Sometimes you just don’t feel like curling up with a book, and want to do something that will be take a bit less time to finish. Other people are more visually oriented, and really appreciate the extra “immersion” that can be provided with a visual medium like television. In all of these cases, watching a TV series can often be the best way to really have one of your favorite Cozy series come to life!
However I know that the TV and Movies page on my site (listing all of the Cozy TV and Movie series that I’m personally familiar with) is a bit overwhelming as it is just a list and not really a “review” per se. So I thought it might be helpful to discuss some of the best television mystery series to start with if you are a Cozy Mystery fan. These are three of what I consider the best television mystery series, and I strongly recommend each of them.
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (starring Jeremy Brett)
It’s always hard to determine if Arthur Conan Doyle‘s Sherlock Holmes is Cozy or not… by the standards of the time he might not have qualified, but by modern standards his mysteries certainly qualify as Cozy to me! While Sherlock Holmes has been played by a number of talented actors (Ellie Norwood, Clive Brook, Raymond Massey, Basil Rathbone, and Benedict Cumberbatch, to name a few), my personal favorite and the one I feel holds up the best to modern audiences while retaining the character the best is the Granada Television series starring Jeremy Brett.
Note that the next two series also starring Jeremy Brett (The Return of Sherlock Holmes and The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes) as well as the multiple movies made by Brett are also excellent – but I’m mostly recommending The Adventures because it is the first chronologically made and is probably the best introduction. (Unfortunately Jeremy Brett was quite ill during the filming of the final TV series, The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, and it shows a little. So I would not recommend it quite as highly as the rest of Brett’s duration as Sherlock Holmes unless you have already seen the rest of his work.) (The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes is available in disc format on Netflix.)
Agatha Christie’s Poirot (starring David Suchet)
As with other entries on this list, there have been several actors to portray Agatha Christie‘s Hercule Poirot, but for me the “true” Poirot will always be David Suchet. To me, he perfectly portrays the fussy Belgian detective. Though these wouldn’t have been considered period pieces when they were written by Christie, the TV series is – as it was made in the last twenty years, not the 1920s-1970s when Christie was writing.
Personally I most recommend the earlier seasons >>> all those with Hugh Fraser as Arthur Hastings, Poirot’s honest and brave but not necessarily incredibly clever friend and assistant. I especially enjoyed the earlier seasons that had Pauline Moran as Miss (Felicity) Lemon. The later seasons do all have their high moments but the earlier material was all absolutely brilliant. The box set I linked above, which includes all the full-length made-for-TV-movies is also quite excellent. (Agatha Christie’s Poirot is available in disc format and streaming on Netflix and on Acorn.)
Brother Cadfael (starring Derek Jacobi)
The Brother Cadfael series by Ellis Peters is an excellent historically set Cozy Mystery series set in war-torn medieval England. As with the other period pieces on this list (and there are a lot as I am a real fan of England’s various architectural movements through the ages) this series uses the setting to full potential. Sets and costumes are all top notch, with a strong feeling of “immersion” in every episode as a result. (Brother Cadfael is available in disc format on Netflix and on Acorn.)
These are just three of my personal favorites… so if you’ve got others that you feel are really great to start with if you are a Cozy Mystery fan, be sure to give examples in the comments. Thank you!
P.S. Here’s part 2: