Late this summer PBS released the complete second series of itv’s hit crime drama Endeavour to the masses. The four-episode season from the British television network proved to be such a hit among audiences that only a couple months after its release on DVD and Blu-ray, itv awarded the series with a full-season renewal for a third series. There is currently no word on when Series Three will be broadcast. But speculation is that fans won’t see new episodes until sometime in 2015. That being the case, this summer’s release of Endeavour Series 2 will most definitely tide over audiences. Series creator/writer/executive producer Russell Lewis has taken the success of the show’s first series /season and built quite solidly upon it in this collection of episodes making it one of this year’s best new box sets for grown-ups. Lewis has built on the success of Endeavour’s first season first and foremost through his solid writing. The stand-alone stories that make up each of the four episodes will keep audiences just as much on the edge of their seats as in the show’s first series/season. Audiences that haven’t yet seen this series/season will note that Lewis has also incorporated a serial element of sorts to the show; a serial element that hopefully will not overshadow the show’s stand-alone element when it returns in 2015. Luckily in the case of this series the two elements are actually quite well-balanced. It’s one more reason that audiences will enjoy this series. The acting on the part of Shaun Evans and his cast mates throughout each of this season’s episodes completes the whole experience. Evans and company expertly interpret the episodes’ scripts and help to completely immerse audiences in the stories. Together with the gripping primary story lines and the newly added secondary, the acting proves without a shadow of a doubt once more why Endeavour remains better than any of the crime dramas currently polluting the “Big 4” and the major American cable networks now in its second series/season.
British television network itv’s crime drama Endeavour proved to be a surprise hit in its debut season last year. Its second series has proven to be even more of a hit both on television and on DVD and Blu-ray. The central reason for that success is the writing. The stories crafted by Russell Lewis for this outing are just as gripping as those developed for the show’s first season. Season opener “Trove” picks up right where the series left off in its first season with Morse having returned from his brush with death in “Home.” Audiences don’t know it at this point, but the happy working relationship that Morse has with Police Chief Superintendent Reginald Bright (Anton Lesser) is on the verge of a downturn beginning with this episode. It’s part of the season’s secondary writing that makes this season even more enjoyable and engaging. It will be discussed later. Getting back to the primary writing, this season’s second episode proves just as much why the primary writing keeps the show so enjoyable. “Nocturne” sees Morse investigating a series of murders that are linked to an old ghost story. And in “Sway” audiences are presented with a story that seems to have been influenced at least to some degree by the stories of Jack The Ripper. The comparisons are subtle. But they are there. “Neverland,” the season finale is perhaps the most gripping of the season’s episodes. That is because it highlights the secondary writing that comes into play this season. As Morse investigates a trio of murders, he uncovers corruption within the highest levels of Oxford’s society and even within the very police force for which he works. It leads to not just one but two cliffhangers that are sure to leave viewers waiting anxiously for Endeavour’s third season. There are those that have argued and who will, that the use of such a story element as these cliffhangers are far too below the standard set by Lewis in the series’ first season. Those that are open-minded enough though, will see the value in these elements. They keep anticipation high for the show’s third season. It’s also only the first time that Lewis has used a cliffhanger at all. So it goes without saying that Lewis has been tasteful in using it. Lewis can easily be forgiven and even applauded for that. Now the key is for itv to not leave audiences waiting too long for the show’s third season. If network execs sit on their hands too long, the use of the dual cliffhangers will work against them and Lewis. That’s because if itv waits too long to premiere Season Three, anticipation might have waned too much and such solid writing would have proven to be all for naught.
Endeavour’s second season proves in the long run to be quite a step up from the series’ first season. That is not meant in any way to discount its first season. Its first season was enjoyable in its own right. But this season has taken the success of that season and built on it in a big way. That is thanks in large part to Russell Lewis’ writing. The stories presented in this season each keep audiences engaged from start to finish. It is in itself a tribute to Lewis’ attention to detail. The secondary writing that went into these episodes is just as much of a positive worth noting this season. Lewis has incorporated a romantic interest for Morse this season. Most interesting to note here is that his love interest is black. Being that the series is supposed to take place in the 1960s–the civil rights era. It is interesting to see the cultural acceptance of such a relationship in the U.K. verses the lack thereof in the United States. It’s just one of the secondary story elements that Lewis incorporates into this season’s episodes that makes them so enjoyable. The other equally important story element incorporated into Season Two is the gradually degrading relationship between Morse and certain individuals inside the police force. Right from the season premiere to its finale, audiences see things really start to change especially between Morse and Police Chief Superintendent Reginald Bright. The ultimate revelation as to Bright’s role in this season’s events makes him a perfectly despicable character in the long run. It lets audiences know that something big is going to happen to him in the show’s third season. It basically lets audiences know that Bright will likely get what’s coming to him in Season Three. Here’s to hoping that in fact does happen. The inclusion of a new underlying romance subplot and that of corruption within the police force is nothing new to the worlds of television and movies. It’s been done. But what makes it work so well here is the fact that [Russell] Lewis had not used these elements in the show’s first season. With any luck, he will keep them to a minimum in the show’s third season. Hopefully things will be wrapped up nicely early in Season Three so as to allow the show’s stand-alone elements to once again shine. Regardless, their inclusion this season has done a lot to help advance the show and make it even more interesting and enjoyable.
The primary and secondary writing that went into Endeavour’s second season are both key aspects of the episodes that make them collectively so enjoyable. As important as they are to the overall enjoyment and success of Season Two, the acting on the part of the cast is just as important. Shaun Evans (Morse) and Roger Allam (DI Fred Thursday) are just as talented this season as in Season One. The duo takes its roles with the full seriousness they deserve even with the show still in its infancy. The care with which they present their characters makes audiences believe that Evans and Allam have been playing their roles for decades. At no point in any of this season’s episodes does the duo falter in its high quality acting, either. It makes suspension of disbelief that much easier and enjoyment of these episodes that much more in the long run. Together with the season’s stories overall, the pair’s acting makes Endeavour: Series/Season 2 a must for any true lover of the crime drama genre.
Endeavour has proven once again in its second series to be just as enjoyable as any major American crime drama on television today. It has proven that thanks both to the primary and secondary aspects of the show’s writing. The expert acting on the part of Shaun Evans and Roger Allam helps prove this argument, too. By themselves, each factor makes its own case why audiences will enjoy this latest installment of Endeavour. Altogether, they make it stand head and shoulders above its American counterparts once again. Endeavour: Series 2 is available no on DVD and Blu-ray. It can be ordered direct from PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=35620626&cp=&sr=1&kw=endeavour&origkw=Endeavour&parentPage=search. Audiences can get more information on Endeavour online at:
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