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Ghost Canyon

'Lovejoy: The Complete Collection'
(Ian McShane, et al / 22-DVD / NR / 2009 / BBC Home Video)

Overview: Fans of rascally part-time detective Lovejoy (Ian McShane, most recently of HBO’s Deadwood) will be thrilled with the recent release of Lovejoy: The Complete Collection. Containing every episode on 22 discs, this complete set follows the antiques dealer with "a keen eye for beauty" through more than 63-hours of sleuthing!

DVD Verdict: The series is about a character named Lovejoy, a man who is considered a "divvy" by the auctioning crowd. He has the almost supernatural talent to look at an antique & tell whether it is treasure or trash. Now you'd think that this would make him rich and sought after, wouldn't you?

Instead he's living in a mediocre home where his landlord barely tolerates him. (Although he is somewhat sought after by his antique selling landlord as well as some others who want him to see if they've got something of value.) Unfortunately for Lovejoy, the antiques he finds tends to be mixed up with violence, murder & mystery!

It took me a second to get used to the difference between '80s TV and the ones released '90s and after, but this series is worth taking a good look at. While Lovejoy is not a very nice guy at times, you can't help but like his character and root for him. My only complaint has nothing to do with the actual series, but with the DVDs. At one point during the first episode the sound got a little wonky and it was very hard to hear the dialogue!

Thankfully there's captions on the discs, so I was able to turn them on & still enjoy the episodes. None of the previous episodes after this had that problem, nor no more in the wonderous 22 disc set, so I don't know if it was just a bum disc or a glitch or what!

Anyhoo, Ian McShane, sporting the perfect '80's mullet, absolutely nails the character. I cannot imagine anyone other than McShane playing him. He's a good-looking guy and has just the right combination of swagger, charm, cool, and seedy sophistication. He's usually seen in jeans, leather jackets and t-shirts, and might wear boots or high top black sneakers. Dressing up for him might mean a sportcoat over the jeans. He makes wisecracks directly to the camera. He's not at all intimidated by the upper classes; in fact, his pretty disdainful of them. Loves to tweak their snooty, snotty noses and bring them down a peg or two.

There are certain things and people in this series which just make it so perfectly appealing. The acting is so good that you feel that you are there with Lovejoy and his sidekicks, the youthful Eric and the canny Tinker. The scenes in the auction houses, art galleries and antique shops all ring of authenticity. The beauty of the English countryside is always apparent, and the scenes in the small towns and marketplaces are wonderful to behold.

If you like British mysteries without violence and with a lot of humor, you'll probably love Lovejoy. This is a Full Screen Presentation (1.33:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Interview with author Jonathan Gash
Interview with Ian McShane and Gwen Humble
Interviews with Ian McShane as he looks back on Lovejoy, Parts 1-6