Andy Dalziel is a man accustomed to being underestimated; those who don't recognize that this Detective Superintendent Inspector is a force of nature do so at their own risk. Under that tough exterior is a ferocious intelligence. This isn't the charming but murderous environs of Midsomer, or Inspector Morse's Oxford. No, this series features mysteries with the roughness of the rolling Yorkshire dales and Dalziel's formidable form. To quote the Fat Man, "A man who can play the bagpipes shouldn't have trouble with this job." Colin Buchanan convincingly contrasts as Detective Inspector Peter Pascoe, trying to cope with balancing work and life.
On Beulah Height: This is a melancholy, fine adaptation of Reginald Hill's mystery novel, with the landscape as another vivid character, one of the best episodes of the entire series. The quality of the narrative, cinematography, and music as excellent as a classic film. If only the Jack Russell could protect his young ward better; the story deftly weaves loss past and present, with the previous flooding of a village to create electric power. Thanks to writer Michael Chaplin, script editor Andrew Clifford, Daemion Barry for the music, Graham Frake for photography, and producer Nick Pitt. The improvement in production is so marked that this may be the best series to start with, so you know just how good this series can get; Nick Pitt excels. Thus far, Series 6's "Truth and Consequences," and Series 7's "Men's Sana," "Sins of the Father," and "For Love Nor Money" attain the same level of quality.
Recalled to Life: MI5 agents and marital subterfuge gall Dalziel and Pascoe. Andy's reputation suffers a blow when he and his old supervisor are investigated for a case of long-ago wrongful imprisonment. Fine guest-actors add life to an improbable plot, but the book was convoluted as well; this enactment is an improvement.
Time to Go: Why do the brother and sister look so alike? Great casting? No: it's the great young actors Andrew-Lee Potts (Primeval: Volume 1 (Series 1 & 2)) and his real-life sister Sarah-Jane Potts doing a bang-up job as a rather frightening pair of siblings. The wonderful Bernard Cribbens, of Doctor Who: The Complete Fourth Series and Doctor Who: The End of Time, Parts 1 and 2, does a turn as their Uncle. Harriet Walter, of The Lord Peter Wimsey-Harriet Vane Collection, guest-stars as the ex-wife of our favorite Fat Man, calling him a "giant sausage-roll."
The British Grenadier: Post-traumatic stress disorder is explored when a kindly Andy visits an old flame, Stella Moon, and winds up as a hostage in a village pub. An armed siege results, with the Super pulling punches and shots, thus endangering more lives.
Look forward to Season Five, where in Episode Three, "Foreign Bodies," a recovering (from his wounds) Dalziel is in amorous mode in a beautiful, massive Victorian hotel on the coast. Dracula-like, a body washes ashore in a coffin, a black dog roams the seaside resort, and the same actress who played a Midsomer psychiatrist (who spawned evil children) uses her ripe feminine whiles on our susceptible voluptuary, Andy. Brontë fans may especially enjoy a mystery that includes their blustery Yorkshire landscape. Enjoy!
PS: For those of you who want more, Series 6 through Series 11/12 are available for Region 2. Series 6 and 7 are worth it, after that the show drastically declines in quality, as reviewers in the U.K. note. Even in the U.K., you can't get these series without Dutch subtitles (it's easy to turn them off by selecting UIT under Ondertitls on the main menu). You'll need a good Region-Free DVD player, like Philips DVP3560 All Region 1080p HDMI Upconverting DVD Player, but order a AmazonBasics High-Speed HDMI Cable (6.5 Feet/2.0 Meters) with it, as this important component is not supplied! Or get another brand of HDMI cable, they're all ok. If all you want is to play your U.K. or other DVDS, that's all you need, don't worry about the other plug-ins that come with the DVD player. BUT be sure to read how to get the DVD player region-free with instructions posted by the first reviewer (S. Hatayama). When you enter the numbers as he instructs, you won't see a change on-screen until the Region Code pops up, don't worry, his instructions are perfect. To adjust picture-size on screen (mine was too stretched out), just hit the zoom button on the remote until it fits your screen. "Setting" will give you high-resolution choice - my old T.V. is 1080i. If the picture is too black (I had to go +5 to see all the details, you may need more/less), up the brightness under the "Personal" choice in Picture (Standard, Bright, Soft, Personal) menu.