Queen and I agree on one thing, “One’s television is brilliant” as she says in an animated commercial. Oh, that is Queen of England, the head of state in Canada, just to be clear, and she is referring to BBC television.
I learned so much from British television in general about the world. For one thing, I gathered that there must have been at least one billion intelligent people in the eighties on this planet. How do I know? Well, Inspector Morse was watched by one billion people around the world. Think about it. In that day and age (well, in this one too), someone watching a TV series about a well-after-retirement-age inspector, without killer looks or muscular body, who reads books, listens to classical music, and quotes from myths. Now multiply that someone by one billion. No kidding. They could be watching wrestle mania, or Hollywood celebrities, or … you name it.
Inspector Morse is none of that: the only thing about it is that he is intelligent and sad. He is a detective, well a chief inspector (not that I know the difference) with a conscience, a big brain, and an interest in something beyond himself. He is also arrogant and utterly lonely. And then there is his assistant, Lewis. Not a supermodel either, but an ordinary man of principles with genuine interest in an old-fashioned concept named justice. They are heroic in their convictions and the lengths they willingly go to protect what they believe in. They reminded us of how complicated life can be and how treacherous it can get if you choose to go against the current. They never asked, “is it worth it?” So, I never wondered.
The series belonged to the eighties. So many good things on television did. I do not know of such series or characters on television today. When I think of how millions of us were robbed blind by a few rich and powerful just recently, I can only wish for one thing: an inspector Morse accompanied by Sargent Lewis.
It feels like childhood again; the only hope seems to be in imaginary characters except that there are no more heroes on television. Where did they go?