There were many one hour and somewhat fewer two hour episodes of the Hercule Poirot mysteries shown on PBS; and foresighted fans should have taped them then, because when A&E re-runs them, parts of each have to be removed to make room for all the commercials. Very often, the solution at the end flashbacks to scenes that we never saw because of the abridgments and frankly the value of these episodes are reduced considerably.
But now Acorn Media is reissuing them in complete versions, with the two-hour features on DVD and the shorter ones on VHS. Both series are a delight. The acting genius of David Suchet is enhanced by his usual supporting cast (Hugh Fraser as Hastings, Philip Jackson as Japp, and Pauline Moran as Miss Lemon), the wonderful guest casts, the done-to-perfection ambiance of time and place--the late 20s and early 30s--with all those fabulous art-deco buildings they have managed to find and populate.
I have already commented on the first two sets (see those webpages). This third entry contains "The Kidnapped Prime Minister," "The Adventure of the Western Star," and "How Does Your Garden Grow?" The first offers a plot (in both senses of the word) that has been copied in many a mystery since then, and the red herrings are quite good. The second reveals its r.h. half way through, and still holds some surprises. The last is a good old Christie murder story in which all the villainous characters turn out to be...well, see for yourself.
I keep asking myself if the reason that I keep watching these episodes over and over is the superb acting, the marvelous décor, the other way around or both in equal measure. I will guess at the last.(...)