Another case for the lateral thinking sleuth, Jonathan Creek (Alan Davies). This time around, Creek investigates events at a spooky country house. When a new assistant housekeeper arrives at 'Green Lanterns', the home of a famous crime writer, she learns the house harbours the secret of an unsolved Victorian murder. When the owner's wife is suddenly murdered, all the evidence points to the housekeeper. It's not long, however, before Jonathan and his sceptical assistant Joey Ross (Sheridan Smith) start to dig deeper. Sasha Beehar, Paul McGann, Doreen Mantle and Natalie Walter co-star.
I love Jonathan creek but The Judas Tree pains me and has left me with a bad taste in my mouth. It feels wrong, the humour ill judged, the explanations far fetched and unconvincing, Sheridan Smith's performance was bad (admittedly the script didn't help), no chemistry between any of the actors, important facts to the story with held until the last moment (taking the fun out of trying to guess and making me wonder how JC figured it when he knew nothing either) and the moral compass of it all off kilter. If the guy who got flattened by the house façade had been younger and the brother and she had unknowingly left him there to die I could almost forgive the whole thing.
I am so annoyed with this part of Creek that I am selling it. Lets hope the latest Creek sets its foot on a more solid ground.
The latest episode of Jonathan Creek, the story follows a young housekeeper who comes to Jonathan and his new sidekick Joey for help after a series of ghostly events occur in the house where she works.
I've always been a fan of Jonathan Creek, and after the excellent special last year, I had high hopes for this, as a rare new episode. I have to admit I was disappointed. Unlike some of the other reviewers here, I don't think it was a total waste of time, as the story went on it redeemed itself a little, but admittedly was still disjointed and sometimes silly.
The story itself doesn't really kick in for 45 minutes, up until this point I wondered what Jonathan and Joey were bothering to investigate: a hundred odd year old ghost story, some mildly threatening notes and a ghostly figure in the woodshed - all didn't seem to amount to much. Halfway through a murder takes place, but as another reviewer has noted, whilst you might guess a couple of answers, the audience has no way of deducing the whole story because a key element of the back story is kept from us until the end.
Perhaps had the writers thought the story through a bit more and worked with some of the strong elements (an empty house full of sheeted furniture and figures is rather creepy) and left out the stupid bits (seriously the cat litter, why did we need to see that?). The ending reveals how the deed was done, but the moral element jarrs when we consider who should have been punished, is there an easy answer?
I hope more episodes will be commissioned, but on the basis of this one and the feedback here, I don't have high hopes.
I'm not normally one for bashing the Beeb, but it does feel that what could have been another excellent Creek outing was spoiled spectacularly by squeezing it into a 90-minute outing (no doubt for 'budgetary' reasons..). There seemed to be numerous 'edits' to this episode that left the viewer feeling 'rushed' through a storyline that needed more time to establish its 'plausibility' and sub-plots.
The series episodes of Jonathan Creek ranged from the magnificent to the annoying, and after the magnificence of The Grinning Man [DVD] , this episode, whilst enjoyable, was simply not in the same league.
Some people grow up with Sherlock looking over their shoulder. Some people swear by Sexton Blake. Others turn to the darker worlds on offer with the ever growing universe of detective fiction. But for me there was always the man in the duffel coat. Even when they made an episode taking the mickey out of JC fans I stuck with them. I stuck with the first change over of female star and loved it when Ade Edmondson came onboard. Sure, I used to drive myself trying to work out overcomplicately ways the crimes were committed and it ruined other, straight detective fiction for me. Then came the return. For me The Grinning Man worked, even if they go a little too heavy on the length. After watching the latest, which was okay, I thought I'd revisit this one. If I'd have reviewed after watching it on TV I would have given it two stars at most. Watching it again, maybe with expectations lowered, I got into it far more. Sheridan Smith has a rough job in her three stories. Joey really isn't getting a lot of time to stand out yet but there are moments when you get a real sense of a possible, better chemistry between these two. And the story, whilst being incredibly over thought, does work. So, all in all, time has been a little kinder to this particular tree but please, Mr Renwick, do some full series and sharpen your game. Otherwise I'm going to have to watch every episode twice, years apart!
Writing this review is fairly painful for me. Long have I loved "Jonathan Creek" and often hoped that the BBC would bring it back. However, despite eagerly anticipating this special Easter episode, I think if this is the standard that they would be able to produce, perhaps it is now better left alone. THE JUDAS TREE was, unfortunately, nowhere near as good as the older episodes. Although it was fairly creepy in places, and started out promisingly enough, I felt that too much was missing. Unlike the previous episodes (especially seasons one and two), the humour wasn't there, nor was the fulfilling end where you suddenly think "Yes! Of course, that's how they did it!" Instead, I suspected the twist at the end (which never happened before, I was never able to guess), and when you saw how it was pulled off, there were irritating details which made you think that rather than being clever, the prepetrators were also very lucky to get away with it. Some details just didn't seem to add up properly.
Having said that, it was a way of passing time on a quiet Easter Sunday night, but itf you're looking for the true magic of Jonathan Creek you really need to turn to the old favourites.