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Category:    Home > Reviews > Mystery > Drama > British Telefilm > Police Procedural > TV > Rebus (2000 John Hannah Koch set vs. Acorn Ken Stott 2005 revival)

Rebus (2000 John Hannah Koch set vs. Acorn Ken Stott 2005 revival)

 

Picture: C+†††† Sound: B-†††† Extras: C-†††† Telefilms: B/C

 

 

A good detective drama is hard to find.That was not as hard in the 1970s on either British or U.S. TV, but most of the shows now are on the lame side.Scottish TV continues to hold many surprises and one of them has been bringing Ian Rankinís Rebus to life.The first version in 2000 with John Hannah is excellent and Koch has issued the four telefilms in a nice 3 DVD set.Acorn has followed up with a shocking bad revival with Ken Stott taking over the role and it is very weak.

 

Hannah is a world-weary outsider in the role, fighting the systemís imperfections and becoming very personally invested in each case.He is deep, vulnerable, human and luckily very smart.The Stott version has a much less invested character who is less interesting, a bit shallow and underdeveloped.Stottís version is also cursed with scripts that are at least a decade late in their long-tired pop culture references, which is a sign of bored writers being paid a little too much.

 

The Hannah shows are Black & Blue, Dead Souls, The Hanging Garden and Mortal Cause.The revival offers The Falls and Freshmarket Close.Why the original series did not last longer is a shame, bordering on a catastrophe, while the latter shows are so poor that I was shocked.They are badly directed, have bad scripts, bad form and arte instantly forgettable.The Hannah shows may be Mystery classics and actually have good mystery stories worth hanging in for, which is why that is the only set this critic can recommend.

 

The letterboxed 1.66 X 1 image of the original shows from Koch have good color and some detail issued, while the later 1.78 X 1/16 X 9 anamorphically enhanced Acorn issued shows have a softness and lighter color scheme that screams substandard digital High Definition video.That makes the sets even in the visual performance respect, though the older shows have been color and more character in their image.Both also have Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo with Pro Logic surrounds, but the earlier show has a little more character in its mixes.The Acorn set comes with text cast filmographies and bio of author Ian Rankin, but that is all.Acornís Set 2 is up next and weíll see if the show improves any.

 

 

-†† Nicholas Sheffo


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