Although, technically, the Barchester Chronicles miniseries is not a mystery, it certainly qualifies as “cozy.” This miniseries is a favorite of ours— not only because of its terrific plot, or because it stars some wonderful actors (Geraldine McEwan, Nigel Hawthorne, Alan Rickman, Donald Pleasence, Clive Swift, Susan Hampshire, ETC) but also because the scenery is absolutely and wonderfully British.
The BBC production is based on two of Anthony Trollope’s novels (Barchester Towers and the Warden), and deals with the power struggles between those who are truly good people and those who only have the appearance of being good because of their chosen professions. (This is quite a brief summary of the plot!) I first saw the production years ago when it originally aired on Masterpiece Theatre. You cannot imagine how excited I was when I discovered that it was available now on DVD. I lost absolutely no time in getting it so that my family could enjoy it. And, they have!
One thing to remember, though, is that the Barchester Chronicles was made in 1982, and was meant to air on television. So, although the settings are beautiful, and the plot is delightfully “cozy” – it does not have the appearance of today’s productions. But, even without today’s razzle-dazzle special effects and the multi-million dollar salaries spent to procure “major stars,” it is one of our very favorite shows.
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*****I wrote this review way back in 2006, but we still think it’s a terrific series. If you are a member of Netflix, they have the DVDs. Also, your library might just carry the DVDs. It truly is an exceptional British television mystery series. May 2014