'Masterpiece Mystery! Arthur & George'
(DVD / NR / 2015 / PBS)
Overview: In 1906, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, having lost his first wife, was overcome with grief; even Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson refused his call. It was only when his secretary, Woodie, presented him with an apparent real-life miscarriage of justice, that he could be roused to action.
DVD Verdict: 'Arthur and George' was both a surprise and a delight to watch. Not only did it draw on several real events from Conan Doyle's life, it brought the era to life, the prejudice of superiority, the rules of class society, manners, dress, questionable law enforcement of the day, and yet another insight into the English school system.
What most impressed us, in addition to a mystery to be solved and a "who-dunnit", was Doyle's real-life attempt at challenging the English criminal system. Very satisfying, educational in a fun way, and wonderful acting.
And with that in mind, Martin Clunes is excellent as the eponymous Arthur, sporting a genuine Scots accent and a Victorian gentleman's sensibility. Wonderful writing and period scenery provide a convincing platform for the actors to bring the plot to life. As mentioned, the device of having the real life characters of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his secretary as the protagonists in a crime drama provides an interest well above the validity of the story; or the sophistication of the plot (should you think otherwise to my own previously-stated opinion).
Ergo, for my money, 'Masterpiece Mystery! Arthur & George' has superb writing, is very well done, and the dialogue, couched in antique terms and rhythms, makes this mini series a MUST WATCH, trust me! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.