Midsomer Murders-Season 13-Part 1 (2010)

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Released 2-Mar-2011

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category TV Series Main Menu Audio & Animation
Gallery-Photo
Additional Footage
Alternative Version
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2010
Running Time 355:46 (Case: 360)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Peter Smith
Sarah Hellings
Richard Holthouse
Renny Rye
Studio
Distributor
Bentley Productions
Madman Entertainment
Starring John Nettles
Jason Hughes
Case Slip Case
RPI $39.95 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 Yes
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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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 will be his last. Season 13 introduces the character who will take over as the lead detective in Season 14, DCI John Barnaby, Tom's cousin. He has also been ably assisted by various offsiders. These episodes feature his latest offsider, Detective Sergeant Ben Jones (Jason Hughes) who has been Barnaby's offsider since Season 9. This set includes four movie length episodes which are episodes 1-4 of Season 13. These episodes were made and first aired in 2010. 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.

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

  1. The Made-to-measure Murders (88:48) - A local female tailor ends up dead in a village controlled by the local gentry.
  2. The Sword of Guillaume (89:09) - Barnaby takes a trip to Brighton but one of the group ends up dead killed by a famous sword. Introduces John Barnaby.
  3. Blood on the Saddle (89:08) - A visiting wild west show ends in murder and Barnaby goes undercover.
  4. The Silent Land (88:41) - Joyce Barnaby is involved in a traffic incident which may be part of a murder.

     Fans of the series will certainly enjoy these episodes, however, they will probably not draw a new audience. 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 mean 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 reasonably sharp and clear without being really crisp. Shadow detail is a bit average. There is some light grain at times and some mild MPEG artefacts during fast motion.

     The colour was excellent.

     Other artefacts included some mild aliasing and edge enhancement.

     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 some sections were somewhat muffled. 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

     Some stuff here but nothing 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 (1:27)

     The title should give away what this extra is.

Disc 2

Photographic Evidence

     A photo gallery including publicity stills

Textless Title Sequence (3:14)

     The title should give away what this extra is.

Alternate Footage (0:49)

    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.

    This seems to be the first global release of this series on DVD. These episodes seem to have been released separately in Region 2. For now at least Region 4 is the way to go.

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?)
Monday, November 07, 2011
Review Equipment
DVDSONY BDP-S760 Blu-ray, using HDMI output
DisplaySharp LC52LE820X Quattron 52" Full HD LED-LCD TV . 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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