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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Drama > Satire > British TV Mini-Series > The Casual Vacancy (2015 HBO Mini-Series/Warner Blu-ray)

The Casual Vacancy (2015 HBO Mini-Series/Warner Blu-ray)

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

J.K. Rowling's first step out of the Harry Potter universe and into a darker more adult realm with The Casual Vacancy. As seen on HBO as a three part miniseries, the show sports an all star cast including Rory Kinnear, Michael Gambon, Julia McKenzie, Abigail Lawrie, Richard Glover, and Rufus Jones and is directed by Jonny Campbell, who did a few episodes of Dr. Who Confidential.

The Casual Vacancy centers on Pagford, a seemingly idyllic English village with a cobbled market square and ancient abbey. Behind the pretty facade, however, is a town at war: rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils. The story begins with the death of beloved Parish Councillor Barry Fairbrother, leaving a seat on the council vacant. Those running for a place soon find their darkest secrets revealed on the Parish Council online forum, ruining their campaign and leaving the election in turmoil.

The show is a lot darker than I expected coming from Rowling and, to be honest, most of the characters are pretty unlikeable. Every person has a secret in this small town and they all have an agenda to get back on top. Some of the visual motifs and cinematography are nicely done, but all in all I felt the show is a little too sour to reach an audience that isn't impressed with British television.

Presented in 1080p High Definition, the show looks fantastic on Blu-ray disc. Presented in a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and coupled with a crystal clear, lossless DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 surround track, the presentation will not disappoint.

Extras on the disc include:

An Introduction to The Casual Vacancy

Adapting The Casual Vacancy

and Casting The Casual Vacancy

All in all, I kind of felt that this show was a little lackluster for both HBO and Rowling. A lot of it feels like they were just trying to make a tense drama and show the darkness of seemingly normal lives. If you read and liked the book, which I haven't read, you may enjoy this series, I felt it was more of a one time watch.

- James Harland Lockhart V



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