Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Midsomer Mysteries

Last night, I finished watching all the episodes available for free on Netflix Watch Instantly.  That’s a pity, because I could certainly watch more.  This series was delightful.  On the surface, the stories are the traditional English Country Mystery genre, cozy with a little bit of police procedural thrown in, but after watching a few, I became aware of several levels going on at once.  One level is the real effort made to introduce the viewer to English traditional life—change ringing, Morris dancing, ancient solstice customs, Arthurian legend, a camera obscura, choral music.  Another is the scenery—scenic vistas, beautiful gardens, the seacoast, the mountains of Wales, thatched-roof houses.  Another aspect of the series is the attention to detail—the episode that is a parody of Hamlet; the villages that revere the long dead author who grew up there, a MAN by the name of Ellis Bell (the pen name of Emily Bronte); the scenes by the river while characters are watching a race that is composed like that famous painting by Seurat. The series is also something of a send-up of the genre.  After all, the murder rate in Midsomer is totally unrealistic, and at one point, someone remarks to Barnaby that a particular death is natural, an unlikely occurrence.  Furthermore, there is an emphasis on acting and the theatre that reminds the viewer that everything is a performance.  All in all, we’ve had a great time watching.  I’m moving on to some P.D. James—excellent films, but a much darker experience.

I also need some help.  There was something wrong with the Midsomer episode called “Bantling Boy.”  It failed to include the ending.  I tried googling, but no one wanted to include a spoiler, so if any of you know how it came out, please let me know. 


Deb said...

Refresh my memory! I think I watched that one fairly recently, but I really don't pay attention much to episode titles. Maybe I can help. I just watched the Maid in Splendour and have a new disk waiting for me.

Anonymous said...


I just watched Bantling Boy on Netflix and it cut out like you said so I did some deep digging. I came across a few forums that said the kid was the culprit. He reprogrammed the video game to show all the syndicate members dead then manipulated his slow uncle into committing the murders, making him think it was just part of the game. I posted the links if you want to check for yourself.