Cribb at last
JDW | Montverde, FL United States | 08/16/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've waited for years for the Cribb series to appear. This is about half of the episodes made by Granada. Cribb is the ultimate down-to-earth policeman with the perfect assistant in Constable Thackery. I hope the next set doesn't take as long as the first one."
Content Wins Over Production Values
Sires | It's a Toss Up Right Now | 09/26/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"As a firm believer that good content can overcome low production budget, I only winced a little at the obviously rubber body part and less than believable reptiles in "Mad Hatter's Holiday." After all, the fun in this series is Alan Dobie's dry commentary on Victorian society and poor Constable Thackeray's suffering as he does all of the scut work while Sergeant Cribb deducts his way to the conclusion. It is great fun to watch Cribb sit and eat a hearty meal (with some very Victorian touches) while his table companion loses his appetite under Cribb's comments and questions, all done with the utmost politeness."A Case of Spirits" which deals with another Victorian fad--table turning or spiritualism-- is also fun as Cribb and Thackeray are given a case that starts with the theft of a painting of an undraped nude and a vase worth thirty guineas, both occurring after the appearance of a new trance medium at private sittings at the respective houses. Then a murder occurs under seemingly impossible circumstances and secrets start to surface as Cribb looks into their proper Victorian lives.The dialogue and the characters from Lovesey's novels as brought to life by the cast in this series can make me forget a lot of rubber body parts."
The Best of Cribb
G. A. Raden | Central Arizona | 02/25/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you're a fan of Peter Lovesey, or you're looking for a VG+ delving into the deepest, darkest and dankest days of Victorian England, I highly recommend "Cribb: A Case of Spirits."
This set, which has 6 of the 8 Cribb episodes actually adapted from Lovesey's novels, ranging in year and topic from 1879 and the hip-swiveling walk races of "Wobble To Death", to the late 1880's and the Fenian bomb plotters of "Invitation To A Dynamite Party", and the rather charming "Swing Swing Together" set in 1887 chronologically the last two. As I recall, those latter episodes were aired during the second season of Cribb in 1981-82, whereas the the other four aired in the US circa 1980-81, with Wobble to Death actually the first aired on PBS. (rather apropos!)
Cribb and Thackeray's sleuthing here takes them through a a wide range of 1880's English activities, whether it involves brutal, bare-knuckle boxing and the twisted goings-on at Radstock Hall, Victorian houses of pleasure, early attempts at psychic research in Richmond, or the favourite vacation and holiday spots of that time and era, Detective Inspector Cribb (Alan Dobie) is almost always unfazed, unflappable and unimpressed.
The six episodes (which in my opinion were some of the best of the series) in this set are for the most interesting, however, for their uncanny evocation of Victorian life. In set one we find ourselves in the middle of bare knuckle fights, "wobble" races which were all the thing, gracious drawing rooms and the machinations of both mediums and 19th Century terrorists. The production values are for the most part high, from the details of Victorian working life to the well-tailored tails and gowns of wealthy Englishmen and their ladies at dinner. There are a few moments when you can discern they were under budget constraints, but these are so few and far between that it hardly detracts from the series. One of the most spectacular was the final one aired in the US, "Invitation to a Dynamite Party" in which Cribb goes undercover as "Michael Sargent, professional adventurer" -- and has run-ins with a mysterious (and masked) mastermind and his bomb plot, Jeananne Crowley portraying what one might consider a ca. 1888 "Bond Girl", and a nautical "secret Weapon" that not only seems like it is also an antecedent of Ian Fleming, but was based on an actual device (e.g. The Fenian Ram")
Sergeant Cribb is indeed a very well-produced, well acted entry into the category of British TV mysteries. (OK, the effects in the opening scenes of Mad Hatter's Holiday are a bit lacking, but they WERE trying to keep to a budget! Conversely, Invitation To a Dynamite Party appears to have gone about as all-out as they could manage) If you are only going to buy one of the two Cribb DVD sets, make it this one!"