficult to capture the same effect that one gets from reading the book.

Paul Burgin said...

Oh I saw the TV version, that's probably why!