I know it sounds like one of those “walked to school, uphill both ways, in the snow” kinds of stories, but compared to today’s television and entertainment options, what I grew up with was like living in the stone age. We received exactly four – yes, four – stations on our TV.
We didn’t live in the woods; we actually lived right on the main road, had neighbors, and were only about 5 miles from “downtown”. But for some reason the cable company stopped running cable about five houses away from us. And that was before the days of satellites that mounted on the corner of your roof, so we were kind of out of luck.
Our four channels included two Canadian broadcast stations, which meant I got to watch a lot of the shows typically shown on the BBC. I developed a real appreciation of their programming; dry British humor still can cause me to laugh and gasp for air today. So when there’s nothing good on cable these days, we generally turn to the BBC or other British TV stations for a great new show to watch.
Midsomer Murders has been around for a long time – it’s actually been airing since 1997 – but I only recently discovered it. It’s a detective drama series set in the fictional English county of Midsomer. The main character is Detective Chief Inspector (DCI) John Barnaby. He’s the younger cousin of the former DCI Tom Barnaby. Barnaby spends his time solving the multiple murders that take place in Midsomer.
I started watching towards the end of the series – Midsomer Murders, Set 22 to be exact. The original air date for these four episodes was in 2011, and there have been at least six additional episodes since then (apparently, their seasons are much shorter for BBC shows than for American cable shows). These four were definitely enough to prompt me to go back and watch the series from the start, though.
The episodes from Midsomer Murders, Set 22 include:
- The Sleeper Under the Hill – A man is found eviscerated lying on a rock in an ancient stone circle that sits on his farmland. He’d been planning to knock it down and plow up the land, and some of the locals weren’t too keen on the idea. Did they kill him to stop the destruction? Or was it possibly his wife or the man she was having an affair with? This kept me guessing right until the very end, just the kind of show I love.
- The Night of the Stag – Barnaby and his partner, Detective Sergeant Jones, are attending a local fair to see if they can find information on a missing finance inspector. After sampling some of the fresh cider Barnaby immediately becomes sick to his stomach – maybe due to the fact that the cider has been spoiled by the body of the missing inspector being tossed into the cider vat! (See clip below.)
- A Sacred Trust – The Midsomer Priory is forced to open it’s doors to the outside world – and the police – when a nun is found strangled to death. The case becomes quite complex when missing antique silver, teenagers, vandalism, and other twists are thrown into the mix.
- A Rare Bird – Birdwatching isn’t typically a sport you’d consider to be dangerous, but that changes when the Midsomer-in-the-Marsh birdwatching president is killed. Could competitive birdwatchers have helped him meet his end, or did his own obsession do him in?