A TV show like Midsomer Murders really has to have it together to keep on air for 18 seasons, but can it woo a new viewer in after all these years? Is it too late to jump on the murder mystery bandwagon and enjoy this well received and proven series? Let’s find out.
The Movie Itself (4/5)
Midsomer Murders is a fairly well known television murder mystery series that is being brought to Blu-ray by Acorn Media. The show has been going on since 1997 and continues strong to this day. It follows the investigations of a veteran DCI and a young sergeant who investigate the strange happenings around Midsomer County.
As alluded to in the intro, this is my first delve into the series. I was a bit worried that I would be lost in the plot or missing out on a lot of context, but that didn’t seem to be the case. In fact, if anything, after watching these six episodes (each an hour and a half long), I was hooked and wanting to go back and see what I’ve been missing. Don’t get me wrong, there is definite character development between episodes, but at no point did I feel like I was missing anything big; just getting a glimpse of a larger picture that makes me curious for more.
The format of the show is very newcomer friendly as well. Each episode is fully standalone and has a longer, fully fleshed out storyline (they feel like movies instead of television episodes). DCI Tom Barnaby and Sergeant Charlie Nelson find themselves investigating a strange and fascinating murder mystery. We get to follow along as they interview witnesses and search for the right clues to solve the case. Then, at the end of the episode, we find out if our suspicions are correct as our two main characters play out the clues and come to a (sometimes surprise) reveal of our culprit (or culprits).
The investigations and interviews are extremely well written and are genuinely fun to follow along with. Throughout the episodes, you will find yourself building your own case and eliminating suspects alongside our detectives. Furthermore, the cases themselves are often highly unique and mysterious. During the six episodes included in this series, we see cases involving a missing corpse, UFO sightings, a bicycle champion being murdered immediately after a race, an artistic display of a dead body, an archaeologist buried alive, and a horse trampling.
The show finds a good balance of tension and comedy (albeit somewhat dry humor), but has a noticeably slower pacing than what you may expect going in. This may be due to the longer run times and having more time to go through evidence and much more interviewing than a 30 minute runtime would allow. Nevertheless, the show never seemed to run on or draw out either. Recurring characters do a great job of acting in the series, as do most of the supporting cast, although here and there you will notice a spot of bad acting, but it’s not too bad.
Overall, I found this to be a surprisingly entertaining and pleasurable watch. A bit slower than I expected, but well worth the time.
The six episodes in this set are spread across three Blu-ray discs, giving each episode plenty of space to fit the highest visual quality possible. The show may not be super heavy on effects, but it makes up for it by filming in some absolutely gorgeous locations with lots of fine detail. The picture quality is pretty much top notch, you won’t be disappointed.
There’s not a lot to talk about in terms of audio here. The show is almost entirely dialog driven, with not a lot of flashy sound effects. Having said that, the audio track here sounds clear as can be, and the environmental sounds all are well defined.
Special Features (2/5)
There is not a of extra content here, but included are:
- Behind the Scenes: Habeas Corpus
- The Dogs and Babies of Midsomer
- Behind the Scenes: The Incident at Cooper Hill
- An Introduction to Dr. Kam Karimore
- Behind the Scenes: Breaking the Chain
- Behind the Scenes: A Dying Art
Each of these behind the scenes features are fairly interesting, but are quite short. Each clocks in at about five minutes in length or less. The dogs and babies of Midsomer and the introduction to Dr. Kam both feature some cool interviews as well, I just can’t help but be a bit disappointed that we didn’t get anything of real substance here. I imagine that a lot of that stuff has been done before series 18, though. So maybe fans of the series have already gotten their fill of bigger features.
Acorn has brought Midsomer Murders to Blu-ray in this three disc set that comes with a slipcover featuring the same art as the single sided sleeve. Inside you will find an insert promoting other Acorn releases, and the three discs with matching art (again, the same from the cover).
It’s nice to see art on each disc as opposed to the ever common generic discs with just a title on them. It would have been nice to have more art across the spread here, but regardless, it’s a pretty attractive set.
- Aspect ratio: 1.78:1
- DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Runtime 557 Mins
Midsomer Murders Series 18 Overall (4/5)
Midsomer Murders is welcoming to newcomers, even after 18 years on air. I thoroughly enjoyed diving into this show, and had more fun following the questioning and solving the murders than I thought I would. I would definitely recommend this show to anyone looking for a good mystery.
You can pick it up here.
Note: This Blu-ray was sent to us for review. This has not affected our judgement or editorial process in any way. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding this process.