Customer Review

73 of 76 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Is Midsomer becoming CSI?, January 16, 2013
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This review is from: Midsomer Murders, Set 21 (DVD)
Midsomer Murders used to provide a mystery to unravel at a slow, leisurely pace amid the lovely setting of an English village and its eccentric inhabitants. Murder was the propelling force for action, but the real focus was on characterization, personal interaction, the setting and the culture of the English village as interpreted in the series. In particular, the viewer normally faced with the carnage of popular movies and television could find respite with a cerebral journey as Barnaby and Jones unravelled the mystery of the day. Enter Season 21 of Midsomer and the gruesome visage of a dismembered body in Echoes of the Dead and giggling, invasive school girls in Death in the Slow Lane. Dark Secrets fared a little better but salacious elements, gratuitous sex and incest, occupied center stage too readily and too much. I have not viewed The Oblong Murders yet, so perhaps all is not lost if it contains some saving grace.

Ironically, the formidable acting skills of Neil Dudgeon as Chief Inspector John Barnaby and Jason Hughes as Detective Ben Jones are apparent, but the characters they play are not the Jones of yore or the new Barnaby introduced before the departure of John Nettles. They are strangers. They are not the Midsomer inhabitants we have come to know. The medical examiner, Dr. George Bullard, played by Barry Jackson also suffers character misalignment. In Series 21 he seems be less inquisitive and now ready to accept any answer. His rhetorical bantering formerly appreciated by viewers is lost. The close family unit of Joyce (Jane Wymark), Cully (Laura Howard) and Tom Barnaby (John Nettles) that gave warmth and gentleness in the world of law enforcement and crimes has disappeared. The caring between John Barnaby and his wife seems real, but it is more visceral than the warm fuzzies of Tom and Joyce and the love of child and parents.

I do hope the writers and producers reexamine the best elements of previous Midsomer series and reinstate what made the series so well appreciated by viewers---the caress of the camera on the scenery, the uniqueness of quirky inhabitants, the caring and interaction of the characters, the culture of the village life and the humanity of all. It was decidedly NOT gratuitous violence and sex, gruesome visuals and intellectual sparsity.

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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 13, 2013 8:26:49 PM PST
I share your feelings... I mention similar views in my own feedback... I do think it is a writer/producer(?) issue.

Posted on May 2, 2014 6:44:29 AM PDT
naturelover says:
I couldn't agree more!!!

Posted on Sep 4, 2014 12:42:01 AM PDT
I totally agree. While I'm certainly watching the new episodes (on netflix, just released) --they are darker, and more in keeping with Law and Order than the idyllic british countryside and midsomer villages. That was part of the charm--and tongue and cheek attraction to the earlier years. Now, the characters are dark, crimes brutal--but in a darker way. And more importantly, the villians are "charming" and loveable as in the early years, now they are down right nasty. While I'm "enjoying" the new episodes, I'm not quite as entertained. And I do miss the relationship of the Barnaby's (tom Barnaby) --the new John Barnaby's is just a bit too frenetic (the wife is always running in and out and doesn't seem to contribute) and physical. the introduction of the dog character is also charming, but a bit overplayed and tiresome at times.

Posted on Oct 18, 2014 9:21:30 PM PDT
gogreenann says:
I also agree that the episodes with Neil Dudgeon just aren't as entertaining..perhaps due to the scripts. The DS Ben Jones character was also given short shrift and it was just uncomfortable to watch the script writers make his character become somehow clueless and inept, especially after enjoying years of seeing the camaraderie of the Tom Barnaby and Ben Jones characters as they solved their mysteries.
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