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Category:    Home > Reviews > Mystery > Detective > Drama > Action > Crime > Advertising > Police > Court > Legal > British TV > Dalziel & Pascoe – Season Three (1998/BBC DVD) + Mad Men – Season Four (2010/Lionsgate Blu-ray) + Judge John Deed – Season Three (2003 – 2004/BBC DVD) + Vega$ – The Second Season, Volume 2 (1980/CBS D

Dalziel & Pascoe – Season Three (1998/BBC DVD) + Mad Men – Season Four (2010/Lionsgate Blu-ray) + Judge John Deed – Season Three (2003 – 2004/BBC DVD) + Vega$ – The Second Season, Volume 2 (1980/CBS DVD)


Picture: C+ (Men: B)     Sound: C+ (Men: B)     Extras: D/B/D/C-     Episodes: B-/B/B-/C+



And now for some television that may not all be the all time best, but is entertaining, smart, mature TV that we can take seriously because it takes us seriously.


We first reviewed Dalziel & Pascoe in a Season One set and I enjoyed it enough to write this:





That same can be said for Season One of Judge John Deed, the Martin Shaw legal drama, which included its separate pilot:





Then I took on the second seasons of both shows issued at the same time:




BBC has decided to issue the next seasons at the same time yet again and again, the shows are good, they have remained consistently good and I can see why they did as well as they did.  However, if you are interested, you should start at the beginning to get the most out of the shows in these cases, though you can still pick-up in the middle and watch them.  The Season Three sets are good, yet the shows also played it safe, did not grow in any significant way and are about as good as they were going to get, which is smart and watchable.  Neither have any extras.



I pick up covering another series well into its progress.  Mad Men – Season Four (2010) continues the story of a successful as agency (the “Mad” means Madison Avenue, but sometimes more) as they continue to come up with amusing new ad campaigns to keep their accounts happy and bring in the money, but we also see their personal lives and how some of them are not able to hold things together.


Jon Hamm is Don Draper, the best and most innovative of the partners at his agency, helping to keep the agency afloat as they are about to loose one of their biggest accounts.  However, this season has so many twists and turns that it actually threw off some fans.  That it made it this far with few changes and was consistent as well as faithful to where it started with was not easy, but that’s what happened and I liked the risks and twists attempted.  The problem they face (even with only 13 hour-long shows this season) is that weekly TV grid that has ruined many a good show.  That will make the next season very interesting, but I liked this one very much and if nothing else, completes a cycle of the tale of white men selling to White America before the Civil Rights Movement kicks in and changes things forever.  The show is very smart in handling this chasm and everyone still wants to see how far it goes to reflect what is on the way.


Extras include audio commentary tracks on all 13 episodes and four featurettes: Divorce: Circa 1960s, How To Succeed In Business Draper Style, The 1964 Presidential Campaign and Marketing The Mustang: An American Icon.


Finally we have the latest half-season of Robert Urich’s hit TV show Vega$ – The Second Season, Volume 2 (1980) at which point Tony Curtis disappeared and both Judy Landers and Naomi Stevens had definitely exited, but ratings were so good that it did not matter at this point.  The show already had some silly plots typical of Aaron Spelling shows, but the location and chemistry of the remaining cast kept the show afloat a while longer.  This set has 11 more hour-long episodes and the only extra once again are the Episodic Promos that you can view on their own or before each show.


The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on the BBC DVDs remain good, but not great with some softness and motion blur, including some stylistic choices that are not bad, but I would like to eventually see Blu-rays to compare.  Both also still sport Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo soundtracks with little surround activity, but they are well recorded enough.  The 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image on Men is impressive throughout with only minor issues at times, great color, depth and detail that puts it ion par with any TV show being produced today.  The way it is produced is also faithful to the look and feel of the time, as well as the kind of color you would actually see in the print ads the agency would have produced without overdoing it.  The episodes have DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) lossless 5.1 mixes that are dialogue-based, but rich, warm and well recorded throughout with good scoring and interesting choices of songs.


Vega$ has a set of 1.33 X 1 presentations that have more aliasing errors that the previous three sets, but color and the solid nature of the 35mm-shot image still keeps it looking good.  CBS needs to be careful with the next transfers.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono is also clean for its age, though there is some distortion at times and a few flaws here and there.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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