Midsomer Murders-D.C.I. Barnaby & Me-Collection 2 (1997)
Main Menu Audio & Animation
|Year Of Production||1997|
|RSDL / Flipper||
Multi Disc Set (3)
|Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||1,2,3,4,5,6||Directed By||
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||Varies|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||Varies||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
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'swork, the plots are full of twists and turns and numerous red herrings and suspects.
The concept of this set D.C.I Barnaby & Me is to compile episodes selected by the lead actor John Nettles in various categories including his favourite episode of all time. This is the second such set released. These sets are repackages of the same episodes which appeared on the season by season sets so they may not be of interest to people who already own these sets. Having said that, though, they are a good way to dip into the 13 seasons of Midsomer and see some of the better episodes. Each episode is introduced by John Nettles and he explains why he chose the episode. This adds 3-4 minutes to each episode. The set is nicely packaged in one triple case housed in a sturdy slipcover.
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 first offsider, Detective Sergeant Gavin Troy (Daniel Casey), as this compilation comes from Seasons 1-6. This set includes five movie length episodes. 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 many of who have appeared in a number of Midsomer episodes.
The five episodes, all of good to very good quality are included (on three discs):
This is probably a good set to start with if you want to try Midsomer Murders for the first time. Recommended for fans of English mysteries but probably not necessary for those who have collected all the season sets.
The video quality is good. Two of the three discs contain two episodes which means there is some evidence of MPEG compression.
The episodes are presented in two different aspect ratios dependant upon which season they are from. Early episodes (1,2 & 5) are in 1.56:1 4x3 and the later episodes (3,4) are in 1.85:1 aspect ratio, 16x9 enhanced. I would guess both of these are the original aspect ratios.
The picture was reasonably sharp and clear for its age. Shadow detail is average. There is some light grain at times, some MPEG artefacts during fast motion and minor macro-blocking in some backgrounds. The grain is heavier in earlier episodes
The colour was decent but somewhat dull in earlier episodes.
Artefacts include mild aliasing and quite a bit of edge enhancement .
There are no subtitles.
There are no noticeable layer changes.
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.
|Surround Channel Use|
All the extras are really part of the main program being the option of ad-break bumpers and the introductions by John Nettles which are not optional.
The menu is well done and allows for set-up (with or without ad bumpers) and scene selection. It includes music and dialogue.
Trailers for other shows.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
This seems to be a repackage only available locally although it is Region free.
The video quality is good.
The audio quality is very good.
The extras are included in the main feature.
|DVD||Sony DVP-NS708H upscaling to 1080p, using HDMI output|
|Display||LG 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 Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.|
|Speakers||Monitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer|