Three Philosophers Discuss Hope
Andrei Rublev

Detectorists, Series 3

It's on Netflix now, but DVD-only. There are only six episodes, and they're only a half-hour or so long, and I've watched the first four (i.e. the first DVD). I just did a search to make sure I was right about the number of episodes, and saw a sad headline: "Why Detectorists series 3 will be the last." So now I will never have more than two episodes yet to watch. But I will give writer-director (and lead actor) Mackenzie Crook the benefit of the doubt, and suppose that in his estimation he can't do more with the characters and still keep up the quality.

Anyway: if you've seen the first two series and liked them, I'm sure you will like this one. If you haven't seen them, you should. I might rate this one of the best things ever done for television. I just read over what I said about it in December of 2016, and it still holds, so I won't repeat myself. 

I will however repeat that it's really sad that there will be no more.


Oh, and one other thing: I did notice one aspect that seemed a falling-off from the previous two series, and that was the quality of the cinematography. It isn't as crystal-sharp and vivid as I remembered. Then I realized that I had watched the other two in streaming HD, and basic DVD quality is lower. So I guess there's a reason to have Blu-ray. 


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I have got to mail that other DVD back.


Not sure if I watched the 3rd series or not, and I know I haven't seen the Christmas special. But a friend brought me the series box set from England, which I haven't had the chance to dive into yet.

Definitely the best TV comedy in ages, and as you say, probably one of the finest things of its sort ever.

I didn't know there was a Christmas special. Not at all sure what I would expect. Not at all sure it sounds like a good idea. But I'd watch it. It doesn't seem to be on Netflix, unless it's on one of the DVDs for the earlier series.

Looks like it came between series 2 and 3, so it may be on the DVD for 2.

i watched the first Detectorist and Im definitely hooked.

I listened to the infallibility one on In our Time. Very annoying liberal Catholic guy. Remember reading pope Leo's Tome to Flavian at university. My teacher Richard Bauckham said with Some puzzlement 'they just felt they had to go along with this' (in the chalcedon vontroversy). Primacy isnt infallibi;ity but I think it is a distortion to talk about the dev of one without mentioning the dev of the other. Then I tried the episode on Gawain and the Green Knight and its very enjoyable.

getting two plates in my wrist in surgery on monday.

I finished season one of The Last Kingdom. I dont know if Id have watched it that fast under other circs. Its like Sharpe withoiy the Duke of Wellington

Best wishes on the surgery, and the whole thing. Must be very painful.

I haven't seen Sharpe so I don't know what that would be. I just looked at the description of Last Kingdom--is it historically accurate? As it happens I have an interest in that period at the moment.

Both the primacy and infallibility doctrines are getting rather a workout these days. :-) Though I'm not paying a whole lot of attention. Kind of fed up.

Did you break your wrist?


Yes left wrist broken on both sides. Doctor says technical term for it is Humpty Dumpty

Mac My entire knowledge of this historical period comes from Chesterton ballad of the Whitehorse. So to me no it’s probably not historically accurate

I guess that was sort of a stupid question--"is a tv series historically accurate?" Yeah, sure.

I confess that I didn't get far in my one attempt to read White Horse because I felt like I had no idea what he was talking about. Or rather that he was sort of talking around something that he assumed I knew. As it happens I got a public domain copy of GKC's History of England on Kindle a few days ago and am finding it a bit frustrating. I was wanting some straightforward facts and he's not all that keen on them.

Does the "Humpty Dumpty" description mean it can't be put back together?!?

Last night I watched an episode of Detectorists that's up on YouTube. Had never seen it before, what a lovely show, and almost seemed from another time. Like Grumpy, I'm hooked.

That Humpty Dumpty wrist injury sounds awful, Grumpy; hope the surgery makes it all better.

Thanks Marianne!

Mac I feel that way about all of Chesterton ‘’history’ books. So often one field one is reading a metaphor about a metaphor about a metaphor. Some of the verse in the Ballad is horrendously bad, like a caricature catholic mcdonagle. But for a few verses I do simply love it

Saying I learned everything I know about Alfred from the ballad of the white horse is a humorous way of saying I know nothing about the ninth century in England.

I've always had some reservations about GKC but in recent years they seem to have grown. I always said I liked him better in his shorter pieces. A lot of his mannerisms can get very tiresome.

When I discovered him back in the '70s I mentioned him to my old teacher, whose judgment I greatly respected. His observation was that Chesterton was very "aphoristic." True. Not all the aphorisms really hold up.

I would say that my experience of GKC echoes yours, Maclin. I found Everlasting Man rather tedious, and if anyone understands what is going on in The Man Who Was Thursday, well, God bless 'em.

I do love some of BotWH


I liked The Everlasting Man, but it's been quite a while since I read it. Also Orthodoxy. I'm pretty sure I've read The Man Who Was Thursday twice and I don't get it either. But some people find it extremely powerful.

Anybody watch Umbrella Academy?


Not I.

So I watched the Christmas episode of Detectorists last night and it turns out I'd seen it before. I just thought it was the final episode of season two. No spoilers, but it's the one where Lance thinks he's cursed. It doesn't really have anything to do with Christmas -- it's just set at that time of year. But it's a very good episode in any case.

"I always said I liked [GKC] better in his shorter pieces."

Ditto. In beer terms he's a sipper not a quaffer. And to be honest, none of his fiction has ever appealed to me except the Fr. Brown stories and 'Napoleon of Notting Hill.'

It's funny how different people can have dramatically different views of GKC. I've heard people say "the fiction is great, but the other stuff's a bore."

"The non-fiction is great, but the fiction is worthless."

"The Father Brown stories are the only thing worth reading."

"His poetry is the only thing that will last."

"His prose works are good but most of his poetry is junk."

I'm not sure whether I've seen that Detectorists episode or not. I think I'll watch the whole thing again--as usual for me it's all gotten kind of hazy already.

I have had similar discussions with people about Percy and Berry. Some l Iike their fiction better, and some their nonfiction. I have a friend who loves Berry's poetry, but doesn't like the novels.

It probably has more to do with the person reading than the author. They are saying the same thing in all their work. I will go for the fiction every time.


I have yet to get anything out of Walker Percy's fiction. I feel like I need to try again, read slower I guess. Pray to a few saints beforehand. Enjoyment of the arts is so subjective. I am astounded if someone doesn't love something I think is great. Wendell Berry I've never even read, and very little GK Chesterton.

Percy -- I like his fiction, but my fave book of his is the nonfiction 'Lost in the Cosmos.'

Berry -- I like the fiction and nonfiction equally, but I'm not a great fan of the poetry, mainly because I'm not keen on free verse.

I think that The Umbrella Academy is rather weirdly very good--at least parts, but maybe I'm crazy. If anyone ever watches it, I would like to know what you think.


"I have yet to get anything out of Walker Percy's fiction. I feel like I need to try again, read slower I guess."

I don't know...seems to me that you either respond to it or don't. My initial enthusiasm for it had nothing whatsoever to do with Catholicism. I just took to it immediately--thought it was very funny among other things. It may help to be Southern (not Miami :-) ).

Well, I watched the last two episodes tonight. I was not disappointed. Sad to see it end.

I did not know till I watched the extras on the dvd that Rachel Stirling (Becky) is the daughter of Diana Rigg (Becky's mother). That's pretty neat.

The first time I watched it I had no idea that Diana Rigg was in it. When she showed up as Becky's mum I was very pleasantly surprised. Then to find out that she's her real mom made it even more fun.

Speaking of D.R., I can't remember if I mentioned this or not, but sometime late last year I bought an Avengers DVD box set that includes all of the Emma Peel episodes -- 50, I think. Amazon had it on sale for $20 (it lists for $50). I've been watching an episode every week or two and it's pretty darn entertaining. My parents liked it, especially my mom, and I can remember watching it with them occasionally when I was fairly young.

I also remember once getting into an argument with a friend about it -- he insisted it was a comedy, which made me mad, because I saw it as more of a straight spy show with the occasional funny bit. We were both right and wrong in our own ways, of course. This rudimentary exercise in criticism happened when we were in third grade or so.

Apparently there is some superhero movie called (or about?) The Avengers, and every time I see it mentioned I first think the tv show must be having some kind of big-time revival. I see by Wikipedia that the show actually started in 1961, and that Rigg was on it in the mid-'60s. I was a teenager then but I didn't watch much tv, and as far as I can remember never saw it. A bit later I became aware that it was sort of a cult thing, but I'm really not sure I've ever seen a complete episode. Nice to see that Diana Rigg is still going. I gather she's in Game of Thrones, too.

I've been doing something similar with the Twilight Zone, which is streamable on Netflix now.

That was a good critical lesson to absorb at an early age. :-)

We have the DVD and will start watching tonight. I have a feeling it will be a late night.

Right now, I am getting ready to help kids dissect owl pellets.


That should be informative.

You're talking about the first Detectorists dvd, right? It will only be a late night if you start late. It's only four episodes of less than 30 minutes each.

It was. And I learned that the reason that owls don't make any sound when they fly is because their feathers are so soft. They really are incredibly soft.

I had forgotten how much I like the music in this show.


I've often been surprised by an owl flying nearby perfectly soundlessly. Because they're so big it seems like they should make some kind of noise.

Well, that was fun.


I'm going to watch the earlier episodes again real soon.

I was thinking about that because I can't remember where Tony came in. Had Diana Rigg been on the show before?


I don't remember either.

I watched the last two episodes of season three today. Its a beautiful ending. Not the best tv I have ever seen in my life but extremely charming and uplifting.

The ending was a bit of a letdown to me--just a bit. But I probably would have felt that way no matter what, so I'm not complaining.

I've not seen The Last Kingdom, but I did find this discussion of it rather entertaining:

That was hysterical.


Yes it is. But I think I can help clear up the puzzlement about some of the apparently useless leather wristbands and such. The Scandinavians had probably already invented heavy metal and its associated fashions.

I finally watched the end of The Detectorists. I am going to miss those people.

I don't know if anyone is aware of this, but the raising of the pavilion was a very detailed parody of the raising of the barn in Witness. I wonder if there are any other things like that in the earlier episodes that I missed.


Had no idea. I did notice a few verbal things that seemed like allusions but now of course I don't remember them.

Watched the final episode Sunday evening -- lovely ending!

Yes, it is. And just open-ended enough that further stories are not totally closed off.

I thought it was interesting that the solar energy company was the heavy.

Yeah, there's an interview with Crook on the DVD in which he mentions possible future installments: none planned as of now, but he didn't rule it out entirely.

He also said that originally he envisioned the final series as a theatrical film, but as he wrote it he concluded that he needed the time allowed by the six episodes.

By the way, I watched Stan and Ollie the other night and it's very good -- quite funny in spots but bittersweet as well. And very family friendly to boot. The two main performances are excellent.

I saw that, too. Watched absolutely everything on the dvd, in fact, including the slightly goofy interview with the actress who plays the really goofy wife of the head detectorist. It could be just as well not to do any more--quit while you're ahead and all. But I'll sure watch if they do more.

Speaking of the dvd, I kept thinking through the first couple of episodes that the cinematography was not as good as in the first two series. Like they were using lower-quality cameras or something. Then I realized it was because I was watching it on dvd, whereas I had streamed the others in HD. I think you said once that you didn't like HD, which I find very surprising. It seems strikingly better to me. I didn't expect to notice much difference but I did.

I don't know if I've ever watched HD and consciously paid attention. It's Blue Ray that I'm not a fan of.

Re the goofy wife of the head detectorist. Two of the things I remember most about the series are the scenes involving her undrinkable lemonade and a very touching one she has with Lance about his long-lost daughter. Bit of trivia: The actress who plays her is Sophie Thompson, whose sister is Emma Thompson.

Oh yeah, I'd forgotten that--it's mentioned in the dvd interview (I think?). Rather different actresses. And that is a very touching scene.

I was thinking the Blu-Ray comment was about HD. I've never seen Blu-Ray. I had some idea that it was the disk equivalent of HD but that may be totally off-base.

Not really sure about Blu-Ray vs. HD. The couple times I watched BR at someone else's house it struck me as cartoon-like because of the "saturated" colors, and also there was an odd perspective or focus thing going on, because objects in the frame that were distant seemed just as clear as things that were closer. Both of these struck me as somewhat annoyingly unrealistic.

Watched Hunt for the Wilderpeople over the weekend, and I can very much understand why my friend from England recommended it to fans of Detectorists. While its comedy is somewhat broader than that of the UK show, it's quite similar in tone, with much of the humor deriving from the dialogue, which is mostly wry, low-key, and witty.

The film is set and filmed in New Zealand, and concerns a young teen "juvenile delinquent" and his grouchy foster "uncle" (Sam Neill) who escape into bush country in order to evade youth services, who are threatening to take the boy back into the system.

There is one violent scene involving the hunting of a wild pig near the beginning, but this is played more for laughs than anything else. The rest of the movie is clear-sailing in the comedy/light adventure mode. The two leads are terrific, as is the bevy of oddball secondary characters, including the film's writer/director Taika Waititi with a very funny cameo as a minister.

Maybe I should watch it again, as I didn't have nearly as enthusiastic a reaction as that, though I did enjoy it. I think it was in the same film festival as A Man Called Ove, which means I would have seen them both within a day or two of each other. Ove made a bigger impression and maybe crowded this one out.

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