Customer Reviews: New Tricks: Season 8
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on July 12, 2012
UPDATE x2: Unfortunately, I've had to deduct a star, and return this review to its original 3-star rating. Acorn (whom I purchased the DVD from) made a very public spectacle of attempting to put things right with me regarding the edited DVD situation. Unfortunately, it's been over 3 months, and they never sent a new, unedited DVD to me as promised. To make matters worse, attempts to contact them via their Facebook page have gone unanswered.

The product itself ("New Tricks" Season 8) is definitely a 4-star affair, and I don't want to harm its rating. As it stands with the distributor (Acorn), however, that is decidedly a 1-star operation, and so this review once again goes back to 3 stars.

UPDATE: Since this review was published, Acorn have responded (both on Facebook and in the comments section of this review), and have been a class act in their acknowledgement of the issue, and how they plan to address it. I wanted to make readers aware of this, and that I am now bumping the star-rating of my review from 3 to 4 stars. Thank you, Acorn!

I've liked "New Tricks" since the pilot episode. The program manages to blend drama, light humor, mystery and suspense quite well. The cast are top notch, and the writing and direction are good. If I could give this set four or five stars, I would. Unfortunately, I am only giving it three. This is due to the fact that, for some reason, the episodes have been edited. Allow me to explain.

Almost all of the "New Tricks" episodes have a run time of approximately 58 minutes. The episodes on this Season 8 set run for roughly 51 minutes. I found this odd. I also found odd the fact that the late Trevor Bannister was somehow missing from the episode "Old Fossils," which was his last ever role. As a fan of his portrayal of Mr. Lucas on the venerable British comedy "Are You Being Served?" I was looking forward to seeing him one last time. Alas, it was not to be.

Not only was Bannister's scene cut from the DVD, but so was his listing in the closing credits. The Season 8 episodes are available on You Tube, and so I went and watched them there, and lo and behold, there are *several* scenes cut from each episode (about 7 minutes worth), and in the UK broadcast version of "Old Fossils," Bannister's name *does* appear in the closing credits. So, it was actually excised from the version on the DVD (along with his scene, and others).

This sort of detailed editing is uncommon to the prior season sets of "New Tricks" released by Acorn (seasons 3-7), and the BBC (seasons 1-2). I'm not sure what's happening with the Acorn release of Season 8, but please be aware that the episodes have been edited, to the point that roughly 60 minutes of total footage has been collectively removed from the set. This is an unfortunate and unsettling turn of events with Acorn, and I cannot award this release more than three stars because of it.

Seasons 1-7 are highly recommended.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon June 12, 2012
It is very hard to come up with a police series which is truly original as the subject has pretty much been done to death from every angle over the years. However, the producers of New Tricks managed to do just that when they launched the pilot in 2003. Not really surprising that the show has run and run and we are now up to the eighth series and it has reached a total of 66 episodes. Good to see that we had 10 episodes this time round as in Series 7, rather than the 8 in earlier series.

Despite the long running nature of New Tricks, the script writers still seem to come up with original and sometimes quite offbeat plots. For example the last in the current series concerned the case of a zoo keeper whom it had been assumed had been mauled to death by a tiger, but whom the team suspect was killed before being put in the tiger's enclosure. As is usually the case, the truth, when it is teased out, is far from straight forward. Also good to see that we were not left with a cliff hanger at the end of this episode as has happened in some previous series and is unnecessary in my view since it tends to feel rather contrived.

A lot of the charm lies with the individual quirkiness of the three main investigators in UCOS - Jack Halford (James Bolam), Gerry Standing (Dennis Waterman), and Brian Lane (Alun Armstrong). I thought the first episode in this series was interesting - it concerned the murder of a paleontologist at the Natural History Museum - but was lacking something. However, a lot of the interest does lie in the individual lives of the characters and we missed seeing Jack communicating with his dead wife in his back garden, Gerry with his many ladies and ex wives and daughters, and Alun obsessing and trying the patience of his wife, the long suffering Esther (Susan Jameson who is married to James Bolam in real life). However, happily more elements of their personal lives did creep back into later episodes which was very welcome.

As always Detective Superintendent Sandra Pullman (Amanda Redman) acts as an excellent foil for the three boys. Fans will be pleased to learn that a ninth series is planned for next year. However, one wonders how many more series will be possible without a change of personnel. James Bolam is a superb actor but he is now 76, and although he is wearing well, seeing him on screen representing the Met is beginning to stretch credibility. I did wonder if a comment at the end of Episode 10 was a hint that the BBC were perhaps thinking the same way.
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on June 27, 2012
This show is fantastic! There's nothing like a British who-dun-it. They always do things with style and grace. With New Tricks, you have one gritty, attractive female, Superintendent Sandra Pullman (played by Amanda Redman) who's in charge of three disfunctional, misfit retired copers who don't always like to play by the rules. In fact, they often ignore proceedures altogether. But that's part of what makes this show so great. Actors James Bolam, Alun Armstrong, and Dennis Waterman brilliantly play their characters - Jack Halford, Brian Lane and Jerry Standing, who encounter some strange cases at their ever-moving U.C.O.S. (Unsolved Crime and Open-Case Squad) headquarters. They solve the crimes no one else wants to deal with. They may do some unconventional detective work in the process, but these "old-timers" are far more "experienced", "clever" and "vastly knowledgeable" - compared to their younger counter-parts. This is definitely not like American cop shows (thankfully) with all the 'shoot-em-ups' and 'blow-em-ups'... you get tired of that stuff. Give me a cop who has a head on his shoulders and knows how to use it. That's what this show is all about. What a refreshing change. That's why New Tricks is so great. From what I've heard and read, it's so popular the BBC is picking the show up for another two seasons. FANTASTIC!!!
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon September 7, 2012
Fast-pace but retirement age police team led by a blonde gal. They are a cop family. Episodes always have a difficult past crime, plus personal issues of the UCOS team. Much humor with sleuthing efforts.

..........Cast: DS Pullman (Amanda Redman-`Little Dorrit') guides 3 ex-cops on unsolved crime & open cases (UCOS). This team's personalities & relationships make this award-winning fun. Pullman's tough, now with painted-on-tight jeans & more cleavage. Brian (Alun Armstrong-`Garrows Law') is a tech nerd. Jack (James Bolam-`Beiderbecke Tapes') a widower, & Gerry (Dennis Waterman-`Sweeney') 3X divorced. DAC Strickland (Anthony Calf-`Upstairs Downstairs') is their often antagonistic boss. We must mention Brian's wife Esther (Susan Jameson-`The Queen'). More guest stars than those mentioned.

SDH SUBTITLES for all 10 episodes and Behind-the-scenes.
..........1 End of the Line
DNA proves innocence on a robbery but points to an old murder. Keith Allen & Peter Davison guest star. Brian and the homeless collide.
..........2 Lost in Translation
DNA from a 1996 charred victim gets linked to sibling Anna King (Lucy Liemann- `Reggie Perrin'). Gerry sautés Fr. Cuisine with a saucy gal (Jaq Croft).
..........3 Old Fossils
Pathologist Ruxton (Trevor Bannister's last role prior to his death) determines paleontologist Fletcher's fatal fall accidental. Was it? Natasha Little and Nicholas Farrell guest star.
..........4 Moving Target
Samantha Gerson (Sally Phillips) joins UCOS for psychologist studies of older men. Guess who! Her brother Darren has memory loss due to an old unsolved hit/run. Drug connection or anarchist group? Murder?
..........5 Object of Desire
UCOS reinvestigates antique dealer murder, compliments of DS Sandra Pullman's former beau, DCI James Larsen (Paul McGann- `The Hanging Gale'). New lusts? Brian & wife Esther have their own troublesome affair.
..........6 Setting Out Your Stall
UCOS team look for a suspect to coffee-doping rapist connection to an unsolved death. Nurse Helen (Deborah Findlay- `Wives & Daughters). Sheila Hancock is back playing Mother Grace Pullman who visits--ugh.
..........7 The Gentleman Vanishes
Is a years-old kidnapped prof sending his wife Bea (Rebeccca Front) emails? Are they from the kidnapper? Whitehall intervention? Tim McInnery (`Notting Hill') as guest star.
..........8 Only the Brave
Case of the Braves biker gang killer. Suspect Marcus York (Richard Hawley- `Family Affairs') club pres. DS Barlow (Shaun Dingwall) conflicts with UCOS Sandra.
..........9 Half Life
Will UCOS solve the 7-yr-old alley murder--a man with no past? Will Brian overcome insomnia? Will UCOS be eliminated? Ask John (Robert Daws) & Lisa Carlisle (Claudie Blakley `Lark Rise to Candleford') if they know anything.
..........10 Tiger Tiger
Was it really accidental death when Zac as eaten in the tiger cage? Newly found blood requires UCOS team but Brian's now an animal activist. Jack's to get a bravery commendation. Caroline Harker, Kate Ashfield, Tony Haygarth, and other guest stars.

A lot of humor, savvy sleuthing, and entertainment for the buck. And yet after all these years, the series continues, contracted I've heard for at least 2 more seasons.
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on August 18, 2012
One may immediately understand how this series is now available on DVD in its eighth series, with more series yet to be offered in the future.

Most New Tricks programs are written quite well and they make for light hearted yet true-to-life stories. In actuality, this series probably offers more true-to-life events than most other similar themed programs. Over time, one gets to know the characters quite well and there is always reason to enjoy each and every of the widely divergent personalities that regularly appear in each season.

While these actors may not be the pictures of perfection, the program offers insight to the many possibilities for older individuals to continue finding adventure and discovery in life.

This is a series that one can also enjoy watching more than once, which would seem to be the very reason to buy a DVD in the first place.

I think most viewers will find the series enjoyable and be left fulfilled at the end of each weeks adventures, while anxiously awaiting presentation of the next series.
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on December 30, 2012
Season eight (8) of the superb BBC cold case murder/mystery continues very well written mysteries that are solved by Sandra Pullman (wonderfully acted with loads of humor-- and this season with "issues" regarding her mom and love-- by Amanda Redman who appeared in "Little Dorit") and her three (3) retired "old fossils" (as the older detectives are called in one episode in Season eight-8).

Season eight (8,) with ten (10) episodes that are about an hour in length on three (3) discs with bonus features, again has Pullman directing three (3) very "set in their ways" older retired cops solving some heinous "cold cases" often with current "tie-ins". These older retired cops, with their own "issues", certainly have their "own ways" of sleuthing--many time, much to the chagrin of their leader, Sandra. That said, how delightful all of the characters are in Season eight (8). My god, I do love this series because it is filled with wonderful characters, filled with humor, and filled with some well written mysteries that are solved ingeniously. I look forward to future seasons. Season eight (8) of "New Tricks" entertained me greatly.

(As a side note: in this season, the character of Jack Halford, brilliantly acted by James Bolam, seems rather disgruntled a lot of the time and in the last episode, one gets the feeling that he won't be in the series for too long--too bad because the character of Jack Halford is so very steadfast and wise)
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on July 29, 2013
New Tricks Season Eight is a mishmash in quality. The shows vary so much this season from good and garbage. It's nice to see the actors and characters back doing their thing, but, some serious problems with writing and directing is noticeable. I never paid much attention to the writer's or director's names, but after the brouhaha with Alun Armstrong and the writer/director Simpson, I started to. The funny thing is I have found that the shows written and directed by Julian Simpson are usually rather boring. The plots seem overly complicated and focus on edge of society things, like UFO hunters or some other stupid plot device like that. There is usually some weird or bizarre character or actor in his episodes too, which in itself, is bizarre! The producers seemed to hand over a lot of power to this person and he appears to take the show in a different direction, one which I personaly don't care for. Season 8 isn't a total bust and there are still highlights and good acting to be seen. It's James Bolam's last season so you don't want to miss it.
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on February 9, 2013
No violence - just good drama and excellent dialogue. Good mysteries for the team to unravel - each set in an interesting place. Good interaction between the characters. Fast-paced and fun.
The entire series (from Season 1) is a must-view among all my friends.
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on October 1, 2015
We started watching this show on PBS and got hooked quickly. We have since bought all seasons (and have the final one on order for its release date. We loved all of the characters from the original few seasons. Their sense of humor and style were wonderful. Our biggest disappointment was when original characters started leaving and being replaced. However, we still loved the show and continue to watch it.
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on February 17, 2013
You cannot beat the Brits in comedy! Of course this is more than just comedy but still, lots of laughs included! It might be only in America where you have to be young, skinny and beautiful to be an actor. Elsewhere in the world it's the talent that counts.
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