I grew up in England, and from an early age had a dedication to just one thing, getting away from the place. In my mind it was a gray drab place, inhabited by gray drab people. I escaped in 1980, and my fondest memory was watching it disappear from the window of a 747.

I have studiously avoided hanging out in the faux British Pubs, the places where the Ex Pats gather and whine about not being able to buy Black Pudding and Walkers Cheese and Onion chips. Now I will admit that a few years ago I did have a hankering for some Primula Cheese Spread and had some illegally smuggled into Canada, luckily customs did not open the package, so I got away with it.

There really is only one thing I miss about Britain and that is the outstandingly high quality of programming found on the television. Oh, don’t get me wrong here, they have a load of rubbish on as well. There is however a small percentage of programs that are outstanding. A US company Acorn has made it its mission to bring the very best of British TV to the American audience. On Jan/20 their latest DVD set hits the market, The Last Detective. This set covers all four seasons 2003-2007 plus the original 1981 movie that the series was based on.

The series follows the misadventures of Detective “Dangerous” Davies. “Dangerous” is his nickname, because dangerous is absolutely what he is perceived by his fellow workers as not being. “Dangerous” is a walking disaster, his personal life reads like a Dear Abby letter, a failed marriage, and joint custody of a St. Bernard dog sums him up. His professional life is no better, “Dangerous” gets the cases that no one else wants, and are deemed as boring, pointless, and harmless by his superiors.

“Dangerous” does have something going for him though, he cares, he cares about the cases, he cares about the victims, and maybe most importantly he has integrity. This not a CSI show, there are no fancy lab experiments, no picking up stray hairs from a crime scene, this is a show that relies on logic, reason, and maybe a little good luck. It features humor, humility, and honor, ideals that are so sadly lacking in todays world.

As a reviewer I must admit that when I opened this package I had to run for my blood pressure medicine. The cover proclaimed that this was a nine DVD set with a running time of 22 hours! Who has 22 hours? Well apparently I do. I watched it all, and loved every moment. Peter Davison, Sean Hughes, and Emma Amos turn in superb performances. What really impressed me was that although the show ran for 4 seasons there is a great continuity in the story line. Each episode is different, but each episode pushes the character development of “Dangerous” Davies forward in an organized progression. The series is based on the novels by Leslie Thomas, and the screenwriters have done an absolutely amazing job of bringing the story to life.

The directing, videography, and production are first class. It is hard to believe that so much care and attention would be lavished on a TV series.

Yes, this one gets my vote! At $99.99 it may seem a little on the pricey side, but think about all of those DVD’s it is a bargain, and every episode eclipses anything that you will find on the 100 plus cable channels that are currently hitting your TV. You can order it here. Acorn also offers The Last Detective season by season, but personally I recommend that you take the plunge and get the whole set.

Simon Barrett

http://zzsimonb.blogspot.com

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