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6 Degrees Entertainment

'Masterpiece: Van der Valk'
(Marc Warren, Maimie McCoy, Luke Allen-Gale, Elliot Barnes-Worrell, Darrell D'Silva, et al / 2-Disc DVD / PG-13 / 2020 / PBS)

Overview: Piet Van der Valk is an engaging, unapologetic and street-smart detective. He leads his dynamic team to solve a raft of mysterious crimes using astute human observation and inspired detection in and around contemporary Amsterdam.

DVD Verdict: With a theme tune that topped the UK music charts, crime stories that didn't shy away from sex and drugs and gangsters, a precinct made up largely of Amsterdam canals and a moody blond hero at its heart, the original British detective series 'Van der Valk' ran for 32 episodes over five series between 1972 and 1992 as British audiences were captivated by their first truly international detective.

This is 'Van der Valk' re-imagined in the Amsterdam of 2018 and beyond aiming to captivate audiences all over again with a new raft of compelling crime mysteries.

Personally, I loved the Barry Foster version of the breezily rule bending, irreverent cop so much I read all the books, whilst having to remind myself they were the definitive version and the TV adaptations were for British consumption at that time; including the English script.

So now we are many years on, many of the sides revealed in the books are more apparent, such as he has lost his beloved wife, crime is murkier, politics are worse, social media is occasionally vile pretty much what has happened to the world, and, well, yes, if you were wondering, the script is indeed still in English.

Playing Devil's Advocate here though, for me, the most annoying thread throughout is Van der Valk's complete lack of praise (or even passive thanks) of the new boy, Job Cloovers.

OK, sure right at the end of the final episode he does actually thank him, but by then Cloovers had saved his life! Maime McCoy as Lucienne is good for the most point, but not stretched, although she does rant on quite a bit about Van der Valk's sexual conquests (herself having been one of them!).

Brad, the fourth member of the detective squad is a bit more light-hearted, but seemingly a bit dense at times. The Chief Commander Julia Dahlman is no more likeable than the others, sadly, as I honestly wanted to like her more, always whining about her dog being given to many treats (usually by Van der Valk).

Ironically, one of the more rational and intelligent characters is Homeless Frank,' who meets up with them from time to time to offer up his "underground City" thoughts, but come on now, would a detective squad really use a local wine bar as the rendezvous for piecing together criminal cases?!

Anyway, if Van der Valk was operating in Britain I would expect him to have an attractive Dutch accent, but he's in his own country where everyone has similar accents. Taken for what this is, an entirely new look at the character and what might have happened in the interim, I find Marc Warren's detective intriguing and interesting and await a new series somewhat eagerly.

Also the little stream of the original Simon Park Orchestra theme music, which is oh-so dutifully melancholic is both a lovely salute and a reminder that things shift and change. I loved it. I hope you do too. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.PBS.org





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