Best Way to Watch British Mystery Shows

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jeanpierremelville
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Best Way to Watch British Mystery Shows

Post by jeanpierremelville »

Dear Bogleheads,

What do you recommend for watching British mystery shows? I am particularly interested in detective dramas such as:

1. Endeavour
2. Morse
3. Foyle's War

There are so many features about these shows that I like such as the setting (not in London but in a smaller university town) and the language. In the case of Endeavour, it is the prequel to Morse and is set in the 1960s. It is beautifully photographed and well-acted although some of the plots are a bit overly complicated. The protagonists in these shows are circumscribed by forces outside of their control like class, administrative restrictions and lack of equipment or support; however, they make it up in spades with intellect and tenacity. Above all, there is a certain amount of rectitude that each protagonist clings to despite having many character flaws.

I've also enjoyed Grantchester although that series was hampered by the fact that the main character is a vicar and really has no legal powers to arrest, interrogate, search, etc.

So what do you recommend? I have only watched the first seasons of Morse and Foyle's War and am thoroughly hooked. I am thinking of buying the whole DVD sets for both but if there are strong recommendations for programs like Acorn TV or Britbox, I will consider those as well. For what it's worth, I am not interested in British comedy (aside from a show called Would I Lie to You?).

Thanks.
JPM
HomeStretch
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Re: Best Way to Watch British Mystery Shows

Post by HomeStretch »

BritBox has a free 7-day trial and has the shows you listed. We just signed up through Amazon Prime and really like it so we’ll probably keep it for a few months.
RevFran
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Re: Best Way to Watch British Mystery Shows

Post by RevFran »

HomeStretch wrote: Tue Apr 14, 2020 8:39 pm BritBox has a free 7-day trial and has the shows you listed. We just signed up through Amazon Prime and really like it so we’ll probably keep it for a few months.
+1

Britbox lets you see many, though not all, of the David Suchet Poirot episodes.
four7s
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Re: Best Way to Watch British Mystery Shows

Post by four7s »

We subscribe to Acorn TV, 100% Brit TV. There are so many shows to watch that you won’t go wrong with either streaming service. I’d highly recommend subtitles as the accents can be difficult at times. Also, MHZ has an all European detective/mystery lineup with the best France, Germany, Sweden, Holland, Italy, etc. has to offer, all with subtitles. `We subscribe to Acorn and MHZ and love both.
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Re: Best Way to Watch British Mystery Shows

Post by calmaniac »

JPM,

You have great taste! 1. Endeavour, Morse, and Foyle's War are among our favorites of all time. When you do find your BBC crime fix, check out "Shetland", which is based on the Shetland crime novels by Ann Cleeves.

Have you ever tried any Nordic Noir? We watched both the Swedish and BBC versions of Wallander and loved them. Also, The Bridge.
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oldfort
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Re: Best Way to Watch British Mystery Shows

Post by oldfort »

If you like British detective shows, Broadchurch is excellent.
terran
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Re: Best Way to Watch British Mystery Shows

Post by terran »

jeanpierremelville wrote: Tue Apr 14, 2020 8:26 pm Best Way to Watch British Mystery Shows?
While wearing a deerstalker hat and smoking a pipe, obviously.
csm
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Re: Best Way to Watch British Mystery Shows

Post by csm »

Morse is one of my all-time favorites. I was unaware of Endeavor so thank you for the suggestion - I see it is available on Amazon Prime video (6 seasons) so it is now added to my watch list.

I also highly recommend Prime Suspect with the impeccable Helen Mirren which is available on Hulu (7 seasons) in case you have a subscription.

For a follow up to Morse, Lewis is quite watchable. Also, Above Suspicion is excellent and streams on Acorn TV.
HomeStretch
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Re: Best Way to Watch British Mystery Shows

Post by HomeStretch »

csm wrote: Tue Apr 14, 2020 9:55 pm I also highly recommend Prime Suspect with the impeccable Helen Mirren which is available on Hulu (7 seasons) in case you have a subscription.
+1

Prime Suspect is also on BritBox. The Inspector Lynley series (based on the excellent books by Elizabeth George) is also worth checking out.
Jazzysoon
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Re: Best Way to Watch British Mystery Shows

Post by Jazzysoon »

I'd recommend Acorn TV, it's only about $5/month or ~$50/yr (I pay annually). Lots of great British, Irish & Australian shows. Never really had watched much Australian TV before, but there are some great Mystery shows there also. Only dangerous/downside is that British/Australian shows sometimes tend to be a bit of a travelogue showing the incredibly beautiful country side and coastal regions. I have now been to/walked beaches/cliffs where Broadchurch filmed and been to village shown in Doc Martin, even stayed in the B&B used as the school in the show. I also like Shetland TV series and that is next on my list to visit. If you have a Roku device/TV they have the entire Midsomer Murder series and it's free there.
Also never thought I'd get hooked on 20yr old show, but 'Pie in the Sky' is one of my favorites. It's on Acorn and about a Police Detective trying to retire so he can run his restaurant full time. So if you like to cook and like mysteries - perfect match.
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Re: Best Way to Watch British Mystery Shows

Post by pantsmachine »

Sherlock, outstanding!
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Re: Best Way to Watch British Mystery Shows

Post by dratkinson »

I remember enjoying Blechley Circle on OTA PBS. Only first season was aired here. Wouldn't mind seeing it again to pick up second season.


I remember enjoying many of MHZ international mysteries, but it was dropped for DW (Deutsche Welle) European and world news. Goodbye to...
--"Maigret" of Paris (French)
--"Montalbano" of Sicily (Italian),
--"Brunetti" of Venice (German),
--"Criminal Games" of Agatha Christie (French),
--"Little Murders" of Agatha Christie (French),
--"The Inspector and the Sea" (German),
--probably forgetting some.
Had to be quick to read the English subtitles and then refocus on the action/scenery.
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Caduceus
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Re: Best Way to Watch British Mystery Shows

Post by Caduceus »

You can try getting sets for cheap on Ebay as well.
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Re: Best Way to Watch British Mystery Shows

Post by Cruise »

jeanpierremelville wrote: Tue Apr 14, 2020 8:26 pm Dear Bogleheads,

What do you recommend for watching British mystery shows? I am particularly interested in detective dramas...
Closed Captioning!
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ResearchMed
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Re: Best Way to Watch British Mystery Shows

Post by ResearchMed »

dratkinson wrote: Wed Apr 15, 2020 2:45 am I remember enjoying Blechley Circle on OTA PBS. Only first season was aired here. Wouldn't mind seeing it again to pick up second season.


I remember enjoying many of MHZ international mysteries, but it was dropped for DW (Deutsche Welle) European and world news. Goodbye to...
--"Maigret" of Paris (French)
--"Montalbano" of Sicily (Italian),
--"Brunetti" of Venice (German),
--"Criminal Games" of Agatha Christie (French),
--"Little Murders" of Agatha Christie (French),
--"The Inspector and the Sea" (German),
--probably forgetting some.
Had to be quick to read the English subtitles and then refocus on the action/scenery.
The "Commissario Guido Brunetti" book series is available for TV?

Wonderful. We'll need to find out how to watch those here.

I read all of the series (those to date, anyway) just before our trip to Venice a few years ago.
The paper versions had maps of Venice, with key locations of the story line marked.
Since it had then been many decades since I'd been in Venice, referring to those maps as I read ended up serving surprisingly well to re-orient me to Venice once we arrived.
That was a really nice touch.

I really miss David Suchet's "Poirot". It's difficult to watch any other actor in that role!

RM
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Re: Best Way to Watch British Mystery Shows

Post by bertilak »

jeanpierremelville wrote: Tue Apr 14, 2020 8:26 pm Dear Bogleheads,

What do you recommend for watching British mystery shows? I am particularly interested in detective dramas such as:

1. Endeavour
2. Morse
3. Foyle's War
First, be sure you have access to both Acorn and BritBox. Explore their offerings. There are MANY good shows available. Don't pass up some of the older shows from decades past.

Second, add Midsomer Murders to your list.
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bberris
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Re: Best Way to Watch British Mystery Shows

Post by bberris »

Prime has a PBS addon for a few bucks a month. Those Brit procedurals are included.

I recommend some Italian procedural crime shows:

Thou Shalt not Kill
The Mafia Detective
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Oicuryy
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Re: Best Way to Watch British Mystery Shows

Post by Oicuryy »

Search for your shows on https://justwatch.com to see which streaming services carry them.

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Re: Best Way to Watch British Mystery Shows

Post by runner540 »

Father Brown just got taken off Netflix.
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Didymograptus
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Re: Best Way to Watch British Mystery Shows

Post by Didymograptus »

I can recommend A Touch of Frost, Blue Murder and the 4 Sherlock Holmes series starring Jeremy Brett. Brett is just brilliant as Holmes.
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Re: Best Way to Watch British Mystery Shows

Post by bertilak »

runner540 wrote: Wed Apr 15, 2020 9:51 am Father Brown just got taken off Netflix.
I think the streaming market is still shaking itself out. Show availability comes and goes. I think Father Brown moved to BritBox.
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TrustButVerifying
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Re: Best Way to Watch British Mystery Shows

Post by TrustButVerifying »

Many of my favorite series are available on Acorn TV and currently, Acorn TV is offering a 30 free trial with a promotion code.

If you like a bit of goofy humor with your murders, I recommend The Broken Wood Mysteries, Midsomer Murders and Agatha Raisin. If you want serious crime dramas like Foyle's War, I suggest Vera, Mystery Road and George Gently. All of these are multi-season series (Midsomer Murders had 21 seasons) so a 30 day trial would probably not be enough time to get through every episode.
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Re: Best Way to Watch British Mystery Shows

Post by pshonore »

Happy Valley is a great mystery series set in Yorkshire. Mosley, (the Downton Abby butler a/k/a Kevin Butler) is in it and plays almost the exact opposite character
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Re: Best Way to Watch British Mystery Shows

Post by Didymograptus »

pshonore wrote: Wed Apr 15, 2020 11:22 am Happy Valley is a great mystery series set in Yorkshire. Mosley, (the Downton Abby butler a/k/a Kevin Butler) is in it and plays almost the exact opposite character
+1 That's also a great show - really well acted.
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EverHopeful
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Re: Best Way to Watch British Mystery Shows

Post by EverHopeful »

jeanpierremelville wrote: Tue Apr 14, 2020 8:26 pm I am thinking of buying the whole DVD sets for both but if there are strong recommendations for programs like Acorn TV or Britbox, I will consider those as well. For what it's worth, I am not interested in British comedy (aside from a show called Would I Lie to You?).

Thanks.
JPM
Dear JPM,
Our Library has sent out digital resources and one of the surprises is access to Acorn TV via RBDigital: https://rbdigital.com/service/browse/acorn
If you have a library card, you most likely have free access to movies, audiobooks and magazines via Hoopla, Media On Demand or RB Digital.

We watched Baptiste on our local PBS Masterpiece Mystery last Sunday, we're hooked!

Hope this helps - may we all choose to enjoy sheltering in place as our attitudes determine so much of the outcomes.

Best,
EverHopeful
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calmaniac
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Re: Best Way to Watch British Mystery Shows

Post by calmaniac »

EverHopeful wrote: Wed Apr 15, 2020 12:03 pm Our Library has sent out digital resources and one of the surprises is access to Acorn TV via RBDigital: https://rbdigital.com/service/browse/acorn If you have a library card, you most likely have free access to movies, audiobooks and magazines via Hoopla, Media On Demand or RB Digital.
Yes, same here in Montgomery County, Maryland. Great resource. Our library RB Digital also has multiple magazine available, including The Economist, as well as audiobooks.
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Re: Best Way to Watch British Mystery Shows

Post by littleridge »

Our library also provides access to Acorn. But you must access from the library web site. I would gladly subscribe if did not get it through library. Library also has Hoopla, but I like Acorn much better.

Our library had only first season of Touch of Frost which I liked so much I bought the complete series on DVD.

Here are some of our favorites:

Agatha Christie's Family Murder Party
Agatha Raisin (Hoopla, Acorn)
Best of Agatha Christie (Acorn)
Dalziel and Pascoe (Hoopla) (pronounced De-el)
Dr Blake Mysteries
The Brokenwood Mysteries (Acorn)
George Gently (very good)
Inspector Alleyn
Maigret (old and newer versions)
Midsomer Murders
Mrs. Bradley Mysteries (Hoopla)
Ms. Fisher's Mysteries (New) Acorn
Miss Fisher's Mysteries (old) Acorn
Murdock Mysteries (Acorn)
Partners in Crime (Acorn)
Queens of Mystery (Hoopla)
Touch of Frost
Rosemary & Thyme
Inspector Lewis
Injustice
DCI Banks
The Bletchley Circle
Foyle's War
Inspector Lindley
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Re: Best Way to Watch British Mystery Shows

Post by Katietsu »

A donation to your local PBS channel can make you eligible for PBS Passport. I do not know if it is the same everywhere, but the minimum donation here is $5/month or $60 for a year of access. You are also eligible for whatever other member benefits your station offers at the level you choose to donate.
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Re: Best Way to Watch British Mystery Shows

Post by Lillibelle »

Few do mysteries better than the Brits. Highly recommend:

* Baptiste (new)
* The Tunnel
* Happy Valley
* Shetland
* Endeavour
* Morse
* Foyle's War
* Broadchurch
* Wallander
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Re: Best Way to Watch British Mystery Shows

Post by mrb09 »

student wrote: Tue Apr 14, 2020 9:24 pm I also like https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_in_ ... TV_series)
+100 !
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Re: Best Way to Watch British Mystery Shows

Post by mrb09 »

pantsmachine wrote: Wed Apr 15, 2020 1:30 am Sherlock, outstanding!
Definitely! At first glance, a completely modern retelling, but the scene where Holmes first meets Watson was almost verbatim from Study in Scarlet!
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Re: Best Way to Watch British Mystery Shows

Post by csm »

Lillibelle wrote: Wed Apr 15, 2020 9:22 pm Few do mysteries better than the Brits. Highly recommend:

* Wallander
Wallander is an excellent Swedish series. IMHO, the English version was a bad copy.
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Re: Best Way to Watch British Mystery Shows

Post by LilyFleur »

So, these are not all set in Britain, but I watched them on Acort TV:
The Disappearance - French with English subtitles. "France's answer to Broadchurch."
Wire in the Blood - one of my favorites but kind of gritty
Bang - Welsh with subtitles
Rebecka Martinsson - Swedish with English subtitles
L'Accident - French with subtitles
My Life is Murder - Australian detective drama
Chasing Shadows - one of my favorites. Quirky brilliant detective.
Hidden - noir thriller from the team behind Hinterland, set in Wales but in English
Silence - a deaf teenager witnesses a murder
The Oldenheim Twelve - in Dutch with subtitles
Hamish Macbeth set in Scotland - I recommend subtitles as the accents are heavy!
Agatha Raisin
Suspects
Winter - excellent
Place of Execution - excellent
Field of Bood - set in Glasgow, featuring a young reporter
Balthazar - in French with subtitles. Series 2 will be available April 20.
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Re: Best Way to Watch British Mystery Shows

Post by ajjulee »

I'd vote for Britbox.
Acorn, though good, has 55 mysteries (some of them European & Australian series)
Britbox has 75 British mysteries (Entirely British)
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Re: Best Way to Watch British Mystery Shows

Post by iceport »

jeanpierremelville wrote: Tue Apr 14, 2020 8:26 pm In the case of Endeavour, it is the prequel to Morse and is set in the 1960s. It is beautifully photographed and well-acted although some of the plots are a bit overly complicated. The protagonists in these shows are circumscribed by forces outside of their control like class, administrative restrictions and lack of equipment or support; however, they make it up in spades with intellect and tenacity. Above all, there is a certain amount of rectitude that each protagonist clings to despite having many character flaws.
Yes, I've been watching the Endeavour series lately, and I'm very impressed. The cinematography is creative and aesthetically pleasing, the acting is fine, and the plots are indeed complex and nuanced. So far, my only complaint is that a couple of times the actual solving of the mystery seemed like a rushed after-thought. I had a tough time remembering who actually dunnit a couple of times, because so little time was allocated to it!

I watch on PBS passport, to which I gained access after purchasing a product offered as a premium for making a donation to the local PBS station.
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jeanpierremelville
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Re: Best Way to Watch British Mystery Shows

Post by jeanpierremelville »

Wow, thank you for the replies everyone.

There are some great recommendations here. I will work on finishing Foyle's War and Morse and then maybe move onto Shetland and Broadchurch.

I do have a weakness for older series as well so I will definitely look into Maigret (Michael Gambon's version).

JPM
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Re: Best Way to Watch British Mystery Shows

Post by boglegirl »

I don't have a suggestion on BritBox vs Acorn vs PBS vs whatever. But I wanted to recommend a show that I haven't seen mentioned above. We recently watched (on Amazon Prime) the Hamish MacBeth series from the 1990s. We LOVED it. It made us want to go live in a small village in Scotland.
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Re: Best Way to Watch British Mystery Shows

Post by bertilak »

boglegirl wrote: Fri Apr 17, 2020 9:48 am I don't have a suggestion on BritBox vs Acorn vs PBS vs whatever. But I wanted to recommend a show that I haven't seen mentioned above. We recently watched (on Amazon Prime) the Hamish MacBeth series from the 1990s. We LOVED it. It made us want to go live in a small village in Scotland.
I've seen all episodes of this two or three times over the years. All the characters are wonderful. I could only live there vicariously by watching the show more than once! One of my favorite little hidden gems is the quick visibility of a sign picturing some sheep walking down the road. The sign said something like "limit three abreast."

I started watching this because I read the paperbacks. The author (M.C. Beaton, aka Marion Chesney, RIP) did not like the TV show, probably because it changed so many things when adapting the books. The books' plots are much more intricate. I liked both the books and the show and can compartmentalize them in my mind. M.C. Beaton also wrote the Agatha Raisin books which now has a TV show! I haven't read those books.

Robert Carlyle (Hamish) played the evil bad guy Renard in the 1999 James Bond movie The World Is Not Enough.
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Re: Best Way to Watch British Mystery Shows

Post by yakers »

On Amazon Prime, check out Silent Witness

My wife loved Vera, me not so much
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Re: Best Way to Watch British Mystery Shows

Post by Learner1 »

I didn't see a mention for "The Unforgotten" starring Nicola Walker and Sanjeev Bhaskar. There are four seasons and the first three are up on Amazon Prime. Clues are found from long ago and the team set about solving these cases which had been "forgotten" about. Highly recommended.
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Re: Best Way to Watch British Mystery Shows

Post by oxothuk »

csm wrote: Wed Apr 15, 2020 10:16 pm
Lillibelle wrote: Wed Apr 15, 2020 9:22 pm Few do mysteries better than the Brits. Highly recommend:

* Wallander
Wallander is an excellent Swedish series. IMHO, the English version was a bad copy.
Agreed. Kenneth Branagh is painful to watch in that role.
Dave55
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Re: Best Way to Watch British Mystery Shows

Post by Dave55 »

Didymograptus wrote: Wed Apr 15, 2020 9:58 am I can recommend A Touch of Frost, Blue Murder and the 4 Sherlock Holmes series starring Jeremy Brett. Brett is just brilliant as Holmes.
I second "A Touch of Frost", David Jason as Frost is superb. I watched them all on Netflix disc rental about 15 years ago. Not sure how to watch them now.

Dave
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Re: Best Way to Watch British Mystery Shows

Post by Sandi_k »

One I haven't seen mentioned is The Fall, with Gillian Anderson. She is *mesmerizing* in her role.

Agree with Sherlock, Broadchurch, and Endeavor.

Robson Green has been in several series that you might like: Grantchester, Wire in the Blood, and Touching Evil. Wire is based on the Val McDermid characters in her Tony Hill/Carol Jordan series, and there are 6 seasons of the TV series.
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Re: Best Way to Watch British Mystery Shows

Post by SC Anteater »

Lots of my favorites on here. Loved Shetland. There's also Vera, based on books by the same author. I also like Line of Duty, available on Hulu.
csm
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Re: Best Way to Watch British Mystery Shows

Post by csm »

Sandi_k wrote: Sat Apr 18, 2020 8:41 pm One I haven't seen mentioned is The Fall, with Gillian Anderson. She is *mesmerizing* in her role.
Agree, that was excellent.

Another is Collateral with Carey Mulligan. She does a brilliant acting job in that one. Only four episodes and I so wish they had done another season.
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Re: Best Way to Watch British Mystery Shows

Post by sailaway »

Shetland is another great addition.
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Re: Best Way to Watch British Mystery Shows

Post by ajjulee »

Dave55 wrote: Fri Apr 17, 2020 12:53 pm
Didymograptus wrote: Wed Apr 15, 2020 9:58 am I can recommend A Touch of Frost, Blue Murder and the 4 Sherlock Holmes series starring Jeremy Brett. Brett is just brilliant as Holmes.
I second "A Touch of Frost", David Jason as Frost is superb. I watched them all on Netflix disc rental about 15 years ago. Not sure how to watch them now.

Dave
All seasons of ‘A Touch of Frost’ are available on Britbox. You can get 7 days free trial. I enjoyed seeing them all - saw a couple of times. Morse, in my opinion, is perhaps the best as far as writing is concerned. Endeavor has the gloss but no depth - characters suddenly behave out of character for story conceit. In general, I enjoyed the writing/characters of older series, specially those based on books. There is more scrutiny for story inconsistencies when they are based on books.
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Re: Best Way to Watch British Mystery Shows

Post by Inframan4712 »

sailaway wrote: Sun Apr 19, 2020 7:15 am Shetland is another great addition.
Also, Hinterland (Netflix)
amoose
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Re: Best Way to Watch British Mystery Shows

Post by amoose »

I second the recommendations for both "The Fall" and "Happy Valley".

Some of the other shows mentioned (such as Grantchester and Endeavour) present a somewhat nostalgic view of the past, and are set in affluent small towns.

Happy Valley for example is set in a rather deprived area what does not normally get shown on TV. It also presents the complexities of police having to deal with both criminal and societal problems. The Fall is unique in taking place after Northern Ireland and shows the differences from the rest of UK police, such as routing police offices carrying firearms.

I highly recommend both series, as well as Grantchester and Endeavour.
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