"Agatha Raisin" TV Review (first six episodes)

"Agatha Raisin" is apparently a well loved British detective fiction series in book form. In 2016, she got a translation to the small screen - and a bit of an update to modernize it. Reaction from fans of the books seems to be very mixed, with some very offended by the changes that have been made. I have no clue about the books. This review is based on the 90 minute pilot episode, and the first through fifth (out of eight) regular 45 minute episodes: that was all I felt a need to see.

Agatha Raisin (Ashley Jensen) starts the series as a highly successful London P.R. person, but she immediately follows through on her plan to retire to a cottage in a tiny village in the country. She makes aggressive moves to "fit in," and so makes herself multiple enemies. The local police man (D.C. Bill Wong, played by Matt McCooey) explicates to us that there hasn't been a murder in Carsley (her new town) in something on the order of 20 years - which I find interesting, as it's well established by the packaging even before you begin watching that this is a (comedy) murder mystery series.

On the plus side, the writers don't try to sell her as a genius detective: she's clever and fairly observant, but also gets herself into some extraordinarily sticky situations. She's not a particularly charming person - she uses people at her convenience (not a great trait in a small village). Most of the villagers are predictably eccentric. But the biggest problems are that the mysteries are at best adequate, and the humour isn't entirely to my taste - raising the occasional smile but definitely not getting frequent laughs.