Appellate Judge James A. Stewart considers this meat-pie maker/sleuth the anti-Sweeney Todd.
Our reviews of Pie In The Sky: Series 1 (published May 21st, 2009), Pie In The Sky: Series 3 (published August 15th, 2010), Pie In The Sky: Series 4 (published January 19th, 2011), and Pie In The Sky: Series 5 (published July 14th, 2011) are also available.
"You had to be the avuncular DI Crabbe. That's your trouble. You've got to be liked by everyone."—ACC Freddy Fisher (who doesn't have that trouble)
Actually, DI Henry Crabbe (Richard Griffiths, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone) is a reluctant copper, pressed into service by ACC Freddy Fisher (Malcolm Sinclair, V For Vendetta) to handle touchy cases. Crabbe prefers making meat pies full-time at his restaurant, Pie in the Sky. It's a good thing that Crabbe does have years of experience as a detective, though, since you never know when a dead body might turn up at his restaurant. After all, this is Pie in the Sky: Series 2, the second series in a long-running British TV detective dramedy.
Facts of the Case
Pie in the Sky: Series 2 features ten episodes on three discs:
• "Brown Bread"
• "The Policeman's Daughter"
• "Dead Right"
• "Black Pudding"
• "The Mild Bunch"
• "The Mystery of Pikey"
• "Lemon Twist"
Pie in the Sky is a typical lightweight, character-oriented detective show, and Richard Griffiths as Henry Crabbe makes quite a character as the chef and detective. Who else would pack a "Dodgy Hotel Survival Kit," with culinary first-aid items such as olive oil and parmesan cheese, when going away on assignment, and would have his best conversations with his chickens? Griffiths balances the silly and serious well enough to handle both the seedy tone of corruption in "Swan in His Pride" and the lightweight, throwaway case in "The Mild Bunch." There, his interest in the culprits' pudding recipe added some laughs to an otherwise yawn-inducing check fraud caper.
Three episodes, "The Policeman's Daughter," "Dead Right," and "Black Pudding," are more character study than mystery, and the character relationships, sorted out with the help of the tough but softhearted Crabbe and his caring wife Margaret, carry the episodes well enough that you won't miss the usual crime solving. The detective struggling to overcome a disability in "The Mild Bunch" also has strong character moments, although the trivial case is a distraction.
Things seem to be pretty much the same as in Series 1, except that there's a different pretty waitress, farmer Henderson has a job in the kitchen—apparently so he can provide comic relief without much location shooting on the farm—and Maggie Steed has a little more to do, showing the human side of the business-minded Margaret and giving Pie in the Sky a warmer feel.
Pie in the Sky mixes set-bound restaurant scenes with shots of a mid-sized English city and its rural vicinity. The scenery isn't that big a part of the show, but it comes across well for the most part, as does the jazzy score. I did notice a freeze at one point.
A text bio of Richard Griffiths is the only extra.
The Rebuttal Witnesses
Pie in the Sky is a good show, and I enjoy dropping in on Richard Griffiths' Henry Crabbe at his Pie in the Sky restaurant. However, you've undoubtedly seen everything on the menu before.
There's also a note on the DVD package, in small print, about music substitution, although the switch wasn't obvious.
Richard Griffiths dives into Pie in the Sky with the zest Henry Crabbe puts into making a steak-and-kidney pie. If you're looking for comfort food television, you could find it tasty.
Not guilty, and you'll find some tips on making cucumber relish and bread-and-butter pudding in there, too.
Give us your feedback!
What's "fair"? Whether positive or negative, our reviews should be unbiased, informative, and critique the material on its own merits.
Scales of Justice
Studio: Acorn Media
Review content copyright © 2010 James A. Stewart; Site design and review layout copyright © 2014 Verdict Partners LLC. All rights reserved.