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Case Number 27414: Small Claims Court

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Ghosts of Murdered Kings

PBS // 2013 // 56 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Dawn Hunt // June 1st, 2014

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All Rise...

Judge Dawn Hunt would rather be the ghost of a murdered king than a host to one.

The Charge

Sometimes death is only the beginning of your story.

The Case

Ghosts of Murdered Kings is the story of the "bog bodies" which have been found across Europe over the past few centuries. What makes the stories of these bodies so intriguing is the way the bogs preserve them, offering complete bodies mummified by the chemicals within the peat fields (aka bogs) which house the remains. This specific documentary's creation was prompted by the unearthing of Cashel Man, a bog body determined to be thousands of years older than any discovered before. This discovery allows scientists to put into context the rituals which surround the deaths.

As with any good documentary, the drawing point here is the passion of those involved with the subject matter. The format of the show is pretty standard fare for the genre, and Nova in particular, with interview segments comprising most of the runtime. These are interspersed with reenactments and CGI models where necessary in order to enhance the storytelling. To disclose exactly what the title of this episode means will ruin the point of watching. Suffice it to say the episode delivers on its premise, providing answers to the questions posed. It's educational, and the aforementioned passion of those involved lends a somewhat magnetic air to the show, holding interest over the admittedly short runtime.

The technical specs are also pretty standard fare, especially for a public television show. The video is a 1.78:1 widescreen anamorphic transfer with a low key palette, which favors the browns of the mummified bodies. There's little to complain about in terms of artifacting or the like. On the audio side there's a Dolby 2.0 track which offers a well-balanced if not well-rounded track. The dialogue is strong with the accents coming through clear, which is the most important element. There are no special features.

If you're an avid collector of Nova then Ghosts of Murdered Kings may well find a place on your shelves. I think it deserves a view, if you're even remotely interested in the subject matter.

The Verdict

Not guilty.

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 84

Perp Profile

Studio: PBS
Video Formats:
• 1.78:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
• English (SDH)
Running Time: 56 Minutes
Release Year: 2013
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
• Documentary
• Historical
• Television

Distinguishing Marks

• None


• IMDb

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