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Category:    Home > Reviews > Detective > Crime > Mystery > Literature > British TV > Telefilm > Police Procedural > SpyAction > Espiona > Agatha Christie’s Poirot: Series Six (1994/Acorn Blu-ray + DVD Sets)/Dalziel & Pascoe: Season 6 (1999/BBC DVDs)/The Equalizer: Series Two (1986 – 1987/Universal/Umbrella Entertainment Region 4 PAL Imp

Agatha Christie’s Poirot: Series Six (1994/Acorn Blu-ray + DVD Sets)/Dalziel & Pascoe: Season 6 (1999/BBC DVDs)/The Equalizer: Series Two (1986 – 1987/Universal/Umbrella Entertainment Region 4 PAL Import DVD set)/Garrow’s Law: Series Three (2011)/Injustice (2010/Acorn Media DVDs)/Judge John Deed: Season Six (2006/BBC DVDs)


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



PLEASE NOTE: The Equalizer DVD set covered here can only be operated on machines capable of playing back DVDs that can handle Region Four/4 PAL format software and can be ordered from our friends at Umbrella Entertainment at the website address provided at the end of the review.



And now for a look at several detective crime series, all in this case with British roots.



Agatha Christie’s Poirot: Series Six (1994) has David Suchet getting just a bit better in the role (as I have noted, I am not as big a fan of him in the role as some others who played him before) but the four classic mysteries this time are well done, yet not as memorable as I would have liked.  Acorn has issued the following for the first time on Blu-ray in High Definition as well as a DVD set for those who did not buy the larger collections:


1) Hercule Poirot’s Christmas (1938, reviewed elsewhere on this site on its own)

2) Hickory Dickory Dock (1955)

3) Murder On The Links (1923)

4) Dumb Witness (1924 Christie short story)


I guess the best way to describe the problem is that these adaptations are just too reserved despite the money and effort in authenticity.  There is more energy to Christie’s work when I read it and this series simply tends to flatten it out a bit.  In the case of the Blu-ray set, it is the best way to enjoy the shows if you most watch them.  This time out, however, there are no extras.



The latest issue of the sometimes comical police procedural Dalziel & Pascoe: Season 6 (1999) continues the title duo’s cases and the show is holding steady, though I think it is starting to find itself being affected by the weekly TV grind at this point, even with only four shows this time out.  Warren Clarke and Collin Buchanan certainly know their characters by now and have some chemistry, while the show has its own consistent energy.  However, it only goes so far and I am glad it was a hit, but I would recommend you start at the beginning of the series if you have never seen it before.  There are no extras, but we have reviewed all five previous seasons elsewhere on the site, so check those out it you are interested further.



I am a much biggest fan of early seasons of Edward Woodward’s second big TV spy hit after hit British classic Callan and The Equalizer: Series Two (1986 – 1987) already issued by Universal in the U.S. on DVD has been issued by Australia’s Umbrella Entertainment and we finally get to catch up with it.  We reviewed the debut season sets from both companies previously and for more on the show, especially if you are unfamiliar with it, try this link:




As the last great Spy show from TV’s last Golden Age (happening a few years after that age was dead, more or less), the show was considered sometimes rough and violent in a Mannix way, where the action was contextual to serious events.  The show was also bold in its early seasons and not afraid to get its hands dirty, yet wanted to be 1980s TV, which are contradictory things.  Add a welcome old-fashioned approach (i.e., justice is possible) and the shows have aged in odd, interesting ways.


Episodes this time out are:


1)     Prelude (Lori Laughlin, James Rebhorn)

2)     Nocturne (Jessica Harper, Michael Parks, Ashford & Simpson)

3)     A Community Of Civilized Men (Tammy Grimes, Jennifer Grey)

4)     Joyride (Christian Slater crosses the mob when he tries a new drug called Crack!  This one alone is worth getting the whole set for.)

5)     Shades Of Darkness (William Sadler, Caroline Kava, Olympia Dukakis)

6)     Nightscape (Frances Fisher)

7)     Counterfire (Vincent D’Onofrio)

8)     The Line (Giancarlo Esposito)

9)     Tip On A Shore Thing

10)  The Cup (Dennis Christopher)

11)  Heartstrings

12)  High Performance (James Remar)

13)  Beyond Control

14)  Carnal Persuasion

15)  Memories Of Manon (in two parts, Melissa Sue Anderson, Jon Polito)

16)  Solo (Kevin Spacey, Lindsay Crouse)

17)  A Place To Stay (Ed Lauter)

18)  Coal Black Soul (Lois Smith, Gale Garnett)

19)  First Light (Marco St. John)

20)  Hand & Glove (William H. Macy)

21)  Re-Entry (John Goodman, Joe Morton, Steve Buscemi)



Extras include a Stills Gallery, Concepts and Original Biographies.  Note that Denzel Washington (and not Russell Crowe, as was once planned) will play Woodward’s McCall in a new feature film.



Finally we have three somewhat similar shows, Garrow’s Law: Series Three (2011), Injustice (2010) and Judge John Deed: Season Six (2006), which all happen to be crime/mystery dramas centered on the courtroom, though Garrow’s Law is more of an outright (and period for that matter) drama, it has its crime elements.  The think that keeps the long-running shows going are their casts and you need that since these shows too can suffer from the weekly TV grind.  At least the quality is still there with Garrow’s Law and Deed (you can read more about them in our coverage of previous seasons, but these latest releases only offer 4 and 2 episodes respectively), so I found Injustice to be a pleasant surprise.


Created by Foyle’s War creator Anthony Horowitz, James Purefoy (who nearly played Simon Templar in a recent Saint revival we are still on the lookout for), her plays Barrister William Travers, who has moved onto a country town with his family, no longer wanting to deal with city crime, but he is asked to take on a case there and eventually gets entangled in troubles of his own.  He carries the five episodes very well and is a nice variant of the genres covered.


Deed has Martin Shaw and Garrow’s Law has Andrew Buchanan among their good casts, so all are as smart as they are entertaining, but Injustice has a little more energy and not just because it is a new show set.  If you are interested in seeing any of them, you really can’t go wrong.


Extras on Garrow’s Law includes Photo Galleries, text Cast Filmographies and 19-mintes From Dawn To Dusk featurette, while Injustice simply has a Photo Gallery.



The 1080p 1.33 X 1 digital High Definition image transfers on the Poirot Blu-ray set are far and away the visual champs on this list with the same high quality presentations in color and definition the 16mm film-originated shows have been in their previous Blu-ray upgraded outings.  You can see the money and hard work on the screen, the consistent look and the shows look better than most people (including fans could ever imagine.  It is yet another volume that shows how fine 16mm film can look in High Definition.


The 1.33 X 1 DVD version repeats the soft DVD transfers of the past Acorn DVD releases of these shows that do not look that great, but are passable for the format, which I can repeat for The Equalizer transfers with the same aspect ratio, though they were shot on better 35mm film.  I hope Universal considers Blu-rays for this show, especially as Callan (save the later 1974 theatrical film) will never see Blu-ray since most of each episode was produced on analog tape.


With that, you would think that the anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image transfers on the other four DVD TV releases would somehow outperform these older shows, but they do not and have issues with details, motion blur and even (intended where applicable) color limits.


The PCM 2.0 Stereo on the Poirot Blu-rays are also the sonic champions here with a warmth and overall recording quality that will again surprise fans and anyone who underestimates the sonics of a TV show its age.  That leaves all the DVD sets here with lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo that is not as good, but they all happen to be professionally recorded and finished, so therefore they are on par with each other including no major audio issues.



As noted above, you can order The Equalizer PAL DVD import set exclusively from Umbrella at:





-   Nicholas Sheffo


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