Thursday, April 9, 2009

Review (Television): The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency

You know I’m not a big fan of television. Practically each and every time I turn it on, I am reminded of why it is sometimes referred to as an “idiot box.” But HBO is an exception; I’ve always set aside time for the HBO Sunday night line-up. And over the years, HBO has aired a pretty consistent quality Sunday night line-up (if you discount that minstrel-like buffoonery that was Def Comedy Jam).

It looks like the latest made for HBO series The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency follows this same tradition of excellence. My wife, who is much more of a critic than I, concurs. And if she likes it, it must be something to it. However, my wife accuses me of enjoying the series only because it stars Jill Scott, and I am a huge Jill Scott fan. And she might be right (I love’em pretty and thick). But there are many other reasons for giving this one a chance.

Thus far in the series, the storylines have been simple but entertaining. The head lady detective, Jill Scott’s character Precious Ramotswe, stumbles into about three cases, and she solves them using simply her guile and wits. According to HBO, “Precious Ramotswe exemplifies the courageous efforts by real-life Africans to improve the quality of their lives while preserving their culture.”

There are hints that there is a deeper back story; circumstances in her past have pushed her to where she is now. The death of her father seems to figure prominently. Also, there appears as if heartbreak played a role. Bits and pieces of her background are revealed each episode. Also, the whole of the series is shot on location in Botswana, Africa, which leads to breathtaking scenes of the African countryside.

Only two episodes have been shown so far, and the show still seems to be building a relationship with the audience, but this one definitely looks promising. It airs each Sunday at 8 pm EST and again at 10. Check out the clip below.

Also, following The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, HBO has just begun another new series, Russell Simmons Presents Brave New Voices. BNV chronicles the journey of groups of youths from several cities throughout the United States as they compete to represent their cities at the July 2008 Brave New Voices Spoken Word Festival in Washington, DC. Stay to check this one out as well.


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