Jonathan Creek-Series 3 (1997)

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Released 9-Jul-2008

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Anime Production Notes-Production Notes booklet
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1997
Running Time 299:00
RSDL / Flipper No/No
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Keith Washington
Richard Holthouse
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Alan Davies
Caroline Quentin
Case ?
RPI $39.95 Music Julian Stewart Lindsay


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame No Audio Data available for this title
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.75:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

†† There's no better time to pick up David Renwick's fantastic BBC series†Jonathan Creek, with the first three series and the Christmas Specials†available now (bar the†upcoming new special, to be aired in the UK on New Years Day), and the release of the forth series just weeks away - nearly all of this addictive, intelligent and hilarious series can be watched in its entirity, not having to wait the agonising months and years between episodes.

† ††The basis is simple - †investigative journalist Madeleine "Maddie" Magellan (Caroline Quentin) finds herself partnered with brilliant magician's assistant Jonathan Creek (Alan Davies) investigating†impossible and often terrifying locked-room mysteries whose incredible engineering puts Jonathan's genius to the test. Consider†Jonathan Creek a smart man's CSI - watching the mysteries unfold always gives us the same information as those onscreen, allowing the viewer to attempt to solve the mystery as well, a certain interactivity not afforded by lesser programming; further,†Renwick's writing on the show is second-to-none, complete with impressive scenes of drama as well as constant humor. Cracking the mysteries†puts Maddie and Jonathan in the centre of the surrounding drama and the outcome is often very, very funny.

†† Series 3 of Jonathan Creek is the most uneven series thus far, beginning with†contrived low-point†The Curious Tale of Mr. Spearfish, about a man who has a run of good luck following selling his soul to the devil, but fortunately improves dramatically with several must-watch episodes. The finale, The Three Gamblers, is a genuinely scary and fascinating shindig about three criminals who flee after killing a loan shark, later returning†to find his body having moved from the scene of the crime, seemingly intent on revenge. Each story unfolds cleverly as the impossible situations are explained without leaving behind realism, and even the lesser episodes are still excellent entertainment.

†† Although not quite up to scratch as the amazing second series,†Jonathan Creek Series 3 is still a fantastic and must-watch bit of TV that'll keep you guessing and keep you enthralled to the very end.

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Transfer Quality

Video

†††The video is presented in its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio. It is 16x9 enhanced.
† †
††† Like the previous Jonathan Creek sets, the video transfer is very varied, often featuring a high level of grain in particularly†particularly dark scenes, though remains sharp and bright throughout, with high levels of detail but many issues with film artefacts. Low level noise is strangely inconsistent; look no further than the opening episode to see variation as a dark establishing shot cuts to a similarly dark interior (1:36), the first looking horribly noisy, the second incredibly detailed and smooth. This seems to be fault with the original source rather than with mastering the DVD, but it's still noticable. Thankfully there are no problems with interlacing in this set as seen in the first series, which suggests these were mastered from the R2 originals instead of the NTSC R1 discs.

†††These are dual-layer discs, with the layer change occuring between episodes.

†††There are English subtitles, which are accurate based on the sample of scenes I viewed with them.

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

Audio

†††The audio is presented in English Dolby Digital 2.0 (Stereo).

†† 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 absense is not noticable.

†††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.

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

Extras

Animated Menus with Sound

†††The menus here feature the Danse Macarbe theme over still shots of the stars, and is nice enough.

Production Notes Booklet

†† The only Extra across the two-disc set is this full colour booklet, with plot summaries from the third series as well as a few paragraphs about the show with photos of the cast from the episodes. As nice as this is, couldn't a featurette or two have been afforded on how this show was made and constructed?

R4 vs R1

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

†††The R1 and R4 editions of this set appear to be identical, however the improvement on the video transfer from the first season set suggests that the R4 is the way to go. The set is also available in R2 featuring the forth season and Christmas Specials; the first and second seasons were included in an initial R2 set, and finally the R2 recieved a phenomenal entire series set, featuring all episodes, specials and extra features, which would be the best buy to my mind.

Summary

†††Jonathan Creek remains an exceptional, unique mystery television show, with elements of drama and comedy mixed in with unforgettable characters. I cannot recommend it enough.

†† Both the video and audio transfers are†fine but not exceptional.

†† Booklet aside, there are no extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ryan Aston (Bioshock)
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Review Equipment
DVDSony Playstation 3 (HDMI 1.3) with Upscaling, using Component output
DisplayPhilips 47PFL9732D 47-inch LCD . Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderLogitech 5500 THX. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL).
AmplificationLogitech 5500 THX
SpeakersLogitech 5500 THX

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