Jonathan Creek-Series 1 (1997)
Audio Commentary-Commentary with writer and director on pilot episode
Featurette-Long Hair and Duffel Coat
Booklet-Collector's Booklet with Production Information
|Year Of Production||1997|
|RSDL / Flipper||
Dual Disc Set
|Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||
|RPI||$39.95||Music||Julian Stewart Lindsay|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (320Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (320Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
†††Jonathan Creek finds investigative journalist Madeleine "Maddie" Magellan (Caroline Quentin) investigating the impossible murder of a famous painter, who is killed in his bedroom by a killer who completely disappears from the scene of the crime. Meeting eccentric introvert Jonathan Creek (Alan Davies), the designer of illusions for a stage magician, Maddie decides to use him to solve the baffling crime taking advantage of his†superb lateral-thinking brain whilst using her skills as a plausible liar to†sneak into closed crime scenes and interview suspects. The show thrills through the excellent dialogue and rapport between the two highly unusual characters - tired, doesn't-want-to-be-there Jonathan and the pushy success-at-any-cost Maddie - who are also surrounded by excellent secondary characters including chronic-womaniser magician Adam Klaus (Buffy's Anthony Stewart Head); but at the heart of every episode are†the mysteries, bringing Maddie and Jonathan together to look deeper at the completely impossible, fascinating scenarios.
†† The real joy of Jonathan Creek comes from the ability for the viewer to interact with the material in such a way that lacklustre anti-intellectual efforts like CSI and its numerous unbearable rip-offs†cannot; the locked-room mysteries are presented straight-forward around the opening of each episode, depicted before our very eyes giving us a chance to solve the mystery as or before Jonathan and Maddy unravel the piece. Each mystery is cleverly plotted and ingeniously constructed, going against Jonathan's own ideology that a peek behind the curtain ruins the intrigue that made the puzzle interesting in the first place. Only the season finale from this first offering, The House of Monkeys, falls victim to the kind of malarky CSI partakes in, in which new information is constantly added to form a wholly unsatisfying explanation and conclusion that feels more like a deus ex machina cheat†than an actual solution.
†† Regardless, the first season of Jonathan Creek is excellent, unique viewing, with fascinating mysteries and engaging characters to draw one in. Although the potential romance between Jonathan and Maddy teased throughout the series is the kind of clichť seen many times before throughout film and television history, an abundance of humour and its unusual presentation between two†unconventional characters makes the series feel fresh. Highly recommended viewing.
†††The video transfer is very varied, often featuring a high level of grain in particularly light and particularly dark scenes, though remains sharp and bright throughout, with high levels of detail and very few film artefacts. Only†occasional interlacing distracts from the viewing, which is a surprise as I would have imagined the footage to have been taken from the R2 original, which lacked interlacing altogether.
†††These are dual-layer discs, with the layer change occurring between episodes.
†††There are English subtitles, which are accurate based on the sample of scenes I viewed with them.
†† Jonathan Creek features effective but unexceptional sound, with the excellent main theme booming lovingly through the stereo as each episode begins before taking a backseat to the superb, perfectly-synced dialogue. All audio is well mixed and audible, as is important in a show like this in which the small details can make a big difference. Although full surround would be better, its absence is not noticeable.
†††The distinctive theme tune is an arrangement of Camille Saint-SaŽns' Danse Macabre by Julian Stewart Lindsay, who composes the excellent, often intense orchestral underscore throughout the series.
|Surround Channel Use|
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
†††The video and audio transfers are both fine but not exceptional.
†††The few extras are mostly forgettable.
|DVD||LG LH-D6230, using Component output|
|Display||Benq PE7700. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device has a maximum native resolution of 720p.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to DVD Player, Dolby Digital and DTS. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL).|
|Speakers||B&W LCR 600 S3 (Front & Centre); B&W DM 600 (Rears); B&W ASW500 (Sub)|