Murder in Suburbia-Series 1 (2004)

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Released 3-Aug-2007

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Mystery Menu Audio
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2004
Running Time 284:10 (Case: 288)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Douglas Mackinnon
Edward Bennett
David Innes Edwards
Jonathan Fox Bassett
Studio
Distributor
Time Life Starring Caroline Catz
Lisa Faulkner
Jeremy Sheffield
Case Amaray-Transparent-Dual
RPI ? Music John Lunn


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Pan & Scan English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Murder in Suburbia is another in a very long and fairly distinguished line of British murder mystery and/or police procedural television series. These have run the gamut of hard hitting and gritty shows such as Cracker or Prime Suspect to the lighter end of things such as Marple, Poirot or Midsomer Murders. This show definitely falls into the lighter category and it could probably be argued that it is lighter in tone than any of the three I mentioned. The two main characters certainly add to this tone as they are young attractive women who have a friendly and chummy working relationship in which they share many jokes and discussions of their love lives. Additionally, the complexity of plot that generally comes with these shows (multiple suspects, lots of red herrings) is not present in this series. Whereas many series of this ilk run their stories over 60-90 minutes or more these ones are over and done in 45.

    The two main characters are a pair of female detectives who investigate murders in a suburban area called Middlesford, somewhere in England. They are Detective Inspector Kate 'Ash' Ashurst (Caroline Catz) and Detective Sergeant Emma 'Scribbs' Scribbins (Lisa Faulkner). They are obviously good friends and work well together. Ash is more straight laced and professional, whereas Scribbs is a little more relaxed and messy. They are both single and on the hunt for a man. Both of them are attracted to their boss Detective Chief Inspector Sullivan (Jeremy Sheffield). During the series they learn more and more about his private life which is their favourite subject of conversation. As you can tell from this rundown this is hardly a gritty and realistic portrayal of women in the modern police force. Anyway, that does not mean that the series is not entertaining and diverting in a low key sort of way.

    This first series was made for ITV in England and first screened in 2004. A second series was also made. To my knowledge it has not appeared on local television in Australia. This 2 disc set contains all six episodes from the first series, although they seem to be in a different order to how they were first shown on TV. The six episodes are

  1. (46:37) - A female member of an exclusive singles club is found dead in her home from stab wounds. She was divorced and the body was found by her new fiancé.
  2. (47:53) - A buck's party is held at the local golf club for one of the owners of the club. He winds up dead in the pool after going off with the stripper.
  3. (47:42) - A man is found burnt to death in an expensive car in a forest. He came from the rich part of town. His wife seems to be involved. One of the better episodes.
  4. (47:30) - A woman who works in a local charity shop is set upon and stabbed on her way home.
  5. (47:30) - The female registrar of a desirable local school gets run over on purpose while walking home.
  6. (46:58) - A man is annoying his whole neighbourhood by making lots of construction noise. He ends up bludgeoned to death with a hammer. Guest starring Edward Woodward.

    This is an entertaining but light murder mystery series.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is resoundingly average but watchable.

    The feature is presented in a 1.33:1 aspect ratio PAN AND SCAN which is not the original aspect ratio. Other regions have released this series on DVD in 1.78:1 16x9 enhanced which would seem to be the original ratio.

    The picture was reasonably clear and sharp throughout, with no evidence of low level noise. Grain is quite significant without ever being terrible. Some backgrounds include some minor macro-blocking such as at 39:35 in episode 1. The shadow detail was OK but no more.

    The colour was reasonable with no major issues to report.

    Artefacts include quite a bit of aliasing, some edge enhancement and a few white spots here and there.

    There are no subtitles at all.

    The layer changes are not noticeable.
    

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio quality is fine.

    This DVD contains an English Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo soundtrack encoded at 192 Kb/s.

    Dialogue was clear and easy to understand and there was no problem with audio sync.

    The music is pretty standard mystery show music which does not really jump out.

    The surround speakers were not used.

    The subwoofer gets quite a bit of work adding bass to the music and tension sounds.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    Not a thing.

Menu

    The menu design is simple but functional allowing for episode and scene access.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;

    The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;

    Region 1 is the obvious choice. A Region 2 release in coming soon however I cannot find confirmed information about its aspect ratio.

Summary

    A light and entertaining murder mystery series.

    The video quality is average.

    The audio quality is fair.

    No extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output
DisplaySony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Yamaha YST SW90 subwoofer

Other Reviews NONE
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