Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. ‘You’ve Done It Again, Lewis!’: On the Enduring Worth of ‘Inspector Morse’

 

There are, it seems, about a million British detective shows on offer to American audiences (about a million to the power of ten when you add in all the other European sleuthing nationalities), from heart-pumping “Luther” to the more sedate “Ms. Marple’s Mysteries.” Having grown up without cable and had 90 percent of my television-viewing experiences before high school courtesy of WGBH, I have a definite familiarity with the full range of British television offerings (“Vicar of Dibley,” “Keeping Up Appearances,” and “Waiting for God” were all household favorites), but age prevented me from ever making the acquaintance of “Inspector Morse.”

It took until halfway through high school, when I had, in a rare coup d’état, actually managed to get hold of the solitary television clicker, to see the Inspector on Netflix and my mother in no uncertain terms demanded that he disappear after half an hour. However, I was hooked. Even within the diverse range of detective dramas, Morse is a quite singular property, elaborate plotted, skillfully filmed, chock-full of more obscure references than an Umberto Eco novel, and poignant without being sappy or sentimental. A genius product of pop culture. 

The titular Inspector is himself a bit of a departure from the typical flock of Brit detectives; an aging middle-class Englishman with an Oxford education, an accent that could only have come of childhood elocution lessons, and an equal love for real ale and Wagner. John Thaw’s piercing cornflower eyes and reserved expressiveness (perhaps a contradiction in terms, but entirely appropriate when one watches him balance the manners of an Englishman “of a certain age” with his innately virulent emotions) lend an odd sort of beauty to a character who is flawed both in body and soul. His eyes are most often crinkled in a decidedly contemptuous expression and, while he is as brilliant and sensitive as the brief background suggests, he is equally capable of cruelty and vanity. Along for the ride is his much more centered DS, Robbie Lewis, a cheerful Northerner with two kids, a wife, and every day worries.

Inspector Morse rarely throws a punch, or even runs for that matter, and seems to delight more in catching grammatical mistakes than criminals, but the 90-minute-long mysteries he solves are almost always expertly plotted, even if such an occurrence of murders in Oxford would make it a rival with Detroit for violent crime. The ancient city and surrounding countryside, a cast of characters from all levels of society, clues from the depths of academic obscurity, and a hastily driven Jag Mark II twine to create both watchable and moving tales. There is, in the interactions Morse and his faithful sidekick have with the secondary “goodies,” the suggestion of a lifetime’s worth of life; of pain, love, triumph, and failure. 

All of this may make for a good TV show, even a great one, but it doesn’t quite tell why “Inspector Morse” deserves viewing, why it has a place within the western pop-culture canon that has been set out by Paul Cantor. It deserves such a spot because it is a compellingly told tale of the heights and depths of man and his nature, of the role that morality must play in a society and an individual life for it to be meaningful, and the need to preserve the cultural products of the past. Morse himself, reflecting the complexity of our world, is both the best and the worst man to defend and show all three. He devotes his life to catching criminals and riding his little corner of the world of the horror that man’s baser nature perpetuates, but cannot bring himself to stop any of his own self-destructive habits. He acts as the enforcer of morality in his community and goes above and beyond to see justice done, but his own moral sense, guided by ancient more than Christian virtues, often suffers in the process. He enjoys the best cultural products of the past and tries his best to imbue his sergeant with the same love, in a culture that is moving deliberately in the other direction. 

Perhaps the best analogue to Inspector Morse, both in character and literary worth, is Philip Larkin. In a way, they almost inhabit a single personality, instinctive conservatives with a dread of the modern world, an acidic but regretful atheism, and equal measures kindness and cruelty within their instinct. Even their gradual declines, watched with horror and consternation by the friends they never quite seem to comprehend that they had and punctuated by heavy drinking and failed loves, mirror each other, ending in relatively early demises. Larkin’s poems, meanwhile, express the same kind of alienation from modern society, search for meaning, and childlike joy in the achievements of days gone by as the hard-drinking detective’s ninety-minute narratives. 

“Inspector Morse,” in much the same way as The Whitsun Weddings or High Windows, contains a world within its thirty-three episodes. It is an intensely, almost painfully, human world, filled with the best, the worst, and all that falls in between to create a life, to create a story both intimate and universal. A world that should be watched. 


*I should admit, as an addendum, that there is a certain amount of nostalgia that I have about this show that makes me far from the most impartial of critics (and if that this post seems excessively strange or poorly written, that I am extremely jet-lagged).

The summer before I left for college, I mostly worked at home (partly because I have a special-needs sibling who needs frequent supervision and partly because the mechanics of orchestrating my move to the UK needed much planning, especially since the release of AP results meant that we didn’t actually know where I was headed until July), and my dad’s carpentry shop is, linked with my uncle’s auto body shop, right next to our house.

This meant that I grew up with him dragging me to the various job sites and warehouses where he plied a good portion of his trade, but also that he is always home for lunch. Since I insisted on us having BritBox, he began watching “Inspector Morse” when he was on lunch break at home, after seeing the panel for a half-watched episode in the continue watching section, with me. He is worthless with names, so generally I’m asked “to find the show with that grumpy old bastard, I can never remember his damn name when I go to type it in.”

Now, every break that I am home, we watch Inspector Grumpy Old Bastard together (my mom still vacates the room within the first minute if she is home), and he is just as invested as me, maybe even a bit more so. And maybe, just maybe, when I’m feeling a little homesick late on a Saturday night, I plug my headphones and watch an old episode under the covers.

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There are 52 comments.

  1. Patrick McClure Coolidge

    KW for one so young you write wonderfully. 

    • #1
    • January 23, 2020, at 4:23 PM PST
    • 8 likes
  2. JustmeinAZ Member

    We loved Morse. You might like Endeavor – Morse as a young policeman.

    • #2
    • January 23, 2020, at 4:38 PM PST
    • 7 likes
  3. KirkianWanderer Coolidge
    KirkianWanderer

    JustmeinAZ (View Comment):

    We loved Morse. You might like Endeavor – Morse as a young policeman.

    Funny you should say that. I had been holding out on watching Endeavour (I already know how this story ends, what is the point?) and then when I returned to England Sunday afternoon, I fell into my usual jet lagged pattern of being tired to the point of falling asleep in the early afternoon and, when I push past it, not being able to get to sleep until 3 in the morning. I was already desperate the first night to find something to do, and I was too out of it to get anything out of reading, so I turned on Endeavour. In the course of the week, I’ve watched most of seasons 2, 3, 4, and 6 (I can’t watch a show like that in order to save my life). Despite my reservations, I was pleasantly surprised, although Shaun Evan’s accent doesn’t quite hit right for me. Have you seen Lewis? 

    • #3
    • January 23, 2020, at 4:48 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  4. Mark Camp Member

    Good OP, good thread, no comments, too much to say.

    (I love it when that happens on Ricochet.)

    • #4
    • January 23, 2020, at 5:05 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  5. Hoyacon Member

    Morse (or John Thaw) has been a welcome guest in our household for about 30 years–and I don’t even really like opera. He is, like many enduring characters, an imperfect man, who drinks too much by today’s standards (mostly paid for by Lewis). Lost somewhat in the video treatments, I’d say, are his relationships with women, which reveal him to be less of a curmudgeon than his outlook on murderers and the culture of the day reveals.

    If forced to chose, my favorite story is The Wolvercote Tongue (“The Jewel That Was Ours,” in print).

    • #5
    • January 23, 2020, at 5:10 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  6. KirkianWanderer Coolidge
    KirkianWanderer

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    Morse (or John Thaw) has been a welcome guest in our household for about 30 years–and I don’t even really like opera. He is, like many enduring characters, an imperfect man, who drinks too much by today’s standards (mostly paid for by Lewis). Lost somewhat in the video treatments, I’d say, are his relationships with women, which reveal him to be less of curmudgeon than his outlook on the culture of the day.

    If forced to chose, my favorite story is The Wolvercote Tongue (“The Jewel That Was Ours,” in print).

    Absolutely (and that’s a very good mystery, although I’m hard pressed to pick a favorite; I can do it easily with Lewis but not with Inspector Morse). I think Morse is also one of the few cases where the television adaptation is on par, if not really superior, to the original IP. The books aren’t bad, but the rapport between Morse and Lewis has a different quality because they are closer in age (Dexter actually tried to fudge that closer to the tv series in the later books) and Morse is a bit of a perv. I think the way he interacts with women in the series is both truer to the nature of the character and more telling of his essential goodness, although the later books bring some more fulfilling relationships, rather than just his fascination with dragging Lewis into various adult theaters.

    • #6
    • January 23, 2020, at 5:16 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  7. ToryWarWriter Thatcher

    Its one of my favourite shows. Do yourself a favor and dont watch the last episode.

    • #7
    • January 23, 2020, at 5:21 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  8. Percival Thatcher
    Percival Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I like the series. I prefer “A Touch of Frost” just a bit. Jack Frost reminds me of a former boss.

    Recently I’ve started watching “Midsomer Murders.” Tightly written.

    • #8
    • January 23, 2020, at 5:46 PM PST
    • 6 likes
  9. Michael S. Malone Contributor

    Wonderfully written comment. I watched Morse on its first fun in the U.S., again at various times over the last thirty years, and am watching it now during its current run on KQED in San Francisco. Somewhere recently I read that it was recently voted the best British mystery series of all time. I agree with that decision. Morse to me has always been the last survivor of the Enlightenment — a classically educated man, deeply romantic, who enjoys his pint — but who is trapped in the chaos, amorality and Godlessness of the modern world.

    When I was young, watching Morse I also fell in love with Oxford. Little did I know that, beginning in 2000 I would travel to the University once per year for 15 years to run a conference there, debate at the Oxford Union, visit many of the places I first watched on Morse (including the same pubs), and become a Fellow at the Said Business School there. On the wall of my office these days I have a sheepskin that officially names me a Distinguished Friend of Oxford University — the only one, I believe, without a Royal title before my name.

    I also stayed at the Randolph Hotel every time I visited — and when I sat in the Morse Bar there at night, I would always raise a glass to Inspector Morse. For me, it all began with him.

    • #9
    • January 23, 2020, at 5:53 PM PST
    • 10 likes
  10. KirkianWanderer Coolidge
    KirkianWanderer

    Percival (View Comment):

    I like the series. I prefer “A Touch of Frost” just a bit. Jack Frost reminds me of a former boss.

    Recently I’ve started watching “Midsomer Murders.” Tightly written.

    I’ve never watched “A Touch of Frost”, I should give it a try. I tried to watch the first episode of “Midsomer” a few years ago and just couldn’t get through it, but I know a lot of people that love it. “Lewis”, the sequel to Morse, is quite good, as is “Prime Suspect.”

    • #10
    • January 23, 2020, at 6:07 PM PST
    • 6 likes
  11. KirkianWanderer Coolidge
    KirkianWanderer

    Michael S. Malone (View Comment):

    Wonderfully written comment. I watched Morse on its first fun in the U.S., again at various times over the last thirty years, and am watching it now during its current run on KQED in San Francisco. Somewhere recently I read that it was recently voted the best British mystery series of all time. I agree with that decision. Morse to me has always been the last survivor of the Enlightenment — a classically educated man, deeply romantic, who enjoys his pint — but who is trapped in the chaos, amorality and Godlessness of the modern world.

    When I was young, watching Morse I also fell in love with Oxford. Little did I know that, beginning in 2000 I would travel to the University once per year for 15 years to run a conference there, debate at the Oxford Union, visit many of the places I first watched on Morse (including the same pubs), and become a Fellow at the Said Business School there. On the wall of my office these days I have a sheepskin that officially names me a Distinguished Friend of Oxford University — the only one, I believe, without a Royal title before my name.

    I also stayed at the Randolph Hotel every time I visited — and when I sat in the Morse Bar there at night, I would always raise a glass to Inspector Morse. For me, it all began with him.

    Thank you. I have a few friends that attend Oxford and its definitely quite high on my list of ‘grad schools to apply to’; how wonderful that you got to fulfill your dream. My love affair with England, funnily enough, began with Jeffrey Archer. I got glasses at six, after two years of teachers telling my parents that I was a bit slow at reading (I was actually more than a bit blind), and to my parents’ opinion have been trying to catch up on lost reading ever since. They didn’t really separate the adult and children’s books in our house, so I read plenty of things that I probably shouldn’t have by the age of eleven, and Jeffrey Archer got me hooked on English politics. I also loved classical literature, and a great deal of it is English, so it followed from there. But Morse definitely made everything just a little more magical. 

    • #11
    • January 23, 2020, at 6:13 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  12. Nerina Bellinger Member

    I second the recommendation to watch “Touch of Frost” based on some surprisingly funny books by R.D.Wingfeld (the first in the series is called “Frost at Christmas”). However, as you said so eloquently in your OP, there is something unique about Morse and I agree too that John Thaw and Kevin Whately developed a lovely relationship beautifully depicted in the final episode when – spoiler alert – Lewis says “good-bye”to Morse.

    The Inspector Lewis series is a worthy successor to Morse, but I must admit Endeavour is a favorite of every single person in my family which includes kids ranging in age from 12 – 25 and then my husband and myself. It pays homage to Morse in little ways, like the way the opening scenes alternate with black credit screens. The music, especially the theme for Endeavour is – too borrow an English word – brilliant. Subtle, and beautiful at the same time. My daughter took it upon herself to learn the theme on piano and we are treated to it often. Fun fact, the beeping sound at the beginning of the theme is actually Morse (hah!) code for “M.O.R.S.E.” I believe Barrington Pheloung also wrote for the original Morse and Lewis.

    I personally find Shaun Evans enormously appealing as a young, idealistic Morse making his way in the policing world with the indomitable Fred Thursday as his superior during the tumultuous 60s and 70s. Honestly, the characters – even minor ones, are developed and thoughtful and you will find yourself attached to most of them. One more fun fact, John Thaw’s daughter, Abigail Thaw, has a recurring role in Endeavour as a newspaper editor who develops a friendship with Morse. Well, now I’ve just talked myself into rewatching all of Endeavour again (but I’ll have to wait until the kids are all home from college because they will be mad if I watch without them :)).

    Wanted to add that Fred Thursday is played by Roger Allam who might be my favorite character in Endeavour. He’s “old school” and recognizes that his way of policing is coming to an end but he remains a sympathetic character and is a father-figure to Morse though the relationship is so well-done that it is not cliche between Morse and Thursday.

    • #12
    • January 23, 2020, at 7:02 PM PST
    • 7 likes
  13. She Reagan
    She Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    KirkianWanderer (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    I like the series. I prefer “A Touch of Frost” just a bit. Jack Frost reminds me of a former boss.

    Recently I’ve started watching “Midsomer Murders.” Tightly written.

    I’ve never watched “A Touch of Frost”, I should give it a try. I tried to watch the first episode of “Midsomer” a few years ago and just couldn’t get through it, but I know a lot of people that love it. “Lewis”, the sequel to Morse, is quite good, as is “Prime Suspect.”

    Highly recommend “A Touch of Frost.” The Frost books are quite good, too. I wish there were more of the TV adaptations.

     

    • #13
    • January 23, 2020, at 7:22 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  14. Steve C. Member

    KirkianWanderer: chock full of more obscure references than an Umberto Eco novel

    Ok, I’m intrigued.

    • #14
    • January 23, 2020, at 7:36 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  15. Percival Thatcher
    Percival Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    KirkianWanderer (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    I like the series. I prefer “A Touch of Frost” just a bit. Jack Frost reminds me of a former boss.

    Recently I’ve started watching “Midsomer Murders.” Tightly written.

    I’ve never watched “A Touch of Frost”, I should give it a try. I tried to watch the first episode of “Midsomer” a few years ago and just couldn’t get through it, but I know a lot of people that love it. “Lewis”, the sequel to Morse, is quite good, as is “Prime Suspect.”

    The first one was the one that hooked me. Reddest herring I’ve ever seen.

    • #15
    • January 23, 2020, at 7:47 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  16. JustmeinAZ Member

    Another vote here for A Touch of Frost. Such a loveable, un-PC curmudgeon. It took us a while to figure out he had a different partner every episode. We rationed watching because there weren’t a lot of episodes per season.

    • #16
    • January 23, 2020, at 9:01 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  17. KirkianWanderer Coolidge
    KirkianWanderer

    Nerina Bellinger (View Comment):

    The Inspector Lewis series is a worthy successor to Morse, but I must admit Endeavour is a favorite of every single person in my family which includes kids ranging in age from 12 – 25 and then my husband and myself. It pays homage to Morse in little ways, like the way the opening scenes alternate with black credit screens. The music, especially the theme for Endeavour is – too borrow an English word – brilliant. Subtle, and beautiful at the same time. My daughter took it upon herself to learn the theme on piano and we are treated to it often. Fun fact, the beeping sound at the beginning of the theme is actually Morse (hah!) code for “M.O.R.S.E.” I believe Barrington Pheloung also wrote for the original Morse and Lewis.

    I personally find Shaun Evans enormously appealing as a young, idealistic Morse making his way in the policing world with the indomitable Fred Thursday as his superior during the tumultuous 60s and 70s. Honestly, the characters – even minor ones, are developed and thoughtful and you will find yourself attached to most of them. One more fun fact, John Thaw’s daughter, Abigail Thaw, has a recurring role in Endeavour as a newspaper editor who develops a friendship with Morse. Well, now I’ve just talked myself into rewatching all of Endeavour again (but I’ll have to wait until the kids are all home from college because they will be mad if I watch without them :)).

    Wanted to add that Fred Thursday is played by Roger Allam who might be my favorite character in Endeavour. He’s “old school” and recognizes that his way of policing is coming to an end but he remains a sympathetic character and is a father-figure to Morse though the relationship is so well-done that it is not cliche between Morse and Thursday.

    I imagine that my Dad and I will get around to watching it together at some point (before or after Lewis, which I’ve already seen, I’m not sure), but considering how far between and relatively short my breaks are, I’ll probably be in grad school by the time we get there. I do appreciate all of the clever little references to, and appearances, of characters that appear in Morse, particularly Strange. Considering the other series ended its run out of deference to Morse rather than sagging viewership, I’ll be curious to see if a young Lewis or DCI McNutt make an appearance before the end. And Roger Allam is a brilliant actor! I would heartily recommend him in the BBC Radio series Cabin Pressure, which can be found on iTunes (and which features his actual speaking voice, as opposed to the Oxfordshire accent used for the show). 

    • #17
    • January 24, 2020, at 6:27 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  18. SkipSul Coolidge
    SkipSul Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    KirkianWanderer (View Comment):

    JustmeinAZ (View Comment):

    We loved Morse. You might like Endeavor – Morse as a young policeman.

    Funny you should say that. I had been holding out on watching Endeavour (I already know how this story ends, what is the point?) and then when I returned to England Sunday afternoon, I fell into my usual jet lagged pattern of being tired to the point of falling asleep in the early afternoon and, when I push past it, not being able to get to sleep until 3 in the morning. I was already desperate the first night to find something to do, and I was too out of it to get anything out of reading, so I turned on Endeavour. In the course of the week, I’ve watched most of seasons 2, 3, 4, and 6 (I can’t watch a show like that in order to save my life). Despite my reservations, I was pleasantly surprised, although Shaun Evan’s accent doesn’t quite hit right for me. Have you seen Lewis?

    I’ve not watched Lewis enough to have formed an opinion, but I was put off by Endeavor’s very first episode – so much put off, in fact, that I felt compelled to write about it here. It had all the same flaws that the later Star Wars films have had in that it felt compelled to not only introduce every possible later Morse character it could in the first episode, but to try to set up and explain them all right away too. This is fundamentally flawed story-telling – whacking the viewer over the head with references instead of letting them naturally evolve in their own contexts. And besides that it was also socially woke to the point of rectonning the era it was set in, much as the Father Brown series has made a mockery of Chesterton. Put simply, as you have Observed that Morse gives Oxford the murder rate of Detroit, Endeavor and other historically-set but modern-produced mystery series seem to give pre 1965 Britain a closeted-homosexual population density to rival a gay pride parade.

    And you were correct in your observation on the voice of Morse in the younger Endeavor – it’s flat-out wrong, untrue to the character, and in a still class-obsessed Britain that casting choice was very likely deliberate.

    https://ricochet.com/132261/archives/cultural-suicide-the-death-of-the-british-mystery/

    • #18
    • January 24, 2020, at 8:27 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  19. colleenb Member
    colleenb Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Thanks for this post and all the responses. I’ve watched all of Inspector Lewis and the beginning of Endeavour. I cannot watch things out of order so I’m trying to figure out how to watch the Morses without spending any money. I liked Midsomer Murders even though it was formulaic – how could it not be having seeming hundreds of episodes. Will try Touch of Frost based on Ricochetti recommendations. Again a great post. 

    • #19
    • January 24, 2020, at 10:50 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  20. Ansonia Member
    Ansonia Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Thank you for this post KirkianWanderer. This Inspector Morse sounds exactly like the show my husband and I would both like, something we could watch together.

    • #20
    • January 24, 2020, at 10:54 AM PST
    • 1 like
  21. KirkianWanderer Coolidge
    KirkianWanderer

    colleenb (View Comment):

    Thanks for this post and all the responses. I’ve watched all of Inspector Lewis and the beginning of Endeavour. I cannot watch things out of order so I’m trying to figure out how to watch the Morses without spending any money. I liked Midsomer Murders even though it was formulaic – how could it not be having seeming hundreds of episodes. Will try Touch of Frost based on Ricochetti recommendations. Again a great post.

    Thanks. A lot of the Morses (not sure if all, I watched them first on Netflix and then BritBox) are posted in full and without audio tampering to YouTube. I’ll link season 1 episode 1. 

    • #21
    • January 24, 2020, at 11:11 AM PST
    • 1 like
  22. KirkianWanderer Coolidge
    KirkianWanderer

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    KirkianWanderer (View Comment):

    JustmeinAZ (View Comment):

    We loved Morse. You might like Endeavor – Morse as a young policeman.

    I’ve not watched Lewis enough to have formed an opinion, but I was put off by Endeavor’s very first episode – so much put off, in fact, that I felt compelled to write about it here. It had all the same flaws that the later Star Wars films have had in that it felt compelled to not only introduce every possible later Morse character it could in the first episode, but to try to set up and explain them all right away too. This is fundamentally flawed story-telling – whacking the viewer over the head with references instead of letting them naturally evolve in their own contexts. And besides that it was also socially woke to the point of rectonning the era it was set in, much as the Father Brown series has made a mockery of Chesterton. Put simply, as you have Observed that Morse gives Oxford the murder rate of Detroit, Endeavor and other historically-set but modern-produced mystery series seem to give pre 1965 Britain a closeted-homosexual population density to rival a gay pride parade.

    And you were correct in your observation on the voice of Morse in the younger Endeavor – it’s flat-out wrong, untrue to the character, and in a still class-obsessed Britain that casting choice was very likely deliberate.

    https://ricochet.com/132261/archives/cultural-suicide-the-death-of-the-british-mystery/

    The trick might just be starting with season 2 (which I did). I definitely don’t think that it’s as good as Morse (more formulaic, just for a start), but it’s quite consistently ok to good, which satisfies me at 2 in the morning. Father Brown is in a league of its own as far as horrid adaptations. Haha, it’s also amusing to compare that to the attitude in Morse itself, where, when he talks to a gay don that he is friends with, he reminds him to be discreet because a lot of people don’t approve. (Although I haven’t seen the episode, I think there might actually be a pride parade in Endeavour). I wouldn’t doubt it, actually, though it’s lost on the show runners that part of the charm of Morse in the original series is that his accent is clearly learned (he’s indicative of a kind of meritocratic man who has disguised his origins in order to advance and fully enter the elite of British society, but hasn’t lost himself in the process, as his attitude towards his ‘betters’ when solving cases shows). 

    • #22
    • January 24, 2020, at 11:22 AM PST
    • 1 like
  23. KirkianWanderer Coolidge
    KirkianWanderer

    Ansonia (View Comment):

    Thank you for this post KirkianWanderer. This Inspector Morse sounds exactly like the show my husband and I would both like, something we could watch together.

    You definitely should. It’s the kind of show that is great fun to watch with another person. 

    • #23
    • January 24, 2020, at 11:23 AM PST
    • 1 like
  24. Hang On Member
    Hang On Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Morse is the only British detective series that I don’t care for. (I think that is a true statement. I can’t think of any other I don’t like.) Don’t care for John Thaw. Don’t know why. He just rubs me the wrong way. I admit I haven’t watched more than a handful of them, but have put it down to John Thaw. I think he came across as too smug, now that I think about it. 

    I do like Endeavour. Though like you, I was somewhat reluctant to watch it at first. 

    • #24
    • January 24, 2020, at 11:40 AM PST
    • 1 like
  25. colleenb Member
    colleenb Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    KirkianWanderer (View Comment):

    colleenb (View Comment):

    Thanks for this post and all the responses. I’ve watched all of Inspector Lewis and the beginning of Endeavour. I cannot watch things out of order so I’m trying to figure out how to watch the Morses without spending any money. I liked Midsomer Murders even though it was formulaic – how could it not be having seeming hundreds of episodes. Will try Touch of Frost based on Ricochetti recommendations. Again a great post.

    Thanks. A lot of the Morses (not sure if all, I watched them first on Netflix and then BritBox) are posted in full and without audio tampering to YouTube. I’ll link season 1 episode 1.

    Thanks. I don’t like watching on my laptop but for Morse I may make an exception and just get started. I too have enjoyed so many British mysteries – Shetland, The Coroner, Unforgotten. It sounds like you and your dad have plenty to watch for many years to come.

    • #25
    • January 24, 2020, at 11:45 AM PST
    • 1 like
  26. Jim Kearney Contributor

    Percival (View Comment):
    Recently I’ve started watching “Midsomer Murders.” Tightly written.

    You’ll find that the early ones — especially those written by the great Anthony Horowitz — are indeed tightly written. Much less so now. The show has been in production for more than two decades. The writing is now labored; Christie-esque whodunits are rare, creepy melodramas more frequent; Midsomer’s demographics have been conspicuously politically corrected; and John Nettles is very much missed. 

    • #26
    • January 24, 2020, at 12:30 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  27. Rodin Member

    Morse (the Grumpy Old Man is atop the heap). Endeavor, as we have no more John Thaw, is a good one, too. But a trend I gave detected in the shows in the 21st century is their societal preachiness. So I really love the 20th Century “Midsomer Murders”, but the 21st Century plot lines not so much, although the casting remains good. And that also affects Endeavor. 

    • #27
    • January 24, 2020, at 12:34 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  28. KirkianWanderer Coolidge
    KirkianWanderer

    Rodin (View Comment):

    Morse (the Grumpy Old Man is atop the heap). Endeavor, as we have no more John Thaw, is a good one, too. But a trend I gave detected in the shows in the 21st century is their societal preachiness. So I really love the 20th Century “Midsomer Murders”, but the 21st Century plot lines not so much, although the casting remains good. And that also affects Endeavor.

    Definitely. I don’t watch terribly much TV, and, in large part because of growing up really only with PBS, the majority of what I do is British, and I find myself gravitating much more to older shows now a days. Vicar of Dibley is a really good example, although it’s a comedy rather than a detective series. The main character is a slightly preachy women vicar, but she has manifest and obvious faults, and her male opposite, a very Tory village leader, argues from the opposing side with just as much force and just as many faults. 

    • #28
    • January 24, 2020, at 12:43 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  29. colleenb Member
    colleenb Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    KirkianWanderer (View Comment):

    Rodin (View Comment):

    Morse (the Grumpy Old Man is atop the heap). Endeavor, as we have no more John Thaw, is a good one, too. But a trend I gave detected in the shows in the 21st century is their societal preachiness. So I really love the 20th Century “Midsomer Murders”, but the 21st Century plot lines not so much, although the casting remains good. And that also affects Endeavor.

    Definitely. I don’t watch terribly much TV, and, in large part because of growing up really only with PBS, the majority of what I do is British, and I find myself gravitating much more to older shows now a days. Vicar of Dibley is a really good example, although it’s a comedy rather than a detective series. The main character is a slightly preachy women vicar, but she has manifest and obvious faults, and her male opposite, a very Tory village leader, argues from the opposing side with just as much force and just as many faults.

    I also enjoyed the Vicar of Dibley – especially because she gets to marry Richard Armitage at the end. British comedy can be a bit over the top sometimes but generally I find it less fraught, more gentle, more social than American ones. I always thought that Cheers worked because it was a community – but then perhaps it was based on a British comedy. 

    • #29
    • January 24, 2020, at 12:52 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  30. Rodin Member

    KirkianWanderer (View Comment):

    Rodin (View Comment):

    Morse (the Grumpy Old Man is atop the heap). Endeavor, as we have no more John Thaw, is a good one, too. But a trend I gave detected in the shows in the 21st century is their societal preachiness. So I really love the 20th Century “Midsomer Murders”, but the 21st Century plot lines not so much, although the casting remains good. And that also affects Endeavor.

    Definitely. I don’t watch terribly much TV, and, in large part because of growing up really only with PBS, the majority of what I do is British, and I find myself gravitating much more to older shows now a days. Vicar of Dibley is a really good example, although it’s a comedy rather than a detective series. The main character is a slightly preachy women vicar, but she has manifest and obvious faults, and her male opposite, a very Tory village leader, argues from the opposing side with just as much force and just as many faults.

    Yes, thank you Britbox. 

    • #30
    • January 24, 2020, at 12:52 PM PST
    • 2 likes