Midsomer Murders: Set Eight

January 28, 2012 4 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

The countryside of Midsomer County should be idyllic, a beautiful rural landscape that looks serene and uneventful. But as Detective Chief Inspector Barnaby (John Nettles) could tell you, things might seem peaceful, but darkness lurks even in this kind of scenic locale. The area is home to numerous villages, each with their own quirks and customs and when a crime occurs, Barnaby is dispatched to uncover the truth. Barnaby is a good detective who enjoys his profession, but he also has a good home life, with a loving wife and daughter in his life. When he is called to solve the crimes, he uses standard deductive reasoning and his years of experience to put together the pieces. But even in Midsomer County, the crimes can be complex and have roots that run deep, so even Barnaby has to dig around quite a bit to find answers. Can Barnaby solve another round of Midsomer’s darkest deeds, or will the evil remain hidden behind well kept hedges and gardens?

After I sat down with the ninth set of Midsomer Murders, I was hooked and now, I hope to go back and catch up on all the stuff I have missed. This review covers the eighth set, which has three feature length episodes from 2004 in the show’s seventh season of existence. While most of the sets house four mysteries and some even five, this one only has three, but all three are great stories, so there is no lack of value here. The series has some continuity, the concept remains the same and characters develop, but Midsomer Murders is still episodic. So you can jump into any of the mysteries and you won’t feel lost, as each one is pretty self contained. Since the mysteries run about a hundred minutes, there is ample time for the stories to unfold and unlike detective shows crammed into forty-two minute episodes, there is no rush or magic bullets to be found. The three stories contained here (The Straw Woman, The Maid in Splendour, and Ghosts of Christmas Past) are all well crafted, enjoyable episodes. I recommend Midsomer Murders: Set Eight to those interested, as these are some great stories.

Video: How does it look?

The episodes are presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. The show looks excellent here, the lush visuals shine and I was quite impressed. The scenery looks terrific in this treatment, with rich greens and browns, while all hues look solid. The contrast is sharp, so black levels are accurate and no detail is lost. Speaking of detail, the print looks clean and the image has superb clarity, no real softness in the least. These episodes look fantastic, not much else I could say about the transfers.

Audio: How does it sound?

The audio is rather basic, but all the needs of the material are covered. This is a dialogue driven show, so there isn’t much need for expansive presence or dynamic range. The elements sound clear and natural, from the music to the sound effects. The main element is dialogue and it sounds flawless, no volume or clarity issues to mention. Not the kind of soundtrack you’ll rave about, but it gets the job done and that is what matters.

Supplements: What are the extras?

This release includes a map of Midsomer, cast biographies, and an interview with Barnaby himself, John Nettles.

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