The Wellington City Libraries Ratings Project #3

Why does it take so long for things to be released on DVD? Why are some TV shows not released here at all, even though they are available in Australia?

New Zealand has its own ratings system that is different than Australia’s. Films & TV Shows that are rated ‘M’ in Australia can be cross-rated here at the same rating level. However anything that is rated an ‘M+’ in Australia has to be submitted to the Office of Film and Literature Classification for re-classification for the NZ market. Unfortunately since New Zealand’s DVD zone is at the end of the release market for a lot of material and, faced with such a small market, procedural costs then often become prohibitive to warrant general release by a commercial distributor.

We love TV shows at Wellington City Libraries, and we know you do too. Which is why we have initiated ‘The Ratings Project’, an ongoing mission to bring you the shows that you want to watch by submitting titles to the Film & Video Labeling Body, and the OFLC for classification.

With ‘The Ratings Project’ we aim to give you the complete ‘TV’ experience, whether we provide you with full run of your favourite TV shows, or surprise you with something new & different. We hope you find something you enjoy and feel free to send us any feedback and suggestions…

This month’s titles range from comedy to drama, from foreign to action and back again, with something for everyone’s taste…

Cover imageGeorge Gently. Series 5.
“It’s 1968 and the swinging sixties have made their way up North and in to the life of Inspector George Gently. Joined by his sharp tongued partner DS John Bacchus, Gently finds himself on the case of a miner’s daughter, a kidnapped orphan and a murder that may have been a race-hate crime. The late sixties are a turbulent time in Britain and Gently’s investigations are complicated by class tensions, a dark undercurrent of racism and the outmoded shame of single motherhood, not to mention the threat of past grudges rearing their head. There are also signs of change though as Gently witnesses the coming of age of a younger, more tolerant generation and their increasing social consciousness. And, of course, there is Northern Soul. Filled with suspense, humour and Soul, Series Five of Inspector George Gently is more than just a detective procedural. A nostalgic treat for anyone who was there and something unseen for anyone who wasn’t, it is a time capsule of an imperfect but exciting and hopeful time that resonates right through to the present…” (Container description from Syndetics)

Cover imageWaking the dead. The complete series two.
“The Cold Case squad is a crack team of three detectives, a forensic expert and a psychological profiler. Their job is to reopen the files on unsolved murders. In this season, a psychotic killer is the key to an investigation when a victim who survived is harassed by a copycat assailant; a deathbed confession appears to link the hanging of an East End gangster and the assassination of the jury who found him guilty; the team come up against a wall of Whitehall secrecy when a petty burglar is acquitted of murdering a prominent Home Officer advisor; and DCI Boyd makes terrible mistakes while under pressure to discover the truth behind the disappearance of an 18-year-old girl…” (Container description from Syndetics)

Cover imageNumb3rs. The final season.
“Drama about an FBI agent who recruits his mathematical-genius brother to help the Bureau solve a wide range of challenging crimes in Los Angeles. The two brothers take on the most confounding criminal cases from a very distinctive perspective. Inspired by actual events, the series depicts how the confluence of police work and mathematics provides unexpected revelations and answers to the most perplexing criminal questions…” (Container description from Syndetics)

Cover imageParenthood. Season 2.
“NBC’s Parenthood encompasses such a sprawling cast that the action can get a little hectic at times, but the show always delivers in the more dramatic moments. In the second season, the Bravermans are all jockeying for position. Patriarch Zeek (Craig T. Nelson) has come to an understanding with his wife, Camille (Bonnie Bedelia), but still tries to control situations with his kids when cooperation would make things easier. His oldest son, Adam (Peter Krause), on the other hand, gives up some of his turf when he offers his sister, Sarah (Lauren Graham), a job at his shoe-manufacturing firm, where she enters into a relationship with his boss, Gordon (guest star William Baldwin). Adam’s 16-year-old daughter, Haddie (Sarah Ramos), meanwhile, struggles to assert her independence, but her father and mother, Kristina (Monica Potter), make it difficult when it comes to a school election and a potential love interest (Michael B. Jordan, from creator Jason Katims’s Friday Night Lights). Her younger brother, Max (Max Burkholder), who has Asperger’s syndrome, also contributes to their rapidly escalating stress levels….It might not seem fair to single out one cast member, but Graham continues to do some of the best work, largely because her character, a single mother, has the most to lose…” (Abridged from Amazon.com review)

RatingsProjectDVDs5Parenthood. Season 3.
“In many respects, the third season of NBC’s Parenthood revolves around new starts. In the wake of his layoff, Adam (Peter Krause) and Kristina (Monica Potter) have their third child, while he looks for work. Meanwhile, Crosby (Dax Shepard) and Jasmine (Joy Bryant) pursue new relationships, Amber (Mae Whitman) gets a job with a political candidate (Jonathan Tucker), and Julia (Erika Christensen) and Joel (Sam Jaeger) try to find a way to add to their family after the disappointments of the previous year. These developments present opportunities as Adam and Crosby open up a recording studio and Julia and Joel arrange an adoption with Zoe (Rosa Salazar, very good), a young woman without the financial means to provide for a child, but the unintended consequences include sibling rivalry and a series of inappropriate employer-employee situations. Adam and Kristina also decide to mainstream Max (Max Burkholder), who has Asperger’s syndrome, by sending him to public school, which presents a whole new set of challenges. Unlike the other Bravermans, Sarah (Lauren Graham) revisits her past when she reunites with her ex-boyfriend, Mark (Jason Ritter, who took time off for The Event). …The year ends on an optimistic note with a wedding and another new addition. If the musical selections tend to err on the sappy side, the writing and acting continue to elevate Parenthood above most other domestic dramas…” (Abridged from Amazon.com review)

Cover imageParenthood. Season 4.
“Family dynamics are shifting for all three generations of The Braverman clan in the critically acclaimed fourth season of Parenthood. Everything changes for Adam and Kristina as they receive shocking news, while Sarah contemplates how her priorities affect her future. As Julia and Joel adjust to life with their adopted son, Crosby and Jasmine settle into their roles as husband and wife. Featuring guest stars Ray Romano (Everybody Loves Raymond) and Jason Ritter (The Event), watch all 15 smart, funny and heartwarming episodes about life’s unexpected hurdles and those who help us conquer them: family…” (From Amazon.com review)

Cover imagePsych. The complete fifth season.
“With his uptight father (Corbin Bernsen) in charge of the Santa Barbara Police Department’s consultants, incredibly charming and talented phony psychic Shawn (James Roday) must now work extra hard to land new investigation gigs for him and his trusty partner Gus (Dulé Hill). Season 5 of this quirky crime show finds the private detectives searching for a kidnap victim, probing an alien abduction and infiltrating a street-racing gang…” (Publisher’s description from Amazon.com)

cover imageFlashpoint. Season one.
“The Canadian police drama series Flashpoint examines the day-to-day triumphs and tragedies of an elite tactical squad as it responds to an array of high-intensity situations in this first-season boxed set. Character actor Enrico Colantoni (Veronica Mars) is the cool-headed leader of the Strategic Response Unit (SRU), a crack team of young officers skilled at handling dangerous situations beyond the ken of the police, including hostage situations, bomb threats, and robberies….At first blush, it’s standard-issue cop show fare, with plenty of well-executed action sequences filmed in tight, often claustrophobic setups to ratchet up the tension. Thankfully, the producers of Flashpoint are equally interested in the emotional and physical tolls experienced by the team…We also get to see how extreme moments have lasting effects: Lane is twice dragged into investigations over his use of force in the first season, while other officers deal with post-traumatic stress when situations go wrong and good people die, despite their best efforts. Such elements help to elevate Flashpoint beyond the realm of TV shoot-’em-up, and if the end results aren’t on par with The Wire or Homicide: Life on the Street, the show deserves some credit for aspiring to those levels of quality…” (Abridged from Amazon.com review)

Cover imageFlashpoint. Series two, Volume one.
“Inspired by the real-life Emergency Task Force of Toronto, Flashpoint is a riveting, suspense-filled police drama. Focusing on the psychological and moral dilemmas involved in elite crime work, Series Two ups the stakes for the Strategic Response Unit (SRU). The show features a host of top US and Canadian talent, including Enrico Colantoni, Hugh Dillon, Amy Jo Johnson and David Paetkau. All cast members deliver subtle, nuanced performances that lift Flashpoint well above the ranks of other police dramas. Addictive, intelligent and action-packed, Flashpoint is world-class television…” (Product description from Fishpond.co.nz)

Cover imageFlashpoint. Series two, Volume two.
“Focusing on the high stakes operations of a Strategic Response Unit (SRU). Flashpoint is the hit series enthralling audiences worldwide. Specialising in volatile, high risk situations. SRU’s Team One is an elite task force whose highly trained recruits are required to make split second decisions that can mean the difference between life and death…” (Product description from Fishpond.co.nz)

Cover imageThe IT crowd. Version 4.0.
“Banished from the ivory towers of Reynholm Industries, the IT crowd lurk below ground, avoiding work and social contact in equal measure… Another series of The IT Crowd renews our acquaintance with Roy (Chris O’Dowd), Moss (Richard Ayoade) and Jen (Katherine Parkinson), the co dependant trio who continue, against all odds, to operate under the obscene rule of Douglas (Matt Berry). Their seemingly fragile friendship is reinforced when are confronted with naked aerobics, bunking off work, marriages and divorces. The Fourth series sees each character taking on new challenges; Jen wants to stretch herself in the workplace so applies for the post of ‘Entertainment Manager’, Moss beats all records on a popular spelling show, Roy spends a disproportionate amount of time trying to convince an old friend that he is not a window cleaner and Douglas joins the ‘spaceologists’. Written by Graham Linehan (Black Books, Father Ted), Executive Produced by Ash Atalla and Produced by Richard Boden, this persistently hilarious Rose D’or, BAFTA and International Emmy-winning sitcom is about to be upgraded to version 4.0…” (Product description from Amazon.co.uk)

Cover imageInspector Montalbano. Volume 4.
“It is no wonder that Inspector Montalbano is Italy’s favourite detective, both in print – in Andrea Camilleri’s award winning novels – and now on television as inhabited by actor Luca Zingaretti in a role that rivals the finest detectives America and Europe has to offer. In these four irresistible tales, the Inspector is forced to contend with not only murderers, criminals and errant husbands who will do everything to avoid his detection, but local politicians, police bureaucracy, unreliable judges, lethally argumentative mafia families, hysterical wives, psychic and psychotic sisters and so much more. From a discovered body in a buried crime through corrupt charities saving immigrant women, kidnapped horses and dark sexual compulsions, Montalbano has a lot on his plate. But not so much that there isn’t room for something sweet, whether in his favourite restaurant or in the privacy of his own home…( Publisher’s description from Amazon.co.uk)

Cover imageCovert affairs. Season three.
“Everything changes for savvy CIA operative Annie Walker (Piper Perabo, Looper) in season three of the hit series Covert Affairs. Reassigned to a new and even more covert division of the Agency, Annie takes on missions that become personal and finds herself on dangerous forays into inhospitable territory, while a series of explosive revelations force her to question her role and what (and who) matters most. From the producers of The Bourne Trilogy and co-starring Christopher Gorham (Ugly Betty), Kari Matchett (Leverage), and Peter Gallagher (The O.C.), watch all 16 action-packed episodes back to back and uninterrupted of the pulse-racing series that “will keep you at the edge of your seat” (Jeanne Jakle, San Antonio Express News). International shooting locations this season include Moscow, Paris, Barcelona, Morocco and Puerto Rico…” (Publisher’s description from Amazon.com)

Wellington City Libraries Ratings Project #2

Why does it take so long for things to be released on DVD? Why are some TV shows not released here at all, even though they are available in Australia?

New Zealand has its own ratings system that is different than Australia’s. Films & TV Shows that are rated ‘M’ in Australia can be cross-rated here at the same rating level. However anything that is rated an ‘M+’ in Australia has to be submitted to the Office of Film and Literature Classification for re-classification for the NZ market. Unfortunately since New Zealand’s DVD zone is at the end of the release market for a lot of material and, faced with such a small market, procedural costs then often become prohibitive to warrant general release by a commercial distributor.

We love TV shows at Wellington City Libraries, and we know you do too. Which is why we have initiated ‘The Ratings Project’, an ongoing mission to bring you the shows that you want to watch by submitting titles to the Film & Video Labelling Body, and the OFLC for classification.

We’re aiming to give you the complete ‘TV’ experience, whether we provide you with full run of your favourite TV shows, or surprise you with something new & different. We hope you find something you enjoy and feel free to send us any feedback and suggestions.

This month’s titles have a distinctly criminal bent:

Cover imageThe Inspector Lynley mysteries. The complete series four.
“The aristocratic Inspector Lynley and working-class Detective Sergeant Havers are a most improbable detective team with a definite knack for solving difficult crimes. Based on the Lynley and Havers characters from Elizabeth George’s Inspector Lynley Mysteries, this fourth Inspector Lynley Mysteries set begins where the third leaves off, just after Lynley and his wife Helen have separated following the loss of their baby and as Havers is returning to work after having been shot in the line of duty. “In Divine Proportion” finds the pair deep in the countryside where they must sort out a host of small-town relationships and piece together a string of seemingly disparate clues in order to bring two murderers to justice. Lynley and Havers are off on a brief holiday to visit Lynley’s mother Lady Asherton in “In the Guise of Death” when an apparent suicide in a neighboring stable draws Lynley back to work. Eventually, a smuggling ring that includes some most unexpected players is revealed. It seems that even the House of Lords is not immune to fraud and murder in “The Seed of Cunning,” but the question that haunts Lynley is whether its members are exempt from the legal ramifications of their actions. Lynley’s pursuit of justice without regard for protocol and self-restraint in the face of illegal immigrants, organ trading, and the search for an immensely valuable ancient Koran may quite possibly prove his downfall in “The Word of God.” These PBS Inspector Lynley Mysteries are suspenseful, thought-provoking, and thoroughly engaging…” (From Amazon.com review)

Cover imageMurdoch mysteries. Complete series 6.
“Forensic sleuthing in the age of invention. Broadcast as The Artful Detective on Ovation. Based on novels by Maureen Jennings. At the dawn of the 20th century, Detective William Murdoch (Yannick Bisson, Sue Thomas: F.B.Eye) solves Toronto’s trickiest cases with scientific insight and ingenuity in this award-winning mystery series. From flying early aircraft to infiltrating nudist communities, consulting with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to helping a young Winston Churchill, Murdoch has always been a man ahead of his time. In Season 6, he also confronts legal and social challenges to be with his love, pathologist-turned-psychiatrist Dr. Julia Ogden (Gemini® winner Hélène Joy, Durham County). Meanwhile, Constable Crabtree (Jonny Harris, Hatching, Matching & Dispatching) gains confidence as a policeman and a suitor to fetching coroner Dr. Emily Grace (Georgina Reilly, The L.A. Complex)…” (Publishers description from Amazon.com)

Cover imageSilk. Series 2 / created by Peter Moffat.
“As Martha (Maxine Peake) steps up to become a QC, Shoe Lane Chambers once again becomes the focus for drama and intrigue on the front line of criminal law… Martha Costello is incredibly young to have got silk, she is a brilliant and passionate barrister but now the stakes are higher than ever. Tensions are also running high in the chambers, with the still ambitious Clive Reader (Rupert Penry-Jones) having to deal with his failure to become a QC, and Billy Lamb under pressure to keep the chambers afloat. As Martha finds an ambiguous ally in Caroline Warwick, a 50-something, sharp as a stiletto QC, and Clive develops a fascination for a very beautiful and principled solicitor; passion, jealousy and ambition take hold both in and out of the courtroom…” (Publishers description from Amazon.co.uk)

Cover imageDalziel & Pascoe. Series four.
“Episode 1: On Beulah Height. With modernity raising its ugly head in Yorkshire, the grand idea of the Water Board was to flood a local valley to make a reservoir. Of course they had to bulldoze the homes of Dendale, the farming town inconveniently situated in that valley, first, and relocate the families. That was when the children began to disappear. Andy Dalziel was a young detective in those days, and he took the case hard. Three little girls were missing in all. No bodies were ever found, and the best suspect, a strange lad named Benny Lightfoot, was held for a time, then released. Twelve years later, with one of the driest summers on record, the ruins of Dendale have begun to reappear in the reservoir. And the child-snatching has started again. Dalziel, older, wiser, and more caustic, is determined to get his man this time. Episode 2: Recalled to Life. As Inspector Dalziel and partner Pascoe work unofficially to refute new evidence concerning a 1963 case, they threaten to unearth various nasty political secrets. Episode 3: Time to Go. The drugs-related death of young man who lapsed into a coma at a rave club attracts the interest of Dalziel (Warren Clarke) and Pascoe (‘Colin Buchanan’ ). As the detectives investigate deeper into the rave club they discover that the club is owned by Nicholas and Sophie, intense, inseparable twins and financed by their seemingly benign Uncle Henry (Bernard Cribbins), a maker of perfume. This bizarre trio cause problems enough for Dalziel but he then he comes under more pressure…” (Publishers description from Amazon.co.uk)

Cover imageDalziel & Pascoe. Series five.
“Episode 1: A Sweeter Lazarus. Having recovered from his wounds Andy Dalziel returns to the fold just as Peter Pascoe is in the midst of an undercover operation trying to capture a serial killer. Peter corners the man who then jumps to his death but the only witness turns out to be Abbie Hallingsworth who was kidnapped 19 years before and presumed dead. More difficult however is that her kidnapper, Gus Mullavey, confessed to her murder and is still in prison, though now on his deathbed… DNA testing confirms her identity but the police soon have a murder investigation on their hands when Abbie is found dead. When they learn that one-third of the Hallingsworths’ considerable family wealth was in trust for Abbie, they focus on Abbie’s brother David as the most likely suspect….Season 5, Episode 2: Cunning Old Fox. After Georgina Webster dies following a fall from her horse during a fox hunt, it’s put down to an accident. When the Master of the Hunt, James Marsham, receives an anonymous letter saying her death was a good thing, he asks the police to investigate. ACC Rebecca Fenning puts Dalziel in charge of the case and he would rather be doing almost anything else…” (Publishers description from Amazon.co.uk)

Cover iamgeDalziel & Pascoe. Series eight.
“Dinosaur Detective Superintendent Andy Dalziel and his cultured sidekick, DI Pascoe return to tackle four intriguing new murder mysteries set in the beautiful countryside and towns of Yorkshire. Cases include a complex investigation involving an escaped wife-murderer, secret affairs, hidden bodies and illegitimate children; and the death of a wealthy factory owner, blamed by his family on his Russian fiance. They may be total opposites, but their different skills complement one another, making them a crime-busting detective team second to none…” (Container description from Syndetics)

Cover imageDalziel & Pascoe. Series nine.
“Blunt-talking, politically-incorrect detective Andy Dalziel once again pairs up with his younger, fast-tracked side-kick, Inspector Peter Pascoe. Joining the team are one time tearaway, WPC ‘Janet’ Jackson and a young muslim, DC Parvez Lateef, as they investigate four more intriguing murder mysteries in the town of Wetherton and the beautiful Yorkshire countryside surrounding it…” (Container description from Syndetics)

Cover imageHu$tle. Series six.
“The smash hit show returns for a sixth series and the gang are back with more exciting, inventive, and very shady scams. If you have money to burn, you had better keep an eye on it. From cheap jewellery to the odd priceless painting, the team continues on their mission to right the wrongs of the country by punishing the corrupt and excessively wealthy for their lack of concern for others. It just so happens that the team makes some money along the way. In Series 6, Mickey (Adrian Lester: The Day After Tomorrow) finds himself pursued by the beautiful and clever Lucy Britford (Indira Varma: Rome). Problem is, shes a detective inspector set on catching Mickey and making him answer to all of his past crimes. Meanwhile Sean (Matt Di Angelo: EastEnders) and Emma (Kelly Adams: Holby City) must face up to some family history, and contemplate the best way to get the perfect revenge. The question is is it about the money?…” (Container description from Syndetics)

Cover imageHu$tle. Series seven.
“All six episodes from the seventh season of the BBC drama following the fortunes of a gang of London-based expert con artists with a moral bent. In this series, the team plans to stitch up the owner of a dodgy model agency and help a former hustler, after he fakes his own death, to evade the clutches of an Iranian gangster. Episodes comprise: ‘Silent Witness’, ‘Old Sparks Come New’, ‘Clearance from a Deal’, ‘Benny’s Funeral’, ‘The Fall of Railton FC’ and ‘The Delivery’…” (Publishers description from Amazon.co.uk)

Cover imageHu$tle. Series eight.
“The final season of Hustle was always going to have a lot to live up to. In the seven series that preceded it, all manner of capers and cons had been pulled, and the characters had been dragged through the mire on many occasions. Was there, it was asked, enough left in the tank for one more run? The answer? Yes. Yes there was. Hustle series eight might not be the show at its finest–indeed, there are a couple of dud episodes here–but it’s still to the credit of the writing team that they still find compelling rug-pulls to spring on the audience. You still have to pay as much attention as you always did, and that’s always part of the fun. What’s particularly pleasing here is how well Hustle goes out. Its confidence grows towards the end of its final series, and the last episode does the show proud. We’re not spoiling anything here, but for eight series, Hustle has set itself high standards, and it doesn’t relax them here. There might not be anything particularly special about the DVD release for Hustle season 8, but the six episodes alone, at nearly an hour apiece, comfortably offer terrific value, and plenty of rewatch potential. It might be a shame that Hustle had to sign off, but full credit to the show for doing it in such style…” (From Amazon.co.uk review)

Cover imageNew tricks. Series 10.
“Retired cops solve cold cases in this hit British series. The old dogs of the Unsolved Crime and Open Case Squad are about to welcome a few new faces. But first, Detective Superintendent Sandra Pullman (Amanda Redman, Sexy Beast) and her loyal team—Gerry Standing (Dennis Waterman, The Sweeney), Brian Lane (Alun Armstrong, Garrow’s Law), and Steve McAndrew (Denis Lawson, Bleak House)—will solve their final cases together, bringing justice to decades-old murders that stumped London’s Metropolitan Police. After Brian’s reckless behavior endangers his place on the team, brainy Danny Griffin (Nicholas Lyndhurst, Only Fools and Horses) steps in and rubs the rest of the squad the wrong way. Later, Sandra makes a choice that means a new boss for UCOS: feisty, fearless DCI Sasha Miller (Tamzin Outhwaite, EastEnders). The result is “a welcome new lease of life” (The Daily Telegraph, U.K.) for a show that has “plenty more tricks up its sleeve” (Western Daily Press, U.K.)…” (Publishers description from Amazon.co.uk)

The Wellington City Libraries Ratings Project

Why does it take so long for things to be released on DVD? Why are some TV shows not released here at all, even though they are available in Australia?

New Zealand has its own ratings system that is different than Australia’s. Films & TV Shows that are rated ‘M’ in Australia can be cross-rated here at the same rating level. However anything that is rated an ‘M+’ in Australia has to be submitted to the Office of Film and Literature Classification for re-classification for the NZ market. Unfortunately since New Zealand’s DVD zone is at the end of the release market for a lot of material and, faced with such a small market, procedural costs then often become prohibitive to warrant general release by a commercial distributor.

We love TV shows at Wellington City Libraries, and we know you do too. Which is why we have initiated ‘The Ratings Project’, an ongoing mission to bring you the shows that you want to watch by submitting titles to the Film Video Labelling Body, and the OFLC for classification.

We’re aiming to give you the complete ‘TV’ experience, whether we provide you with full run of your favourite TV shows, or surprise you with something new & different. We hope you find something you enjoy and feel free to send us any feedback and suggestions.

First up are the following shows:

Cover imageBroadchurch.
“When ITV first started screening Broadchurch, ostensibly a murder mystery from the mind of Chris Chibnall, it didn’t really get an awful lot of attention…However, as the weeks went by on original transmission, Broadchurch escalated, and by the end, large parts of the nation were gripped by one of the best mysteries to have screened in many, many years. No wonder a second series was swiftly announced. This first one introduces us to the apparently quiet town of Broadchurch in south England. There, an 11-year schoolboy has gone missing, as two detectives, who hardly get on, are forced to join together to get to the bottom of what’s happened. But all is not what it seems in Broadchurch, and to say any more would spoil the undoubted fun in watching it all unfold. For this is premier quality drama. Tennant and Colman are excellent, but the ensemble cast bring a collection of excellent, believable performances too. It’s the writing that lifts things, though, and you can’t help but be gripped as the story unravels…” (From Amazon.co.uk review)

Cover imageLife. Season two.
“He’s got a second chance at life… and he’s doing whatever it takes to make every moment count in all 21 Second Season episodes of the clever, critically acclaimed series, Life. Golden Globe Award nominee Damian Lewis returns as Charlie Crews, an eccentric detective returning to the force after being wrongfully imprisoned. Back on the beat with his determined partner, Dani Reese (Sarah Shahi), and his unusually Zen-like outlook toward the cases he investigates, this unconventional crime solver tries to catch the LA wrongdoers who really belong behind bars – as well as whomever was behind his own fall from grace. Discover why critics declare, “Life is laconic, witty, and refreshingly curious.” (Maureen Ryan, Chicago Tribune)…” (Product Description from Amazon.com)

Cover imageContinuum. Season one.
“All ten episodes from the first season of the time-travelling Canadian sci-fi drama. Whilst attempting to stop eight terrorists, known as Liber8, from escaping execution, Vancouver law enforcement officer Kiera Cameron (Rachel Nichols) finds herself transported from the year 2077 to 2012. In her attempts to track down the terrorists and prevent them from changing the future, Keira joins the present day Vancouver Police Department, enlisting the help of 17-year-old tech geek Alec Sadler (Erik Knudsen) and local officer Carlos Fonnegra (Victor Webster)…” (Product description from Amazon.co.uk)

Cover imageHaven. The complete second season.
“A drama following former FBI Agent Audrey Parker, who was brought to Haven, Maine by a routine case. The town turned out to be a longtime refuge for people that are affected by a range of supernatural afflictions. Audrey chose to stay in Haven and explore its many secrets — including her own surprising connections to this extraordinary place. Season 2 begins as Audrey and Nathan discover a supernatural threat visiting deadly plagues upon the town – all while grappling with a visitor to town who shares Audrey’s name and memories…” (From Syndetics summary)

Cover imageHaven. The complete third season.
“Haven, Maine hides its secrets well. After arriving in the seaside town on assignment, FBI Agent Audrey Parke found herself drawn to Haven’s picturesque scenery and welcoming residents. But the lively coastal town harbors a troubling past that threatens to boil over-and Audrey decided to leave the FBI to stay in town and investigate a series of supernatural cases. Audrey soon learned that many people in Haven have long been cursed with a variety of supernatural afflictions, called “troubles” in Haven lore, and that she is uniquely suited to aid the afflicted. Joining the Haven Police Department and partnering with Nathan Wuornos, Audrey began to realize that it was fate-not luck-that brought her here and quest to understand herself and the great mysteries of Haven will drive her ever deeper down the rabbit hole…” (From Syndetics summary)

Cover imageAshes to Ashes. The complete series three.
“We’ve come so far and now the end is near. The journey that began with ‘Life on Mars’ concludes as Alex Drake embarks on her final mission: to uncover the truth about Gene Hunt and unlock the dark secrets of this World. Alex is back, only this time it’s 1983 and something feels different. The arrival of DCI Jim Keats, sent by Scotland Yard to monitor the station’s performance, throws some unexpected light on past events. Haunted by the ghost of a policeman, Alex decides that her only hope in getting home lies in finding out what really happened to Sam Tyler…” (Product description from Amazon.com)

Cover imageBurn notice. Season four.
“The gear-head equivalent of fast food, USA’s Burn Notice, returns with a new wrinkle in its fourth season. Michael Westen (Jeffrey Donovan) gets an irresistible offer to work for the very people who relieved him from spy duty, so he rejoins Fiona (Gabrielle Anwar) and Sam (Bruce Campbell), while working with Vaughn (The Wire’s Robert Wisdom) on the side… When Michael burns another spy in the process, he adds Jesse (Third Watch’s Coby Bell) to the team and tries to remove the burn–all without admitting his guilt…Adding a new character to an established show represents a risk, but Bell fits right in and…Burn Notice remains as destructive as ever with car crashes, fiery explosions, and high-powered weaponry, but there’s nothing else quite like it on TV…” (Abridged from Amazon.com review)

Cover imageBurn notice. Season five.
“Returning for its fifth season and promising more suspense, more drama and more action than ever before. Burn Notice stars Jeffrey Donovan as Micheal Westen, a blacklisted spy who winds up stranded in blue-sky Miami. While technically still considered a civilian, Michael Westen works with the CIA to investigate and dismantle the secret organisation that burned him; all the while Michael searches for answers to the questions that have plagued him ever since his arrival in Miami: Who gave the order to burn him, and why? Six months have passed since he was welcomed back into the fold, and still Michael finds himself no closer to getting the answers he seeks. Beside him, as always, is the beautifully hot tempered, bomb-happy Fiona (Gabrielle Anwar); our favourite Mojito-loving retired Navy Seal, Sam (Bruce Campbell); and the team’s newest addition Jesse (Coby Bell), who’s quickly getting used to his new life in Miami. Sharon Gless stars in her Emmy®-nominated role as Michael’s sharp-tongued mother Madeline…” (Product description from Amazon.co.uk)

Cover imageBurn notice. Season six.
“There’s trouble in paradise for former CIA operative Michael Westen (Jeffrey Donovan) and his cohorts, and the streets of Miami are hotter–and deadlier–than ever before in the action-packed, adrenaline-charged sixth season of Burn Notice. In hot pursuit of his old nemesis, Michael must take down Anson Fullerton (Jere Burns) and find a way to free Fiona (Gabrielle Anwar) from prison, where she is being targeted by a murderous foe. Michael goes full force to save Fiona as he takes on cold-blooded assassins, diabolical drug cartels, uneasy alliances, and explosive danger at every turn, until an unthinkable tragedy leaves him reeling and rocks his team to the very core…” (Product description from Amazon.co.uk)

Cover imageThe good wife. The third season.
“Discover this third season, and discover that perhaps the good wife is not afraid to be bad. Tougher in the courtroom, stronger for her family and hotter than ever behind closed doors, season 3 reveals a new side to Alicia Florrick (Emmy® and Golden Globe® winner* Julianna Margulies)… and she likes it. Upping her game at the office, Alicia is pivotal in helping Lockhart/Gardner navigate a year of rough waters. While she and Will (Josh Charles) finally get their romantic timing right, there are consequences for both. She has a new professional adversary in her ex, Peter Florrick (Chris Noth), who aligns with Alicia’s rival Cary (Matt Czuchry). Will faces disbarment, Diane (Christine Baranski) tries to keep the firm afloat and Kalinda (Emmy® winner** Archie Panjabi) tries to mend her damaged relationship with her best friend. Meanwhile, Eli (Alan Cumming) has joined the firm, clashing with partners, attorneys and Alicia as only he can…” (Product description from Amazon.co.uk)

Cover imageThe good wife. The fourth season.
“Alicia Florrick (Emmy® and Golden Globe® winner Julianna Margulies) brings her sharp mind and signature grace to challenges both in and out of the courtroom. This season, she falls in sync with estranged husband Peter (Chris Noth) even as she and Will (Josh Charles) continue to flirt with temptation. And her career is finally flourishing as she’s offered partnership status and gains more power at the office. Diane (Christine Baranski), Cary (Matt Czuchry) and Kalinda (Emmy winner Archie Panjabi) each face their own predicaments as the firm pulls out from under its debt, Cary struggles to carve his own niche, and Kalinda tangles with a volatile, mysterious ex-husband. Peter’s gubernatorial campaign hits its stride, as Eli (Alan Cumming) falls under Federal investigation and battles new threats to his candidate’s political future. The fallout reaches Alicia, as well, as she braves a new barrage of personal and professional adversaries, challenging her roles as a mother, lawyer and woman…” (Product description from Amazon.co.uk)

Cover imageFoyle’s War. Series eight, The Cold War files.
“Michael Kitchen returns to the screen as Detective Chief Superintendent Foyle, a man of scrupulous integrity who has survived the First World War, solved crime wherever it led him during the Second World War, and now finds himself called into duty at the risk of a possible Third. The second World War may be over but a new one is beginning, less explosive but no less deadly a Cold War. Foyle finds himself drawn into complex webs of security and counter security where the loyalties of even those closest to him are brought into question as he joins, somewhat unwillingly at first, the ranks of MI5…” (From Syndetics summary)

Cover imageGeorge Gently. Series 4.
“Martin Shaw (Death in Holy Orders) is back as Inspector George Gently, a by-the-book cop from London now working in the North East of England. This corner of the country is just starting to experience the social changes sweeping the rest of 1960s Britain, but the former Scotland Yard detective finds that crime occurs here the same as anywhere else. In his meticulous manner, Gently examines the passions and planning that lead to murder, his methods more often than not offset by those of his cocky young sidekick, Sergeant John Bacchus (Lee Ingleby, Place of Execution). In these two feature-length mysteries, Gently and Bacchus investigate the suspicious death of an ex-informant facing a seemingly hopeless future, as well as the murder of a young woman poised on the brink of an exciting new chapter in her life. “Splendid” —Los Angeles Times…’ (Product description from Amazon.com)

Cover imageLewis. Series six.
“What’s good about this show is obvious enough: clever premises, veteran actors thoroughly at home in their roles, touches of subtle wit, and murder cases with enough suspects to keep even the most diligent viewers busy…Inspector Robert “Robbie” Lewis (Kevin Whately), a self-described “plodder” who’s nearing retirement, and his right-hand man, Sergeant James Hathaway (Laurence Fox), solve their cases the old-fashioned way, interviewing suspects and witnesses, checking out the crime scene, conferring with Medical Examiner Dr. Laura Hobson (Clare Holman), with whom Lewis is now romantically entwined, and so on…As in all good mysteries, the perp is never the most obvious choice. But very few others find their characters discussing, say, the possible compatibility of faith and rationality, among other heady topics. They don’t make ’em like Inspector Lewis anymore…which is all the more reason for amateur sleuths to treasure this smart, engaging show…” (Abridged from Amazon.com review)

Cover imageVera. Series two.
“Vera follows the work of Detective Chief Inspector Vera Stanhope, a woman driven to solve crime, whilst battling a catalogue of problems of her own. So far, so conventional. Television is hardly short of detectives, after all. But Vera has a trump card, and her name is Brenda Blethyn. The Oscar-nominated actress gives a considered performance in the title role, and the lends the show the gravitas it needs to keep us hooked. Blethyn is front and centre for much of the four episodes collected together here, and it’s a complex collection of cases she’s presented with. For instance, she has to face the mysterious suicide of a former colleague, and the odd murder of a social worker, each of which comes with a labyrinthine backstory that Vera needs to get to grips with…Based once more on Ann Cleeves’ novels, the wonderful Blethyn has proven to be a divisive choice amongst hardened fans of the books, and whilst her character is deepened here, more work on the writing and less reliance on the leading actress would serve the show well. That said, her adventures here are fleshed out, interesting, and intriguing to watch…” (Abridged from Amazon.co.uk review)

Cover imageVera. Series three.
“Two-time Oscar nominee Brenda Blethyn (Pride & Prejudice, Atonement) plays Detective Chief Inspector Vera Stanhope in this compelling mystery series inspired by Ann Cleeves’s bestselling novels. Patrolling her patch of northeast England, Vera resolutely pursues the truth in cases of murder, kidnapping, and blackmail. While her manner is sometimes caustic, her single-mindedness gets results. Vera is supported by her trusted team, including right-hand man Detective Sergeant Joe Ashworth (David Leon, RocknRolla). A family man, Ashworth is ever trying to strike a balance between home and work. Meanwhile, forensic pathologist Billy Cartwright (Paul Ritter, The Eagle) and Detective Constable Kenny Lockhart (Jon Morrison, High Times) tend to bring out the scathing side of their boss. Guest stars in these four new feature-length dramas include Saskia Reeves (Luther), Dean Andrews (Life on Mars), and Liam Cunningham (Game of Thrones)…” (Product description from Amazon.com)

We hope you enjoy these shows and stay tuned for the next instalment in ‘The Ratings Project’…