Monday, July 31, 2006

Law & Order: Sport Utility Vehicle

The only other detective programme that I managed to watch an entire episode of this week was Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.

This isn't my favourite Law & Order show because it doesn't usually involve murders. As I said in my first post, I prefer a murder and I think this is because there tends to be more variety in the motive of murders than other crimes. However, the episode on Saturday night was interesting because the rape was of a police officer, which then twisted into a storyline involving police corruption, which I do find fascinating.
It was a good episode - not quite as gripping as the regular Law & Order episode where Cregan is under suspicion and his own officers have to investigate him.

There wasn't much of my favourite Richard Belzer in it, although episode with him do tend to be ruined by my on-going suspicion that it will one day be revealed that he is in fact guilty of all the crimes. If ever a man that a look of guilt, it is him. And he is called Munch, which is fantastic because he does look just like the figure in 'The Scream' by Edward Munch.

Things did get a bit confusing in the middle of the programme, when my OH flicked channels in the ad break onto another episode of SVU (or SUV as I keep calling it) and it took us a few minutes to realise it was the wrong episode.

Caravanning with Inspector Lynley

On Friday night we watched the Inspector Lynley Mysteries, episode 'One Guilty Deed'.

It was a fairly boring episode, although I was relieved that the natural order had been restored, i.e. Linley was back and dire comedian/celebrity golfer Jimmy Tarbuck’s offspring wasn’t going to be a regular.

The episode was set in a typical English seaside town, the sort always brings to mind the lyrics from the Morrissey song ‘Everyday is Like Sunday’
‘This is the coastal town,
That they forgot to close down'

Most seaside towns in England are like this – my hometown is, the Norfolk coast where I frequently visited as a student is littered with them, and so it would seem is Kent (or the Kent Badlands as my OH described both this and last week’s locations).

The writers got a bit carried away with their ‘class-differences’ fixation this week. “Wouldn’t it be funny to make the upperclass Lynley have to stay in a caravan!’, they must have thought. Not especially. (My family used to have a caravan and as much as I hated it, I don't like to see other people being snobbish about it).

One of the guest stars was Ester Hall, who was recently in 'Waking the Dead' as the new pathologist and in the BT adverts as the single mum starting a new relationship (or in my OH's view, a desparate woman who will have any man so that she can dump her kids on him). Anyway, it made a change to see her looking haggard and poor as a woman who had spent most of her life on a caravan park.

The 'mystery' was a bit harder to solve than last week's, where I had guessed the culprit and motive within about 10 minutes (so it didn't matter so much that I fell asleep long before the end). But it still didn't leave me feeling that satisfied, which might explain why we then tried rather desparately to watch the last series of 'Waking the Dead' which my OH was convinced we couldn't have seen every episode of, but which in fact we had and fairly decently too.

Barriers to Viewing

I wouldn't want to give the impression that all I do is watch detective programmes on television. I watch quite alot, but nowhere near as much as I would like to. The obstacles to my viewing pleasure are threefold:
1). I do have a life. I have to go to work. Today, I will miss The Rockford Files and Diagnosis Murder (not much as it is the school holidays so there are more kid's programmes & films on than usual). I also have a bit of a social life. Yesterday, I had to watch my OH and friends play cricket, which meant I missed Diagnosis Murder, Columbo and Perry Mason.
2). I share the television with my OH who is fanatical about sport (football, cricket, basketball, cycling, boxing - even darts and snooker).
3) I fall asleep very easily. Nothing to do with how interesting whatever I'm watching is - in fact it is more likely to happen if its something I'm enjoying. As a result, I've hardly seen a full episode of CSI.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Where it all began: The Red Hand Gang

The Red Hand Gang was my favourite programme as a child.

If you weren't a child in the late seventies/early eighties (lucky you!), then you probably won't have heard of the Red Hand Gang as it doesn't seem to have left a legacy like other kids programmes of that era.

Basically, it involved five children and a dog solving crimes that they happened to witness or get caught up in. The seminal episode was the one where one of the gang witness a boy being kidnapped.
I loved this programme. While I played on my swing in a garden with a locked gate and high fences, they were out roaming the streets solving mysteries with no adult supervision. I was insanely jealous of Joanne, the only girl in the gang and had one of my first crushes on J. R., the most streetwise of the gang! (Another early crush was Jason in Battle of the Planets - he was the surly one - my taste in men hasn't evolved much at all).
My friend Sophie and I even wrote to Jim'll Fix It to ask if we could meet them. We received no reply.
I've not seen it repeated recently - its probably for the best as it might not live up to my fond memories of it.

Confessions of a Detective Show Junkie

I'm obsessed with detective programmes. I never tire of watching them, although I am starting to find that I've already seen most episodes of Columbo and Perry Mason.

I will watch any crime-related programmes - I like private investigators and police, but don't mind if the sleuthing is done by doctors, lawyers, authors or busybodies.

I like the grim 'n' gritty ones that make you question your faith in humanity - Cracker, Waking the Dead, Taggart, Morse. But also like the light-hearted ones - Monk, Diagnosis Murder, Moonlighting etc.

I am slightly concerned that I do prefer 'a good murder' to other sorts of crimes, as it is a rather morbid, but I will watch other types of crimes - as I said I'm not fussy.