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Category:    Home > Reviews > Detective > Crime Drama > Comedy > Cooking > TV > British TV > Justified – The Complete First Season (2010/Sony) + Pie In The Sky - Series 4 (1996/Acorn Media/DVD Sets)

Justified – The Complete First Season (2010/Sony) + Pie In The Sky - Series 4 (1996/Acorn Media/DVD Sets)


Picture: C+/C     Sound: C+     Extras: C+/D     Episodes: B-



Good male-lead detective series are not as good as they used to be or even get produced as often as they were being made in the 1970s, but two recent shows are two of the better productions and are worth your time.


Justified – The Complete First Season (2010) is a new series from a short story by no less than Elmore Leonard.  Timothy Olyphant (Girl Next Door, Damages, Deadwood) plays Rayland Givens, a Deputy Marshall who is working in Miami when he goes head to head with a drug czar and lands up killing him.  Despite surviving and being about as much “justified” as he can be, the situation is considered too ho tot handle and he is sent back to Harlan County, Kentucky to work on less glamorous cases.  He is not happy about this, but before he knows it, he becomes entangled in a series of murders and crimes involving a white supremacist group.


Told in 13 hour-longish shows, I was surprised how well this held up, how the arc worked out, how it was realistic enough and as well written as it is well cast.  Olyphant can carry the show and is effective enough.  Those who are expecting some cheesy upgrade of the likes of McCloud will be pleasantly surprised.


Pie In The Sky - Series 4 (1996) continues the amusing mysteries of the detective-turned-chef Henry Crabbe, played so well by Richard Griffiths, in six more episodes.  For those unfamiliar with the show, you can read more about it at these links:


Series One



Series Three



The show holds up well enough and is consistent enough, finding a good niche in which to tell its tales.  We get six more episodes including Devils On Horseback (two parts), Chinese Whispers, New Leaf, Breaking Bread and Gary’s Cake.  They are all now bad, though the two parter tends to be the most interesting and I will skip the food puns.  You can start with this set and enjoy the show, though we recommend you begin at the beginning.



The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on Justified is an HD shoot and can look it more than it should with often weak dark shots.  Color is not always good either, but some shots work.  This is also on Blu-ray and it would be interesting to see the improvements, if any.  Pie is here in 1.33 X 1 and should look at least as good, but is a little weaker as what was apparently shot on film was finished on PAL analog video.  The Dolby Digital 5.1 on Justified seems a little restricted to the front speakers, though we get some good surround moments, but dialogue is also too much in the center channel.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo on Pie can sound a little older, but is fuller and more accurate.


Extras on Pie includes five Making Of featurettes (What Would Elmore Do?, The Marshalls, Shooting For Kentucky, Justified – Meeting The Characters, The Story Of Justified, Season Two: A Look Ahead) 4 audio commentary tracks on select shows and a Music Video.  Pie surprisingly has no extras.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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