'Midsomer Murders: Set 17'
(John Nettles, Jason Hughes, et al / 4-Disc DVD / NR / 2010 / Acorn Media)
Overview: Based on a set of only seven novels by Caroline Graham, 'Midsomer Murders' is a long-running and very popular series that debuted in the U.K. in 1997. The series features the likable Detective Chief Inspector Tom Barnaby (John Nettles) and is set in the fictional English county of Midsomer - which consists of several villages.
DVD Verdict: OK, once and for all, would you live in a county village that had the following stats attached to it:
Murders since 1997: 204
Accidental Deaths: 11
Natural Causes: 6
Bow & Arrow deaths: 4!!!
No, nor would I and yet people continue to live in these Midsomer villages, more keep moving in (due to all those houses and cottages always being for sale), and more keep dying!
In 'The Dogleg Murders,' members of the swanky Whiteoaks Golf Club keep turning up dead by the 13th hole! A golfing episode for the most part thru and thru, it still actually plays out more like a soap opera! The first murder takes a while to surface, but when it finally does we're all in full swing (sorry!). "If there's lightning about hold up a one iron," Doctor George Bullar mutters. "Even God can't hit a one iron!" Featuring the Golf great Sam Torrance (OBE), the tale peters out before we care who did what to whom, sorry!
In 'The Black Book,' which you can guess the storyline to come two minutes in, Midsomer's (seemingly only) policing duo investigate a string of savage murders precipitated by a local art auction. Opening with a quaint set up, we quickly explore the world of art forgeries - and the price people will pay to get (both) ahold of them and rid of them! Some lovely landscapes come into view here, especially that at Badger's Drift; a place used in the very first episode of Midsomer Murders back in 1997.
Oh, and for those not used to such things, there is a full nude (female) scene here - several times in the same scene! As for how the culprit obtains the 2 million pound pay off in a being-watched library is, well, plain twaddle and couldn't have been pulled off in a million years, sorry!
In 'Secrets and Spies,' a mysterious creature is killing sheep in Midsomer County, but it soon moves on to larger prey. Or does it?! We begin in East Berlin in 1982 (black and white, for some reason!) where member of the German resistance are helping others escape from Germany through a maze of tunnels. A traitor is revealed, but everyone is young so come modern day and all our suspects are lined up, ready to be revealed as good or bad!
Also, noteworthy is that Stevens gets her promotion to DS Stevens, and becomes plain clothes - to help the dynamic duo solve cases from thereon in. It's also revealed that Barnaby was once in MI:6, and that a little old lady from down the road is also (still) one of the heads of a secret MI:6 group! What a load of tosh that all was as if it never came up for 13 years why would it suddenly matter to all come up now?! Also, Barnaby, getting hindered at various investigational points by his own Chief Constable, resigns! Albeit for just an afternoon, of course!
"Thank God for small murders," muses his wife, as he leaves his bed to rejoin the team/investigation, getting him from out under her feet! Anyway, this episode is VERY cricket orientated, so prepare to become a little bored halfway through! And, for no apparent reason, Barnaby seems to be spouting gibberish to his Sgt. instead of giving him straight answers! When asked if they should talk to one of the suspects, Barnaby responds, "Let us insert ginger into the appropriate orifices and let's see if we can make the horses dance"!
In the final (and best, for my money), episode, 'The Glitch,' a local scientist’s determination to stop an American millionaire’s latest business venture (one that he himself has orchestrated, but has since found fault with) has fatal repercussions. Covering the return of 'The Bucket Man' also, this episode focuses on an Air Traffic program created to save the world money and time, but that comes with a glitch. A real push bike friendly tale this one, but it culminates in a great old racing car scene with Barnaby behind the wheel chasing down a suspect! [RT] This is a Full Screen Presentation (1.66:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of: