Plot: What’s it about?
This is the story of family, love, loss, and triumph over an extended period of time, from before World War II, during that conflict, and of course, afterwards. The centerpiece of the show is Judith Dunbar (Emily Mortimer), a beautiful young girl who has to come of age in this tense time, which is not an ideal situation, to say the least. She has been signed to a boarding school while her family is posted overseas and as such, she feels alone and in need, but she soon finds some solace and is able to cope a little better. She becomes quite close with the Carey-Lewis family, who has a rich backstory and a lot of details, often tawdry ones. The head of their household is the Colonel (Peter O’Toole), whose wife Diana (Joanna Lumley) is much younger and even has a man on the side, though her husband is well aware. As time passes, Judith gets closer and closer to this family and as romance, danger, and new experiences, Judith blossoms from a girl into a young woman, no simple task indeed.
Based on Rosamunde Pilcher’s best-selling novel, Coming Soon is a terrific show and while it has some flaws, I feel the good outweighs the bad here. The source offers some great material and it’s all well executed here, very impressive stuff indeed. I was drawn in from the start and never lost interest, thanks to the great writing and more than able cast of performers. You’ll see such names as Peter O’Toole, Joanna Lumley, Emily Mortimer, and Penelope Keith here and of course, all seem in fine form. I simply cannot recommend this feature enough and if you’re looking for a starting point into British drama, I think this would as good as a place as any, much better than most, in fact. Acorn Media has issued Coming Home on two discs, which seems a bit excessive, given the content involved. I think fans of British drama would be well served to check this release out, especially with an informative featurette attached. I do wish more care was taken with the transfer and perhaps more extras included, but the strength of the feature is enough to carry this one to a decent recommendation.
Video: How does it look?
Coming Home is presented in a 1.66:1 widescreen transfer, which is not enhanced for widescreen televisions. The image provided here is solid, but some problems surface and that lessens the experience, though not much. I saw more compression errors than expected, especially since the series is broken up over two discs, most unusual indeed. The main issue is a thin layer of digital haze present and while it isn’t extreme, you can notice it and it can be tough to ignore at times, not good. This doesn’t lessen the visuals much, but I am knocking off half of a point, nonetheless. The colors and contrast look terrific however, no real problems to report on those ends. Aside from the compression flaws, this is a more than adequate visual transfer, to be sure.
Audio: How does it sound?
Although this feature is dialogue driven for the most part, I was pleased with the included audio option, as it had some kick when needed. Now this isn’t audio demonstration material by any means, but it sounds good and much richer than I had figured on. The sound effects are well placed and draw you into the material, while the music sounds terrific throughout also. The dialogue is crisp and shows minimal problems, though some ever slight hiss can be heard at times. In the end, I think this is the best we could have hoped for, which is good news indeed.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc includes some information on author Rosamunde Pilcher and star Emily Mortimer, as well as a twenty-seven featurette on Pilcher, which was packed with information on her work. I don’t think fans will want to miss it, as Pilcher herself even offers up some comments and of course, that’s a real treat.