The Inspector Alleyn Mysteries-Complete First Season (1990)

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Released 20-May-2009

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Mystery Bonus Episode-Original pilot
Gallery-Photo
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1990
Running Time 488:51 (Case: 600)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Multi Disc Set (3)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Silvio Narizzano
Martyn Friend
John Woods
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring None Given
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $39.95 Music Ray Russell


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

     There have been many English murder mystery series over the years such as Poirot, Midsomer Murders, Inspector Morse & Miss Marple. One of the lesser known ones is this series from 1993/4, The Inspector Alleyn Mysteries, based on a series of novels by New Zealand author Dame Ngaio Marsh. In total, including an original pilot made in 1990, only 9 episodes were made, all feature length. This set includes the complete first series of five episodes from 1993 and, as an extra, the pilot episode from 1990 which features a different lead actor.

     Chief Inspector Roderick (Rory) Alleyn (Patrick Malahide) has an aristocratic background and approaches his mysteries in a very British way, polite but insistent. He is ably supported by his offsider, Inspector Fox (William Simons) and a younger, more scientifically savvy officer, Sgt Bailey (Tim Dutton). The stories are set in the immediate post war period, probably in the late 1940s. Another recurring character is Alleyn's love interest, Agatha Troy (Belinda Lang) who is quite feisty and resourceful in her own right. The mysteries which are generally reasonably interesting are similar in style to Poirot or Miss Marple, without quite the same complexity. Some episodes do not always explain the plot completely, so I would guess knowledge of the books may help at times. Episodes include the murder of thief trying to steal a sacred relic from a church and the death of a politician who may have been murdered.

     I have not read the books and I have read that many fans of the books were not fans of the characterisation of Alleyn. Regardless, fans of English murder mysteries will enjoy this series. For those without a predisposition to like this sort of series, perhaps Poirot would be a better place to enter the genre as the main character here is a bit lacking in personality.

     The series is spread over 3 double layer discs.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     The video quality is quite good considering the age of this series. The feature is presented in approximately a 1.38:1 aspect ratio within a 4x3 frame. Strangely there are black bars on all four sides of the picture, meaning the picture is slightly smaller than it could have been. This is close to the original aspect ratio of 1.33:1.

     The picture was quite clear and sharp but was affected by some mild MPEG artefacts. The shadow detail was good. The colour is somewhat dull but acceptably so for the age of the show. Other artefacts include minor black and white spots occasionally and some edge enhancement. There was also a pale yellow line across the screen in one episode for a few minutes.

     There are no subtitles which is a shame.

    There is no obvious layer change during playback.

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

Audio

     The audio quality is decent. This disc contains an English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono soundtrack encoded at 224 Kb/s.

     Dialogue was reasonably clear and easy to hear but was overpowered by the music at times. The surround speakers and subwoofer were not used.

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

Extras

Menu

     The menu included motion and music.

Original Pilot - Artists in Crime (102:55)

     The original pilot episode for the series which starred a different lead actor, Simon Williams instead of Malahide and was made in 1990. The supporting cast are basically the same. A worthy episode and an excellent extra.

Image Gallery (3:16)

     Publicity stills and shots from the show set to music.

R4 vs R1

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

    The Region 1 edition of this series does not include the pilot or the fifth episode of the first series.

Summary

     A decent but unspectacular English murder mystery series.

     The video quality is quite good. The audio quality is decent. The extras are very good.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Tuesday, May 03, 2011
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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