Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Midsomer Murders - Set Eight|
Actor: John Nettles; John Hopkins
Director: Caroline Graham
Genres: Drama, Television, Mystery & Suspense
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 mysteries. Inspired by the novels of Caroline G... more »
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Still satisfying, thanks to John Nettles, but the producers
C. O. DeRiemer | San Antonio, Texas, USA | 04/15/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Midsomer Murders - Set 8 is the last three episodes of the series' seventh season. (The first four episodes are contained in Midsomer Murders - Set 7.) It seems to me that with the seventh season, the producers of Midsomer Murders began to cautiously attempt to appeal to a younger and more contemporary demographic. Nothing wrong with that, but at the same time the cleverness of the writing and the complexity (and to a degree, the integrity) of the mysteries have been weakened a bit. The strength of the series is still the performance of John Nettles as Detective Chief Inspector Tom Barnaby, who finds plenty of murders to solve in the tidy, cozy towns and villages of Midsomer County. Barnaby remains the constant; he's unflappable, shrewd, fair-minded and experienced. Nettles brings a real feel for Barnaby's integrity, intelligence and dry humor to the role.
The three episodes in the set all come with high production values. The stately homes of the well-off never looked better and the smaller homes of the middle class never looked tidier. The countryside is green and beautiful, except when it's nighttime and killers are on the prowl.
The producers, in their effort to stay contemporary, are most likely well aware that their star is now beginning to age a bit. Nettles was 61 when the seventh season began. He probably has less appeal to the younger set than the young hunk (and good actor) John Hopkins, who was brought in to play Barnaby's new assistant, Sergeant Dan Scott. At the same time, the mysteries all too often carry the dreaded burden of the modern psychological backstory. The writers come up with complicated plots, but at times the characters' backstories or the still unformed skills of some of the young actors or the veering toward daytime television melodrama tend to be unsatisfying.
"The Maid in Splendor" starts out with a nice mixture of family tensions, unrequited love and a nasty wife, but the solution depends on an unlikely scenario in which the acting of some key players doesn't quite do the job and on the improbability of one important relationship. We're talking soap opera melodrama.
In "The Straw Woman," Barnaby finds himself in a completely humorless melodrama that features rigid Christian beliefs, earthly love among High Church priests, a roll-in-the-bed episode featuring Sergeant Scott and, again, acting among two key, young players that has little nuance.
"Ghosts of Christmas Past" is the best of the lot with all sorts of family secrets combined with retribution and murder. But here, the solution depends on something Barnaby is told in a report from another police district that he and we learn only after 90 minutes of the 100-minute episode have gone by. This deux ex machina approach to solving mysteries does not play fair with the audience.
Still, John Nettles and the production values are able to keep up our interest, and it was good to see such skilled actors as Freddie Jones, Mel Martin and Bruce Alexander. Let's hope that Inspector Barnaby can find himself dealing with future murders that have more of the dry humor and cleverness of the earlier episodes. We don't want to wind up with CSI: Midsomer County.
GEORGE RANNIE | DENVER, COLORADO United States | 04/02/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"For many years now, I've been able to depend on the "Midsommer Murders" series bring me good entertainment that always resulted in me having extreme comfort in the knowledge that I would be viewing a series that contained some wonderful acting, great stories with "jolly good" mysteries and some very interesting characters. This three disc, three episode (about a 100 minutes each) Season Eight is no exception. Barnaby played wonderfully by John Nettles is back along with his "new" sidekick a kind of cynical Sergeant Dan Scott as played by John Hopkins. As in season seven, they are still making a "good team" solving dastardly murders in supposedly peaceful Midsommer village. Barnaby on an occasion does wonderfully lose his patience with Sergeant Dan Scott; however, as I've said before, he does it like a "favorite" uncle would do it and Sergeant Dan Scott does in this season deserve to be taken down a "notch or two"---he does seem to think that he has all of the ladies in a swoon including Barnaby's wife and daughter. Nevertheless, on my part, there were never any longings for homophobic Troy (Barnaby's former partner). I do still like Scott's demeanor and humor and I do think he and Barnaby make a good team for as long as it may last.
All in all this is a really good season with murder/mysteries that are intriguing and interesting enough to keep one awake and alert; however, complicated enough to keep one guessing just who might have done the deed. The "body count" is still rather large; however, the length (about 100 minutes)of each episode, allows each case to be solved splendidly with many false leads of "who done it?"; plus, it allows a fine introduction to some eccentric and fascinating inhabitants of Midsommer--what a great assortment! It kept me always guessing the outcome--jolly good!
(By the way, the episode called "The ghosts of Christmas Past" is marvelous. It is filled with villiagers singing Xmas Carols, plum pudding, questionable suicides, magic, murders, spooky houses, a very precocious kid, etc. After one views that episode "visions of sugar plums" WON'T be dancing through one's head. It's really good and mysterious!)"
A solid addition to a good series
Anne Bobchick | San Bernardino, CA | 06/20/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Actually consider this a rating of 3 1/2 stars. Not quite good enough for four, but still better than average.
As usual Midsomer Murders delivers charming bucolic English murder mysteries. The characters are quirky, John Nettles is wonderful and John Hopkins is starting to come into his own as DS Scott.
However there are a few negative. First this is actually the second half of the seventh season, which makes numbering the DVD sets annoying for those of us who are anal retentive. (It still somewhat bothers me that the Travelling Wilburys labelled their two albums, volume I and volume III)
Also this set is shorter than the previous sets having only three episodes. The series finally gets around to the "themed" shows having what can only be lablelled their Halloween and Christmas episodes. The Halloween episode was more than a bit contrived, but the Christmas episode made up for it.
All in all, this series is a predictable and enjoyable bit of English cosy and I do recommend you watch it with a nice pot of Darjeeling tea and some shortbread."
R. Kaplan | Highland Park, IL United States | 07/17/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Forget that Sgt. Troy is gone, the series is still excellent in the BBC tradition."