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?
The field of detective shows on television is immense, so shows tend to have unique elements in an effort to stand out. From quirky detectives to special interest cases, all kinds of gimmicks are used to make the show seem different than the others. In the case of Midsomer Murders, the focus is taken off gimmicks and put onto the storylines. The lead detective is unique, but not because of his quirks, instead because he seems so normal. He isn’t a genius or mastermind, he’s just a smart detective who uses traditional methods to solve mysteries. I find this more realistic approach to be enjoyable, instead of flash and style, we have solid stories and characters, which pays off each and every episode. I haven’t seen the previous volumes, but the four mysteries presented here were smart, well executed episodes. I enjoyed each one, though Things That Go Bump in the Night stood out the most. In the end, this ninth set of Midsomer Murders is highly recommended.
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 profile of author Caroline Graham, as well as profiles on prominent cast members.