Years ago I used to absolutely love the winter. At bedtime I would love diving underneath the covers and pulling them all the way up to my chin, as my feet blissfully wrapped themselves around a boiling hot water bottle. Not sure when I stopped feeling like this but now I OFFICIALLY HATE THE WINTERTIME . The dark mornings and dark early evenings really depress me. The non-stop rain and chilly weather makes me just want to stay tucked up in bed all day. However, recently one thing has helped temporarily lift me out of this winter gloom though, namely watching the BBC1 detective crime drama series Death in Paradise! It certainly is not Inspector Morse by any means, but with sun, sea and endless stunning scenery to die for, it certainly is the escapism tonic that I desperately needed!
My view of this programme has not always been that favourable though. I went through what I like to call, ‘my Bruce Springsteen moment’ with it. Regarding ‘The Boss’, I could not bear him in my early teenage years. We had a family friend who loved him and I just thought he was boring(Bruce Springteen not my family friend, although the latter was not a laugh a minute I grant you). Anyway, by the time I had reached my thirtieth birthday I noticed that I was starting to like this rock God after all. It did not feel right though at first because I had been so anti him for so long. I saw it as a sign of me getting old. You see when you reach thirty plus you start liking Bruce Springteen, enjoy listening to the news and love wearing slippers……..FACT . I found that the more tunes I heard of his then the more I liked him, I had somehow evolved in to being a rather big Bruce Springsteen fan to my surprise.
Therefore, with ‘my Bruce Springsteen moment’ now explained, I went through a similar experience with Death in Paradise. The few episodes that I saw of it in the first few series definitely failed to light my fire so-to-speak. They bored me and failed to really draw me in enough. I did not care about the characters or the plot that much. Overall, I found it pretty unconvincing television if I am honest. Not sure how or why but I started watching this show again towards the end of the last series(series four). As with ‘The Boss’, it slowly dawned on me that I was gradually becoming a fan of this show after all. The things that had irritated me about it previously no longer did. It has a quirky nature to it that appeals to me now. The beautiful Caribbean landscape juxtaposed against the murkier world of murder makes for an interesting combination, albeit murder done in a rather tame tasteful way. It is not sublime television but at the same time neither it is not the worst thing that you will ever see.
With regard to this latest series, then the star performer so far has been without doubt actor Kris Marshall(who plays lead cop, Detective Inspector Humphrey Goodman). Goodman is like the Hugh Grant of the detective world, i.e reserved, charming and a bit awkward in delivery. I do find some of his ramblings and crime solving intuitions a bit far fetched at times, nevertheless it is a very well acted part played by Kris. I think he excels at the comedy stuff and overall gives a very naturalistic performance.
Talking of comedy, I think the light-hearted humour that we regularly see both within and outside of the murder plots, is the best feature of this show. At it’s core this is a crime drama but it is also one that does not strive to be too serious or dramatic within this genre. Two characters that regularly contribute a comedic element to the show are police officers Dwayne Mayers and JP Hooper. They are proficient in their jobs, however their banter and interplay often gives rise to genuinely amusing moments.
Three episodes into series five and my only real criticism of the show is the formulaic nature of the episodes. By this, I mean that the structure of the them is very samey, which thus gets a bit too predictable to watch at times. This was my only issue when I watched series four. For example, we get the murder, then light hearted humour(before they are called about the murder), then the murder investigation starts, then all suspects are interviewed, then the murderer is revealed, and then the show ends on light hearted note once again(once the investigation is over). It is also starting to irritate me when we see Inspector Humphrey assemble all the murder suspects together in a kind of ‘showdown meeting’ near the end, to then reveal to them and us who is the guilty one. I find this section unbelievable and it is the only time I lose my ‘suspension of disbelief'(it makes me aware that this is actors who are ‘acting’). I would like the structure of the episodes to be mixed up more. This would add a fresher feel to the series and make it more appealing to watch in my view.
Despite my last criticism, this is a well made quirky crime drama that is definitely worth watching. It will never be the greatest detective show that you have ever seen in your entire life, but at the same time I do not think that it ever tries to be in fairness. Good acting and good writing set in an idyllic location………Death in Paradise CERTAINLY IS MY PERFECT REMEDY FOR MY WINTER BLUES! 4/5.