Movie or TV adaptations of beloved mystery novels are always risky. HBO rises to the challenge with its adaptation of Alexander McCall Smith’s The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency. The series premieres March 29th at 8 P.M. on HBO with the encore at 1 A.M. Other shows will air subsequent Sundays in the same time slot.
The premiere episode of The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency opens with a glance at Precious Mma Ramotswe’s childhood which segues elegantly to the present and her first days as a detective. Jill Scott is excellent as Precious, the supporting cast strong, and the cinematography absolutely gorgeous although the first show indulges in a few too many National Geographic style panoramic shots of Botswana early on.
Fans of the Alexander McCall Smith mystery series might grow a bit impatient with the premiere episode as it very slowly sets up various supporting characters and the story. Those new to the No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency will appreciate this, to a degree. The show accentuates the occasional humorous tone of the novels and does this to great effect although the secretary is a bit too much sometimes.
Mma Ramotswe’s first case is the Case of the Dubious Daddy. This is followed by a woman who thinks her husband is cheating on her. Pay attention though as a very major case is introduced much earlier on.
This first No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency TV mystery is quite good even if it meanders a bit at times. Subsequent shows include:
April 5th, The Big Bonanza HBO 8 P.M.
April 12th, Poison HBO 8 P.M.
April 19th, The Boy With an African Heart HBO 8 P.M.
Other Alexander McCall Smith Reviews
The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency: A special and very good read.
The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency HBO April 4th and 11th 2009: Second episode of this HBO mystery TV series is good. Third is so-so.
The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency - Episode 4 04/19/09: American mother asks Mma Ramotswe to find out what happened to her son.
The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency Seaspon One: Excellent adaptation of the McCall Smith mystery series. 3 DVD 7 Episodes