I don't watch many detective shows, aside from 'A Touch of Frost'. I was drawn to this one because the casting promised the same sort of great character acting, and I always appreciate a good comedy drama.
New Tricks is not just good, it's fantastic. The scripts are great - sharp dialogue, organic humour, and cases with enough complexity to keep you guessing - and the performances are even better. It's consistently funny without crossing the line and sacrificing realism for laughs.
I came to the show with a pre-existing respect and affection for the three male leads, so Amanda Redman was the real revelation for me. A lesser actress would just sink without trace under such heavyweight co-stars, but she really makes the role her own and holds the show together. Sandra Pullman comes off simultaneously glamorous yet gutsy, competent and down-to-earth, and is utterly believable as a high-level female police officer.
The male leads' roles suit them perfectly, and yet still have plenty of layers: Bolam's widower character seems like the sort of gentle soul he often plays, but has a darker, more aggressive side; Armstrong is note perfect as a mild, unassuming man with a dangerously obsessive streak; and Waterman does what he usually does, plays a rough-edged yet loveable Jack-the-lad so well that you hardly even notice he's acting.
Everything about the show is spot on - even the theme tune (sung by Waterman, natch) is so catchy I have to sit and listen to it all the way through every time it plays over the DVD menu. The only complaint I can find at all is not about the show but the packaging: the DVD case is a nasty flimsy plastic thing that looks cheap and is hard to get the disks out of. But never mind that - this is great TV, and at a reasonable price, too. Very highly recommended.