'Jonathan Creek: Season Four'
(Alan Davies, Julia Sawalha, et al / 2-Disc DVD / NR / 2009 / BBC Video)
Overview: Houdini meets whodunit in these intriguing tales of magic and mystery starring comedian Alan Davies and Ab Fab alum Julia Sawahla! When a new TV crime series recruits Jonathan's specialist skills, he is reunited with his ex-girlfriend and old sparring partner, Carla Borrego (Sawahla). Carla is pushy and an equally determined amateur detective, and she has no intention of playing Watson to this dishevelled, laid-back Sherlock.
DVD Verdict: Now, the big deal here, straight off the bat, is the missing episode 'Satan's Chimney' (2001) that introduced us to Julia Sawalha's character. I seem to recall, back in the UK, it was classified as a Christmas special, and so isn't on this fourth season box-set. Which is a shame because the moment these two come together in the first epsiode, you know there has been a prior meeting, one that caused some disturbance between them, but here it is glossed over quickly. That is a shame, and so all I can hope, as there have been other specials recorded through the years, 'Black Canary' (1998) and 'The Grinning Man' (2008) is that they all come to light one day in their own little box-set.
Also, did you know that 'Jonathan Creek' is actually a real place in Kentucky?! Writer David Renwick and his wife drove through it whilst on holiday, and he stored the name away for future reference! Just thought I'd impart that nugget of wonderment ... before heading into these 6 new episodes.
'The Coonskin Cap' is the first episode here and after a slow start, we get introduced to the attempted murder scene; which kinda becomes obvious as to whodunnit, if your brain has half the chance to get in gear! Our unconventional hero investigates the puzzling murder of a policewoman, with the only clue to her bizarre death being reports of a stranger in a coonskin hat at the scene of the crime. Look out for a fully-naked man, junk flying in this episode too! 'Angel Hair' features British comedian Jack Dee in a very serious role as the husband of a much younger, and more successful pop star. This features an ingenious plot that I spent half an hour on pause trying to figure out and yet couldn't ie: the mystery of how a girl can grow back a full head of hair that only two days ago was hacked off by a kidnapper!
'The Tailor's Dummy' is one of those episodes where you can guess the killer just 3 minutes in; but as for why they did what they did, that's the true mystery here. This one stars British comedian Maureen Lipman, who spins her dramtic yarn nicely, giving us a plausible answer to a situation that was trying our little grey cells the whole way through! I men, how can a man physically transform himself into another person, right in front of someone's eyes? Oh, and look out for a neat how-you-too-can-do-it card trick at the 31st minute mark!
'The Seer of the Sands' has a very scenic beginning to it not to mention a street magic reveal - very funny and very interesting! It tells the tale of a ‘ghost hunter' trying to communicate with his lover from ‘the other side' after a fatal boat accident. Another good mystery but if you put your mind to it, you could almost get there yourself. Look out for a horrible, simply horrible snake trick gone wrong at the end though!
In 'The Chequered Box' an interesting plot unfolds where a senior police officer is filmed standing next to a hanged woman, but claims not to have seen the body! This was a wonderfully interesting plot, and yes, watching it unfold you kinda know how it was achieved, but why is (once again) the motive that matters here. And finally, in 'Gorgons Wood,' the question quickly arises: How did a priceless porcelain of the mystic monk Sikoto-no go missing from the small-town museum in Gorgons Wood? I mean, the theft took place, despite the fact that the Japanese figurine was surrounded by security guards. This is another brain teaser, an interesting lark, to say the least. As for how the culprit did it, well, I don't see it myself (too noisy, me thinks!), but still, full marks for a job well done, Mr. Renwick. It's just a damn shame the series had to end as it is, epsiode in episode out one of England's finest whodunnit's and why that was created in the latter years. This is a Full Screen Presentation (1.77:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
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