Midsomer Murders: Series 11 (DVD)

Kate Hammond: “Well, if you really must know, around that time I was having a bit of a serious snog.”
DS Ben Jones: “Can I have the gentleman’s name?”
Kate Hammond: “The gentleman’s name was Caroline.”

Midsomer Murders: Series 11 contains all the episodes previously released within Midsomer Murders: Set 15 and Midsomer Murders: Set 16. Both were reviewed in great detail by our own Judge Stewart in 2010. So to avoid retreading I will simply recap, adding in the few details not yet detailed, as it were.

The four discs of the collection contain seven mysteries, with titles and brief descriptions below for those unfamiliar with the series.

“Blood Wedding” — It’s Cully’s (Laura Howard, So Haunt Me) big day but a series of murders threatens to upstage the bride.

“Shot at Dawn” — A feud between families lasting since World War I erupts in bloodshed.

“Left for Dead” — Barnaby (John Nettles, Bergerac) looks to the past to help solve a double murder.

“Midsomer Life” — When an unpopular magazine editor is killed there is no shortage of suspects.

“The Magician’s Nephew” — A pagan cult comes under siege when members are murdered.

“Days of Misrule” — It’s time for team-building, and Barnaby tries to get out of it any way he can.

“Talking to the Dead” — Local disappearances are blamed on ghosts but Barnaby and Jones (Jason Hughes, This Life) won’t stop pursuing a more corporeal answer.

The mysteries are well-written and well-acted, the perfect fit for someone who prefers their crime solvers not to rely on forensics, as is the current American crime drama’s trend. I’m a fan of the series and easily recommend Midsomer Murders: Series 11 for the avid fan, collector, or someone whose tastes run toward quality British television.

I would add that as of October 2014 Netflix was streaming Series 1-15, so consider that if you’re looking to catch up on the series. Also back in 2010, Judge Stewart mentioned no television station was carrying Midsomer Murders but as of this review PBS does indeed show episodes.

In terms of technical specs this is one area Judge Stewart left some room for me to expand upon, which I gratefully accept. The 1.78:1 aspect ratio of the video transfer, typical for currently broadcasting television shows, does well in terms of not showcasing too many problems. However there are still occasional bits of pixilation, soft focus, and high white levels; though none of those issues really distract. The color timing is set to as natural a look as you can get, so any beauty you see in the countryside is true-to-life. The audio track is a simple Dolby stereo and it can be a bit soft, but it’s clearly leveled and occupies the audio space, with everything sounding organic — which leads to moments of almost too-quiet dialogue now and then. I only noticed the issues because of the Midsomer Sets I reviewed, which have one episode per disc, producing as good a transfer as you can get.

The special features were ported over from the “Sets” and include text production notes, a photo gallery of main character Tom Barnaby’s daughter, Cully, and an audio commentary track for the episode “The Magician’s Nephew” featuring series stars John Nettles and Jane Wymark (Poldark).

It’s been four years since the “Sets”, which house these episodes, were released. It could be time for an upgrade, and since Blu-ray is far off, Midsomer Murders: Series 11 is your best bet for clearing out a bit of space on your DVD shelves, aside from streaming the series.


Staying alive.

Here are the top ten things we know: 1) She lives in Ohio 2) She is MWOC unless you count her two dogs 3) Believes Avatar was NOT the greatest movie ever made 4) Operates on a primarily nocturnal basis 5) Wants to write the screenplay for the movie adaptation of C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia: The Last Battle 6) Watches a variety of shows on television including, but not limited to: Castle, @midnight, Face Off, Sherlock and Whose Line is it Anyway? 7) Does not believe anyone will actually read this besides the editor (hello, Editor!) 8) Has attended more than one N*SYNC concert in her lifetime but only one NKOTB concert 9) Was in a car crash that would have killed her had she not been wearing her seat belt 10) Is in the process of catching up on Supernatural (incidentally would possibly leave her husband for either of the Winchester Brothers depending on the episode in question) and the bonus! 11) Enjoys reading, writing, laying on the beach (long walks tire her out) and assorted snack foods like frozen M&M's.
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