Plot: What’s it about?
If you’re a fan of mysteries, there are a lot of choices out there. The Ruth Rendell Mysteries series offers some nice options not found on most other shows of this kind. The episodes are each unique, so there is no central character who returns each time, while the stories tend to be more psychological, instead of traditional crime drama. I found the episodic nature to be welcome, as it keeps the series fresh. Also of note is that each episode varies in length, so a complex story might run well over two hours, while a simpler mystery might clock in under an hour. This works well, as it ensures the stories are never rushed or stretched thin and that helps with the flow, to be sure. I wouldn’t rank The Ruth Rendell Mysteries with the best mystery shows I’ve seen, but it is solid and features some impressive performers. The dark, moody nature of the stories is going to please some, but be lost on others. But if you’re a fan of this kind of show, The Ruth Rendell Mysteries is worth a look. This second set contains five episodes and below is a brief synopsis on each one included.
1. Going Wrong (156 minutes)- Guy (James Callis) and Leonora (Josephine Butler) vowed to be in love forever, but that was when they were carefree teens. But the promise of endless love wasn’t forgotten by Guy and now, he plans to make sure that promise is carried out. When Leonora shows resistance, Guy isn’t swayed in the least and he is determined to make their pledge of love stand, no matter what the cost.
2. Harm Done (101 minutes)- A neighborhood has been thrown into chaos thanks to the arrival of a convicted pedophile, an arrival that has the locals up in arms. When some of the children are abducted, all signs point toward the new neighbor, or at least that seems to be the popular opinion. But Inspector Wexford (George Baker) comes in to sort out the situation and uncover the truth, be it popular or not.
3. The Fallen Curtain (50 minutes)- We are all haunted at times by memories of our pasts, but for Richard Clayton (Ben Brazier), the memories aren’t what haunts him. Clayton is a teen who went missing as a child and in that span, he is unable to remember what happened for a few hours. His mind focuses in on that time and what could have happened, but will he ever learn the truth or be able to move on?
4. The Lake of Darkness (103 minutes)- Martin Urban (Jerome Flynn) has hit a streak of luck beyond compare. He was thrilled to learn that he’d won the lottery, which ensured him wealth and a comfortable lifestyle. That would be enough for most people, but Martin’s luck continued when he met the beautiful Francesca (Sadie Frost). His luck has landed him money and now love, but can his good luck hold up forever?
5. You Can’t Be Too Careful (50 minutes)- A roommate can be a wonderful companion, but if you’re not compatible, it can turn into a nightmare. For instance, if one roommate is obsessed with safety and keeping the flat secure, but the other doesn’t seem to be overly concerned with those issues. That is what happens in this case, but when the two very different women share the same space, how will things work out?
Video: How does it look?
The episodes are presented in full frame, as intended. These episodes look passable, but aren’t as good as they should be. I noticed a lot of grain and noise throughout, which caused some softness. I would call detail average, but some scenes are quite soft. The colors seem bright, if a little off tint at times, but for the most part, hues look fine. As far as contrast, things are too dark in some instances, but look acceptable in most scenes. In the end, I would say these episodes look decent, but inconsistent.
Audio: How does it sound?
I don’t have much to report here, the stereo soundtracks are fine, but unremarkable. The main element is dialogue, so as long as vocals are clear, that is what matters. Since the dialogue does sound good, with no volumes or harshness concerns, I don’t have any real complaints. The other audio elements sound fine also, but rather limited in scope, due to the nature of the series. So it all sounds fine, but the audio is by no means memorable.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This release includes a profile of Ruth Rendell, as well as some cast biographies.