TV on DVD Review: Pie in the Sky -- Series 2 (1995)

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Thanks to public service announcements from the '80s and '9os along with a whole lot of eggs and frying pans, we now know what our brains look like on drugs. And thanks to BBC's '90s series Pie in the Sky, we now know exactly what a chicken's egg looks like on rock.

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Although he was fearful that playing classical, opera and religious-based music would turn his hen house into a church for born again chickens, when the worker-chicks don't meet Henry Crabbe's (Richard Griffiths) egg quota for recipes at his cozy restaurant Pie in the Sky, the kitchen staff takes matters into their own hands.

With his accountant wife Margaret (Maggie Steed) giving the staff the go ahead to get things clucking, unbeknown to Henry-- hip hop, rock 'n roll, soul, and rap replace classical as they provide Henry's feathered friends with tunes they feel will get them in a more rhythmically conducive mood.

And although the musical tampering made the productivity go up, sadly it also made the quality go down. However, fortunately for the staff, once again because the semi-retired Inspector Crabbe is off on another case with his partner Cambridge (Bella Enahoro), it takes him quite some time to learn just what happens to a chicken's egg on rock.

Giving fans more surprising cases, Series 2 also provides a greater laugh ratio than the previous installment which needed to set up all of the particulars of the detective who'd been shot in the line of duty whilst a major villain and fellow foodie made his great escape.

And although his wife prefers the steady income of the cop job since as an accountant she realizes how desperately risky restaurant venture are (especially without Gordon Ramsay to jump in and put out any Kitchen Nightmares), Henry can't wait to turn in his badge for good.

Yet his superior Assistant Chief Constable Fisher (Malcolm Sinclair) who blames the criminal's escape on Crabbe, refuses to let him leave the force. While on the surface it seems like a form of professional blackmail to try and pin Crabbe into some sort of wrongdoing concerning the villain who'd flown the coop in the pilot, we're quick to ascertain that his rigid stance is based primarily on selfish gains. Namely, Crabbe's knack for breaking apart complicated crimes as though they were a new twist on his steak and kidney pie recipe never fails to make his boss Fisher look good and Fisher is as addicted to climbing the power ladder as Crabbe is to cooking.

Another inviting series thankfully rescued by Acorn, Pie's creator Andrew Payne's mouth-watering detective dramedy that's equal parts foodie and equal parts mystery gets off to a delightfully entertaining start with the ten episodes contained in this three-disc slim packaged set.

And although the show coasts a bit in the middle of this particular season, there are plenty of standouts throughout including the opener "Hard Cheese," "The One That Got Away" "Black Pudding," "The Mystery of Pikey," "Lemon Twist," and one of the Pie in the Sky's best with "Brown Bread" which offers a new spin on the vanishing dead body style cases.

Additionally balancing out Crabbe's sometimes unlikable, cranky demeanor with new character revelations, Margaret grows feistier than ever before by taking it upon herself to try and trap a prank calling flasher with her trusty hockey stick while in the same year a restaurant war breaks out between the kitchen and the wait staff.

Wrapping the series up with the irony of car trouble leading to an accidental food critic rave review that rakes in customers precisely when Crabbe has to go to a teamwork police force seminar, this series also offers up some startling details about Fisher's personality and home life that I'm eager to see develop in the future.

Yet, this feel-good detective series doesn't have the most remote interest in psychological study and dark police procedural fare, as the charming cast and ingenious writing routinely leaves you wanting not only the next installment but a really great restaurant quality home-cooked meal... minus the chicken's eggs on rock, that is.

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FTC Disclosure:
Per standard professional practice, I received a review copy of this title in order to evaluate it for my readers, which had no impact whatsoever on whether or not it received a favorable or unfavorable critique.