Masterpiece Mystery! Inspector Morse: Pilot Through Series 6 is a wonderful reward for fans of this imported British crime drama. The box set boasts all twenty-seven of the series’ episodes on fourteen discs as a starter. This is just the start of what fans will appreciate from this potential contender for a slot on this critic’s list of the year’s best box sets. Also for audiences’ enjoyment, they are treated to a bonus interview with series star Kevin Whately (who played Inspector Lewis) as well as a bonus “Making of featurette that takes audiences behind the lens of this hit crime drama. The full series run and the bonus content collectively make this box set well worth the time and money for any fan of Inspector Lewis. One can’t ignore the set’s packaging. It plays just as big a role in the set’s overall presentation as the aforementioned aspects of the box. Together with those factors, it makes a solid case for a potential spot on this critic’s list of the year’s best box sets.
American TV shows that run twenty-seven episodes are generally considered to be not that successful. In American television, twenty-seven episodes is generally the equivalent of perhaps a season and a half for a show. However in the case of a show such as Inspector Lewis, that’s actually quite a bit considering that each episode ran roughly ninety minutes. That equals out to roughly forty point five total hours of programming, or a total of two thousand four hundred and thirty hours of programming. It would take nearly forty-one hour-long episodes of an American crime drama to equal this. Add in the fact that Inspector Lewis survived through six seasons/series because of its solid writing and audiences get even more reason to pick up this box set. Unlike American television, its writers didn’t rely on sex appeal and overt violence to drive its episodes. This is such a welcome change of pace for those that want more than just a bunch of eye candy and blood. And this was the case from the pilot all the way through the series’ beautiful ending. It really serves as a monument to crime drama writing done right.
The writing that spans all six seasons/series of Inspector Lewis is a triumph for fans that have followed his character since the days when he worked with Inspector Morse. To that extent, audiences will appreciate the bonus “Making of” feature included in this new complete Inspector Lewis box set. That’s because while it does offer some behind the scenes information on this series, it also offers a rather in-depth history of how Inspector Lewis came to be his own person after Inspector Morse ended. It’s interesting to note that between the two series, everything really came full circle by the end of Inspector Lewis. The “Making of” featurette shows how Lewis went from being the young, cocky sidekick in Inspector Morse to being the cranky old detective that was Inspector Morse. Keeping that in mind, one could even argue that Inspector Lewis was less its own series, than a continuation of Inspector Morse in its own right. That makes this series box set even more valuable for anyone that has followed the career of Inspector Lewis from his earliest days with Inspector Morse.
The bonus “Making of” featurette is quite the interesting addition to this new box set. It’s not all to which fans have to look forward, either. Also included as a bonus, is a first person “interview” with Kevin Whately. Whately discusses in his “interview” what it’s like to play Robbie Lewis and what made it so fun to play his character. He also discusses the expectations from Season 5, and much more. It is slightly dated being that Whately is discussing a previous season. But Whately’s thoughts on playing Robbie Lewis for twenty years makes up for that and makes his “interview” another nice addition to this set.
There is so much that can be said of Masterpiece Mystery! Inspector Lewis: Pilot Through Series 6 as one can already tell by now. But a proper look at this set wouldn’t be complete without looking at the set’s packaging. On the outside, it is a relatively large box. But even if the set had been released on Blu-ray as well as DVD, the set still would have been relatively large. It still would have consisted of at least ten discs if not more. Audiences will appreciate that that packaging was not even larger when looking at how the discs were packaged inside the set. All fourteen discs are contained within three cases that make up the box. In order to keep the number of cases as small as possible, each disc was placed smartly inside each case. They are placed on their own spot on “plates” inside the case. Not only does this help to conserve space inside the case, but it also protects the discs from one another. So to the credit of itv and PBS, this was again a very smart way to package the set. It would have been nice to see the set released on Blu-ray. But as is, the DVD packaging combines with all of the aforementioned factors to easily make this set a contender for a spot on this critic’s list of the year’s best new box sets. It’s available now and can be ordered direct from PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=23286606&cp=1413205&ab=Aspot10off49&parentPage=family. More information on Inspector Lewis and other Masterpiece Mystery! programs is available online at http://www.facebook.com/masterpiecepbs and http://www.pbs.org/masterpiece. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.