Acorn Media // 1996 // 294 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Appellate Judge James A. Stewart // August 15th, 2010
"Don't be ridiculous, Henry! Souffles don't have feelings!" -- Margaret Crabbe, to her husband
Henry Crabbe (Richard Griffiths, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone), policeman and souffle psychologist (restaurateur/chef, actually), is back in Pie in the Sky: Series 3. As this series of the British detective dramedy begins, he's having nightmares about Hooperman, the bad guy who shot him and got away. Worse yet, his troubles with the bank could end his days in the kitchen of Pie in the Sky, and he's in hot water at the station for missing meetings.
Pie in the Sky: Series 3 has six episodes on two discs:
* "Money Talks"
Henry has to "get a result" by week's end in a stakeout of a pizza parlor that might be hiding a burglary ring. A temp chef is stealing liquor from the bar. An anonymous message brings news of Hooperman. Gary, an ex-con, turns up looking for a job.
* "Game Pie"
With the weekend's takings missing, Henry reluctantly takes a job catering for a hunting party. It's worse than he expected, since novice hunter ACC Freddy Fisher (Malcolm Sinclair, V For Vendetta), a member of the party, is blamed for a shooting death.
* "Irish Stew"
A wedding party at Pie in the Sky and a theft bring Margaret's one-time crush back into her life. Henry wonders what's in the guy's stolen briefcase, and Margaret wants to know why his name's not the same.
* "Doggett's Coat and Badge"
DCI Doggett of the Met recognizes a wine-loving regular during a police retirement party at Pie in the Sky. Friend Henderson is getting unfriendly with another farmer in a feud over potatoes.
* "This Other Eden"
The horticulture squad joins Henry on a stakeout as gardens are being dug up and taken away around Middleton. Naturally, Margaret hires the prime suspect to create an outdoor dining space at Pie in the Sky.
* "Coddled Eggs"
An ambitious copper (Phyllis Logan, Lovejoy) tries to interfere with Crabbe and Fisher on an operation to steal back stolen cars. Margaret and Gary deal with a health inspector at Pie in the Sky.
As usual, coincidences are on the menu at Pie in the Sky, with only one case this series completely unrelated to Henry's restaurant. In previous seasons, that gimmick was a lot more fun, with Margaret and the restaurant crew getting involved in Henry's cases, with amusing results. Series 3 feels more like a regular cop show with a gimmick rather than the well-blended souffle of the first two series.
Maggie Steed (Lipstick on Your Collar) as Margaret is missing altogether from two episodes, and only gets one really good story: "Irish Stew," which brings a childhood crush back into her life. Viewers get a glimpse of a Margaret who wasn't always so straitlaced and get to see her protective side as she watches out for the bride-to-be. Her reduced role is felt, as is the reduced emphasis on the restaurant.
While Pie in the Sky is starting to look more like a procedural, it's still got some nicely daft touches. The show's humor is at its best in "This Other Eden," thanks to the two tough guys put in charge of horticultural detail. Their walkie-talkie talk and destructive chase through a garden during a stakeout are hilarious. There's also some fun in "Doggett's Coat and Badge," which actually puts Henry's wine knowledge to the test in the resolution. Pie in the Sky's other side, drama, comes out excellently in "Game Pie" as Fisher, normally a weasel, takes on the responsibility for a shooting and considers resigning from the force.
The picture has a lot of flecks and spots, showing the show's age, and some night scenes are hard to read. The sound's okay. There are no extras.
This is a short series, with only six episodes. While it can still be fun, this batch of Pie in the Sky is not quite as good as in past series. Even with a dream sequence that catches viewers up on backstory in the opener, this isn't the place to dig in for new viewers.
While Series 3 isn't quite as tasty as in the past, it's still good enough that those of you who've already seen the past two series will want another helping of Crabbe's souffle of detection and food preparation.
Pie in the Sky may be guilty of slipping a bit, but it's still a fun
Review content copyright © 2010 James A. Stewart; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Acorn Media
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 294 Minutes
Release Year: 1996
MPAA Rating: Not Rated