Foyle’s War: Set 7 (2013/Acorn Media Blu-rays)/Prime Suspect: The Complete Collection (1991 – 2006/Acorn Media
Blu-ray Set)/Scandal: The Complete
Second Season (2012 – 2013/Disney/ABC DVD Set)
B/B-/C+ Sound: B-/B-/C+ Extras: B-/C+/C Episodes: B-/B+/C
our latest dramas of intrigue and mystery, including a classic upgraded and two
other shows people keep talking about…
Foyle’s War: Set 7 (2013) does an about face again
an now retired DC Christopher Foyle (Michael Kitchen) returns to England form
America post-WWII to find himself smack in the middle of The Cold War as he is
inadvertently recruited (against his will?) to break a Soviet spy ring in The Eternity Ring, which to date may
well be the best episode of the series.
It is also a new turn for the already highly rated show and we also get
the similar episodes The Cage and Sunflower.
several non-spy shows of the 1960s (The
Saint, Burke’s Law becoming Amos Burke – Secret Agent, etc.), it is
a move to keep the show current and fresh, even if this one is set 65 years
ago, it makes sense and though it makes it more interesting than your garden
variety police procedural, it did not overly excite me either. However, this may be the peak of a show with
plenty of seasons left in it and I will add the show has never looked or
sounded so good.
include Recaps on all six sets we’ve reviewed elsewhere on this site, Photo
Gallery, Introductions by creator/writer Anthony Horowitz and four Behind The
Scenes featurettes talking about the show’s move into The Cold War era.
get a nice technical upgrade (save a season) in the new Blu-ray edition of Prime Suspect: The Complete Collection
(1991 – 2006) with Helen Mirren in her groundbreaking performance as DI Jane
Tennison. Created by writer Lynda La
Plante, we reviewed the DVD version at this link:
are the same, though I wished for something new, but the upgrade is worth it
enough for fans and those who have never seen the show that this makes the DVD
set dated and obsolete. You can read
specifics about the technical improvements below.
we have Scandal: The Complete Second
Season (2012 – 2013), the catty new prime time soap opera created by Shonda
Rhymes stars Kerry Washington as the other woman in the life of The President
of the United States, but the twists include that the First Lady knows it, the
Prez is a white man and Miss Washington is of course, a beautiful African
American woman whose beauty exceed racial boundaries. The set-up alone is a button presser.
join in here (we did not cover the debut season, though I had seen it and it
was as trashy), the show gives us a world embroiled in politics, but it is in a
way where they are not real or palpable any more than they are ultimately
important top the story in the long run.
They are incidental to who’s stabbing who in the back and are about
nothing, so the show really has nothing to say like the underrated Political Animals and ongoing HBO hit The Newsroom (both reviewed elsewhere
on this site), so the show counts on its locales, cast and teleplay twists to
not great television, but it has enough energy and pace to be very commercially
viable and may be a show that really picks up in its third season to be a big
soap opera hit, but it will have to do more than the 22 episodes (across 5
DVDs) do here. If this happens, Miss Washington will become
an even bigger name and with some new cast members announced as we post, can
the writers make this take off? We’ll
see. For now, I am vaguely impressed.
Outtakes, Extended Finale by picking a longer version of the final closing
episode of the season, two Behind The Scenes featurettes and Deleted Scenes.
the fact that the first five seasons of Prime
Suspect are shot on 35mm film, the 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition
image transfer on Foyle’s War is
sharper than the show has ever been (our first Blu-ray of the show) and one of
the best HD shoots of any show to date with nice detail and limited
styling. As for Suspect, all 1080p 1.78 X 1 images are better than their DVD
versions, with Season One the best of
the transfers, Season Four looking
awful at 1.33 X 1 save one section in 1.78 X 1 (how lost the film elements!?!),
and Season Two and Season Three on weaker, safer, faster
film stocks that backfire. The last
two-HD shot seasons are fine, but not great and Season Five is not as lite as Season
Two and Season Three, but could
have been better. The first five seasons
on their DVD versions were in 1.33 X 1 framing and purists would have probably
preferred it that way, with their wish being granted on Season Four in the worst way.
It might have been nice to include 1.33 X 1 versions for everyone, not
just purists, to be able to choose their preference. This is still much better looking than the DVD
anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on Scandal
is softer, has some slight stylizing and a mix of shaking cameras and editing
that make it the weakest presentation here, though it might look better on
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Stereo lossless mixes on Prime Suspect and Foyle’s War
are better than either show has ever sounded with Suspect’s later credits actually noting they have Pro Logic
surrounds. Both are fine in that mode,
or in regular stereo where you can hear the improvement in warmth and
flow. The lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 on the
Scandal episodes can be active, but the soundfield is weak (might be better
lossless) and more towards the front channels than I would have liked.