Saturday, August 31, 2019

Ten reasons I got hooked on the British detective series Midsomer Murders

Binge watching has become all the rage. Why wait week after week for another episode of a favorite show? Why wait anxiously through a seasonal hiatus and begin watching again when you have a 21st century alternative – binge watch the entire series, whether a 3-episode miniseries or a show with a 20-year longevity. 

Yup, that’s me. The show: the British detective series Midsomer Murders. First aired in England in 1997, 21st season currently in production. Each episode 1½ hours. 119 episodes after 20 seasons. 

A lot of TV viewing. 

Too much squandered time, I admit. But the show is addictive. 

The setting is a somewhat affluent fictional county of small villages, farms, and country
manors. The manors are not as large as the grandiose Downton Abbey, but impressive nonetheless. Smaller dwellings also appear, characterized by low ceilings and doorways and tended flower gardens, crammed with the stuff of British middle-class life. Run-down shacks in the woods house folks of dubious backgrounds.

A pub or two play a part in most episodes, venues with dark wood paneling and a bar counter where detectives search for strangers and chat with tavern owners and barmaids. Village folks occupy cozy alcoves and guzzle alcoholic beverages, consume hearty meals, and gossip. A village church and its vicar recur...also the police station...and scenic narrow country roads, settings for car crashes, hit and runs, and mad dashes to prevent another murder. There is rarely only one homicide per episode.

Ten reasons I got hooked on the British detective series Midsomer Murders:

1.   I like detective shows, everything from Perry Mason, Murder She Wrote, Columbo and Castle to Elementary.
2.   Great scenery. Villages look unscarred by 20th and 21st century development – no chain stores or supermarkets, little traffic, pristine landscapes. Family-owned businesses proliferate, although financial troubles surface, a common theme.
3.   The actors look like real people. Apparently British TV does not feel the need to make every actor/actress handsome/pretty. 
4.   Interesting story lines and no annoying commercial breaks.
5.   The culprit is not obvious, but can be deduced.
6.   I am learning a little British lingo, and closed captions (British accents can be difficult to understand) ensure none of the dialogue or background sounds - music, doors creaking, footsteps - are missed.
7.  Lead actors are appealing.
8.   Don’t need to watch in sequence; each episode can stand alone.
9.   Amusing dialogue and dark humor lighten the drama.
10.Characters mirror real life - everybody has secrets, some relevant to the case and others irrelevant.

Midsomer is an idyllic (except for the murders) semi-rural region. I wonder what will happen when the writers kill off everyone living, working, and visiting the various Midsomer villages. 

How many more years can Midsomer Murders endure?

Meanwhile I am on season 16... 

7 comments:

  1. We too watch Midsummer Murders... for pretty much the same reasons you stated. As for the scenery, it's one of the reasons we subscribe to Acorn TV. But actually its a bit unbelievable that such quiet pretty little villages could have so much going on.

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  2. I agree with all the reasons you share about why we watch Midsomer Murders. I love the town, the stone houses, girls riding horses, the country lanes, and the minor characters too who live in the village.

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  3. I, too love Midsomer Murders. I hope they keep on making them.

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  4. I enjoy this series but am very slowly watching it. I have a hard time with the poor definition of the early seasons; I'm only on season 5. Another long time British series I've started watching is "Silent Witness". You can watch 21 seasons for free with Amazon Prime.

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  5. There are so many good British Detective series. Broadchurch, Sherlock, Father Brown, Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries just to name a few. All are intriguing and long. But I do miss the days when my sister and I used to watch an episode of Magnum PI or Twin Peaks. We'd be on the phone with each other through the entire show. Twin Peaks, especially because of its quirkiness, we'd ask each other if we really saw what we thought we saw. Love the full access of all the episodes at once. But also miss the days of dissecting every episode to find hidden meaning for things we'd have to wait another week to learn.

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  6. I love British anything, especially entertainment. I know several people who love this show. I'll have to check it out.

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  7. Yep hubby and I have watched the entire series, mostly during dark winter nights. I also worry about the demise in population and watch it because the people do not all look like Barbie and Ken and the scenery is delightful. I usually can narrow it down to about 2 suspects...so not a real challenge.

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