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.