Judge David Johnson recommends visiting Midsomer Country, only if you're armed with a bazooka.
Our reviews of Midsomer Murders: Barnaby's Top 10 (published September 24th, 2011), Midsomer Murders: Set 13 (published September 10th, 2009), Midsomer Murders: Set 14 (published February 10th, 2010), Midsomer Murders: Set 15 (published May 19th, 2010), Midsomer Murders: Set 16 (published September 22nd, 2010), Midsomer Murders: Set 17 (published January 27th, 2011), Midsomer Murders: Set 19 (Blu-ray) (published February 20th, 2012), Midsomer Murders: Set 20 (published May 31st, 2012), and Midsomer Murders: Set 21 (published December 26th, 2012) are also available.
What evil lurks beyond the well-trimmed hedges of Midsomer…
Midsomer County looks to be about the most picturesque section of God's green earth you'll find. Nestled in the English countryside, it is stocked with villages ripped right off of page-a-day calendars—beautiful homes, lush foliage, polite, unassuming residents, and the occasional grisly homicide.
That's right, even in rural paradise, malevolence lurks. So it falls to Detective Chief Inspector Tom Barnaby (John Nettles) and his sidekick, Detective Sergeant Ben Jones (Jason Hughes), to unravel the various mysteries surrounding very suspicious deaths.
Three feature-length whodunits:
• "Small Mercies"—Stop by the village of Little Worthing and you'll find an impressive model village, an intricate town replica that one day becomes a gruesome crime scene, when a local man is discovered with his throat slashed and strapped down to the ground like Gulliver in Lilliput. Barnaby and Jones dig around and soon enough they unearth a solid amount of betrayal, bastard siring, and generally sleazy behavior.
• "The Creeper"—A cat burglar is on the loose and terrorizing the wealthy, powerful Chettham family. Barnaby is dispatched for a largely political assignment that turns lethal when bodies begin piling up. Turns out the Chetthams, under the iron fist of their snarling matriarch, have plenty of skeletons in their closet.
• "The Great and the Good"—A sleepwalking teacher may or may not be murdering people while unconscious and lumbering. Corpses litter the doorstep, but Barnaby's not sold and—surprise!—there might be some darker truths lurking behind the picture-perfect little town's façade.
Another day, another mystery series from across the pond and Midsomer Murders largely delivers the goods. These British imports are catnip for mystery lovers, and this installment will almost certainly enthrall fans of the genre. With feature-length runtimes, there is plenty of plot to sift through. And though this means there are some slow parts, I have no doubt mystery buffs will get their money's worth. Barnaby is a good lead, grizzled and stern and unflappable. But his partner, Jones, doesn't resonate quite as well; he's more of a sounding board for Barnaby's theories than a compelling character in his own right.
Acorn does a great job with these DVDs, delivering a sterling 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer, a 2.0 stereo mix, and a bonus interview with Jason Hughes.
Not Guilty. Screw the suburbs; you're safer in Beirut.
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