British TV series (2013 - )

Writer: Russell Lewis (written and devised by)
(Based on the character created by Colin Dexter)

Cast: Shaun Evans, Roger Allam, Anton Lesser, Sean Rigby, Jack Laskey, James Bradshaw, Abigail Thaw...

Runtime: 458 minutes (3 discs)

Genres: Crime | Drama | Mystery

Reviewed by Cherie Jung

Endeavour, Series One, (not the pilot) is disappointing.

After the pilot, in which every detail and nuance seemed to ring true, I was eagerly awaiting the beginning of the series, although I had long suspected that the pilot should have been a one-off, as they say. The pilot was so well written and filmed, it was difficult to imagine that an on-going series could maintain both the quality and freshness of character and storylines over time.

For me, that's exactly what developed. Endeavour's unique little mannerisms were at first fun to recognize. Shaun Evans plays the young Endeavour Morse quite well in most respects, yet his cleverness and superiority over fellow police force members quickly became tiresome and irksome as portrayed in the series episodes. For the most part, the supporting cast members all do a credible job. The viewer will dislike the characters they are intended to dislike and like the ones they are supposed to like. The plot lines in the series are a bit uneven however. The relationship between young Morse and his mentor, DI Fred Thursday played by Roger Allam, is adequate for the most part but not as well drawn as the interplay between John Thaw's Inspector Morse and Kevin Whately's Sergeant Lewis in the Inspector Morse series.

There are 4 episodes in Series One:

Girl — A twenty-year-old girl's unexplained death by heart attack and complications with her sister challenge Morse.

Fugue — A possible serial killer is murdering victims in the style of operatic heroines.

Rocket — An unpopular worker's body is discovered at an arms factory. The worker's true identity leads Morse to an earlier unsolved investigation involving a missing woman.

Home — A notorious London gangster has moved his operations to Oxford. DI Thursday is determined to get rid of the thug. Blackmail, murder, and a hit-and-run case all seem intertwined and lead Morse to the Moonlight Club and its new owner, Vic Kasper, the London gangster.

I am a fan of the original Inspector Morse series which starred John Thaw. I hate the spin-off series Lewis. I'm of two minds when it comes to Endeavour; I love the pilot (which I've viewed 6 times) but I'm bored by the series episodes. Will I watch Series Two of Endeavour? If there is one (I believe one has been commissioned for British TV) I will probably watch it. I'll be curious to see if the series can recapture the excitement and quality of the pilot.

This review is based on viewing the original UK DVD version, which includes the pilot, not the PBS (USA) version.

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