Monday, 17 January 2011

The Books of Zen!

No this is not a post about Buddhism! 

Rufus Sewell

I have a new telly favourite, Zen!

Episode 1 aired a couple of weeks ago and I thought it was quite good. After episode 2, I thought, well I really like this. Episode 3, the last one aired last night and now I'm hooked. I loved it!

I tried to figure out why I liked it so much and had to conclude that it was just different to a lot of the crime stuff that we're offered today. A breath of fresh air.

Rufus Sewell is great as Aurelio Zen, the divorced, Venetian, suave, sophisticated and honest, detective who lives with his mother. None of your shouting and swearing from Zen, if anything he underplays the role which works brilliantly.

The length of the episodes is just right at one and a half hours and allows the story to be told without that rushing to complete it in less than an hour like many crime programmes nowadays. This amount of time lets you get to know the characters which I think really does help. No ads too on the BBC so you really get your moneys worth! 

The approach to the casting and script is very quirky. All actors are English and speak with a range of English accents. Zen greets his mother with “Caio Mamma” then in his slightly Cockney accent (well sounds that way to a Northerner) asks “What time is supper”? The only actors without English accents are his girlfriend, played by the beautiful Caterina Murino who looks a little like Sophia Loren, and his mother. They do a lot of that continental double cheek kissing too.

The Italian scenery is gorgeous, it really was filmed in Rome. The parks, churches, cafes, restaurants and apartments really make a delightful change from what we usually see nowadays. Zen himself wanders about in wonderfully cut suits; he would have made an amazing James Bond!

I do like the dry sense of humour too and last night's episode really had me laughing out loud. I won’t say why, that would spoil it.

Just have to hope the series proves popular so we get to see more of Zen. Have to say it’s one of the best programmes I’ve seen in a long while, Well worth the cost, whatever it was.

I must try to get hold of some of Michael Dibdin's books to see how the adaptations compare. From what I've read Zen was a bit older in the books and not quite so cool and laid back. Well there are eleven books so plenty of material for more episodes.

If you missed Zen and can use the BBCs iPlayer I’d recommend you give it a try although you won’t get the benefit of that Roman scenery on a computer. If you can’t access iPlayer you can get a brief flavour on YouTube here, although not a lot of the lovely scenery. A bit of graffiti, a bit of a cafe and a lot of kissing!

Post 171


  1. Oh I am so hoping we get this here, or I am going to just have to buy it on DVD. Just from what I have read I know I would love it. I have a question though, has Rufus finally had his lazy eye fixed?

  2. Good to see you back Winnifred and looks like you have your computer problems sorted. A new template too. Nice and bright.

    Did not see this when I browsed through the weeks programmes. You have wetted my appetite and as it is in Italy all the better so will probably check it out on i-player.

  3. Sarah - I'm sure you'll love it. Maybe it won't be too long. The new Sherlock Holmes from the Beeb made it to USA in a about a month and I would have thought they'd be even more interested in this given the setting. Have to say I didn't notice anything wrong with either of his eyes and you get a lot of close ups. They're a really lovely sort of hazel shade! This programme's more my sort of style than CSI & Law & Order.

    Barbara - No my computer is having real problems. Well the power pack is. I'm using Eric's at the moment but all my photos etc are on my laptop so it's a pain. Might have to fork out for a Mac Book!

    They didn't advertise it much for some reason. Saw the trailers before the first then I didn't see any more. All 3 programmes are still on iPlayer for the moment. Not sure how long they'll be there. Best to watch them in order to see how the various relationships progress! They didn't publicise the return of Larkrise to Candleford much either!

  4. plus he looks to be easy on the eyes as well!!

    Gill in Canada

  5. Sorry I was here earlier today, and got so involved in the little youtube video, I forgot to come back and leave my comment. I think that is called a senior moment, of which I have many. LOL.

    We don't get the show, and as far as getting it on my computer, I wouldn't know where to begin. But, it looks like a fun show. So continue to enjoy it while it is on the air.

  6. Love the cheerful decoration of your blog. I want to see this show but can't get it. Maybe I can find it Hulu or I'll have to wait for it to come out on Netflix or BBCA. You sure give some excellent reviews.

  7. I enjoyed the video Winifred....Wish I were in Rome right now. I need a vacation. I imagine we will eventually be able to watch Zen in the U.S.A. I hope, I hope.

  8. No ads? That sounds like heaven. Zen seems to be an interesting show.

  9. It's difficult to watch good tv shows in Spain. The best come from USA. You are so lucky.



    [Barcelona Daily Photo]

  10. Looks like something I would enjoy. Glad to see a new post from you. Are you about to have a winter holiday? We leave for Las Vegas and our two month escape from winter in two weeks.

    I'll keep checking in on you.

    ~hippo hugs~

  11. Sounds like one I would like also. I like your new look here Winifred! I have noticed several blogger sprucing their templates up. I loved all of your large photos that you used to have on your header.

  12. It is great isn't it. We missed the first episode but are hooked now. Rufus Sewell helps! A x

  13. mmmmmm.... I will watch anything filmed in Rome!!!!!

    You know.. I can never follow a t.v. show! I have tried, but I can never find myself seated in one place at the same hour of the same day of the week, every week! I find that I am always evolving, too much for me to be seated in the same chair of the same day of the week, for so long! :D I wish I could follow a t.v. show, though! I would like to! :) Or maybe I wouldn't...I am not sure... haha :)

  14. thanks for popping by with your get well wishes,

    Gill in Canada

  15. Hi Winifred ~~ It sounds good, so will watch out for it if it comes to Australia. Thank you for your comments and I am so sorry to be so long replying buy have had visitors.
    Dr. thinks I may be able to leave the kidney stones alone. I see a specialist next week for a second opinion. Take care, my friend,
    Love, Merle.

  16. LOL, well the scene you showed us does look like a lot of kissing. I bet my granddaughter would love the show. LOL


I'd love to hear from you:

My Singer 338!

Well here it is my very first sewing machine, the one I got for my 21st birthday in 1966! I know it cost my Mam  a lot to buy it for me...