August 29, 2009

IT'S WHY GOD GAVE US TV IN THE FIRST PLACE:

'Inspector Lewis' mixes highbrow with lowdown (Mary McNamara, 8/29/09, Chicago Tribune)

Lewis, now an inspector, is back in Oxford, with his own detective sergeant, James Hathaway (Laurence Fox), who, though not as arrogant as Morse, does have a tendency to quote Shakespeare a bit too often for Lewis' taste.

So not only is a viewer treated to the stately spires and cobblestone charm of Oxford, but each episode inevitably imparts some bit of scholarship or other, and a pretty decent mystery too.

On Sunday, Percy Bysshe Shelley is the focus, so brush up on your knowledge of the Romantics, or clues like "Prometheus" (as in "Prometheus Unbound") will whiz right by you. Just so you know, the title of the episode -- "And the Moonbeams Kiss the Sea" -- comes from Shelley's "Love's Philosophy," parts of which are repeated a few times with enduring lyricism even as the body count rises. [...]

The next episode makes a U-turn into Wagner, the world of boxing and the fall of East Germany. It would be a, well, crime to say more because the beauty of "Inspector Lewis" is watching how seemingly unconnected incidents emerge as a single series of events that inevitably expose some odd subculture or other, all within the confines of the still-formidable setting of Oxford.

"And the Moonbeams Kiss the Sea," written by Alan Plater, is especially well done, with a terrific main conceit, a very believable set of players and a genuine ongoing conversation about the nature of art itself.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 29, 2009 6:26 AM
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