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3.7 out of 5 stars
3.7 out of 5 stars
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on 2 May 2014
Series 1-3 were incredible must see television, to the point where I can't go a month without watching at least 2 or 3 episodes from these series. Caroline Quentin and Alan Davies were a match made in heaven, the storylines teemed with mystery, comedy and drama.

Quentin left and Julia Sawalha came in and started brightly with the special, Satans Chimney. This was a good episode, and Carla (Sawalha) and Jonathan had a bit of chemistry. Series 4 continued with Carla by Jonathan's side, and was very hit and miss. Adrian Edmondson was an excellent addition, and some of the stories very good, however the overall feel of the series had changed and had lost some of its magic.

JC took a well deserved rest from our screens for a few years, when it was announced there would be an Easter special, the grinning man. I was worried going into this episode, but I need not have been as it was a cracker. Sheridan Smith was added as Joey Ross, JC new sidekick. The storyline was arguably the best of them all, the mystery the most intriguing, with lots of juicy red herrings along the way. I am not sure even Quentin could have improved this episode.

Then the next special the Judas tree came out. This episode was not as good as the grinning man, but was still very good.

The Savants thumb was the next special, and in truth was quite poor. JC has grown up, sold out and is now living a very mundane life, being hen pecked by Polly (Sarah Alexander), whilst holding down a boring office job. This special laid the track for the forthcoming series, it did though retain the essence of JC by giving him some mysteries to solve.

Finally we have series 5, it is terrible. No mystery, no comedy, no master villain, no soul. Sarah Alexander looks so out of place as Creeks wife, Creek looks so out of place in the little village he has found himself in. The mysteries for the viewer are non existent. There is none of the spirit of the first 3 seasons and no redeeming feature for this series. I will add it to my collection just to complete it but do so with a heavy heart.

I hope Renwick leaves JC alone until he can create storylines as good as series 1-3 or the grinning man. After the success that was the Grinning man, I though we would get the odd special every 2-3 years when he has an idea, I hope he considers this now.

If you are new to the show entirely then definitely watch series 1-3, they are arguably some of the best British TV of the last couple of decades.
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on 28 March 2014
As a little boy, I was simultaneously enchanted and terrified by Jonathan Creek, which featured spooky storylines about impossible crimes that genuinely seemed to be unfathomable. I distinctly remember feeling butterflies in my stomach whenever the answer was revealed. I think we all fell in love with this awkward magician's assistant (Alan Davies) clad in duffel coat with a hilarious larger-than-life sidekick (Caroline Quentin). I've followed him since, always enjoying Mr. Creek's endeavors right up to The Clue of the Savant's Thumb last year. When Series 5 was announced I was absolutely ecstatic, but I was soon to be completely smacked in the face...

In an almost blasphemous change of format, the first episode reveals the mystery's solution within the first ten minutes, completely obliterating the entire point of watching the rest, which merely consisted of weak mini-mysteries and a huge long-running 'gag' about pointing fun at 'Sherlock'. While I've never disliked Maddy, Carla or Joey (Creek's previous sidekicks), Polly Creek (Sarah Alexander) just has the completely wrong attitude for Creek's adventures and serves more as a killjoy whenever Jonathan feels like getting back to his roots. The worst thing about this episode is that if the format was as is normal, it might actually have been a really fantastic episode, but it seems they were too busy poking fun at other programs to realise that they were actually making a terrible episode themselves.

The second episode was slightly better, but extremely weak on the mystery front, which focused on lots of little mysteries happening in the middle of the village where Jonathan and Polly now live. By the end of the episode, I really couldn't care less what the solution to the main mystery was, and I found myself voicing 'Meh!' when it was revealed.

I have to say however that I very much enjoyed the third episode, which returned to the original format quite well despite the lack of murder that the other episodes also suffered from. The performances were better and although the solution was a bit of a stretch, I found the butterflies in my stomach sensation returning!

However, one semi-good episode out of three simply isn't good enough, especially for Jonathan Creek. What has happened to the magic that I used to cherish as a kid? Why are complex 'impossible' situations and mind-bendingly banal murders taking back seat and paving way for country village politics, middle-class dinner parties and whimsical anecdotes? For the most part, the butterflies in my stomach were replaced by a deep-seated disappointment that lingered for hours.

I'd love to see Jonathan Creek return (and Maddy Magellan for that matter) in a new season, but Polly needs to go, actual 'impossible' murders or crimes need to come back and the magic just needs to be breathed back into it!
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on 3 March 2016
A plea to David Renwick, the greatest TV writer of the last 25 years:

Please, please, go back to the drawing board and make Jonathan Creek the masterpiece it once was.

In 2009 Caroline Quentin said she would happily return to the show if asked (you can view this on YouTube). Whatever happened 16 years ago, put it behind you and bring her back for a finale.

This fifth "series" barely even qualifies as a series. Three dreadful episodes, none of them either mysterious nor funny. The formula your millions of fans adored simply cast aside. The first episode in particular is an appalling "Columbo" type story in which we as viewers ALREADY KNOW the solution to the mystery (such as it is) and then watch Jonathan work it out. What were you thinking?

The second episode is simply a string of whimsical half-baked plots strung together featuring oddball characters from the village in which Jonathan now lives. The lottery winner storyline was intriguing enough - the rest of it was just genuinely dull.

The third episode at least features a death, and an excellent appearance from the wonderful Josie Lawrence. But the solution is absurd, involving a watch which just happens to fall from a tree in a storm in someone's hoodie - preposterous and silly.

David: perhaps after the best part of 20 years of Creek, you simply ran out of workable ideas. There are only so many "locked room" mysteries in the world. Perhaps you should have called it a day after "The Grinning Man", which was a really terrific special, albeit with a solution that doesn't stand up to any rational scrutiny. Everything since then has been a colossal disappointment.

To end Creek with this shockingly bad trio of episodes is a travesty - this memorable show deserves so much better. I beg you to remind us once again why this show was unmissable and give it one more try.
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on 27 March 2014
Three below par episodes make for an unwelcome addition to the series. Bizarre format changes see Jonathan sitting on the sidelines during the first two episodes and the mystery is all but absent. The third episode found some form but it was massively contrived and still very weak. I'm glad Maddy left, I thought she was horrible and of his subsequent pairings I found Sheridan Smith to show the most potential. Sarah Alexander has been saddled with some rotten character traits; unlike the viewer, she doesn't appreciate her husband or his talents at all and the time has come and gone for her to have a Damascan revelation. The whole premise has gone to pot, the reason he's so good at deconstructing mysteries is his background in magic and the screenplays make no reference to that at all. Don't get me wrong, I though the supposed comedic philandering of the stage magician the weakest part of each show; but Jonathan's immersion into the world of master magicians was the reason he can do what he does. I always wondered why they didn't incorporate some of the rich pickings of famous conjurors and their tricks. I can't see another series being commissioned without some hefty format reversals. If you like JC as I do then you're bound to watch this, just keep your expectations really low and have an older episode standing by for afterwards.
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on 21 April 2014
Actor assortment not up to previous standard. Storyline weak & plot tedious. Very boring & lacked the earlier series' sparkle.
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on 6 July 2014
JC is now a corporate man with a killjoy wife, BMW and a country pad. There's only one murder, no sidekick sexual tension, no duffel coat, no windmill, no laughs, no Adam Klaus, no real mysteries and therefore no magic - and I mean magic in every sense.

OK, it's probably more plausible that he would have settled down by now than continued where we first found him, but I'm sure there could have been a better compromise and verisimilitude than simply turning the character and his world on its head.

It's a tepid, smaller, village-isolated version of its former self, with the unfunny john bird the new and unfunny regular character.

It retains Alan Davies, the brilliant title theme, the writing but with all of the above removed, only the faintest traces of what made the show great in the last 3 incarnations.

I'd love another series or special or two, but I don't know where they'd go from here. I'm loathed to give it 2 stars, so it gets 3 based on past performance!
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on 11 April 2014
Jonathan Creek was one of the real standout TV series when it first started- imaginative yet believable plots and a dynamic pair of leads. Sadly, this all changed when Caroline Quentin left. There have been an ongoing set of female sidekicks since then, which should have worked because every one of them has been played by excellent actresses, but the show has never recaptured the height of its early years. The latest incarnation sees Jonathan married and trying to settled down, but plagued by mysteries. It's become lacklustre and pedestrian. On the basis of this, I hope this is the last series because it's become a shadow of its former self and, frankly, reruns of "Rosemary and Thyme" are more entertaining because they don't pretend to be anything more than disposable nonsense.
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on 23 March 2014
not sure why people can't acknowledge what seems a very positive thing about this series: that things change. windmills aside, certain aspects of the earlier series were a bit embarrassing, particularly creek's cliché magician boss whose schtick proved consistently cringe-worthy at best. these recent episodes remain tongue in cheek, engaging, charming and exhibit an amiable, generally non-violent look at the procedural form, gratefully free of lines like " i need more time", "officer down" or "i'm gonna do this my way." sure, i'd trade it in a heartbeat for a second series of "whites", but if this is what's on offer, no complaints from me.
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on 26 September 2014
Losing Caroline Quinten was a huge error, this series never was the same after she left and this wife is horrid, no chemistry with Alan Davies at all.
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on 19 March 2014
I love Jonathan Creek, however, this series is simply awful. There are no real Creek mysteries, just a collection of little puzzle page-esque mind benders, most of which have ridiculous solutions such as: a watch falling from a balloon into the hood of a woman who does not realise it's there when she puts her hood on and which miraculously gets so entangled in her hair it stays there until she goes to bed...
One of the most annoying moments was the Columbo-esque episode where you know the solution and watch Jonathan figure it out.
In short, these episodes are full of fillers and have no substance.
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