Discussion in 'TV & Media' started by backstept, Sep 11, 2012.
You know, I can see that . . . .
Some recommendations based solely on the Netflix Watch Instantly criteria:
The Chicago Code
I highly recommend Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, etc. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Sherlock_Holmes_episodes
I'm also a big fan of David Suchet as Hercule Poirot in Agatha Christie's Poirot. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agatha_Christie's_Poirot
No clue whether these are on Netflix. I second Columbo, too.
^I believe they are both available on Netflix--but not sure if it's for both DVD and instant viewing.
Goren is my favorite cat-and-mouse cop since Columbo.
Definitely Luther, Wire in the Blood, Terriers was actually good too with a touch of humor in it, and of course Castle rocks!
Dunno if it's on Netflix, but it's on Hulu. The best of all time: Hill Street Blues
I've been rewatching Miami Vice on Netflix. Not every episode is the greatest but I'm enjoying it.
If you get into mysteries very much, you'll discover there are some basic differences between cop shows and detective shows. The key is the nature of the authority.
Cop shows themselves are fairly easily divisible into procedurals, character-driven workplace ensembles and social dramas. One type found in literary mysteries, the humdrum, does seem pretty much missing from the screen.
Detective shows are also divisible into great eccentrics, madcaps, cozies and hardboiled.
Then there is the closely related crime show, which is fairly easily divisible into social realist and hysterical reactionary. Oops, almost forgot the caper.
Whoever thinks all cop shows are the same just doesn't understand what they're seeing on screen.
I agree on the quality, but unfortunately only the first three seasons are available. The show didn't really hit its stride till later Season 2, and I'd say seasons three and four are the heart of the series. Season five is interesting because of the increased influence of David Milch, and it's still really good. Seasons six and seven seemed to lose something, even with the addition of Dennis Franz.
One area where "Hill Street" is impressive to this day is how they handled the ensemble. When I hear someone say it's impossible to write good stuff for everybody in a big cast, I think back to HSB (and its contemporary St Elsewhere). They had IIRC thirteen opening credits "starring" roles (maybe fifteen or sixteen in Season 5), and a number of recurring regular or semi-regular parts (Asst. DA Bernstein, Jesus Martinez, Chief Daniels, Grace Gardiner, Al Wachtel, Jerry Fuchs...). And they didn't just get lines here and there. The audience knew each one of them: their family life, their personal problems, their background, their sense of humor, which of their co-workers they liked and which they didn't, and on and on. And it didn't take years to build that, either, it was there almost from the beginning. Just allowing the characters to talk, to interact for a minute or so and deliver a few deftly-drawn, outside-the-plot lines contributed volumes to their believability. Really wonderfully done.
I watched a couple of those recently to show my wife "special guest villains" Michael Richards and Frank Zappa, and to see how the show compared to my recollections. It was OK, but not something I'd rewatch aside from the nostalgia factor. The stylistic emphasis is almost overwhelming and undercuts the realism a bit; there had to be some unfashionable interiors somewhere with old desks, dingy acoustic ceilings and bad flourescent lights. But they go to a city courtroom and it looks like it belongs with some futuristic alien civilization from TNG. Back in the day it was said that if there was a house in a location shot that violated their "no earth tones" rule, they'd have it painted gray.
It's interesting that Anthony Yerkovich went from the decidedly un-glamorous realism of "Hill Street" to Miami Vice where style was clearly valued over all else. He did re-use the name "Sonny Crockett," who was a pretty nasty, murderous biker on a few "Hill Street" eps.
True, though Adam-12 did make some effort to include episodes with little action. Of course there were plot complications, but they often got episodes by without car chases, foot pursuits or gunplay, and often focused on the officers answering routine calls from a wide range of everyday citizens. It seemed like they'd only use their siren a handful of times a season, which was quite frustrating for me as a kid. Dragnet did similar things sometimes, too: Friday spends an episode on a board reviewing a fellow officer's conduct, for instance, or doing background checks on new applicants.
One mystery detective show I've not seen since the original '80s run and recently revisited is Remington Steele; a local digital side-channel has started running it as part of "Me-TV" programming. And it's held up quite well. The leads are great, the premise is strong, the characters are real and funny, the plots are sometimes a little rushed but usually solid. Stephanie Zimbalist is terrific, never overselling her detective's hardness and handling the light comedy effortlessly. I never understood how she didn't become a major star.
You could also say the detective shows or at least some of them fall under two sub-genres the whodunnitor the howcathcum (aka. reverse whodunnit)
I'm actually surprised that nobody has tried rebooting REMINGTON STEELE yet. The premise would lend itself to a big-screen version.
^They should cast Daniel Craig, just to piss Pierce off...
The locked-room mysteries, like Jonathan Creek, are what I've always called "howdunits." I freaking LOVED that show.
Hypothetically speaking which fictional detective would you want to solve your murder. My vot would go to Columbo.
^Columbo or Poirot to catch the killer. Raylan Givens to shoot the culprit---over and over again.
A couple that haven't been mentioned yet are Monk and Psych. Not drama, but entertaining nonetheless.
Sherlock Holmes to solve the crime, Raylan Givens from Justified to bring him in, and Fitz from Cracker or Dr. Tony Hill from Wire in the Blood to make him confess. If all that fails, then leave him to Dexter.
Separate names with a comma.