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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Mystery > Murder > Cable TV > Ireland > Situation Comedy > Detective > British > Horror > Biological > Acceptable Risk (2017/Acorn Blu-ray Set)/Fuller House: The Complete Second Season (2017/Warner DVD Set)/MidSomer Murders: John Barnaby's First Cases (2017 compilation/Acorn DVD Set)/The Strain: The Co

Acceptable Risk (2017/Acorn Blu-ray Set)/Fuller House: The Complete Second Season (2017/Warner DVD Set)/MidSomer Murders: John Barnaby's First Cases (2017 compilation/Acorn DVD Set)/The Strain: The Complete Series (2014 - 2017/Fox DVD Set)/24: Legacy (2017/Fox DVD Set)

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

Here's a set of new TV releases, mostly for recent shows and a few of them you might not yet heard of...

We start with Acceptable Risk (2017), another thriller series set in Ireland, this one launching from the simple, happy domestic space of a new family. Sarah (Elaine Cassidy) has two great children and a great husband, but everything takes an unexpected turn when he turns up dead in another country (Canada) where he was on another one of his business trips. However, the more she asks what happened and the more she looks into things, the more bizarre things get.

Though a local detective gets involved and she has some support, she still has to face this alone in a still-stunned fashion. Then things get odder....

Set in the pharmaceutical industry and going beyond Ireland, the six episodes have some good moments, but writer Ron Hutchinson (the original Traffic mini-series) eventually throws in so many things, suspension of disbelief becomes much tougher by the end of the first-half of the episodes as he throws in too much and that kills some suspense. The locations ands a cast we need to see more of in the future save the mini-series from its excesses and though I was disappointed and felt some simple mistakes hurt this, I still thought it was worth a look simply because they were trying. If you're interested, you should try this smart show out.

The 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer may show more shaky camerawork than one would like and has some moments where the image is oddly degraded on purpose for effect, but that's the look of the show and it looks as good as we will likely ever see it here. I did like their variant on jump cuts, though. The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix is good, but the music often overpowers the dialogue via music levels being too high and possibly limits to location recording, so expect the soundfield to be uneven at times.

Extras include a nice group of Behind-the-scenes featurettes (62 minutes in all) and cast interviews (19 min.) across both discs, but only watch them AFTER seeing the show.

Hard to believe that Fuller House got renewed for a second season in one respect, seeing that the original show is cringe-worthy in retrospect. However if feel-good family sitcoms are your bag, then you're sure to love Netflix's spin-off/revival series which features a matured cast along with several new faces. Candace Cameron Bure, Jodie Sweetin, Andrea Barber, Lori Loughlin, John Stamos, and others star in what we can simply think of as Fuller House: The Complete Second Season (2017).

Episodes include Welcome Back, Mom Interference, Ramona's Not-So-Epic First Kiss, Curse of Tanner Manor, Doggy Daddy, A Fuller Thanksgiving, Girl Talk, A Tangled Web, Glazed and Confused, New Kids in the House, D.J. and Kimmy's High School Reunion, Nutcrackers, and the season finale Happy New Year Baby.

Presented in standard definition with an anamorphically enhanced 1.78:1 widescreen aspect ratio and a lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 track, the show looks fine on DVD and likely not much better on Netflix streaming. The show is shot well in HD and has strong production value considering what it is. The show initially appeared on Netflix in Feb 2016 and is just now making it onto disc.

No extras.

If you're a fan of British television or crime television, then you owe it to yourself to check out this interesting series, MidSomer Murders, which is available on disc from Acorn, who've been issuing the show for eons. The show has been around for a while, as this MidSomer Murders: John Barnaby's First Cases 2017 compilation set brings together 'cases' from Series 14 and 15. In a way, I might compare it to Twin Peaks in that it centers around a small town where all sorts of bizarre things unravel. It doesn't have the David Lynch surrealism of course, this is much more grounded in reality. This compilation edition groups some fan favorite episodes for newcomers to embrace.

As has been the case for a long time, MidSomer Murders centers around John Barnaby (Neil Dudgeon) and takes place in Midsomer County, a place where murder is a commonplace practice.

Guest stars include Samantha Bond, Edward Fox, Pam Ferris, Warren Clarke, James Callis, Julie Graham, Kerry Fox, Sinead Cusack, Hattie Morahan, Martine McCutcheon, Kate Ashfield, Charity Wakefield, Kevin Doyle, and Harriet Walter.

Mysteries include...

Death in the Slow Lane

Dark Secrets

Echoes of the Dead

The Oblong Murders

The Sleeper Under the Hill

The Night of the Stag

A Sacred Trust

A Rare Bird

The Dark Rider

Murder of Innocence

Death and the Divas

Written in the Stars

The Sicilian Defense

Schooled in Murder

Hardcore fans can take note that these Mysteries were previously available in sets 21,22,23, and 24 and the Series 14 and 15 box sets. You can read more about many of the other sets elsewhere on this site.

The presentation on the disc is fine for the format with a standard definition, anamorphically enhanced 1.78:1 widescreen presentation and a lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo mix on all shows. Commercial and watermark free is always a plus as it gives the show a more cinematic and uninterrupted feel. The colors and production value comes across fine, however an HD transfer would be preferable.

Special Features include...

Midsomer Murders in Conversation (34 min.)

The Dark Rider audio commentary with star Neil Dudgeon and director Alex Pillai

Behind the scenes of Death and the Divas (15 min.)

Biography of Sykes the dog

The Strain has wrapped up after four seasons as planned, but not because it was a big critical or commercial hit, but a show that found its fans and we should have shows like this that don't have to be megahits to exist. The Complete Series (2014 - 2017) is here, if only as a Dvd box set, but we have covered the initial three seasons as follows...







Needless to say the is all from a fan of both Guillermo del Toro and what the show achieved, and though I like del Toro as well, I did not think the show was able to overcome the feeling that I had seen too much of this before. I could also see this being fresher for viewers younger and/or newer to the genres involved, but it is not a show that ever stayed with me or comes up much, though it can be bold, exotic, impressionistic and is not just another generic genre run-through.

Ultimately, the weekly TV grind caught up with the narrative here and this wrap-up (for now) lacks good overall flow.

The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image and lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 on all four seasons are fine for the format, but anticlimactic versus the 1080p Blu-ray sets for the first two seasons. If any show needs higher definition, this one with its darkness, shadows and often darker color schemes is it, so the DVDs can only go so far. Same with the high quality soundmasters that deserve better with a lossless treatment.

Extras in this slipcase packaging repeat all the extras of the first three full season sets (save the bust from Season One), the Season Four set adds the Coping with The Strain: A Therapy Session featurette, more Deleted Scenes, a Gag Reel and these featurettes...

  • First Look

  • Father and Sons

  • Dutch and Setrakian

  • The Mongrels

  • The Partnership

  • The Baby Factory

  • The Highway Battle

  • Quinlan

  • Stop the Master

  • Eichhorst

  • Finale

Following the same narrative structure as previous incarnations of the series (the original 24 and 24: Live Another Day), this revival season dubbed 24: Legacy (2017) follows the exploits of Eric Carter (Corey Hawkins) who fights an omnipresent terrorist attack. He sides with Rebecca Ingram (Miranda Otto of Lord of the Rings fame), who is the head of CTU. Together, over the course of twenty four hours an explosive chain of events unravel. The show also stars Anna Diop, Teddy Sears, Ashley Thomas, Dan Bucantinsky, and Jimmy Smits.

Following its network broadcast on Fox, the show isn't going to return for a second season. The season consists of twelve episodes, which stars from 12:00 (Noon) - 1PM and concludes with 11:00 PM - 12:00PM. Three episodes per disc.

Presented on standard definition DVD with a 1.78:1 anamorphically enhanced widescreen aspect ratio and a lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 track, the show looks comparable to its original television broadcast despite not being HD here, thus, up to par with the standards of the format. An HD version would be preferable but has yet to be released at the time of this writing.

Special Features...

24: The Legacy Lives On featurette

Deleted Scenes

The show is nicely produced with decent action and acting but overall feels a bit stale and uninspired. The network has hinted at future episodes of the series using the same narrative formula and flashy editing, but judging from the lukewarm reception of this season it may be taking a hiatus for the time being.

Still, if you enjoyed the show then this is a nice four disc edition of it that offers a commercial free version that's ideal for fans.

- Nicholas Sheffo (Risk, Strain) & James Lockhart



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