Midsomer Murders-Season 9-Part 1 (2006)

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Released 8-Nov-2007

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category TV Series Menu Audio
Alternative Version
Gallery-Photo
Additional Footage
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2006
Running Time 374:04 (Case: 400)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Peter Smith
Sarah Hellings
Jeremy Silberston
Richard Holthouse
Studio
Distributor
Bentley Productions
Madman Entertainment
Starring John Nettles
Jason Hughes
Case Slip Case
RPI ? 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 No
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 a set of 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 were the first four to feature a new offsider for Barnaby, Detective Sergeant Ben Jones (Jason Hughes). This set includes four movie length episodes which are in fact episodes 1-4 of Season 9. These episodes were first aired in 2006. 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 without the bumpers. As usual, these episodes contain an array of well known British television faces including Simon Callow and Joss Ackland.

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

  1. The House in the Woods (93:45) - A derelict house in the woods is rumoured to be haunted, but when a couple interested in buying it end up murdered Barnaby knows something more sinister is afoot.
  2. Dead Letters (93:45) - A local festival seems to be linked to the death of a lonely woman.
  3. Vixen's Run (93:34) - Local aristocrat and playboy drops dead at a family dinner where he is planning a big announcement. It seems to be natural causes but Barnaby is not sure.
  4. Down Among the Dead Men (93:00) - A rare water based mystery for Barnaby as he investigates the death of a local council clerk.

     Fans of the series will certainly enjoy these episodes. 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 were no other obvious artefacts.

     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 contain 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

     A bit 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 (1:54)

     The title should give away what this extra is.

Disc 2

Photographic Evidence

     A photo gallery including publicity stills.

Textless Title Sequence (3:17)

     The title should give away what this extra is.

Alternate Footage (1:01)

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

R4 vs R1

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

    The complete set of Series 9 is available in Region 2, however seemingly without extras. The difference is slight, I would say choose whichever is best based on price.

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 without substance.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Wednesday, September 08, 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

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