So I’ve watched the whole first season of Father Brown on Netflix and I’ve enjoyed it pretty much, but was confused at first by when it takes place. A bit of research revealed that they’ve set it in the 50s which allows them to do more up-to-date plots, I suppose, touching on things like World War II, asbestos, dyslexia and other things Chesterton never knew about. (Pretty sure no one said ‘man up’ in the fifties. I hate stuff like that.) For comparison, I read a couple of stories that have the same titles as the episodes to see how they compare. The Hammer of God is fairly similar. Motives and other things more modern than they were, but some stuff comes directly from the story. The Blue Cross which starts The Innocence of Father Brown and ends the first season of the show is extremely different. There is Father Brown, Flambeau, a sapphire cross and a long rambling theological debate in both, but not much similarity otherwise. I enjoyed the story more, particularly as I believe it was the first Father Brown story and is a good introduction to quite an eccentric character. Can’t say I agree with some of his philosophy espoused in both story and show, but that doesn’t interfere with the enjoyment of the story itself. The show is a bit grim with a torture scene and a deliberate running into by car. (Actually that happens in more than one episode.)
In fact, like much modern TV and movies, grimness must be inserted frequently. You can’t just have someone brained with a hammer, you’ve got to see it over and over. Sometimes I think the goal of the entertainment industry is to create as much PTSD as possible. All the usual modern examinations of horrible events in the past: child abuse, sexual abuse, misogyny, single women who get pregnant being treated like dirt, I don’t know if any of the characters in the show are in the stories aside from the main one. I will read more and watch more, but I tend to think of it as two entirely different things. Two priests named Brown who solve mysteries, but that’s simply a coincidence. Brown is a very common name. Also, the authors of the shows don’t seem too particular about their sources. The Rod of Asclepius in season 4 is totally stolen from Green for Danger by Christianna Brand. (Alastair Sim is very entertaining in the movie.)
A good cast for a moderately entertaining show.
Also, I think I will try to join the 1951 club. I’ve been meaning to read A Question of Upbringing for years. I hope I can find my copy.