I’ve done a few posts with a ‘Desert Island’ theme and thought I would move onto Crime Drama Boxsets for my latest blog. Most of these are British and European crime dramas, which is the bulk of what I watch. I find many American series tend to go on too long and lose their impact. It’s a debate that I may have started, but apologies to any American readers and feel free to let me know if there are any exceptions that I need to check out.
As usual, this list is in no particular order.
1 – Agatha Christie’s Poirot
This is one of the few DVD collections that I still own and watch regularly. David Suchet is outstanding in the lead role and the series really developed over the years. The support cast is also exceptional and I could go on forever naming the great performances. Changes were made from time to time with the stories, but I believe that this is the closest we may ever get to witnessing a perfect Poirot portrayal.
2 – Wallander
I was torn between the Swedish and the British versions of this as the latter is based on the novels whereas the former deals with new stories. In the end I chose the Swedish version mainly due to the performances and the native language.
3 – Vera
If there is a theme about lead character performances, then Brenda Blethyn’s turn as Vera had to be included. With a strong support cast, great guest performances and the rugged North East England landscape, this is a series that is right up there with the best.
4 – Line of Duty
Although the strong performance theme can continue with my next choice, the main reason for the inclusion of this one is down to the mind-blowing writing of the series. Each season has you gripped from the first episode and involuntary shouting at the screen is common place when watching the seasons unfold.
5 – The Bridge
I have watched many, many Scandinavian crime dramas, but this one is head and shoulders above the rest. The portrayal of Saga is stunning and her interaction with Martin is a joy to watch, whilst the writing of each season is of the highest quality. The series that cemented my love affair with Denmark, Sweden and the bridge that joins them.
6 – Rebus
There are many a debate over the actors chosen to play Rebus, with many thinking that Ken Stott is very close to the written character. Being a big fan of the novels, I loved witnessing some of them come to life on the small screen. The only criticism may be that they didn’t make enough of them.
7 – Midsomer Murders
I’ve been watching Midsomer Murders from the beginning and it may be classed as a bit of a guilty pleasure for a serious crime drama lover as myself. Yes, there are more than a realistic number of murders in each episode and some of the methods are silly, but this just adds to the charm.
8 – Foyle’s War
If there was ever a lesson required for excellence in crime drama writing, then Foyle’s War is it. Superb characters, brilliant plots and a real lesson on the devastation caused by the war. Add to that the outstanding performance by Michael Kitchen and you have everything you need for near perfection. I do wonder, however, how many facial expressions made by Foyle were written by Anthony…
This was a real difficult list to choose, and some of my favourites were left off the list – Miss Marple, Shetland and Jonathan Creek to name just three. I know as soon as I publish this, I will remember one that I have missed out or someone will suggest something that should have made the final cut.
Suggestions and recommendations very welcome…