After beating boxing legend Sugar Ray Leonard British boxer Terry Downes commented that “I didn’t beat Robinson. I beat his ghost”.
Well, after watching the latest episode of Jonathan Creek I understand his comments. I watched the ghost of a once enjoyable show shuffle around on my TV screen and oh how I wish I could have given it a sharp punch to the solar plexus.
If you haven’t seen Jonathan Creek before it used to be a light hearted murder mystery series in the style of Monk. The unique selling point was that the crimes in Jonathan Creek were locked door mysteries or other impossible crimes.
Now not to put the rose tinted spectacles on too much but at least the old episodes were always creative. Some of the ‘solutions’ may have been weak but at least they were always outside the box. In this episode of Jonathan Creek there is no murder. There is no mystery.
Before the episode started I mused to the people I was watching with that the one thing Jonathan Creek was lacking was a great villain. Someone who the titular main character could pit his wits against and perhaps be tested by. Alas though it never happened and now I can almost guarantee it never will because, everyone involved in this series has simply stopped trying.
I’ve seen bad detective shows and films. Instances where the killer is doing impossible things or I don’t believe that person who they say did it could possible be the murderer. What I have never seen however, is an episode like this episode of Jonathan Creek.
What wrong wrong with it you ask? Well there was no interesting crime or even attempt at an interesting crime.
Just think about this for a minute. The calling card of the show is completely absent. We the audience see the accidental murder/manslaughter and it’s not even worth talking about. Added to this the character Jonathan Creek is not interested either he doesn’t bother to spend time trying to solve the crime.
Instead we get a bad Saturday Night Style sketch parody of the hyper-observational modern day TV detective and D-plot supernatural occurrence explained an automatic vacuum cleaner.
A D-plot by the way which is solved by Mr Creeks wife and in no way intersects with the supposed A-plot. Oh a b-plot, which has more screen time than the A-plot ,and revolves around Mrs Creek’s father’s entirely natural death and the potential infidelity of his long dead wife.
An infidelity which the father didn’t know about and which it turned out never even happened. Much of the story then revolves around two characters we have never seen and the emotional effect they have on Mrs Creek who was introduced as a tertiary character an episode ago.
Could the stakes get any lower? Could the writers and actors care less? I don’t see how.
Why did anyone think the audience would care about this? I don’t believe they did. These episodes can only have been written to fulfill a contract already made/a deal with the devil. Furthermore, since the series is being put out on a Friday night in February you can be sure that the BBC didn’t think anyone would care about this either.
So I’ll finish with a plea to everyone involved in the series. If you don’t want to make anymore Jonathan Creeks please just stop making them. Don’t continue to take a giant steaming dump on a show that was at one time enjoyable.