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|Index||26 reviews in total|
Inspector Morse's departure from our screens and lives left a gap that was not easy to fill, but Vera seems to have stepped right into his shoes. Brenda Blethyn is a talented actress who brings life to the well-written plots of this new TV crime drama. The setting, in and around Newcastle, is charming too, very different from gritty inner city dramas as well as from picture perfect villages that are typically the sites of crime shows. The relationship between Vera and her sergeant mirrors that of Morse and Lewis (the single work obsessed detective and his long-suffering family oriented colleague). While Morse as a fifty-something bachelor was presented as an oddly desirable, enigmatic, man with his occasional liaisons, Vera as a fifty-something single woman is depicted as lonely and frumpy. Morse's love of booze was endearing; Vera's is merely pathetic. This is, sadly, a realistic comment on the different ways in which single men and women are perceived the world over. Unlike Morse, which was pretty much a two-character series, this one involves the larger detection team as well. The resolution is not the result of inspired, instant, intuition, but careful detection. I watched the series in reverse order, and preferred series 2 to series 1; the second episode of the second series is superb.
Brenda Blethyn is the best. Only in England would they make a terrific mystery series about a frumpy middle aged woman who leads a homicide squad. No romance, no sex, just plain good mystery and terrific acting. I have just finished all 8 episodes and cannot wait for the next season. If you enjoy brainy mysteries and fabulous cinematography then this series is for you. DCI Vera Stanhope is sometimes temperamental, often blunt, rude and then kind and compassionate. She seems so alone and damaged but her work is her therapy and Her relationship with her Sargent (David Leon) is a thing of beauty. It is mother-son, sometimes best friends, and occasionally adversarial though it is obvious they are devoted to one another. These are murder mysteries that are complex, character rich and rooted in the personal histories of those involved. These stories are not dependent on gore and shock value but are smart, intelligent thrilling puzzles that draw you in for the ride. Watch one and I guarantee you will become a fan!
Love this series...only downside is they make me feel cold! :-) The weather where it's filmed is terrible! So different from Southern California where I live. It's really great to see a smart mature woman as the lead. At least she's not a 20 year old blonde bimbo! Too many series in the US are full of the tall skinny blondes...boring! This is true of many of the British series that make it over to the United States. They are full of characters who look like REAL people and not Hollywood starlets or runway models. You see the same in "Scott and Bailey", another British TV series I really love. I wish we'd see more of British dramas and comedies. I'm sure I'm not alone in wanting the quality of programs the Brits put on. Keep up the great work.
The plot lines always seem to grab our attention. My husband and I actually enjoy Vera's character. To me she seems like a female version of Colombo, but she is not quite as corny--instead she is more human...just as clever and determined...never giving up until she finds the killer. I think one needs to develop a taste for British detective stories (they are not nearly as "glamorous" as American whodunits) in order to enjoy watching them. We also notice the same actors appearing and reappearing in different series, inevitably playing a variety of different character types. We find British shows well-written and often more original than their American counterparts. In fact, when we started watching British shows we could barely understand the actors and now we are quite comfortable listening to British English. So many excellent shows would never be available in the US if we didn't have public broadcasting. Thank you public television for hours and hours of commercial-free entertainment and a variety of intelligent, stimulating dramas from which to choose.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"Vera" is a British crime series in the vein of "Blue Murder", except that the female chief inspector here is single and has just about no personal life; her partner is a much younger man, married with three kids, so their relationship is strictly on a business / mentor-student level. The series is very well-made: photography, music, camera-work are all exemplary. The mysteries are hard to guess. The acting is excellent by the regulars as well as the guest stars. Brenda Blethyn creates a very real character as the grumpy but compassionate Vera, and David Leon is solid as her low-key partner who is eager to learn from Vera, but eager to help her be more open to people as well. Paul Ritter plays (very well) a forensic pathologist with a macabre sense of humor. The series is very sad, dark and depressing: it dwells on the feelings of loss of those close to the murder victim(s) in each case, and usually there is not much catharsis at the end; the resolution of the cases often leaves most people involved in an even worse spot than they were at the start, before their secrets and sins were exposed. It's definitely not a program to watch when you need something to lift your spirits. I'd also recommend letting some time pass between watching the episodes instead of watching them one after the other like I did, because otherwise they may start to feel a little formulaic in the second season.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"Vera" is a sort of cross between "Columbo" (with its slightly disheveled, idiosyncratic protagonist wearing a raincoat and driving a beat-up auto), "Kojak" (with the protagonist often ill-tempered and lacking patience with her subordinates and others) and "Wallander" (with desolate landscapes and grisly murder a-plenty). Brenda Blethyn is a superb actor and someone with a strong allure as the sharpest cop on the block by far. The plots are very intricate but the characters seem less wholesome than, say, in "Foyle's War" or other cop dramas, which is good because the overall theme is murder in contemporary England, which lacks the historic charm of period pieces. The Brits do this sort of thing very well, and one can only imagine that the reason these shows don't make prime time network TV in the US is because too many Americans would have trouble understanding the accents. It is also slow moving, which adds to the mood very nicely, and one can imagine Americans losing patience because there isn't enough poppy theme music a-la Jerry Bruckheimer. (I am an American, by the way, before you think I'm dissing the US.) Each episode is 90 minutes without commercials, so they are all like movies in themselves, just as with "Wallander," "DCI Banks," and others in the genre. Highly recommended.
I have to totally disagree with the previous reviewer who said Vera's character isn't believable. Certainly Vera is moody and temperamental (aren't we all flawed in some ways?),but she gets the job done and gets her team to produce results. While she has her own demons, she's tenderhearted when she needs to be and ultimately kind to her staff if they do their jobs and deserve her kindness. The way she gets people to tell her things is calculated, but the method works on the show and in real life. I find the acting in "Vera" to always be superb, and the plots are clever, fresh and full of surprises. Also, David Leon (Joe) is gorgeous--and this from a 75-year-old woman. I'll miss him in upcoming episodes, but I'm sure the shows will still be top quality. Vera is one of the reasons this U.S. Midwesterner has become a fan of British TV. Aside from public television, sports and a couple of series, I hardly watch any U.S. TV anymore.
We have loved the first three seasons of Vera and some of us have
watched them again and again, so when Season Four showed up in the US,
we jumped right in.
The first episode didn't seem up to snuff though. It was slow and the characters didn't show the intelligence they'd been given in the past and we had to deal with a bit of barnyard vocab. Ew. We also had to watch whiny and ornery teenagers which are never interesting. Oh, and we were sad to see the original set of Joe's children gone. They were beautiful. After enduring these changes, we were hoping hoping hoping that the other three episodes would be better. And they were!! The last three episodes are practically perfect Vera again. Yay!!!!!
Besides enjoying the characters and the stories and the locations, we also love that they're able to make the scenery bleak w/o washing out the color like some other current UK shows. And we love that they keep the vocab high road and often throw in local slang. We miss Billy a LOT, but enjoy the new coroner. And we'd like to see more of Mark and we'd like to see Joe do more. Have noticed that he might not be sticking around though. Bummer.
These are good stories and they're filmed well. We haven't read the books yet, which is probably a good thing. When we read the books first, we're almost always disappointed with the films. Films are better when the book author's stories are adhered to as much as possible. We're doing films first, books second this time around.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Vera has developed into the must watch Crime drama series on our
screens, I've read all the reviews on here with great interest,
Inspector Morse left a massive void, Vera has definitely grown into a
show worthy of filling the void.
I'll be honest and say I think it got off to a fairly shaky start, the opening series wasn't brilliant, it was good, but when you compare episodes from Series 2 onwards there is no comparison. Silent Voices from Series 2 is fantastic, Series 6's recent opener Dark Road was up a notch, exceptional.
The filming and locations are always top notch, Newcastle and the surrounding areas are wonderful, the moors are jaw dropping.
Brenda Blethyn is an unbelievably talented actress, her initial Geordie accent I didn't buy into but after a few episodes she became spot on. She has a massive presence in the role and has truly made it her own. I feared when David Leon decided to leave, he was a great sidekick to Vera, but Kenny Doughty has proved to be a more then worthy replacement.
I was gutted that Wunmi Mosaku decided to leave, she bounced off Brenda Blethyn brilliantly, but Cush Jumbo made a great cast member.
I can see Vera running for many years to come, it's getting better and better. 9/10
I'll make this review short, English not being my native language.
This is a very very good crime TV series of the following reasons: * always an intriguing and interesting plot, that keep the suspense up all along.
* The characters are credible, and you get to know their personal challenges too.
* Blenda Blethyn really gives life too the main character, With conviction. She really is an outstanding actress, and gives life to Vera in a way that we really feel for her, and her lonely personal life.
* The only negative I can think of is the departure of her co-star David Leon. They really were a good match, and I miss his presence in the latest series.
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