Acorn Media // 2009 // 400 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // February 20th, 2012
What evil lurks beyond the well-trimmed hedges of Midsomer...
"Evil" might be a strong word, but that's exactly what's going down in the dark recesses of Midsomer County, a seemingly quiet rural area of England. Midsomer Murders explores the dark side of these suburbs, with a pair of relentless detectives striving to dig up the dirt. They are Detective Chief Inspector Tom Barnaby (John Nettles) and his ace sidekick Detective Sergeant Ben Jones (Jason Hughes) and they won't stop until the psycho villager of the week is brought to justice.
Four mysteries on two discs:
* "The Made-to-Measure Murders"
While on her way to confession, a widow is killed, and as Barnaby and Jones probe into the mystery they learn some startling truths about the grip of religion on the region.
* "The Sword of Guillaume"
It's another religion-flavored episode, and this one is even nuttier. Someone has been murdering people with a giant sword and sometimes leaving severed heads resting on nightstands.
* "Blood on the Saddle"
At a Wild West show, an enterprising sniper takes advantage of the gunfire-saturated atmosphere and kills a woman in a dunk tank. More and more cowboy-related killings crop up and Barnaby and Jones realize they're dealing with someone living not tethered to reality.
* "The Silent Land"
What's so special about Match Magna cemetery? A librarian's corpse is found on top of a grave and the cemetery's history has something to do with the malfeasance.
Of the mystery series that make their way over from across the pond, Midsomer Murders occupies the middle-of-the-road for me. The mysteries are well-plotted and I like how much screen time the side characters are given to flesh out this world, but Barnaby and Jones are fairly dull when compared to the likes of Luther and George Gently. The four feature-length installments on this set (each running 90 minutes) are of mixed quality, ranging from goofy ("Blood on the Saddle") to bizarrely compelling ("The Sword of Guillaume"). All four will satiate the cravings of the mystery lover in your house.
A fine-looking treatment from Acorn: episodes receive clean, crisp 1.78:1/1080i widescreen transfers, 2.0 PCM stereo mixes. The lone extra is a photo gallery, so...blah.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Acorn Media
* 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080i)
* PCM 2.0 Stereo (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 400 Minutes
Release Year: 2009
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Photo Gallery