The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency – The Complete
First Season (2008 – 2009/HBO DVD)
C+ Sound: B- Extras: B- Episodes: B
small but important way, detective shows about people have returned. After an endless series of cold, colorless,
formulaic, scientific detective shows that all seem the same and are rarely
memorable, real writing and character development have returned. Following shows like Monk and House M.D., we
have another series as excellent, strong and smart. Based on Alexander McCall Smith’s successful
series of novels, The No. 1 Ladies’
Detective Agency is now a TV series from HBO and what an impressive show it
singer Jill Scott (whose hit song Golden is among her great records) is amazing
as Precious Ramotswe, a young lady in some pain over a marriage to a bad man,
has a supportive father and always dreamed of being a detective to make the
world around her better. Living in
Botswana, a city in South Africa thriving post-Apartheid due to a discovery of
some of the best diamond deposits in the world, she loses her father to bad
“husband” is also gone (for now) and in all this, she decides to start her own
detective agency. Precious will open the
first female detective agency and decides to pretty much name it that. Cases are slow to start, but helping her out
is Grace Makutsi (Anika Noni Rose, who was so good in the film of Dreamgirls, gives another winning
performance), a very efficient, smart, well-spoken young lady who wants to help
make the agency a success.
has to deal with sexism, her past, much pain and how to build a future that is
uncertain, but it turns out her father was correct in telling her she has
formidable detective skills and soon, she will need them because they will help
her out beyond her work far more than she will ever know.
As one of
their final great acts before leaving us before they should have, Anthony
Minghella and Sydney Pollack co-produced this show with HBO, The BBC and The
Weinsteins, while Minghella directed the pilot episode. The remaining six episodes are also as well
made with great writing, casting, acting, directing and the kind of chemistry
we rarely see on TV anymore. Scott
transforms herself into Precious and with Rose’s secretary, become one of the
best detective teams in years.
course, it is also a character study of them, the people and the place in what
is a very special show worthy of the best detective television all the way to
classic like Columbo. Yes, I could imagine this alternating on the NBC Mystery Movie seamlessly.
on its way to becoming one of the great TV series and is highly recommended.
anamorphically enhanced 1.78 image has its moments with its location shooting,
but also has more softness throughout than expected. However, some of it may very well be the
limits of DVD, so this is not the final word on how this is shot. The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is lively and
always well-mixed with a good soundfield and balance between the well-recorded
dialogue and music (including Gabriel Yared’s score) better than many
films. The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo is
also good, but the 5.1 is preferred.
Wish it had DTS.
include four making of featurettes (Botswana:
The Gem Of Africa, Anthony
Minghella’s No. 1 Film, The Beat Of
Botswana, an outright making of piece) and Author’s Diary segments about
the making of each show.
wait for the next season!
- Nicholas Sheffo