I often see Dennis Potter's work compared to David Lynch's, so I'll weigh in: Dennis Potter was the artist that David Lynch wants to be when he grows up. Potter knew how to bring bizarre and even grotesque elements into the service of his story in a way that Lynch tried to do in "Twin Peaks," with uneven results. In Potter's work, every jarring image and odd tangent has a job to do. When you see, for example, an entire hospital ward break into a minstrel version of "Dem Bones," you can assume it reflects the protagonist's view of the British health care system. (Plus, it's hilarious.) If Lynch meant for us to learn something from the backwards-talking midget in "Twin Peaks," well, it went over my head. Potter's screenplay for "The Singing Detective" is funny, unsettling, heartbreaking, sweet and maddening, often all at once.
"The Singing Detective" may not play well in Fort Wayne: it's true, this isn't "Touched By An Angel." (Neither is it "Irreversible," by the way: you have to be pretty thin-skinned (so to speak) to find this material genuinely offensive.) But if you believe that art can be both shocking and thrilling, can provoke as it evokes, can and should take outrageous risks in order to take us someplace completely new, then you've got to find a way to see this series. If you love words, if you appreciate originality, if you want to see acting that ranges from excellent to relevatory, then rent or borrow "The Singing Detective." Once you've seen it, you'll want to own it.