Jonathan Creek-The Judas Tree (2010 Easter Special) (2010)

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Released 29-Sep-2010

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category TV Series None
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2010
Running Time 92:59
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By David Renwick
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Alan Davies
Stuart Milligan
Sheridan Smith
Case Alpha-Transparent
RPI $24.95 Music Julian Stewart Lindsay


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

†††† The follow up to the spectacular highly-rated 2009 Jonathan Creek special The Grinning Man and possibly the finale for the clever and inventive British series is the 2010 Easter Special The Judas Tree. This new special features a new mystery, focusing on the possible delusions of a beautiful young housekeeper, witness to strange seemingly-paranormal events leading to the accusation of brutal murder. Series creator/writer David Renwick reprises his role as director for this special, as well as reuniting Alan Davies as the title character with Stuart Milligan, once again portraying the sleazy Adam Klaus, and bringing back the 2009 companion Joey Ross, once again played by Sheridan Smith.

†††† Despite running shorter than Renwick's directorial debut, the 90-minute special is more laboured with a slower pace and a mystery that takes a while to reveal itself, and even longer to unravel its intricacies. The humour and solution are much more forced than in previous efforts, though the core puzzles are as fresh and intriguing as they ever have been, making a great case for this series continuing despite the less-than-stellar ratings. Fans will enjoy the unchanged story structure and surprisingly dark, nihilistic revelations that make every character uncertain and morally gray; a less intelligent series could never hold the same weight, nor carry out the events with such noble execution.

†††† Jonathan Creek's future remains uncertain, and it would be a shame for this to be the series finale, docking on an underwhelming barebones DVD package. (Part of the issue with the series continuing is the amount of time it takes Renwick to pen each episode, said to be many months, which conflicts with everyone's scheduling even in a short season.) Still, those who have collected the series now have another DVD to add to their collection, and the complete package is one that any mystery fan should check out.

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Transfer Quality

Video

†††† The video is presented in its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio. It is 16x9 enhanced. For the most part, this Jonathan Creek set features a very strong image transfer, with a spectacular amount of detail across the colourful special. The scenes in the dark are very detailed with no low level noise, which makes the obtrusively grainy opening and mid-episode flashbacks all the more strange. This would appear to be a drawback of shooting on digital video if the rest of the episode didn't look so superb! The overall transfer is far superior to every previous Jonathan Creek set, even giving HD displays something impressive to look at.

†††† 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, important in a show like this in which the small details can make a big difference. Although full surround would be better, its absence is not noticeable.

†††† The distinctive theme tune is an arrangement of Camille Saint-SaŽnsí 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 a still from the special.

R4 vs R1

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

†††There is no Region 1 release as of yet, however the Region 2 and Region 4 releases appear to be identical - buy whichever is cheapest.

Summary

†††† Jonathan Creek remains an exceptional, unique mystery television show, with elements of drama and comedy mixed in with unforgettable characters. While far from terrible, this special isn't the high point of the show's run and I hope it doesn't serve as the series finale.

†††† Both the video and audio transfers are above average. Disappointingly there are no extras whatsoever.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ryan Aston (Bioshock)
Friday, April 01, 2011
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.
Amplification"Onkyo TS-656"
SpeakersLogitech 5500 THX

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