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Category:    Home > Reviews > Crime > Drama > Detective > Mystery > Serial Killer > TV > Horror > Literature > Supernatural > British > Cabl > The Mentalist: The Complete Sixth Season (2013 - 2014/Warner DVD Set)/Penny Dreadful: The Complete First Season (2013 - 2014/Showtime/CBS Blu-ray Set)

The Mentalist: The Complete Sixth Season (2013 - 2014/Warner DVD Set)/Penny Dreadful: The Complete First Season (2013 - 2014/Showtime/CBS Blu-ray Set)

Picture: C+/B Sound: C+/B Extras: C/B- Episodes: C/B-

Here are two TV series that deal with death and murder in the thriller/mystery genre in two different eras that people are talking about...

The Mentalist: The Complete Sixth Season (2013 - 2014) has remained just popular enough to continue and have enough of a core audience that CBS did not cancel it this far in. The cast holds, but this time, the show got a rare fans-only second wind as the serial killer known as Red John starts to surprise the team. That makes it better than the previous season by default, but after seeing these 22 episodes (over 5 DVDs), it is only mildly better. Good for the fans who stuck with the show, but this also shows the appeal of the leads Simon Baker and Robin Tunney.

For more on the previous season, try these links...

Season One Blu-ray


Season Two DVD


Season Five DVD


Penny Dreadful: The Complete First Season (2013 - 2014) is another gothic-set horror show that wants to be hip and cash in on horror literature of the time, but this time, the attempt is far more successful than many of its ilk or the ill-fated Sean Connery League Of Extraordinary Men. Bond veteran Eva Green, former Bond Timothy Dalton and a Josh Hartnett on the comeback play a group trying to figure out who is responsible for a series of horrible murders in 1891 London.

They look for a murderer and land up encountering Dr. Victor Frankenstein, his Monster, Dorian Gray, Dr. Abraham Van Helsing and some other unexpectedly creepy and even deadly figures in a show that co-exist in this world. To the show's credit, this never becomes stupid, condescending, a joke or formulaic. Whether the show can keep this up is another story, but that it succeeded this well is impressive, especially these days of bad YA soap operas that trash genres left and right.

The leads have great energy and the supporting cast (including Rory Kinnear and Billie Piper) keep things going. The title refers to cheap exploitation fiction that came out of the Jack The Ripper murders. A show you should definitely catch, the talent is giving it their best and it works.

The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on The Mentalist episodes are consistent HD shoots with some style, but are still as soft as the previous DVD sets and not as good as the Season One Blu-ray set for which we expect all the seasons will eventually be issued in. On the other hand, the 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfers on the Penny episodes are not as dreadful by any means, sporting exceptionally styled and warm images throughout with the proper darkness for the genre. The makes got this one tight where so many like it have blown it, film, HD shoots or a combination thereof. Nice and fans of the show and genre will be impressed.

The lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 on The Mentalist episodes are consistent for the format and previous Blu-ray sets, but after how good the lossy Dolby actually sounded on its Season One Blu-ray set, I know there is much more dynamic sound in those soundmasters. That is why I can say the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 on Penny is impressive throughout, with even its silences having light nuance and is some of the best TrueHD for TV I have heard to date.

Extras for both releases include a Behind The Scenes/Making Of featurette (Penny has nine of them, including the two-part The Artisans, What Is A Penny Dreadful?, Literary Roots, The Grand Guignol, Sex and Prostitution in the Victorian Age, Coming Together, The Science Of Medicine and British Exploration & The Search For The Nile) with Mentalist offering Patrick Jane: Redeemed, Recovered, Restored, plus Unaired Scenes. Penny also has the first two episodes of Ray Donovan and both have printed episodes guides. A paper foldout has the one for Mentalist, while Penny has its inside the paper cover sleeve.

- Nicholas Sheffo


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