[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zGoDTlCwrgc&NR=1I liked the books in The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith a lot when I read them; so I was delighted to discover they had been made into a TV series, and that they would be shown on German TV. So far I have watched the pilot (directed by Anthony Minghella) and four of the six episodes, and I love them.

The first and foremost impression the series leaves is color. The images created on the screen are just amazing. The landscape, the animals, the people, the buildings and everything that makes up everyday life are used to great effect, and your eyes feast on it.

The characters (and actors) are lovely. First and foremost, there is detective Mma. Precious Ramotswe (US singer Jill Scott), a traditionally built woman who solves her cases with wisdom, intuition, common sense and a great deal of compassion. Her secretary/assistant, Mma. Grace Makutsi (Anika Noni Rose), is insecure, yet determined, and very comical. And then there is Mr. J. L. B. Matekoni (Lucian Msamati), owner of Speedy Motors garage and Mma. Ramotswe’s shy and reliable suitor. Each of these is very engaging, and I rooted for them even after the first episode.

What I also like a lot is the way the books’ optimism is conveyed. Alexander McCall Smith paints a very positive image of Botswana’s society, and while this outlook is dominant in the series, too, it never gets saccharine. Serious problems like AIDS and dark magic are alluded to, but they don’t overpower.

I am looking forward very much to watching the last two episodes, and hope the series will be continued. Have any of you watched it, and what did you think of it?

– Rike Horstmann