Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Quality Programming You're Missing Out On . . .

Finally got around to watching the so-called 2-hr "pilot" episode of HBO's mini-series, "The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency" last night. And, wow! It's been a while since something has come out of left field and completely blown me away like this. Honestly, you're doing yourself a disservice if you don't catch this.

The pilot is in actuality a movie filmed over a year ago by the late Anthony Minghella and is based on the best-selling detective series of the same name written by Alexander McCall Smith. Like the mini-series, the movie was filmed on location in Africa, a first I believe. It stars Jill Scott as the fictional Mma. Precious Ramotswe, Botswana's very first female private detective. Based on the movie alone, HBO, in association with the BBC, picked up the rights and developed six more episodic segments filmed a year after the pilot and airing earlier this year on the network. You can catch a teaser of the pilot at the top of this entry.

I'm completely in love with this series right now. I'm amazed by the lengths the producers have gone to make the sets, dress, and even language authentic to the location. The show has amazing writing, quirky humor, and most importantly, fantastic acting by all concerned parties. Jill Scott is simply dazzling as Ramotswe. And having seen her performance now, I'm extremely miffed that she didn't even get nominated for the Emmy this year. WTF?

I'm also equally impressed with Anika Noni Rose, who plays Ramotswe's indelibly off-beat assistant and secretary, Grace Makutsi. Rose is simply a scene-stealer in the pilot, and from what I've seen in previews for the rest of the show, only gets better. Really, I think I have a crush on her character now. She's great!

I burned the pilot to DVD, but you can purchase it now in stores, or rent it on Netflix if you want to check it out. The actual mini-series itself has already aired and is not yet available in stores, but I have each episode saved on my TiVo, and so will be burning those as well as I watch each one in turn during the next few days. I so wish I could get each one of my friends to watch this -- it is THAT good!

Here's another teaser to whet your appetite in case you're not already intrigued:

I beg of you, PLEASE watch this at all costs! Trust me on this, you will NOT be disappointed. I'm that confident. Jill Scott is too awesome for words. I never knew she had this kind of honest acting in her. What a delight!

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