Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The Inspector Lynley Mysteries - Set 1|
Actor: Samantha Baker; Cherie Lunghi; Nathaniel Parker; Sharon Small; Tim Pigott-Smith; James Hillier (II); June Watson; Shaun Prendergast; Elizabeth Kelly; Joanna Brookes; Richard Syms; Will Knightley; Selina Cadell; Sophie Ward; Katie Blake; Richard Lintern; L
Director: Richard Laxton; Kim Flitcroft
Genres: Television, Mystery & Suspense
Love, life and murder. Just a few of Inspector Lynley?s mysteries. The Inspector Lynley Mysteries feature the most celebrated British detective duo in years: Inspector Thomas Lynley (Nathaniel Parker) and Sergeant Barbara... more »
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Boy, there's just something about this series....
skytwo | Boston | 09/30/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I've been catching episodes of Mystery for well over a decade, and to be honest, most of the time it just bores me to tears. I was always attracted to Chandler, Hammett, and John D. MacDonald, when it came to reading mysteries. On the other hand, I've really enjoyed some Dorothy L. Sayers and some Conan Doyle efforts.
So the curious can see how I might have been turned off by the BBC's more quaint efforts, like the annoyingly effete Poirot, or even the overly-PC Heat of the Sun, or whatever it was called. The series just seems to try too hard sometimes. Then again, I was crazy about the Cadfael series. So I'm always willing to give take another chance.
And man, did I hit the jackpot when I caught the second half of 'A Great Deliverance' here in Boston a couple of years ago. I was astonished, but soon forgot about the project, thinking that it was over and done with. Then I caught part of 'For the Sake of Elena.' Again impressed. Finally, a few weeks ago, I happened to catch 'Playing for the Ashes,' and once again I was floored. I decided that I had to own them all. Immediately.
Here's the deal:
1) The shows are cast to perfection. Lynley and Havers are utterly believable in their roles, and manage to achieve that most impressive feat of acting-- conveying in a glance more than is actually said. The most emotionally intense moments are those where little is actually said.
2) The mysteries are solid. While they do make some use of 'trendy' issues (animal rights) and sometimes take another trip to the well of British stereotypes (the lovely hamlet with a dark secret, or the exclusive boys' school with... a dark secret), the stories are so sensitively handled, and so consistently avoid cliches (even in such familiar settings), that they never come across as exploitative or schlocky.
3) The inner lives of the detectives are handled brilliantly. As with the settings, they could easily be hackneyed, but always remain a cut or two above. Havers is a hard-bitten gal with a damn hard life and a grudge against the privileged, while Lynley's an upper-crusty type who always has to prove that he's not a corrupt glory-hound or a stuffed shirt-- and his personal struggle is every bit as intense as the personal crusades of Philip Marlowe. Then there's his rocky personal life, which is diametrically opposed to the classic 40's PI experience. Whew!
It all sounds like a mismatched cop buddy-movie, but the episodes are directed with such confidence, and with such a de-emphasis of these potential pitfalls, that we're able to experience the emotional impact without ever yawning at the premise.
Apart from all that, the Inspector Lynley Myesteries belie their TV roots every step of the way. The photography is stunning, the production design is outstanding, the stories are wonderfully complex, the dialogue is sharp (and in a nod to noir, missing a single line of dialogue can mean that you lose track of the narrative-- listen carefully, and rewind as necessary), and best of all the actors are talented and wonderfully suited to their roles.
I have a collection of about 200 DVDs, but these are the first TV offerings to grace my collection. And I continue to announce that fact with pride to any (fellow?) movie snobs I encounter.
One complaint-- the DVDs present the episodes in just the same format you would see on PBS. Same sponsor ads, minimal menu options (forget about extras-- I was particularly amused by the teaser of 'web access to the Mystery site' offering on the case, which is nothing more than an ad for pbs.org-- shame on you guys!), and a generally half-baked presentation. Nice packaging, though, and the picture quality of the videos is top-notch. Highly recommended.
Finally, I haven't read the books. And I'm not sure I want to at this point. This series has created such an intensely believable tableaux that I'm afraid the more detailed world of George's fiction would detract from my own interaction with the series. That's a first for me. I'm a 'book purist,' so I'm still fairly shocked myself."
Darlene | San Diego, CA United States | 03/08/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have been thoroughly enjoying this series based upon Ms. George's mysteries, and, frankly, I am surprised at those viewers who have expressed "disappointment" that the video versions have taken some liberties with, or have been edited from, the books upon which they are based. ALL video adaptations of books go through the requisite editing in order to conform to time constraints, but I feel that, in this case, the screenplays are well written, and, above all, well acted. Nathaniel Parker comes to the series with very impressive credentials, from previous sterling portrayals of historic and biblical figures, and of characters from classic literature. In this series, he once again proves his versatility, with top-notch performances as Inspector Lynley.Sharon Small is an absolute delight as Sgt. Havers -- the polar opposite of Lynley, in upbringing and in attitude. The developing rapport, humorous banter, and verbal sparring between the two characters provides added interest and enjoyment to the plot.I do not interpret their relationship as "romantic," but there is certainly a developing closeness, sensitivity, and mutual respect which they exhibit toward one another, and which is not uncommon between partners working together daily in a stressful profession. He naturally feels empathy toward her, in her trials and tribulations of caring for her mentally and physically handicapped elderly parents -- he would rightly be termed a "cad," if he turned a blind eye to her suffering -- and she is sensitive toward his feelings of hurt and betrayal, in his unhappy and unsatisfying relationships with the opposite sex, even going so far as to "make herself scarce" when they unexpectedly come across the object of his affection --i.e., "Helen" -- in one episode of the series. I look forward to future episodes in this series, and highly recommend them to anyone seeking quality entertainment. (My favorite episode thus far is, "Well-Schooled in Murder" -- EXCELLENT performances by all)."
It's An Adaptation--not a word for word!!!
Mary Scott Blackman | frostburg, md United States | 11/25/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I found this series to be delightful. I loved the books, but did not care that this series did not stick word for word with the books, or were as long as the books. This series is an adaptaion and was never hyped as anything but.
As to the sexual tension, I got that from the books, too. Tommy was conflicted at times. But the series also kept to his love of Helen Clyde.
I learned very early on that any book adapted for screen usually is not as goodas the book itself. So, as I don't expect them to be, I can enjoy them for what they are--really good mysteries BASED on Elizabeth George's works.
I am glad I watched on PBS and that I spent the money to buy them to view again and again."
Very Well Done!!!
Darlene | 06/18/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"First off, TV is a very different medium than books. Obviously you can't capture the detail of an entire book in hour and a half episodes such as these. And anyone who would go into watching them thinking otherwise is simply deluding themselves. You must accept each medium for what it is and then if you want to judge it, judge it in comparison to others from the same medium. And that is where these mysteries truly shine. The great thing about every one of these episodes is that you, the viewer, solve the case at the same time as Lynley and Havers. In comparison, if you've ever watched other TV series such as Miss Marple or Poirot, they always solve it by using some clues and information that never got presented to the audience. It is so refreshing to watch these and learn EVERYTHING that the detectives do so you are lead up to the same solution at the same time versus the miraculous deductions of Poirot and Marple where they always have to explain to everyone else how they solved the case! And lastly, compared to other mystery series, the acting here is far better overall - it isn't over-the-top like is so common in many mysteries on TV and even the bit-part characters do an excellent job and are believable."