Murder Investigation Team: Series Two (2004/Acorn DVD Set)/Out (1978/Acorn DVD set)/Single-Handed:
Set Two (2008 – 2009/Acorn DVD Set)/The
Killing: The Complete First Season (2011/Fox Blu-ray)
Picture: C/C/C+/B Sound: C+/C+/B-/B Extras: C/B-/D/C+ Episodes: B-/B-/C+/B-
Here is a
round of crime dramas, three of which are newer police procedurals and one of
which is a grittier crime mini-series, all of which are looking into. Especially if you have never heard of them
of the two we have previously looked at continues with Murder Investigation Team: Series Two (2004) which once played in
on A&E and was from the creator of the highly successful The Bill, Bill Marquess. You can read about the basic set up of the
show at this link:
rightly compares it to CSI and that
is valid to some extent, but like the previous debut season, I was only so
impressed. It was not able to break out
of its holding pattern, but it at least did not get worse or succumb to the
weekly TV grind. Four telefilm-length
episodes are here over two DVDs and for its time, it seems to be a formidable
British TV crime production that has not dated too badly. Anthony Head (Buffy The Vampire Slayer, the classic Taster’s Choice U.S./Nescafe U.K.
ad campaign) even shows up for an episode.
Extras include text character profiles and 12 minutes on-camera
interview with Co-star Michael McKell and Producer Johnathan Young.
grittier, more violent and politically incorrect is Out (1978), which is not
about anyone who is gay or anything to do with homosexuality, but a rough
mini-series about a man (Tom Bell) getting out of jail after eight years for a
group robbery in which he took the brunt of the blame and now he wants
revenge. From the Euston Studios, known
for their groundbreaking crime drama The
Sweeney (see our Blu-ray review for Regan,
the show’s pilot elsewhere on this site), it is in the same style and even by
today’s standards is graphic and would still have to be edited for regular U.S.
broadcast prime time TV showings.
shot on film, this runs six hour-long episodes and Bell is more than able to carry the series,
makes his angry Frank Ross more than formidable and the supporting cast is
terrific. As a bonus, we get Brian Cox
(Michael Mann’s Manhunter, Fincher’s
Zodiac) as the main villain in a
really good early performance where he is unrecognizable at first. What a great series and wow, does it deserve
to be rediscovered. It is the best of
the four here. Too bad Bell passed on doing a sequel. Extras include audio commentary tracks on the
first and last episodes by Writer Trevor Preston, Director Jim Goddard and
Producer Barry Hanson.
second of the two we have previously looked at is Single-Handed now here in a Set
Two (2008 – 2009) collection that takes place in rural Ireland. You can read about my initial impressions at
professionally done, it is also in a holding pattern and I wondered if this
could improve considering its locales and people are not used as much, but I
was wrong and I was not impressed here either.
Three telefilm-length tales are here on two DVDs and we get no extras. Too bad, because I see some missed opportunities
too, but that is the straight jacket of police procedurals.
we have an American remake of a Finnish police procedural. The
Killing: The Complete First Season (2011) has nothing to do with the
classic Stanley Kubrick film of the same title (reviewed on Criterion Blu-ray
elsewhere on this site) but about how a young woman was killed, why and how
come it is so hard to find out who is responsible. Mireille Enos is the divorced single mother
who also happens to be a police detective who lands up taking on the case and
gets a new partner in a young, somewhat streetwise cop (Joel Kinnaman) through
the 16 hour-long shows that Writer/Producer Veena Sud wants to make as much a
character study as a crime show.
extent, she does succeed, but as interesting as it is it still runs into too
many familiar conventions of the genre and there are more than a few instances
where it is like we have been there before.
From Silence Of The Lambs to
yet another 24-style terrorist plot,
those are low points, but what makes this more watchable than expected are the
actors, the makers’ efforts and the fine use of Seattle (even when they are not
shooting there) as a locale is a winner.
By the end, I was actually looking forward to the next season, so we’ll
see how long they can keep this one going.
include a Gag Reel, interesting Deleted Scenes, extended version of the closing
episode, featurette An Autopsy Of The
Killing and two audio commentary tracks: Miss Sud does a solid commentary
on the pilot show and Miss Enos is joined by Writer Nicole Yorkin on the last
show in its extended form.
X 1 on Out was shot on 16mm film and
it can be soft like the transfers on the out-of-print BCI Sweeney – Season One DVD set (hopefully hitting Blu-ray soon, along
with this show), but there is also print damage here and there. Still, this was shot by no less than Phil
Meheux, B.S.C., who has lensed two Bond films among his better work. He was that good then too. The 1.78 X 1 anamorphically enhanced image on
the remaining DVD sets are as before, soft on Handed and even softer on Investigation.
1.78 X 1 AVC @ 24 MBPS digital High Definition image transfers on all 16
episodes of Killing were shot on
Super 35mm film and despite some stylizing, the show is one of the best-looking
non-HBO TV productions I have seen in a while and the shots of Seattle (compare to The Parallax View or The Night Strangler).
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on Killing is as much of a surprise as its image with well-recorded dialogue
and sound effects, plus location recording is top rate and all the episodes
have impressively consistent soundfields. The lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 sound on the DVD
sets are good, including the Mono on Out
for its age, with the other two in Stereo.
Handed actually has some
healthy Pro Logic-type surrounds, which helps make it more watchable.
- Nicholas Sheffo