Monday, March 02, 2015

George Gently & Miss Fisher: two TV series episodes

     Gently: The Lost Child (2012) Episode 3 of the 2012 season. [D:Nicholas Benton. Martin Shaw, Lee Ingleby] An adopted child is kidnapped, but the reasons aren’t money. The kidnapper was himself an adopted child. The adoption agency is run by a woman with well-meaning but mistaken motives. Gently and Bacchus must navigate an emotionally intense tangle of past history, motives, secrets, and events. People are unable to reveal essential knowledge because they are afraid of their own vulnerability, and because they want to do what’s best for their partner. Well meaning motives cause trouble. Gently and Bacchus’s own lives mirror some of the relationship they must investigate.
     Like the other Gently episode we’ve seen, this one’s moody, sad, psychologically complex. Hunter (the author of the books) clearly is more interested in how the random collisions of private and public knowledge and motives lead to catastrophe. ***

     Miss Fisher: Raisins & Almonds (2012) [D: David Caesar. Essie Davis, Nathan Page.  Based on the books by Kerry Greenwood.]
     It’s the 1920s. The Hon. Phryne Fisher is for some reason displaced to Melbourne. There she lives in a fine house with a full staff and several hangers-on that assist her in her investigations. Just how she has created a PI career for herself is unclear, since this is the 5th episode. The series is now in its third season, we will watch it when we can.
     The series is agreeable fluff, lovely clothes and cars, stereotypes galore (Australia at the time was still very much a colony), many different accents, and light-weight historical references, which in this episode form a large part of the plot and puzzle. The McGuffin is a formula for synthetic rubber, created by the murder victim, who has Zionist connections. Family rivalries motivate the murder. There’s some kind of romance developing between Miss Fisher and Inspector Jack Robinson. Miss Fisher has a gun and a dagger, both of which she uses when she needs to.
In short, an adventure romance of the kind that is rarely written these days, which may explain why these books are quite often translated into video.
     The scripting, acting, photography add up to competent story-telling. A well-crafted entertainment. Worth watching if you like this genre. Wikipedia has entries on both Kerry Greenwood and the TV series.**½

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