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Midsomer Murders - The Early Cases Collection
Midsomer Murders - The Early Cases Collection
Actors: John Nettles, Jane Wymark, Barry Jackson, Laura Howard, Jason Hughes
Genres: Drama, Television, Mystery & Suspense
NR     2008     1hr 40min

As seen on A&E and The Biography Channel WHAT EVIL LURKS BEYOND THE WELL-TRIMMED HEDGES OF MIDSOMER . . . The cozy villages of Midsomer County reveal their most sinister secrets in these contemporary British television mys...  more »

     
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Movie Details

Actors: John Nettles, Jane Wymark, Barry Jackson, Laura Howard, Jason Hughes
Genres: Drama, Television, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Drama, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Acorn Media
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen
DVD Release Date: 03/25/2008
Release Year: 2008
Run Time: 1hr 40min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 19
SwapaDVD Credits: 19
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 9
Edition: Box set
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Murder in Midsomer County
E. A Solinas | MD USA | 12/30/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Imagine Saint Mary Mead. Squared.

That about describes the setting of "Midsomer Murders," a morbidly witty British mystery series based on Caroline Graham's novels. And "Midsomer Murders: The Early Cases" brings together the first eighteen cases in this cozy, dark little county, making up most of the first four seasons.

In the pilot episode, an elderly spinster is is hunting for orchids when she comes across something strange in the woods -- and soon she's found dead, with a broken neck. Chief Inspector Tom Barnaby (John Nettles) is persuaded to investigate further, and soon he discovers that there's something far nastier coming up -- more bloody killings, secret incest, and an old forgotten crime.

"The Killings in Badger's Grift" is perhaps the clumsiest episode of the series, with some horribly over-the-top acting and a weird dream sequence. But the writers get their footing with "Written in Blood," about a double murder rooted in the shared past of two middle-aged men -- one a bestselling novelist.

From there on, Barnaby and his assistant, Detective Sergeant Gavin Troy (Daniel Casey), are forced to investigate all sorts of crimes -- obviously each episode has a murder, but there's plenty of adultery, theft, kidnapping, insanity and "cold cases" that are connected to current murders.

And they have to deal with some very strange crimes -- a strangled cigarette model, a New Age lodge, snotty aristocrats, a local sexpot's kidnapping (or not), a trophy wife murdered with a cricket bat, mysterious tramps, nursing home murders, a thief killed by a pitchfork, a haunted museum, toxic mushrooms, crop circles, adulterous mailmen, and a wedding that is disrupted when the groom's father is hoisted out of a well.

Honestly, I think Miss Marple would feel right at home -- such a pretty, homey, sunshiney place, full of kindly spinsters and genial aristocrats. The whole thing is set in the various villages of Midsomer County, which is picturesque, lush, and full of farms, cute little English villages and cottages.

So of course, there are gruesome murders, plotting and tawdry secrets hidden in every corner; several spill out in every episode, and only some of them have to do with the main murder. But the writers keep a funny edge in the stories, such as Barnaby being shadowed by his daughter's boyfriend, or certain lines when off duty ("You're just jealous because I have a coconut and you haven't!").

And these cops are pretty believable detectives. John Nettles is absolutely wonderful as the kindly, middle-aged cop with a brain like stainless steel, whose nice sedate family is a relief from all the Midsomer weirdos. And Daniel Casey is solid as his younger, brasher assistant.

Most of the villagers are played by excellent actors as well, no matter how weird their characters are. Grumpy mediums, mad vicars and nasty little schoolboys are only a few, with Emily Mortimer and Jonathan Firth playing one-off roles. And keep an eye out for Orlando Bloom as a sneering young thief in one of these episodes -- he's not only great at being nasty, but he has a priceless death scene.

"Midsomer Murders: The Early Cases" is a big, solidly-written chunk of British coziness, spanning almost four seasons. And it has murder and scandal in every episode."
30 HOURS OF TERRIFIC WHODUNITS
Robin Simmons | Palm Springs area, CA United States | 04/11/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I love this droll, darkly humorous series set in the fictional UK county of Midsomer. Finally, the initial 18 episodes are available in the order they were first broadcast in the UK. What a treat!

There's something cozy about the madness behind the rustic hedges and lush landscape of this wonderful old-school murder mystery series. Midsomer is a contained world populated with slightly inbred middle-class eccentrics. The colorful villagers -- vicars, birdwatchers and cricket players mingle with -- and in some cases are -- murderers of great, if flawed, creativity.

Especially delicious are the first five titles taken directly from the novels of Caroline Graham. I have enjoyed "Killings At Badger's Drift," "Written In Blood," and "Death Of A Hollow Man" multiple times.

Detective Chief Inspector Tom Barnaby (John Nettle) brings a reasoned mature calm to the lurking menace of the deceptively heavenly, stately environs. A decent and normal man who represents the best of his breed. And make no mistake, this series is very much about breeding. Barnaby's sidekick DS Gavin Troy (Daniel Casey) is the perfect youthful -- sometimes naive, sometimes intuitive, sometimes brash -- balance to the proceedings.

This kind of closed story-telling, in which killings are center stage and around which all the action takes place, is reassuring in a world that often reflects far harsher realities. It's reassuring because there is closure and all is put in order and justice on some level is meted out. At least for the time-being.

The production is top notch all round. Colorful minor characters abound -- often stars in the making (see Orlando Bloom and others in early episodes).

What sets this apart for me, is the balance of Barnaby's private life with the horrors of his professional life. It seems he's learned a lesson from his work and that is to appreciate even the minor irritations of domestic bliss and fatherhood, like his wife's penchant for experimental culinary experimentations and his daughter's thespian aspirations. Very Hitchcockian English humor.

There are 18 episodes. The smooth transition from Graham's novels to episodes based on her characters is seamless and sometimes just as diabolically clever.

A lot of care has gone into the creation and maintenance of this terrific series. There are a total of 30 hours of delectably dastardly doings in this package as well as "Super Sleuths," a fascinating bonus documentary that takes a look at the first decade of "Midsomer Murders."

If classic murder mysteries are your cup of tea, don't miss this timeless set.

Beautiful packaging (the shadow of an axe murderer is on the outer box, and on the inner sleeve he's gone!) and the plastic "page fold" multiple disc case is the best I've seen.

Highest recommendation."
At Last
Rosa | Detroit,MichiganUSA | 03/28/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I was very glad when they released the volume set.Every since Hallmark has decided not the renew it's contract for more Midsomers Murders. I have miss it greatly at least this way I can see the ones that I have enjoyed like Destroying Angel and Garden of Death. And others that I miss like Written in Blood, Badgers Drift and others. If you are a true fan and miss the series like I do. This is the series to get."
Great Episodes...Horrible Case!
Themis-Athena | 08/16/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)

"I LOVE Midsomer Murders! I had all of the episodes from Season 1 right through Season 10 taped off TV, but they included commercials, since they were taped off A&E and the BIO channel. I enjoyed them so much, I decided to invest in the real thing on DVD.

I opted to start by buying "MM - The Early Cases" and the rest of the series by individual seasons. I'm now thinking I might buy the individual seasons 1,2,3 & 5 and sell my copy of the Early Cases. WHY?? The DVD case the Early Cases comes in is just horrible!!

They packed all of the DVDs into this one big case that opens like a book. The center doesn't have a release and I can't get the DVDs out without actually bending and pulling on them; I'm bound to break one at some point. The case is also unwieldy to open and access the DVDs. It's not a well-thought-out packaging option.

With the individual seasons, each episode is in its own DVD, in its own case, with a nice episode synopsis. The Earl Cases set has no episode guide, which is a minor bother, but still a bother; especially for someone who doesn't know the episodes well by title.

But, the episodes themselves are BANG ON! By all means, buy the entire series, just think about buying them all separately instead of in this Early Collection. And if you decide to buy the Early Cases collection, let me know...I have a mint set for sale!!"