Foyle's War-The Complete First Season (Blu-ray) (2002)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 6-Jul-2010

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama None
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2002
Running Time 389:51
RSDL / Flipper No/No
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Jeremy Silberston
Gavin Millar
Giles Foster
Studio
Distributor
Icon Entertainment Starring Michael Kitchen
Honeysuckle Weeks
Anthony Howell
Julian Overden
Geoffrey Freshwater
James McEvoy
David Tennant
Case ?
RPI $69.95 Music Jim Parker


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 2.0
English Dolby TrueHD 2.0
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement Unknown
Video Format 1080i
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

     There have been many high-quality English mystery television series produced over the years including Poirot, Miss Marple, Midsomer Murders and many more. This series though,  which started in 2002, is a cut above those as it not only includes entertaining mysteries but is also a revealing drama about life on the home front during wartime and contains fully-rounded and interesting leading characters. Unlike many of the sleuths involved in other series, the crime fighting team here are revealed more fully which makes them easier for the audience to engage with and feel empathy for.

    This series is set during 1940 and follows the cases of Detective Chief Superintendent Christopher Foyle (Michael Kitchen), an English coastal town's police chief and a frustrated man who would rather be more directly involved in the war effort. He is a veteran of the First World War and an honest, composed and dogged detective who investigates crimes such as sabotage, murder, racketeering and treason. His team consists of his driver, Samantha 'Sam' Stuart (Honeysuckle Weeks), a young woman who has been transferred from another women's unit to be his driver and Detective Sergeant Paul Milner (Anthony Howell), a badly injured war hero who is slowly coming to terms with his missing leg. Sam starts out as being just his driver but soon gets involved in solving the crimes and sometimes working undercover. Another important recurring character is Foyle's son Andrew (Julian Ovenden), a fighter pilot.

    The stories are woven around real life events from history such as the Luftwaffe raids over England and the rescue from France of British soldiers by small boats.

    This first series consists of four movie-length episodes over two Blu-ray discs. I previously reviewed this first series on DVD which you can find here. In total, 22 episodes have been made over seven seasons. All are being released to Blu-ray over the coming months. The series was written by long-term English mystery television script writer Anthony Horowitz, who has written episodes of Poirot and Midsomer Murders. In this series, however, he created the stories and characters from scratch and wrote the screenplays. The casting and acting are both fantastic especially Michael Kitchen in the lead role.

    The four episodes are:

  1. The German Woman - A German music professor and his wife are to be interned as enemy aliens despite having fled Germany to escape persecution. The wife dies during their transport. Foyle catches a man who is charging people money to be removed from the draft. The nephew of the interned music professor seeks help from his former employer who has a German wife. She ends up dead after a horrific riding incident. A young James McEvoy appears in a minor role.
  2. The White Feather - A young girl gets caught cutting telephone wires, a crime punishable by death. She works at a local hotel ('The White Feather') which seems to be a hotbed of anti-Semitism and Nazi sympathy. When someone is shot at the hotel Foyle must investigate.
  3. A Lesson in Murder - A conscientious objector gets arrested and the police give him a rough welcome. He is found hung in his cell the next morning. Sam agrees to go out with a guy who seems to be mixed up in something untoward. David 'Doctor Who' Tennant guests.
  4. Eagle Day - A man's body is found in a bombed out house with a knife in his chest. Andrew Foyle gets reassigned to a clandestine operation near Hastings where there was a mysterious death amongst the staff.

    An excellent season of a subtle and different English mystery series.

.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is an improvement over the DVDs but certainly not the best transfer you will see on Blu-ray.

    The feature is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio which is the original aspect ratio. It is encoded using the MPEG4 AVC codec. According to the Icon website it has been upscaled to 1080i.

    The picture was fairly clear and sharp throughout without being crisp. Outdoor scenes looked the best from a sharpness and clarity perspective. Shadow detail is better than the DVDs (which were poor) but certainly nothing special. The picture exhibited regular grain especially in shadows.

    The colour was very good accurately representing the fairly dull wartime colour scheme of khakis, greys and browns.

    There were some white spots here and there and some edge enhancement. There was some motion blur during fast movement possibly due to the interlaced transfer.

    There are subtitles in English for the Hearing Impaired. They are in multiple colours and aligned to the character speaking. This is a significant step up from the DVDs which did not have subtitles.

    
    

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

Audio

    The audio quality is very good and a huge improvement on the DVDs.

    This DVDs contain two audio options, an English DTS HD-MA 2.0 stereo soundtrack and an English Dolby Digital TrueHD 2.0 stereo soundtrack. The DTS is the pick of the soundtracks being fuller and richer than the Dolby Digital. Both are significantly better than the DVD.

    Dialogue was clear and easy to understand throughout, significantly better than the DVD.

    The score of this series is by Jim Parker and includes a nicely done theme plus some other incidental music. The music really leaps out on the Blu-ray when compared to the DVD.

    The surround speakers are not used.

    The subwoofer adds some bass to the music, however this is a function of bass management rather than the soundtrack.

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

Extras

    No extras.

Menu

    The menu is still and silent, allowing for episode selection and setup.

    

 

R4 vs R1

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

    Currently our local Region B release is the only one available globally of this series. Unfortunately, I cannot be certain of the Region Coding of the discs other than that they work in a Region B player.

Summary

    A nice upgrade to the previous DVD release but hardly a reference quality Blu-ray.

    The video quality is an improvement over the DVD but still not without issues. The audio quality is very good, significantly better than the DVDs.

    No extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Review Equipment
DVDSONY BDP-S760 Blu-ray, 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 into BD player. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE