Monday, October 23, 2006


The end of Jane Tennyson, certainly one of television's most interesting and flawed detectives, was marked by a frighteningly true to life episode last night, and highlighted by a fantastic performance by Helen Mirren.

As this was a joint ITV and WGBH Boston production American audiences will see highlighted in this mini-series something of the real social problems that face Britain today.

It may be a real shock for those who have visited our shores and whose view of England was all Cotswold villages, Georgian town houses and Medieval castles.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unfortunately (?) I stopped watching TV when I had my first child 15 years ago, as life was too busy. I saw PS 1 and 2 (I think that was all) so have obviously missed quite a few series. Do you think they'll bring out a cheap DVD collection? I did enjoy the early series, and I love Helen Mirren-- though in Midsummer Night's Dream mode rather than Queen Eliz. mode -- wild horses would not drag me to the QE2 movie. Jane Tennison, though -- there's definitely a strong tempation there.

3:19 PM  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

I don't think you have missed much in the last 15 years apart from this series, and a couple of good crime series from the US.
I find that apart from sport and pre-1990 comedy programs, to act as an antidote to the news programs, I don't enjoy much TV nowdays.
I am certain the PS complete series will be on DVD at some stage.
I think the death of Princess Diana is far too close in time for this Queen movie, although I am sure Helen Mirren is brilliant in it. The trailer I saw had someone looking very young playing Blair. Tony Blair has aged so much since 1997, and I can only think of the photos of Abraham Lincoln 1859 to 1865 as showing comparable wear and tear in a leader.

4:43 PM  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I had not heard of this series until you mentioned it, and I watch television about as much as Maxine does. British crime television productions feature the likes of Hellen Mirren and Michael Gambon. American series feature lots of speeches disguised as dialogue and are full of shaky camera work. That stands for gritty realism, you see.

I don't mean to revive that ancient idea that British culture is superior to American. But the quality of British crime shows, at least the "miniseries" seems to me a continuation of the tradition that the British take crime fiction more seriously than do Americans.

1:57 AM  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

I can totally agree with you on the shaky camera work standing for realism. A few weeks before I watched Criminale Romanzo I went to see Miami Vice, which was a good example of jerkiness posing as gritty realism.
Of course the one television crime series from the USA that I can watch, enjoy and actually hear what is going on is Law and Order. That is well up to the standard of some of the better British programs.

11:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh Peter, we've had some absolutely dreadful miniseries here as well as some classics.
I think the US has also produced some classics, ground breaking at that:
I agree with you Uriah on Law & Order.
24 - I only watched the first series, but it made for essential viewing.
CSI - I loved the first and second series, then got a bit bored. (To the extent I couldn't face any spin offs.) I know it's come under criticism re realism from two north American "forensic" authors, but it's very watchable.
And who, who is old enough, can forget Hill Street Blues?

Does anyone know what NCIS is like? I haven't caught that one yet, but would like to, as Mark Harmon features.

More recently in the UK I don't think we've done so well with book adaptions, when it comes to crime series. For example, with Rebus they seem to have bought the name/character and used the basic idea of the stories. I do hope they don't start using non book series stories as has been done with other series. That would kill it for me.

1:29 PM  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

Crimfic reader, I agree 100% on using non-book series stories. Dalziel and Pascoe is a prime example of a series I stopped watching when they just used the characters for new plots.

NCIS is not very good, something that I am sure like the film Crimson Tide had to be made without the approval of the US Navy.
Thanks for reminding me about Hill Street Blues, which was one of my favourites, and what about NYPD Blue. They set a standard which I don't think the modern series on either side of the Atlantic match up to although the new Canadian series Blue Murder looks interesting. It is a lot deeper than NCIS, and the lead cop is a bit prettier than Mark Harmon.

2:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Prettier, eh?
As I often say: it all comes down to personal taste!
I have mine, and you have yours, and we're both happy bunnies!

5:48 PM  

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