As a great fan of criminal drama and Martin Shaw I was really looking forward to the series. I have never read the books on which it is based, so I cannot comment on how well their spirit is rendered on screen, but if they are as good as the films they must be very good indeed!
The episodes are all 89 minutes long, which gives the stories time to unfurl properly. Some time is given to the relationship between the older Inspector George Gently(Martin Shaw) and his younger, though not so very young, sidekick John Bacchus (Lee Ingleby).
Martin Shaw is a brilliant actor and in this role very different from his smug and oversexed judge John Deed. But for me Lee Ingleby steals his thunder. Partly because there are more complications in his character's private life and they are presented in more detail than possible complications in Gently's life. Partly because his acting is truly superb.
The stories take part in the 60s and though the films are contemporary, there is sometimes a feeling that they were made in the 60s too. With the relatively slow pace, dimmed interiors, focus on people rather than events they have an atmosphere lacking in most modern dramas.
One star off for the quality of the dvds: there was not a single one (!!) which wouldn't have a flaw, meaning that at some point in the story you must expect your disc to stop and then jump a little further ahead. Pretty irritating and very regular.