There’s a few things I have come to like thanks to my mum: Jamie Oliver, Days of Our Lives, Revenge (TV series), fruit cake and Jonathan Creek. “Boring old English lady crap” I hear you say… no it really isn’t. It’s not amazing but it’s not shit either and after 5 series I’ve still never guessed the outcome of a single mystery. My lateral thinking skills suck.
Granted it has lost a bit of its charm over so many series and specials, this series should really be the last. It’s just not that good. I think this has to do with the normalisation of Jonathan. He’s not quirky anymore. Gone are the days of living in a windmill and being the brain behind a camp-y magician’s tricks. He had a crush on a chubby woman and now he’s got an office job and a hot blonde wife, Polly (Sarah Alexander, whom I loved in Green Wing). I wasn’t a huge fan of Maddie (said chubby woman played by Caroline Quentin) but they had chemistry whereas Polly and Jonathan don’t seem to have much at all. Polly also seems like a total killjoy. The lack of sexual tension between sidekicks from previous seasons is really noticeable as instead of acerbic banter we get boring husband/wife dynamics.
Another problem over the last few seasons/specials is that so many mini mysteries are crammed into each episode and it can sometimes be confusing or they simply feel like filler material. Alan Davies has said in an interview that the budgets have been cut severely and that he doesn’t enjoy playing the character due to harsh work schedules and lack of money and I think it shows compared to the earlier seasons especially in the quality of writing.
In this season Polly and Jonathan move to Polly’s recently deceased father’s massive house in the countryside. As soon as they arrive Jonathan is called upon to investigate an attempted murder of an actress and the new village they are in provides plenty of “mysteries”. Although in a bizarre move the first episode of the series solves the crime in the first ten minutes…and why do we need to watch the rest of the episode? Don’t change the format!
There’s still the odd bit of dark humour, a stand out “mystery” that was pretty funny was when a robot vacuum cleaner was responsible for vanishing human remains. Really only one episode out of three was good and I’d barely call it great.
Totally worth it for hardcore Jonathan Creek fans but the census among fans seems to be that the show has gone downhill since series three. I enjoyed the odd episode since then and loved Adrian Edmondson being in the show but it’s just not as good as the early shows. If you like the show for the mysteries then you’ll be satisfied, I still couldn’t guess any of them. My plea to David Renwick – Keep Jonathan weird. Bring back the magician.