While to most Millennials, Midsomer Murders is little more than a melodramatic British crime series for pompous over 55s, it has a lot to offer time-rich students in search of a binge-worthy and unintentionally hilarious program. And the best part? You don’t need a subscription to watch it!
As the show and I both enter our 21st season this year, it seems apt to reflect upon my fervent love for this spectacularly corny series, which, to the amusement of my peers, foregrounded my formative years.
The show is set in the picturesque, fictional village of Midsomer, and follows the efforts of Detective Chief Inspector Barnaby and [insert incompetent side-kick] to solve murders occurring in the town with the highest mortality rate and life-insurance premiums in the Northern Hemisphere.
While this countryside village may seem like the ideal place for a tree change, Midsomer is a cesspool of affairs, corruption, sex, occasional incest, constant death, and pure lunacy – hardly the innocent show you thought your Nan was watching. Did I mention the constant death?
But for a show about death, it’s alarmingly humorous. The most iconic murder implements include a faulty microphone, a poisonous frog, a vat of soup, a stack of newspapers, and an alien abduction. Even my childhood scepticism that Mrs. Peacock could have been killed in the Dining Room with a Candlestick was proved wrong in the episode, ‘Written in Blood’, when doddery septuagenarian, Honoria Lyddiard, bludgeons her victim with this unassuming instrument. Arguably the most unorthodox murder, however, occurred when Debbie Moffett was crushed by a giant round of cheese. How provincial.
Consistency is another endearing quality of the show. The same tetchy characters are continually reeled out and outraged by the disturbances police investigations cause to their daily routines of lawn bowls and village gossip. The same pair of black leather gloves seems to be shared among the town’s murderers, too, attesting to Midsomer’s unrivalled community spirit.
In a sense, Midsomer is the English equivalent of Neighbours; a platform for aspiring (white) actors to make debuts they’d rather everyone forgot. Some stars who had their break on Midsommer include Orlando Bloom, Olivia Coleman, and Henry Cavill.
The enduring program boasts a portfolio of 122 episodes, which are often on high rotation on free-to-air TV. The show is also guaranteed to feature in every public library, charity store, and grandparent’s VCR collection in the country, leaving no conceivable reason for one to continue their Netflix subscription.
Nowadays, the terms “streaming platform” and “millennial” go hand in hand. We tend to view services such as Netflix with great reverence based on the variety of content they boast, and our ability to stream to our heart’s content. But there’s something uniquely satisfying about embracing simpler “boomer” methods of entertainment, by submitting yourself to the will of the TV guide on a Sunday afternoon, or (god forbid) putting on a DVD.
In a time when cutting-edge TV series’ relentlessly remind us of the diabolical state of our society, it may be beneficial for us Millennials to ditch the devices and refresh our palettes with a light-hearted and playful show about murder. Shut your laptops, kids, we’re leaving Riverdale, and heading for Midsomer.