For those not familiar with Lovejoy it is a comedy/drama/mystery show that stars Ian McShane, probably best known to me from his role on HBO’s Deadwood but will probably be more familiar to those who shelled out money to see Brett Ratner’s Hercules. McShane plays the titular character who is an expert at spotting genuine pieces of artwork as well as spotting the fakes. At one point in season one it almost seems like the show insinuates that he is also a forger.
Accompanied by his comic relief sidekick Eric (Chris Jury; EastEnders), a character in season one whose father pays Lovejoy to train in the art of art spotting, who is now Lovejoy’s associate and helps Lovejoy find treasure. There is also Tinker (Dudley Sutton; The Pink Panther Strikes Again) who looks like he would be the muscle of Lovejoy’s crew but mostly spends his time drunk. Finally we have Lady Jane (Phyllis Logan; Downton Abbey) who is Lovejoy’s companion friend whose life in the show pretty much exists of getting Lovejoy out of financial trouble and I strung along as a possible love interest.
If you’ve never seen the show before the first episode might confuse you. Lovejoy returns, possibly from a hiatus in the business or from a long trip. Tinker is a monk, Eric is a policeman, and Lady Jane is busy comforting her close friend and Lovejoy love interest (Joann Lumley; Absolutely Fabulous). With Lovejoy’s return everyone seems to fall right back into place.
The season felt a bit boring as McShane and Lumely try to work their relationship angle, and possibly the writers saw it wasn’t going to work or Lumely had simply been a booster, her character is gone by episode three. That’s where the show gets back to it’s usual shenanigans.
I found it interesting that the show was about an art expert who sometimes got embroiled in a murder mystery or some other type of swindle. Even though I wasn’t familiar with anyone in the cast other then Ian McShane (and one episode featuring Michael Kitchen of Foyles War) I found the cast to be pretty easy to invest in. Chris Jury plays a likeable goof and Tinker an interesting wise yet completely inebriated character. The show works for what it is even if it’s unconventional. Definitely worth checking out just to see if you like it. Enjoy.