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Category:    Home > Reviews > Mystery > British TV > Telefilms > MidSomer Murders - Set 14 (Acorn Media DVD Set)

MidSomer Murders - Set 14 (Acorn Media DVD Set)


Picture: B-     Sound: B-     Extras: D     Episodes: B



Set 14 of the long-running British crime drama MidSomer Murders features four of the final episodes from the 10th season.  Before starting MidSomer, I had never seen an episode and was eagerly awaiting the show that I've read so much about.  The cover of this set features a quote from the San Francisco Chronicle claiming that it's, “the British rural version of Law & Order.”  Needless to say, there was something I expected that never actually revealed itself.  The two shows, aside from sharing a  genre, couldn't be any more different.


Just because MidSomer Murders is on its 10th season, don't let that scare you away from the series.  Each episode mostly stands alone.  They are shot exceptionally well and the sets are as beautiful as you could imagine the English countryside being.  The writers also manage to fill each feature length episode with enough background and quick-witted banter to move the story along nicely.


Each mystery in the series is stretched out to a whopping hour and forty minutes, and unless you are completely enthralled, there is little chance that you could watch more than one episode in a sitting, which is where I ran into trouble.  This is not downplaying the quality of the episodes, though.  With the exception of one mystery, “Death and Dust,” the viewer isn't going to become disinterested, as it seemed to struggle to make it to the 100 minute mark.  Additionally, each disc contains only the feature with no extras.


The series shows the juxtaposition between the new and the old guard of law enforcement.  Detective Chief Inspector Tom Barnaby (John Nettles) teaches his protégé, Detective Sergeant Ben Jones (Jason Hughes), how to handle the contemptuous citizens of the picturesque MidSomer.  Each mystery seems unsolvable until the veteran Inspector Barnaby unravels the case in a leisurely, yet entertaining pace.



The stand-alone mysteries include:


Death and Dust – The impending marriage of a widowed doctor and a well to do divorcée motivate a murder of mistaken identity.


Picture of Innocence – Someone tries to frame Barnaby and not for a portrait during a shooting war between rival camera clubs.

They Seek Him Here – A movie crew begins to film an adventure classic set during the French Revolution which literally causes heads to roll.


Death in a Chocolate Box – Two of Barnaby’s former colleagues that are now the managers of a halfway house are haunted by a long-buried scandal.


The picture and sound are on par with the recent DVD releases, which is just fine for the format and if you enjoy murder mysteries, MidSomer Murders would be a good choice for your next obsession.  It doesn't need gratuitous violence and sex to grab the attention of the viewer. It uses intelligent, thought-provoking character development to makes each murder case stand out from the last.



-   Jake Kocan


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