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4.8 out of 5 stars113
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 6 September 2011
It is very hard to come up with a police series which is truly original as the subject has pretty much been done to death from every angle over the years. However, the BBC managed to do just that when they launched the pilot of New Tricks in 2003. Not really surprising that the show has run and run and we are now up to the eighth series and it has reached a total of 66 episodes. Good to see that we had 10 episodes this time round as in Series 7, rather than the 8 in earlier series.

Despite the long running nature of New Tricks, the script writers still seem to come up with original and sometimes quite offbeat plots. For example the last in the current series concerned the case of a zoo keeper whom it had been assumed had been mauled to death by a tiger, but whom the team suspect was killed before being put in the tiger's enclosure. As is usually the case, the truth, when it is teased out, is far from straight forward. Also good to see that we were not left with a cliff hanger at the end of this episode as has happened in some previous series and is unnecessary in my view since it tends to feel rather contrived.

A lot of the charm lies with the individual quirkiness of the three main investigators in UCOS - Jack Halford (James Bolam), Gerry Standing (Dennis Waterman), and Brian Lane (Alun Armstrong). I thought the first episode in this series was interesting - it concerned the murder of a paleontologist at the Natural History Museum - but was lacking something. However, a lot of the interest does lie in the individual lives of the characters and we missed seeing Jack communicating with his dead wife in his back garden, Gerry with his many ladies and ex wives and daughters, and Alun obsessing and trying the patience of his wife, the long suffering Esther (Susan Jameson who is married to James Bolam in real life). However, happily more elements of their personal lives did creep back into later episodes which was very welcome.

As always Detective Superintendent Sandra Pullman (Amanda Redman) acts as an excellent foil for the three boys. Fans will be pleased to learn that a ninth series is planned for next year. However, one wonders how many more series will be possible without a change of personnel. James Bolam is a superb actor but he is now 76, and although he is wearing well, seeing him on screen representing the Met is beginning to stretch credibility. I did wonder if a comment at the end of Episode 10 was a hint that the BBC were perhaps thinking the same way.
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on 16 September 2011
Eight years after Sandra shot one dog and was punished by being put in charge of a bunch of fossils, there's still no sign of the format running out of steam. As with series 7, the emphasis is again on the characters solving crimes in their own unique styles with few scenes detailing their lives outside of work, although when we do get to see their lives, they are always entertaining.

None of Gerry's extensive family appears this year, and his only memorable personal scene involves a nice comic routine involving a French cook. Brian gets the usual amusing asides with Esther, the best of which features Esther and on-line auction sites. Sandra meets another old flame and her mother returns for more memorable rounds of verbal jousting. But the character with the most interesting personal development is Jack. He hasn't been given much to do outside of work since resolving the arc tale about his wife's murder, but in the same way that series 5 detailed Brian's slow return to alcoholism, this year has a well-judged arc involving Jack's melancholy. In fact, as with Brian's earlier arc, for the most part his personal problems are unintrusive other than a sense that he's becoming increasingly maverick. There's only a small element each episode featuring Jack being distant from the others or him delivering an unexpected line of dialogue, but all these moments build up to a pay-off that's worth waiting for and which explains Jack's motivation this year. Of course, long-time fans will know that the show has a poor track record of using the final scenes from a series in the next series and so, despite the pay-off, it's likely it'll never get referred to again.

As for the stories, they are consistently strong. The only weak episode for me involves what is supposed to be the roughest, toughest, nastiest gang of scruffy bikers in the country, except the actors are a bunch of softies and they come across as being slightly less menacing than the bikers in Every Which Way but Loose. The strong episodes feature such varied subjects as fossils, homelessness, a zoo, and antiques with the highlight being an entertaining romp about a missing scientist. This episode features an amusing turn from Tim McInnery and closes with the strange addition of a nod to the Matrix, although as Jack once claimed to be a fan of Trinity, I'm not sure why he didn't spot the similarities.

Throughout, the stories feature light humour alongside some very dark subject matters, often in the same scene. A classic moment that shows why this series works involves a psychologist giving the cops a word association test. Each character's reaction is perfectly judged, combining humour, angst and sadness, all in less than a minute. Another sign of the continued strength of the series is the quality of the actors who guest star. Every episode features numerous familiar faces so that the traditional murder mystery rule that the most famous actor did it rarely applies. And it's nice to see that the usual benign nepotism continues with guest roles for Amanda Redman's daughter and Anthony Calf's wife.

Best of all, the show has already been commissioned for another two years. I'd like to think that this welcome news is played out on screen during a fourth-wall breaking sub-plot when it looks as if UCOS might be closed down due to budgetary restrictions. But the powers that be give them permission to go on solving crimes for as long as they want to although, as Jack says, that's only because they're all dirt cheap. And long may the actors carry on accepting low wages for our benefit!
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on 30 January 2012
These days it's almost impossible to find ANYTHING worth watching where all the characters aren't young, perky, surgically enhanced and damn near perfect. What's the point in watching?! The story isn't unbeleivable because you just don't buy the 22 year old detective in Chanel suits and Jimmy Choo shoes.

New Tricks restored my faith. But, to be honest, my faith never waivered in British television. They go for character and substance...not fluff. I saw one episode of New Tricks and was hooked. An instant fan. So much so I ordered ever single season and have watched them more than once. The characters are fully developed, yet continue to be human and grow. They're not the typical Hollywood beautiful...they're real people. Believeable, flawed, human! The story lines are fantastic and keep you guessing. I can't wait for Season 9, 10, 11, 12.....I hope this show runs forever. Anyone who's tired of today's tv.....watch New Tricks. You'll be surprised, amazed and a fan.
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on 19 January 2012
I only came upon this series last year.I fell in love with the
characters.I could hardly wait each week for the program to come
on tv ( BBC Canada).This is what the BBC does best.Make programs
that are character driven instead of the usual drivel that passes
for drama on Canadian and US programming.I checked with Amazon US
and found that if I ordered from them it was going to cost almost
twice as much as compared to the UK.Plus they didn't have series
8 or 9 available yet.If I had ordered from Canada the price difference
was even more staggering.I ordered all the series of this set( 1-8)
and am thrilled with the product.The pic quality is great,much better
than watching on tv.
My hats off to Amazon UK for incredibly fast postal service.
With what I saved by buying from the UK I could have afforded to
buy a new region free dvd.
It will be a sad day if James Bolam leaves the series.
Any suggestions as to who would be a good replacement ?
To bad Sir Alec Guiness isn't still alive,he would have been awsome.
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on 11 November 2011
I have got to be the number one fan of New Tricks. The way they act together speaks of years of experience of working together and their age is treated as something fun and an acceptable part of life. The way the three look after their boss is very well handled as are their various little quirks. All in all a fantastic series, and I am just waiting for the next one.
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on 12 November 2013
I found with new tricks I was waiting each week to watch it on tv with baited breath, Brian and Esther what a couple , she the understanding wife who stands by him so lovingly, he is brilliant character, he has mental health problems things you usually see swept under the carpet as in shame. He goes out there and shows just how much he is still needed and what he can do hes a marvelous addition to the team. Jack a man who has lost his wife and not interested in other women, just his Mary, its pulling at the heart strings, hes such a good actor, he was made for that part it suits him so well, hes old but shows hes just as good now as he was. Gerry he plays your regular man who thinks women are wonderful and he must go after them like the average single man, I like the scenes where his family come together with him its so personal and nice. Sandra she is brilliant, she takes all the knocks that the boys get up to right or wrong, and her mother finding fault to with little things no wonder work is her life, shes good at it and loves it. When I first watched New Tricks it wasn't from the beginning but I enjoyed it so much I had to see how it all began so I have the first 6 series and am enjoying them that I find it hard to stop and get on but I am getting the other series , I am just ordering series 7 and 8 and started to read these reviews and found them helpful and interesting. I hope new tricks keeps going on even when they get taken over by other actors because if we have the right ones they will make it good for us to , we will always compare them to the original team that's natural but if they are picked right they will fit in.
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on 5 January 2013
A generation or two ago, audiences rolled in the aisles watching "Arsenic and Old Lace", proving that murder and great comedy can work brilliantly for a superb film.

"New Tricks" proves it again, with three wrinkly old retired detectives and a much younger (but not-quite-so-young-anymore) blonde boss, conspiring to solve old and unsolved murders using techniques the techie detectives of today wouldn't countenance - or that would be prosecuted were they discovered. All with engaging character development and brilliant comedic script writing that leaves one wanting more as the film credits roll.

The premise is relatively original, far different from the formulaic detective series we see too often, and while lacking the lush scenery of Midsomer or Oxford, the grit of London has its surprises in store for the viewer due to some excellent research by the writers producers and directors.

The best part is the price - about what you'd pay for a ticket to one of the giant blockbusters punched out by the Hollywood machines (okay, plus a packet of sweets and a couple of small drinks) - and you get not one, but four fun short movies.

Highly recommended light entertainment!
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on 27 December 2011
I always have this series on pre-order with AmazonUK simply because I can't wait for these to make it across the pond. This series is fantastic, I was a little concerned that "Strickers" would not make an appearance, but he does toward the middle and later episodes. As always, great characters, dialogue and acting. As long as it stays so entertaining, I will keep coming back for more!
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on 4 May 2012
What can you say about a DVD? The product plays without any problems. The cases/episodes are just as interesting as the earlier series, and the ever-present touch of humour is well enjoyed.

But Amazon UK deserves a commendation for the delivery. Just a bit over a week to Australia!!

Excellent service - thank you sincerely.

Tom Chapman.
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on 23 July 2012
In the tradition of the previous series, New Tricks 8 is consistently fresh, funny and intriguing. It's hard to get this kind of quality programming 'across the pond' and we're happy to see that this series has been continued. Had to buy the Region 2 player to view, but well worth it!
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