Thursday, April 8, 2010

Danse Macabre

"Y'see, this is where you and everyone else give up. You're making the big mistake of sticking to what's likely rather than what's logical."
"Danse Macabre"

In the timespan of one year, there is usually ridiculously little to look forward to for me regarding detectives. Classic mysteries are not written as often as they used to be and in the end I tend to only pick up older books. Even here in Japan, where there orthodox mysteries are still written relatively often, I tend to pick up books over 5 years old (mostly because of prices though~).

The only detective-related thing I every year can look forward to is the Detective Conan annual movie. For which I've already gathered a band of wannabe detectives to go together with. And also for the new Trick movie. For which I have also gathered a band of wannabe psychics to go together with. But this year, I had mostly been looking forward to Easter. Not because of a new Doctor Who series (well, maybe also because of that), but mostly because a new Jonathan Creek special would be shown. Last year's special, The Grinning Man was, ignoring some pacing problems, quite entertaining and in the meantime, I had been watching the original series.

Jonathan Creek tells the story of the titular magic act designer, who is always getting involved in (seemingly) impossible crimes. Locked room murders, disappearing people, appearing dead bodies, the classics of yore. And even though it sounds like a throwback to good old times at this time and age, the show feels surprising refreshing, with its witty writing and often solid plots. Often, but not always though. Writer Renwick seems to have trouble maintaining a standard for the series, especially the later seasons suffer from it and the series stopped in 2004. But with the disguised revival pilot 2009 special The Grinning Man he and Creek seemed back on track.

Seemed. Because if The Grinning Man reminded me of the earlier Creek seasons, The Judas Tree was definitely reminding me of the later seasons. I really wanted to like it. And I admit, the setting was quite good, similar to The Grinning Man with a haunting past and a truly spooky feeling. And then comes the ass pull, which, as the name implies, was totally uncalled for and not fair. Add in an admittely amusing, yet "What did he just say?! in a negative way" solution to a crime in the past and it left a bad, bad aftertaste. That and I really, really don't like Creek's assistent.

Should Creek retire? Maybe. Still, I would want a better special to be the final Creek episode...

Today's song: Camille Saint-Saëns [Arranged by Julian Stewart Lindsay] - Danse Macabre (Theme of Jonathan Creek)


  1. I, too, was extremely disappointed in this special. There's a lot wrong with the solution, besides the many things that were kept from the viewer, and Renwick pulled the motive out of his ass. It's almost like he wrote the whole script based on his first (and only) rough draft of the story.

  2. I like that you’re listening to Saint-Saëns; his Danse Macabre makes me drum like an out-of-control skeleton every time I hear it. Also make sure you check out Le Carnaval des Animaux; although it recalls Disney/Tim Burton immediately, some parts are quite fascinating (sorry for the late comment though).

  3. Hum, maybe I should enable mail notification on replies ^_~`

    Music that recalls Disney and/or Tim Burton can never be bad. Actually, lately my choice of music has been Disney music. In Dutch.

    "Ik houd van herrie, ik vecht fana~at!"