26 May 2006 | darknight-8
I am - perhaps - the wrong man to write this review, as I am the biggest fan of "Virtual Murder" that there ever was; if you are currently in a hurry and just want to know if I think this is a good series then the answer is a categorical "YES!" What more can a man want? Except, perhaps, Samantha Valentine.
See, for those of you who are still here, I am going to use this review slot as a touch more than just saying what is good and bad about "Virtual Murder". I turned 15 when "Virtual Murder" was on TV (between episodes 5 and 6, actually) and it represents a very formative influence in my life. I only realised quite how formative when I watched these episodes again.
"Virtual Murder" is - quite simply - the finest piece of "telefantasy" to be produced by the BBC ever. While the episodes do lack a certain slick, professional quality to them, that is more a product of the time these were made rather than anything else. They have often been compared to "The Avengers" - and you can see how that might work. They have a delightful surrealism about them, some wonderful off-the-wall humour and moments which are just - quite simply - insane.
But "Virtual Murder" remains very much its own series - it was a bold experiment in telefantasy which - sadly - was never continued. The chemistry between the two lead actors (Clay and Thomson) was superb and quite believable. The relationship between the two lead characters (Cornelius and Valentine) was wonderfully mature, in a charmingly childish way. They are lovers in every sense of the word (and the sexual nature of the relationship - while never demonstrated - is never glossed over) and go about it in a far more mature and adult way than most of the characters we see now on TV and films; their arguments (what few they had) were resolved quickly and sensibly. It is a pleasure to see people who can handle their own affairs - quite literally! Yet, there is a delightful sense of fun and mischief in both of the characters. The series is worth watching just for them.
But there is more to it than that - the surreal writing, directing and scripting is a delight and really supports the odd, quirky environment that was being created. You really feel as if these events (which are - universally - bizarre!) could reasonably happen in this world, separated from our own by the width of a shadow.
"Virtual Murder" - its style, its leads, its actors and just generally "it" - has influenced me terribly. I am, without a hint of exaggeration, who I am today because of this TV series. It sounds insane, but it is true - it was the first art form that impacted on me like that. My writing style owes a lot to it, my definition of humour owes a lot to it and - believe it or not - my definition of what a relationship should be owes a lot to it.
You lot now think I am mad. But, then again, you might be mad too - you might have seen this series when you were younger and want to watch it again.
It is as good as you remember. There are places where you can buy a copy of it . . . . sshh!