Midsomer Murders-Season 12-Part 1 (2009)

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Released 8-Feb-2010

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category TV Series Main Menu Audio & Animation
Gallery-Photo
Additional Footage
Alternative Version
Audio Interview-Cast
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2009
Running Time 374:55 (Case: 380)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Peter Smith
Sarah Hellings
Richard Holthouse
Renny Rye
Studio
Distributor
Bentley Productions
Madman Entertainment
Starring John Nettles
Jason Hughes
Case Slip Case
RPI $39.95 Music Jim Parker


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures Yes
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

     I have reviewed a number of British cop and crime shows including New Tricks and Waking the Dead however Midsomer Murders really fits better when bracketed with older style murder mysteries such as Poirot or Miss Marple. Unlike those, it is set in the modern day however the settings and plot style are very similar. These stories are based on novels by Caroline Graham. They are all set in an area of England known as Midsomer, consisting of a larger town, Corston, where the main character lives and numerous small villages where people seem to get murdered at an alarming rate. Similar to Agatha Christie's work, the plots are full of twists and turns and numerous red herrings and suspects.

    So far, 70+ movie length episodes (over 13 seasons) have been made in this series all starring John Nettles as Detective Chief Inspector Tom Barnaby of Corston CID, although Season 13 might be his last it seems. He has been ably assisted by various offsiders. These episodes feature his latest offsider, Detective Sergeant Ben Jones (Jason Hughes) who has been Barnaby's offsider since Season 9. This set includes four movie length episodes which are in fact episodes 1-4 of Season 12. These episodes were made and first aired in 2009. Each episode can either be watched with or without advertisement break bumpers. This adds approximately 40 seconds to the playing time of each episode if turned on. Times quoted below are with the bumpers. As usual, these episodes contain an array of well known British television faces including former Doctor Who Peter Davison.

    The four episodes, all of good quality, included (on two discs) are

  1. The Dogleg Murders (93:34) - Set around a posh golf club, this story involves illegal gambling, extortion and obviously murder.
  2. The Black Book (93:47) - An old lady tries to sell a painting she found in her attic but ends up dead.
  3. Secrets and Spies (93:46) - Secrets from Barnaby's past are revealed when a former spy gets murdered after a cricket match. Peter Davison guests.
  4. The Glitch (93:48) - Someone is throwing red paint over cars and their drivers but then things turn murderous.

    Fans of the series will certainly enjoy these episodes however they will probably not draw a new audience. Recommended for fans of English mysteries.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is good with no major issues to report. Each disc contains two episodes which means there is some mild evidence of MPEG compression.

    The feature is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio, 16x9 enhanced, which I would guess is the original aspect ratio.

    The picture was quite sharp and clear without being really crisp. Shadow detail is decent. There is some light grain at times and some mild MPEG artefacts during fast motion.

    The colour was excellent.

    There is some mile aliasing present here and there.

    There are no subtitles.

    There are no noticeable layer changes.

   
    

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

Audio

    The audio quality is very good.

    These DVDs contains one audio option, an English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo soundtrack encoded at 224 Kb/s. This audio transfer is perfectly suited to the material.

    Dialogue was mostly easy to understand and clear throughout, although subtitles would have been useful. There were no sync problems.

    The music by Jim Parker is mostly variations on the theme tune which is distinctive and a little creepy.

    The surround speakers and subwoofer were not used.

.

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

Extras

     Lots of stuff here but nothing really substantial.

Menu

    The menu is well done and allows for set-up (with or without ad bumpers) and scene selection. It includes music and dialogue.

Disc 1

Photographic Evidence

    A photo gallery including publicity stills.

Textless Title Sequences (3:13)

    The title should give away what this extra is.

Alternate Footage (1:22)

    Footage used to create less violent daytime versions of the shows.

Disc 2

Audio Intro by Peter Davison (3:22)

    An audio only interview with Davison who talks about how he got involved and why he finds the show funny.

Photographic Evidence

    A photo gallery including publicity stills.

Textless Title Sequence (2:41)

    The title should give away what this extra is.

Alternate Footage (2:19)

    Footage used to create less violent daytime versions of the shows. No sound.

R4 vs R1

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

    This seems to be the first global release of this series on DVD. These episodes seem to have been released separately in Region 2. For now at least Region 4 is the way to go.

Summary

    Four more enjoyable episodes of a long running mystery series from England.

    The video quality is good.

    The audio quality is very good.

    The extras are plentiful but without substance.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Review Equipment
DVDSony DVP-NS708H upscaling to 1080p, using HDMI output
DisplayLG Scarlet 42LG61YD 106cm Full HD LCD. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer

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