Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Inspector Lewis Series 2|
Actors: Kevin Whately, John Thaw, Laurence Fox
Director: Rebecca Eaton (Co-Executive Producer);Michele Buck (Co-Executive Producer);Ted Childs (Co-Executive Producer);Damien Timmer (Co-Executive Producer)
Genres: Television, Mystery & Suspense
Oxford's Inspector Robert Lewis (Kevin Whately), protégé of the legendary Inspector Morse (John Thaw), and his brilliant, brooding partner, Detective Sergeant James Hathaway (Laurence Fox) are back with four twisting new t... more »
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Inspector Lewis is a Fine Successor to Inspector Morse in th
Steven Schafersman | 09/15/2009
(2 out of 5 stars)
"The Inspector Morse mysteries were perhaps the finest television mysteries ever developed. I loved Morse and enjoyed every episode and ultimately purchased them all in the complete DVD edition. The Inspector Lewis mysteries are equally excellent television. They are a fine successor to the Morse series and deserving of five stars and my firm recommendation. I would like to buy a complete set of these, too, and I may, but from Amazon UK. Then I'll have to buy an all-region DVD player.
So why did I rate this DVD set only two stars? As the other reviewer discovered and wrote about, PBS is cutting about ten minutes from each episode to leave time for the extra introduction and to keep the entire length at 86 minutes, leaving time for PBS commercials. Each Inspector Lewis episode in the British DVD sets (Region 2) is 93 minutes. Each episode in the PBS version is 86 minutes which includes the extra introduction by PBS host Alan Cumming. The PBS Series 2 run time is listed as 602 minutes because this includes seven episodes, the four in British Series 2 and the first three in British Series 3. The last episode of Series 3, Counter Culture Blues, is omitted.
But that's not all. Again, as the reviewer said, these Inspector Lewis sets are one or more years behind schedule for U.S. patrons. The complete Inspector Lewis Series 1-3 DVD set has been available in the UK since April 2009. Here's a complete list of what's actually completed and available:
Whom The Gods Would Destroy
Old School Ties
And The Moonbeams Kiss The Sea
Music To Die For
Life Born Of Fire
The Great And The Good
Allegory Of Love
Quality Of Mercy
The Point Of Vanishing
Counter Culture Blues
The pilot episode is available by itself (in full length of 95 minutes) or as part of Series 1 with four DVDs in box. The other two series have four episodes/DVDs each. All three sets are available for less than $17 each on Amazon.co.uk, quite a bit less than the PBS price.
I strongly urge PBS to issue FULL-LENGTH episodes when they get around to selling the complete series box set.
Update (2009 October 8): I did purchase Series 1-3 of Inspector Lewis plus an all-region DVD player from Amazon UK. The process was painless, no different from ordering from the U.S. Amazon.com. I give these Lewis DVDs 5 stars. While the original Morse episodes were better due to the outstanding acting skills and persona of John Thaw, both Kevin Whately, who plays Inspector Lewis, and especially Laurence Fox, who plays Detective Sergeant James Hathaway, are excellent actors whose character relationship works well. There is no reason to rate these full-length episodes less than 5 stars.
Update (2010 April 28): Today I pre-ordered Series 4 from Amazon UK; it will ship in May. Needless to say, this DVD set is not available from PBS at all and the episodes haven't even been shown on PBS yet (but will be this summer as revealed by previews). A synopsis of each episode is available on the Amazon UK site. Here are the titles:
The Dead Of Winter
Your Sudden Death Question
How to get around the problem
Irreverent | La Crosse, Wisconsin, USA | 09/20/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"1. Get a region-free upconverting DVD player from Amazon.com (USA). A 5-star-reviewed Pioneer DV610av is a bit more than $100. My discontinued Pioneer DV383 (not upconverting), also from Amazon.com, has been totally trouble-free. It has done well with UK, German, and US DVD's in both NTSC and PAL encoding. In fact, I plan to stay with it, because it delivers such superb image quality.
2. Buy ALL Lewis series released so far (1, 2, 3) UNCUT from Amazon.co.uk for about what ONE butchered series costs from the jerks in Bahstn. That's right, you get series 3 already. 6 - 10 day air shipment for about $5 is included in the price. The savings on the three series will almost pay for the region-free DVD player.
UPDATE: Shipment arrived just now, five business days after ordering.
3. Repeat for lots of other stuff butchered in Bahstn. Often it will be, as with the Lewis series, not only uncut and unaccompanied by gratuitous PBS twaddle, but MUCH cheaper. Your next order after the three Lewis series will complete paying for your region-free DVD player. All savings after that are gravy.
4. Then email PBS and tell them [use your imagination].
If you are new to amazon.ca, amazon.co.uk, amazon.de, amazon.fr etc., the process is almost completely transparent, astonishingly easy, working just like amazon.com:
Links to them are at the bottom of most Amazon pages.
They already know all your shipping and billing addresses, have all your credit card info, and are set up to email order confirmations and notification of special deals.
Currency conversion is painless, automatic, and at a fair rate. Amazon bills your credit card in US$ so your card issuer can't rip you off.
Ordering Lewis 1, 2, & 3 from amazon.co.uk took far less than five minutes, just as with my first amazon.de (site is in German) order a few years ago.
You can use foreign Amazon sites to send gifts to loved ones and associates in other countries without worrying with customs declarations and postage from the USA. I have done it many times, often getting next-day delivery at no extra charge. European countries are, after all, about the size of US states and have more efficient transport networks than ours.
And PBS can [use your imagination].
UPDATE (30 Sep 09): Playback of the UK DVDs with the region-free Pioneer DV383 on a Sony Bravia LCD screen with 5.1 surround thru an Integra receiver with Infinity speakers and subwoofer, a 3.5 year-old system, was as close to flawless as my ancient eyes and ears can detect. The improvement in image quality from an upconverting region-free DVD player would probably be so minor that I will not replace the Pioneer DV383, which also automatically detected the UK recording mode without help. It was just as effortless as playing the best US DVDs on the same system.
Another bit of info that put PBS even nearer the top of my fetid list: The UK DVDs are a co-production with WGBH Bahstn, in the clutches of the ubiquitous Rebecca Eaton. This completes proof that PBS KNEW OF AND EVEN HELPED PLAN THE BUTCHERY, GROTESQUE OVERPRICING, AND TWO-YEAR DELAY IN AVAILABILITY FROM THE BEGINNING. The hundreds of dollars I used to contribute to PBS each year will now go toward buying better DVDs of their stuff at far lower prices on much better delivery schedules from the UK.
BTW, I do not plan to email PBS about this. Their reaction would probably not be to clean up their act, but to try to block sales of UK DVDs of their co-productions to US customers, possibly via protectionist legislation.
NOTE (added 15 Nov 09): UK set 3's final episode, "Counter Culture Blues," omitted from PBS Set 2, is superb. Joanna Lumley, 62ish but still captivating and screen-filling, especially in a more complex role than usual for the most mistakenly rejected of all RADA applicants, not so much steals the show as she enhances the usual fine performances of the regulars, as do other guest stars, such as Simon Callow (nude-swimming vicar in "Room With a View") and Perdita Weeks, 20ish sister of Honeysuckle Weeks from "Foyle's War." According to a Guardian article, this episode, originally broadcast on an Easter Sunday, garnered top UK TV ratings, doubling most of the competition, as usual for recent Lewis episodes.
HOWEVER . . .
This last, and perhaps best, Lewis episode is MISSING FROM PBS SERIES TWO! Much, much worse: According to Kevin Whately (source: "Oxford Mail"), ITV may end the series in spite of its popularity in the UK, US and elsewhere. PBS may someday release this episode -- long-delayed, crudely butchered, and grossly overpriced, as usual. Owners of region-free players who buy DVDs from foreign Amazon entities already watched it -- uncut, cheaper, and sooner.
UPDATE (2 April 2010): HOORAY!! Not cancelled yet!! I just pre-ordered Series 4 from amazon.uk for £16.64 ($25ish), including international air postage. Release date 24 May; anticipated arrival date 1 June. Meanwhile, has PBS ever supplied the final episode of Series 3?"
Under rated series
J. Janssen | San Diego, CA USA | 10/20/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I originally saw Series 2 in London 2 years ago and, given some of the pithy reviews regarding the editing of the US version, felt compelled to put my two cents in.
First of all, Lewis isn't Morse and I suspect much of the criticism is centered in this undeniable fact. I also own all the Morse episodes and periodically replay them for pleasure and to see how they age in light of the twenty plus years since the series started. Truth be told, there's more than a couple clunkers in the lot that get by, not on the story line but, on the intense character study that John Thaw brought to the role. There's never going to be another Morse.
Lewis is a much different character, schooled by Morse but certainly not a protege. His forte is more dogged than sheer brilliance. His sergeant (Laurence Fox) likewise is no Lewis; much more complex and less conventional. In fact the roles of the two series are somewhat reversed in many respects. His Sergeant Hathaway seems to be the brilliant, but troubled police detective while Lewis remains somewhat more centered in convention. It's almost like Hathaway is a younger less experienced Morse, though his Cambridge education will never get him invited to "high table" the way Morse often was. The main difference between the two series, aside from the absence of John Thaw, is the Lewis episodes are much tighter written and clearly scripted for the screen rather than being adapted from books (not too many of these actually, most of the Morse episodes were credited to "ideas" of Colin Dexter).
Series 2 is superior to Series 1 in character development and story line and includes 7 full (minus the 10 minutes) episodes to the screen. They're all good to excellent and the editing is generally tasteful and not germain to the story line. Though I could do without the obsequious PBS host sneering his way through the intos.
Give Lewis a try. Though still not at the exalted level of the Morse series, Lewis show promise while providing good entertainment and some nice Morse recollections to boot."