DVD Talk‘s in-depth review of FWS8 is probably the most negative one I’ve read, but I must say I agree with much of his harsh criticism, particularly with regard to the change in setting and the new storylines:
To put it succinctly: the central pull of Foyle’s War—murder, corruption, and moral turpitude on the seemingly quiet, almost forgotten English homefront, while the world hangs in the balance overseas—has necessarily been lost. … creator and writer Anthony Horowitz’ largely self-contained mysteries provided a skeleton for dramatized re-examinations of the largely ignored social and ethical issues—and their huge transformations—that cropped up in even the most remote English towns and villages, due in no small part to the pervasive, often-times corrosive impact of the Second World War.
The small, tight, interconnected village of the previous Foyle has been replaced with amorphous metropolitan London, while the circumstances of war on the civilian, and the use of those pressures as excuses for illegal activity, have largely been replaced with overly-familiar spy plots involving atom spies, spooky “good guys” who may not be so “good,” Nazi collaborators, and ridiculously enough, large, large chunks of screen time devoted to—wait for it—romanticized mid-to-late 1940s Labour Party politics (Horowitz’ uncritical approach to “Super-Labourer” Adam Wainwright would be risible if it wasn’t so monstrously dull).
The critic also believes the character of Foyle has been lost:
That dedication to duty, and even more, his dedication, love, and utmost respect for the law, both official and ethical, kept Foyle constantly at odds with others who saw the war as yet another excuse to flout the conventions of the legal system—as well as a convenient bypass for committing morally questionable actions. And so I ask again…where is that Foyle here? If we go with the first episode’s set-up—that Foyle is basically blackmailed into joining MI5 on the basis of helping Sam…along with the vague threat of deportation—then fine: that works within Foyle’s moral universe. He’s doing this shadowy spy world stuff to help his friend Sam, and also so he isn’t sent back to America as a possible murder suspect. However, once this threat passes (we never hear another word from his superiors threatening deportation), why, exactly, is Foyle doing what he’s doing? Why is he compromising his principles to help a system he doesn’t believe in: deadly, double-dealing, no-holds-barred international espionage, with no “right” or “wrong” in sight?
If Foyle’s moral compass is everything to him, why is he plodding through this ghostly, spectral espionage realm where there are no morals (there’s no mistaking the fact that Kitchen, when you can find him on-screen here—I bet he agreed to continue this series as long as his shooting schedule was light—looks either ill-at-ease…or bored)?
The critic obviously didn’t read MK’s recent interview before making that last parenthetical statement.
Read the entire review here.