Generally a good show
Themis-Athena | 01/27/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Overall, I liked Series 3 better than Series 2. The writing (I felt) was better, the productions were nicely done, and the casting was very apt. Also, while the same actor plays Hugh in both series, he's given better lines in this one, although he still can't act his way out of a paper bag. (E.g., in one episode a suspect is captured by vigilantes, beaten to a bloody pulp, and rescued by Hugh just moments away from a horrible death. Hugh questions him, determines that he's innocent, then dismisses him with a deadpan, cop-who's-decided-not-to-ticket-you-after-all "You are free to go" -- which had me rolling on the floor laughing.)
The best of the series, to my mind, was "The Rose Rent": The writers couldn't resist multiplying red herrings, and the lovely Judith is far too Pre-Raphaelite for 12th-century tastes. On the other hand, the characters (even minor ones) come across vividly, and in the kidnapping scenes the crucial issue of "who was where, when, and with whom" is very easy to follow. "A Morbid Taste for Bones" is well done too, with a handsome group of young lovers and an attractive setting, and the fundamental ironies in the original book come through unaltered. (The fact that it's mostly a Hugh-free zone also helps -- heh!)
As for "The Raven in the Forecourt," it could probably be best described as "a riff on Ellis Peters." Although the writers retained the book's basic theme -- the priest's narrow-minded morality and the various people who are harmed by it -- they added a love story and a great deal of gratuitious (if not entirely irrelevant) gore and mayhem. And Brother Cadfael's role is mostly reduced from sleuthing to bleating at the various characters in distress. Still, the plot keeps you interested, and the "confession" near the end is well done and satisfying. (I felt that the book itself was weak compared to the rest of the series, so I certainly don't fault the script writers for trying to improve on it!)
Again, Derek Jacobi does an excellent rendition of the title character, and the "regulars" in the supporting cast are a pleasure to watch (especially when that self-righteous prig Brother Jerome finally stumbles). Overally, a good evening's entertainment."
It keeps getting better
C. A. Luster | Burke, VA USA | 01/27/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When I viewed the first set in this series I was drawn in by the wonderful acting, sets, costumes, music, and more. I immediately ordered the rest the sets and the third set showed up before the second. I couldn't wait to watch it and so I watched it out of order. It really doesn't matter I think what order you watch them in other than some of the background, whose King, politics, etc. might be clearer if watched in order.
Be sure to read the review "Successful TV dramatization and the role of Sir Derek's life" by themis_athena from Santa Monica, CA, USA. An excellent review and I dare anyone would have a hard time doing better. My only additional comment is I like Sheriff Hugh Beringar in the first series a little better. Eoin McCarthy in this series does not have quite the depth of Sean Pertwee.
This set includes the standard extras found in this series. Quite honestly these sets are a bargain for this price."
Beautifully Filmed, Superb Acting
Petite Fleur | 08/10/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've loved and admired Derek Jacobi as an actor since his terrific turn as Claudius in "I Claudius." In the Cadfael series, Jacobi is Brother Cadfael, a smart Welsh priest in Medieval times. He's also a healer and sleuth with a mysterious past. In "A Morbid Taste for Bones," which is one of my favorites, a delusional Brother has visions and is simply a nutcase. However this is the days of old so the visions have meaning, especially to a self-serving church that needs money. Based on a wrong interpretation of one of these visions, the priests decide that a young Welsh saint lies uneasy in her grave and set out to dig her up and take her bones to the church. Of course they have ulterior motives because relics such as bones bring the churches favor and money. I don't want to give away any of the great plot, so I'll only state that a murder occurs. Brother Cadfael must bring peace between the Welsh people who have the saint buried in their town and the priests who greedily want her bones removed and taken for their own sake. He must also solve the murder so an innocent is not executed. There are delicious twists to the story and a wonderful ending that has everyone happy......and deceived. Only Brother Cadfael and two others know the truth. This series is so unusual in it's time setting and characters that it is one of a kind. It's also beautifully done. Ellis Peters would be very proud of how they interpreted her books to film."