DCI Banks: A New ‘Tec On The Block.

Stephen Tompkinson plays DCI Alan Banks. (Image: onenationmagazine.com)

It’s another new season on TV. The summer detritus has blown away like gas from a fibre diet. With the exception of Sherlock, there was nothing on TV worth investing valuable time. Even the World Cup wasn’t all it should have been.

So what is there to look forward to, now that the autumn schedule is almost in full swing? For sci-fi geeks like me, the return of Fringe and Stargate Universe has pride of place. For more down-to-earth entertainment, crime fans, like me, have two new series to look forward to. Mark Billingham’s creation Tom Thorne comes to Sky next month. I’m especially looking forward to this because I’ve read all of Billingham’s novels, and the casting of David Morrissey (he of The Next Doctor) is inspired.

Image: inspectorbanks.com

Stephen Tompkinson plays DCI Alan Banks in a new two-part story for ITV called Aftermath. It’s based on the twelfth book of author Peter Robinson’s series featuring Banks. I’ve read the first book only, so I’m not familiar with him as I would be with Thorne. But it’s a solid enough start. Banks, like most TV detectives nowadays, comes with his own quirks and demons. He’s a divorced father of two (his ex-wife is pregnant by her new husband), he’s a devoted fan of Jazz music, and he sees his victims watching him as he searches for justice.

This is a twisted story, with enough going on to make come back and watch the second part next Monday. Tompkinson is a good actor; he has that drawn and haunted look that served him well when he played a conflicted Catholic parish priest in Ballykissangel. Provided it gets good reviews and the network are satisfied with the finished product, I can see DCI Banks becoming a regular fixture on our schedules.

To be honest, though, ever since John Thaw and Inspector Morse solved their final case and retired to the Great Police Station Up In The Sky, there has been a dearth of quality TV detective shows. I’m hoping that Banks and Thorne can address this.

5 responses to “DCI Banks: A New ‘Tec On The Block.

  1. Some of us (SciFi’ers) are also looking forward to the last season of Smallville. The first episode aready aired here, and it was pretty good.
    Still and all, SciFi looks like it is losing ground again. In its place there are any number of clone cop shows wherein a socially disfunctional, yet brilliant, person comes in and saves the day. Ah, well.

    • I lost interest in Smallville after season five and I’m kind of sorry I did. There’s always the box sets – if I can get them cheap enough.

      What I think is happening is that the networks are looking for the new Lost; see Flashforward and The Event for proof of that statement. Whereas Fringe and SGU are, to me, top quality and well-written entertainment, little chance is given to those ideas that are off the beaten track. Shows like Life On Mars and Ashes To Ashes shine on British (and Irish) TV, but can’t seem to make the grade in the US. Why? Because they’re too intelligent and require the audience to think outside the box.

      Now, I agree that TV ‘tecs are two-a-penny, but if the shows that I’ve highlighted here are anywhere near as good as Morse was (i.e. well-written and intelligent – that word again), I’ll take them over any high-concept nonsense any day of the week.

      Thanks for your input, Rik 🙂

  2. Summer detritus is apt! ACK!

    My favorite show these days: The Middle . . . with a perfectly functioning dysfunctional family at its heart.

  3. If he likes jazz, he has my vote.
    Loved Ballykissangel.

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