"Death in Paradise" Celebrates Its 100th Episode: The Comfort TV We Adore - By Michael Hogan
As the cosy crime show set on a lush Caribbean island reaches its 100th episode, it’s not hard to see its attractions
As "Death in Paradise" quietly marks its 100th episode tonight, it's a moment of reflection on how this seemingly unremarkable BBC series has outpaced TV giants like "Happy Valley," "Sherlock," "Luther," "Cracker," and "Prime Suspect" combined. With no fanfare, it has become a staple of British television, leaving many to wonder: How did a show often tagged as deeply uncool amass more episodes than some of the most critically acclaimed dramas?
The answer lies in its unwavering popularity. "Death in Paradise" consistently draws 8 million viewers, ranking as the second most-watched drama in the UK last year, only trailing behind "Happy Valley." It's also the sixth most-watched program overall. Its success has spurred spin-offs like "Beyond Paradise," which secured the eighth spot, and the upcoming "Return to Paradise," further cementing the Paradise franchise as a heavyweight in the BBC's lineup, with a global footprint extending to over 240 territories.
But what's the secret behind its enduring charm? "Death in Paradise" offers a mix of narrative comfort and visual allure. Its Caribbean setting, filmed in the picturesque Guadeloupe, serves as a visual escape with its palm-fringed beaches and azure waters. Airing during the UK's bleak winter, it's akin to flipping through a holiday brochure from the comfort of your home.
The show's formula is a masterclass in cozy crime storytelling. Each episode presents a murder mystery solved by a British detective, who leads the local police force. The resolution follows a tried-and-tested pattern: gather suspects, reveal the murderer in a dramatic fashion, and celebrate justice at the local beach bar. It's a satisfying blend of puzzle-solving and good triumphing over evil, wrapped up with a reggae-infused soundtrack.
In a landscape where TV is often divided between high-stakes dramas and "trough TV" — shows that are binge-worthy yet disposable — "Death in Paradise" stands out as comfort food for the soul. It shares the "Sunday TV" category with series like "Midsomer Murders" and "Vera," offering a familiar, nourishing viewing experience that contrasts with the instant gratification of more transient series.
As we gear up for the 100th episode, "Death in Paradise" invites us to indulge in the television equivalent of a shepherd’s pie: a dish that combines nostalgia with the warmth of home. It's a reminder that amidst the fast-paced thrills of modern TV, there's still a place for stories that feel like coming home. So, why not cozy up on the sofa, perhaps with a shepherd’s pie of your own, and celebrate this milestone with "Death in Paradise"?
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