In that vein, I present my top ten mystery series. After all, I have been trying to arrest people's attention and cause comment without success on theological issues. Perhaps you will challenge my list. These are collections of stories that share a common element, mainly the person engaged in solving these mysteries.
Before I get to the ten, I want to add a few honorable mentions. They may not be 11-14, but they indicate some special element I appreciate.
One of the things I look for in any story is heart. Monk applied this in a number of ways. At the heart, Monk's lost wife at the beginning of the series brings pathos to an otherwise abrasive personality. His relationships with his assistants as struggling single mothers create a connected element of pathos.
ers and I, it formed the code question through which every perspective mate was judged, "New Ray or old?"
Now for the Top Ten:
Nick: (mumbles)Without a doubt a timeless classic.
Nora: "What are you saying?"
Nick: "I'm trying to get all the bad words out of my system."
If all this cannot convince you, just listen to that hauntingly beautify theme again. The depth of the Morse minor key of the beginning dissolves into the triumphant anthem of trumpet in the middle before descending back into the minor key briefly before ending in the rhythmic communication. Dash-dash, dash-dash-dash, dot-dash-dot, dot-dot-dot, dot. Such an apt mark, the show communicates in an indirect way, like a code.
Foyle's War is written by Anthony Horowitz, the dramatizer of 11 stories for Poirot. In 2000, with the impending end of Morse, ITV's ratings beast, ITV looked at 300 submissions and picked one about a detective during WWII.
Nothing fails in Foyle's War from the first four seasons. The writing is exceptional. Part of what annoys me about most mystery stories is the failure of the story to give you all the facts. The best mystery will provide you with all the clues to identify the culprit before the final act. The challenge is to do it without making it so obvious that a slug could solve it. Foyle does that so well, that you come to the end and still are surprised.
Not only is the writing excellent, backdrop of WWII adds flavor to the story. Each story grows out of the writer's deep research. It is not a story carelessly pasted onto the surface of the historical setting. The story settles into the warp and woof of the setting. You lose the ability to determine the difference between what is historical and what is fiction.
Michael Kitchen accepted the titular role and started to excise lines. He argued that most of those lines could be communicated with a look. He was right. The laconic Foyle plays so well against the drama. By remaining silent, Foyle lets the drama already present play. Add Honeysuckle Weeks and the horribly underused Anthony Howell, and the cast could not get better. The chemistry works without interruption.
I have called it the best mystery show ever. I have suggested it possibly could be the best TV ever. Episodes like "A Lesson in Murder" justify my opinion. Add to the mix David Tennant (Dr. Who) and Sophia Myles (Dr. Who and Maple), the question of conscientious objectors, and the state secret of casket building and you have a majestic drama-mystery, perhaps the greatest TV ever.
Number one cannot beat it, but greatness is not solely measured in TV performances, but also in other ways. Thus, the greatest mystery series cannot be anything other than...
1. Sherlock HolmesIn 1887, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle changed the world when he introduced the first private consulting detective. With deductive reasoning that beggared belief, Holmes and Watson embarked on adventure after adventure changing the face of literature. In the age where nothing was beyond man's ability to deduct, fantastic and what at other times would be considered magical events were brought under Holmes' deductive microscope to bring into reason.
Adaptation after adaptation have arisen in popular culture. From Basil Rathbone to Robert Downey Jr., many have played the greatest detective of all time. Currently two adaptations takes this monolithic character into the twenty-first century. Between Jonny Lee Miller and Benedict Cumberbatch, Sherlock wins by a mile, thanks to its innovative writing at the hands of current Dr. Who show runners, Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat.
Still, my dedication to Holmes remains firmly attached to the written page. Nothing has ever surpassed it in quality or variety. No other option presently available could ever surmount the grandfather of all mystery.
These are my Top Ten. Now, O tempora, O mores, O Internet open thy mouth and tell me how I err.