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Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been binge-watching the Agatha Raising TV series. I saw the pilot episode when it first aired in 2014, but until lately I haven’t been able to get my hands on the rest of the series. Following the pilot, Sky 1 in the UK produced an eight-episode first season/series in 2016. Since 2018, a second and third season/series was produced by Acorn TV.
The TV series is based on the popular book series by M. C. Beaton. I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with the books, but I have read the first 22 books in that series and generally enjoyed the stories within them. As of December 2019, and the author’s death, 30 books in the series have been published.
I have a couple of general comments about the TV series before I go on to discussing the characters and the episodes in more detail.
First, this is a great show in the cozy tradition. It follows Agatha Raisin, a successful PR executive who decides to retire early to the village of Carsley in the Cotswolds. If you’re a fan of Midsomer Murders, you’ll enjoy all the beautiful shots of the English countryside and mysteries surrounding village life.
Murder seems to follow Agatha around (think Jessica Fletcher in Murder, She Wrote), and her strong personality draws her into getting involved in the investigations. She is often helped out by various friends and sidekicks–more so in the TV series than in the books.
Second, while I enjoy the show–particularly the fact that the mystery is peppered with humour–I think the production made a mistake in switching to a long-form series. The episodes in the first season/series were standard 45-minute episodes. But in the second and third season/series, it switched to double-length two-parters–so that each mystery was 1.5 hrs long. Personally, I think it made the episodes more complicated than they needed to be, which altered the mood of the episode. If you’re a fan of Murder, She Wrote, this is similar to comparing the regular series to the TV movie sequels. While the TV movie sequels are still good, they’re much more involved.
Overall though, I do recommend the series to fans of light-hearted mysteries.
All episodes/seasons of Agatha Raisin are available to stream through Amazon Prime [here]. You can purchase individual episodes/seasons, or watch the series for free with an Acorn TV channel subscription [here]. It’s also possible to find the series on DVD [here], but it’s generally much cheaper to just buy an Acorn TV subscription.