Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Tuesday's Overlooked (or Forgotten) Television: ENDEAVOUR starring Shaun Evans and Roger Allam


I am in love with Roger Allam so I likely can't be sensible about this. But bear with me.

Shaun Evans, Roger Allam and Jack Laskey.

I'M MAD ABOUT THIS SHOW!

I'm liking it even better than the original Morse and that's saying a lot. I love the Oxford milieu and the gorgeous music (Barrington Pheloung). As always the setting is dazzling. The camera shots of the Oxford spires and domes, the light, make me weak in the knees. I'm a big opera fan so I love that aspect. I love the burgeoning relationship between Morse, DI Fred Thursday (Roger Allam) and PC Jim Strange (Sean Rigby). What wonderful casting.

I've seen the 2012 pilot and recommend it highly. Just tripped over the four 2013 episodes available on Netflix Streaming and hit the jackpot. I'm a little confused about the four other episodes that are supposed to be out there. But I'm waiting patiently until all is made clear.

I've only watched two (of 2013) so far and I'm not waiting any longer to recommend this.

The second episode titled, FUGUE, especially. This one ties in Morse's knowledge of opera with murders that appear to be the work of a brutal serial killer who is taunting Morse. The casting of Shaun Evans as the young Morse, a complex character just fitting into his eccentricities, establishing his rep as a loner, an odd duck who needs careful handling, is perfection.

Here in these early episodes Morse is derided by his fellow workers, especially the new and rather odious chief superintendent (played superbly by Anton Lesser) who sneers at Morse's oddball gumption and his interest in opera. One assumes that his fellow cops resent the obvious fact that Morse is heads above them all when it comes to unraveling clues and seeing things the others routinely miss. They prefer to see him as a misfit. Men are not above indulging in pettifoggery - it really is tiresome. But there we are.

The fact that Morse just has no patience for minds less than his own is obvious. It's that Sherlock Holmes syndrome.

I leave it up to Morse to decipher the baffling (and I MEAN baffling) clues scattered throughout these episodes with me occasionally saying 'huh?' out loud and wondering what did I miss. But that's okay, part of the enjoyment.

And last but not least, I did mention that I am smitten - my heart belongs to Roger Allam. Well, it does. I love him in the part of DI Fred Thursday, Morse's mentor in the force who spends a lot of his time softening the young detective's sharp edges. He knows that Morse is capable of great things. If only the higher ups would allow it (but that's not the way police hierarchy works - is it?) and if only Morse were not his own worst enemy.

I love that they show Fred Thursday's gentle family life in the second episode. I love the sweet looks he shares with his wife. SO adorable. And yet he's a hard cop, make no mistake. But there's something about this character that just me makes me swoony. I guess I'm a sucker for gruff on the outside, soft and mushy on the inside. Plus I like his hat.

Since this is Tuesday, don't forget to check in at Todd Mason's blog, Sweet Freedom, to see what other television, movies or audio/visuals other bloggers are talking about today. Todd has all the listings. We're a lovely, free-ranging bunch.

19 comments:

  1. Allam is wonderful in this but so is Evans who is I think hust remarkable casting as the young Morse - they have just started the second season here in the UK - I don;t think it's better than MORSE, but it is much, much netter than LEWIS!

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    1. Yeah, I couldn't get into LEWIS either. I tried and tried and much as I like the actors, there was just something missing.
      Not taking anything away from Shaun, but my heart belongs to Roger. :)

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  2. Hello Yvette;

    It will come as no surprise to you, since we have no television, that we have seen none of this. But we did watch and enjoy, somewhere at sometime, John Thaw as the original Morse and so are pleased that you are happy with this continuation.

    Oxford of course we know well. It really is the loveliest of cities, made so by the antiquity of the colleges which are so much part of the centre. Additionally, with such a large student population, it has a vitality and cultural life which is, in our view, second to none.

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    1. Hi Jane and Lance, I've only ever visited the splendid city of Oxford once many years ago and always wished I could go back. But in the meantime I enjoy these mysteries and pretend.. :)

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  3. We're recording this new series of Endeavour to watch at our leisure - they say it will be a little 'darker' than the former episodes! :-o

    The wonderful Roger Allum is a delight, too - brilliant with Benedict Cumberbatch in a BBC comedy radio series called 'Cabin Pressure' here in the UK (sadly just finished). If you can get hold of it, it's a very cleverly scripted show about a small airline, with the inimitable Stephanie Cole, too!

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    1. Well, the crimes in these episodes are pretty dark to my way of thinking. But we'll see... I'll have to see if I can get hold of the Cabin Pressure show. Sounds a treat. Thanks, Sue. :)

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    2. I don't think the official BBC links will work overseas for you but I found this via Audible.

      I will check with my cousin in NH because daughter and I introduced him to Cabin Pressure while we were over there last year and I know he was able to download the episoade - but I don't know if he had to pay for them....?

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  4. I loved this series too, much against my expectations. I loved Morse & Lewis, which I thought was a brilliant continuation of the original. I thought Endeavour might be a step too far but I thought it was great. I agree with you about Roger Allam & the casting. Have you seen the episode where Endeavour goes home? The actor playing his father is so like John Thaw, they obviously took care with the casting. I love that Strange calls him Matey, even in their younger days. Very clever & I'm looking forward to the second series.

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    1. It's so hard, Lyn, to keep track of the way they release shows nowadays. Very difficult if you expect rhyme and reason. :)

      I haven't seen the episode you mention, but I'll keep an eye out. I just haven't had much luck with Lewis though I've tried.

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  5. Agree about Lewis. But this makes me hopeful.

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    1. It's wonderful, Patti. You'll see. :)

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  6. I wasn't sure I'd like this series, but I really do. I'm so relieved when television or movies get things right!

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  7. I felt the same way, Joan. Love it when they get things right. :)

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  8. I haven't really watched this series, but I can't be disloyal to my favorite detective, Inspector Foyle in Foyle's War, played by Michael Kitchen.

    I have a question. I just referred a blogger to this blog to see the list of recommended Nero Wolfe books. i see three of them listed on the left side. Is your list accessible and are your hilarious reviews of some of them also accessible?

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    1. Foyle would allow you to watch Endeavor. :) I love Michael Kitchen too. You can access things on my blog by going to the 'search' thingy at the very bottom of the page. Type in Nero Wolfe (or whatever) and pages pop up. :)

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  9. I watched all these when they were on MYSTERY! I think it was early last year. They were fantastic. Much more imaginative plots than LEWIS which was so bleak and cynical. So many arrogant, supercilious and egocentric characters. Drove me nuts.The actors are much more interesting in ENDEAVOUR. Kevin Whately never did anything for me even on MORSE. As a lead in his own series I couldn't really get excited about LEWIS. I've only seen a few of those. But with ENDEAVOUR I was anxious for the next one as soon as the one I was watching ended.

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    1. That's what I couldn't like about LEWIS - thanks John. I just found the whole thing too damn bleak. Right.

      ENDEAVOR is much more interesting, characters wise and any-wise.

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  10. Yvette, my wife and I love this show! We had never watched INSPECTOR MORSE (shocking, I know) and so we sought it out after watching the ENDEAVOR pilot and first four episodes. MORSE was OK, but after two episodes, we decided it wasn't as compelling as its prequel.

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    1. Oh, you have to give MORSE more than two episodes worth, Rick. :) But I do love ENDEAVOR. Hopefully they'll go into full blown production so we don't have to wait as long for new episodes.

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