No, no, no, no, no. At what point do editors ever stop and consider using just one of these words?
Sadly, when a franchise has been fabulous and gets too powerful to be edited – I’m looking at you French and Saunders, J K Rowling and (sadly) Victoria Wood in TV sketch show mode – it seems those in charge can’t stop saying “yes”.
This leaves us with germs of good ideas that are crying out to be whipped into shape and previously would have been worked at mercilessly by editors. Instead they are left to grow out of control into a bloated and unedible mess. In US terms the show has “jumped the shark” – yet that suggests a lightness and energy that is sadly missing here.
At its heart, this Jonathan Creek special was essentially an episode of Scooby-Doo stretched out to fill a seemingly endless 95 minutes, in which Alan Davies plays Shaggy, Fred,Velma and Scooby rolled into one, with female sidekick consigned to being Daphne.
Where did they go wrong? Here is the case against, in ten easy points.
1: plot convolution: these things work best when they are simple. Remember the early “locked room” episode where two people go into a locked garage and only one emerges? That was it. And it was a cool puzzle. This one had more random plot elements thrown together than is legally allowable under the Random Plot Element Act 2009 (which exists in my head).
2: that final “explanation”: any final explanation of a story that relies on more information than you had to work with is no explanation. It’s just lazy writing. Oh, so the person we didn’t know anything about before is the prime motivation for all the events we’ve just witnessed! Well that makes for a satisfying conclusion.
3: that Creek shtick yet again: when presented with new evidence about the case, he comes out with an unexpected and quirky remark designed to show that he is fourteen moves ahead of us all: along the lines of “well it explains why the hat was missing, but the tricky thing was where in Norfolk you would get a dwarf that could speak Swedish.” Just doesn’t wash any more. If he’s so damn smart it should all be over in 20 minutes. Continue reading