He’s got his usual Cockney voice, though, so don’t go expecting any bad accents, but that’s probably for the best. After all, I was glad no-one in Chernobyl tried to fake Russian accents as it would’ve just distracted from the whole drama.
I never saw the original back in the day as it was a bit before my time, given that it began around the time I was born. Okay, so they did bring it back for a resurgence 20 years later, but dramas like this were rather off my radar back then. So, I come to the character afresh.
What this comes across as, though, is another nonsense cop drama as our grumpy new lead goes from a bad date one night, to investigating the deaths of three men who have all been bumped off on that evening.
At one point, VDV tries to pretend be undercover in a bar, as if he’s a normal member of the public, even though anyone with eyes will have seen him chasing after a baddie before the opening credits finished, in order to set the scene.
Van Der Valk has nice locations, but there’s nothing that we haven’t seen before in this, plus all the typical detective series cliches… and to cap it all, you can play Diversity Bingo!
There’s a middle aged male white lead, a hot sassy white female lesbian colleague, a young black geeky male, a past-his-prime elder drunk Asian pathologist, and a hot half-Greek female coffee shop waitress, and that’s just in the first episode – entitled Love in Amsterdam – out of an initial three… but I won’t be back for the rest.
In fact, I think it just needed a two-headed gypsy with a horse to complete the bingo card!
There also old cop tropes of ‘defying the boss’, which seems to be a staple of every cop drama to the point where I doubt they even wrote a script for this, and just fed it through a script-generator program. And if it’s not defying the boss, it’s another cop trope of the characters bending the rules to advance the plot, like in McDonald & Dodds; and in all cases, they cram in a mismatched pairing of characters.
One thing missing from this, though, is the original theme, Eye Level, by the Simon Park Orchestra. Well, if I hadn’t read it in the end credits that the theme appears to be a reworked version of it by Jack Trombey, I wouldn’t have even noticed.
Oh, and am I the only one who thinks Marc Warren should be playing a younger Malcolm McDowell?
Van Der Valk 2020 begins tonight on ITV at 8pm, and is the first of three weekly episodes. The series is available to pre-order on DVD.
After broadcast, each episode will be on the ITV Hub.
Episode 1: 1/10
Series Directors: Max Porcelijn, Colin Teague, Jean van de Velde
Producer: Keith Thompson
Writer: Chris Murray
Based on the novels by: Nicolas Freeling
Music: Matthijs Kieboom
Piet Van Der Valk: Marc Warren
Lucienne Hassell: Maimie McCoy
Eva Meisner: Stephanie Leonidas
Brad de Vries: Luke Allen-Gale
Job Cloovers: Elliot Barnes-Worrell
Hendrik Davie: Darrell D’Silva
Julia Dahlman: Emma Fielding
Cliff Palache: Mike Libanon
Claudia Oosterhuis: Frances Grey
Paul Oosterhuis: Daniel Lapaine
Therese Remecker: Vineeta Rishi
Agatha Vos: Frieda Barnhard
Bartel Peters: Kees Root
Ed de Klerk: Reinout Bussemaker
Renate Koolen: Malou Gorter
Daniel Koolen: Hugo Haenen
Gerda Dekker: Markoesa Hamer
Milan Bakker: Alex Hendrickx
Cliff Palache: Mike Libanon
Manus Bakker: Victor Low
Kalari Remecker: Arian Nik
Aleida Jansen: Ilse Ott
Homeless Frank: Peter Van Heeringen
Tim Brouwer: Hilke Van Sprundel
Dave Smit: Danny Westerweel
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.