Justified – The Complete First Season (2010/Sony) + Pie
In The Sky - Series 4 (1996/Acorn Media/DVD Sets)
C+/C Sound: C+ Extras: C+/D Episodes: B-
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.
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:
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.
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.
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