I enjoyed this series very much! It had it all - drama and fun! The character were not at all stupid and the story line were good to very good... It was in fact even more than 'just showing army life' it was about people living together - having their good and bad moments. No character was totally evil and no character was totally good. They were just humans making the best of it for themselves - often dealing with difficult situations.
Although it was about the army (British army) - it was never an over the top and it never made them look bigger than live. It were - as we call them overhere - Tommies soldiering on... all right, sometimes they made a muddle of it. But they did their best and that resulted often in a good outcome! It also didn't shy away of the 'darker side' of army life. It wasn't afraid to deal with issues of soldiers who couldn't deal with the stress of their job. And that made a nice balance. But what I loved most about it was 'it's British-ness' - their so typical sense of humor to tackle difficult things, their great feeling of reality, being able to look at themselves in a realistic way often amiss in other army series/movies. And to be honest about themselves. And this made this series enjoyable to watch - even if you were non-British living on the otherside of the 'pond' as it were! My ancestors lived for four years with the British army - in the mud and dirt of Flanders Fields - and the stories they told us the younger ones co inside with the way this series shows British soldiers. I can understand that the UK is proud of them - despite they are not perfect! Or perhaps just because of that!?! If you ever come across this series on video or DVD - do watch it! I'm sure you will have many hours of pleasure watching them dealing with day to day life in the army...
I know that due to the 'translation' from book to TV series some things may have got 'cut'! Especially as the creator of Cadfael was should a good and talented writer... should great writing can't just be carried over on the thin silver screen of our TV sets! So I rather watch the series on his own merits - and let be honest - it's a great series. Not many other series can match the quality of this one. The scenes, the costumes, the actors... it all fitted. They really should have done more episodes. Derek is really a great actor - and in Cadfael he once more shows it! The way he moves, walks and reacted on events - findings and other characters lines is really first class. This is mirrored by the quality acting of the other cast members. Terrence is Abbot Radulfus - Michael is Prior Robert - beside that it was for me nice to see them both in one series again. As both actors did should a wonderful job playing German officers in another great British series Secret Army (1970s) about the Belgian resistance during World War Two. Perhaps the changing 'face' of the Hugh could be for some viewers a problem. For me it wasn't. All three of them created their version of Hugh - Cadfael's friend and local Sheriff. I know a lot of them liked the 'first' actor who played the character but I must say I have grown to like Eoin McCarthy the second sheriff (Virgin in the Ice etc.) for some reason he seemed 'closer' to Cadfael... Eoin showed more the closeness both character have - especially if you watch him in the episode A Raven in the Foregate.
really good but lost some of it in the later series!
It's surely one of the best action series of recent years - it has a lot of action, the right characters and a good cast! The first two seasons were good - you felt it was Chris - former SAS man who turned author of some action adventure books 'advised' them on story and character. Than there was a change of 'cast' and the plots started to slip in 'too much of I have seen this before' action... a shame really as the series could have gone a long way... Perhaps they wanted to make it too 'up to date' thinking they could temper with the concept. But as they say - never change a winning team not even when you 'dare to win'! And as there are no rumors of a new series to be made it's clear that the success of this series has started to lose steam as did the characters and plots!