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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Science > History > Mystery > Perfect Corpse (Nova/WGBH)

The Perfect Corpse (Nova)


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: C-     Episode: B-



Since TV and it’s credibility went into decline and the bottom fell out, one of the sad things about the hundreds of channels is that you can find out about a brutal murder every day in great detail.  A body is found, it has been mutilated in “sick” ways and the investigation of how this happened begins.  The broadcast of such stories are so common that you wonder if they inspire serial killers and a need for those killers to outdo each other.  The Perfect Corpse is the latest installment of the ever-great WGBH/PBS series Nova starts out the same way, but there is a twist of course.


The body found has been buried for hundreds to thousands of years and whoever committed the brutal murder, they are long dead too.  Automatically, that takes away a fascinating aspect of the typical “soap opera” exploitation version just explained: there is no one to go after and get revenge on.  Whether they are beaten, killed, condemned to death, life in prison or just stigmatized as a “sicko” so people at home can feel better about themselves for the worst reasons is suddenly absent.  Of course, the idea that anyone is getting away with such dark happenings resonates as a threat within, which hatemongers and other exploiters love to take advantage of.


With that luggage removed, the story becomes a pure science investigation, followed by one of history, specifically the unique world of The Celts in Ireland.  This took 18 months and that makes for a very rich hour of viewing typical of the series.  It does also make for a really intriguing mystery story, as much one of science as murder, so don’t miss this one and skip reading the back of the DVD case here.


The letterboxed 1.78 X 1 image has usually good color, but there are limits, as well as detail problems throughout on a program that was shot in digital High Definition.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo has no major Pro Logic surrounds, but is clear enough to enjoy for this kind of program.  The usual, limited DVD-ROM printable educational materials and weblink are the only extras.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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