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?
As I’ve watched the Midsomer Murders series, I keep wondering when the other shoe will drop. Almost all the episodes I’ve seen to this point have been good to great, but can a series be free from mediocre installments? In Midsomer Murders: Set Three, we have five episodes and out of the available volumes, this is the weakest. The episodes are still solid, but there isn’t a standout in this group and a couple are below the show’s standard. But when compared to other shows of this kind, even these lower end episodes stand up well, they’re just not as good as we expect from Midsomer Murders. The Electric Vendetta is a nice change of pace, as the locals suspect an alien invasion, but it seems out of place here. I still appreciate the attempt to shake up the show a little and out of these five, I’d rank it as the best. Dark Autumn is good also, with an interesting storyline that slowly unfolds, but the conclusion isn’t as potent as I’d like. In any event, these five episodes might not be the best Midsomer Murders has to offer, but if you’re a fan of the show, you’ll enjoy this third set, no doubt.
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 eight minute promotional featurette.