Meet handsome Archie MacDonald, a reluctant young Scottish laird torn between his trendy London life and the call of his wild Highland ancestry. You'll be seduced by breathtaking scenery, marvelously original and amusing s... more »cripts, and eccentric, thoroughly lovable characters. This 4-VHS set of the BBC America hit includes all eight captivating episodes of the first series!DVD Features:
Only the American edition lets you see the full old glory
feverpitch96 | Southern Highlands, NSW, Australia | 01/20/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Beautiful series. Magical scenery, deeply evocative musical score, characters you can actually care about, and often-sentimental scripts which, even so, are well on the safe side of mawkish or cloying. This is classic "mood" television; even when you become sick of the storylines, the scenery and the music will bring you back to your favourite episodes time and time again. From episode one onwards, it's clear that this is a programme made with heart, as well as style.Whilst it is true that, currently, Series 1-4 are available in the UK on DVD and Series 1 is also available in Australia, this US Region 1 DVD release is the only edition worldwide to give viewers an anamorphic widescreen image. The UK and Australian discs crop/zoom the original 16:9 image to a 4:3 screen, thereby cheating viewers of the full beauty of the cinematography of this series. Even the possible issue of PAL-to-NTSC conversion artefacts with a R1 disc of a BBC series seems a risk well worth taking, and in the event the picture here is beautiful, sharp, clear and very watchable.Nice one, BBC America. Let's see the rest of the show soon on your DVD schedule, because you're the only ones in the world doing it 100% right where it counts. I've paused my "Monarch" collecting to wait for you. :)"
Winning television-program on a finely produced DVD...
feverpitch96 | 09/19/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Monarch of the Glen is one of the more charming television series to come out of the UK. It follows the troubles and tribulations of the MacDonald clan, who's young laird, Archie, has been put in charge of leading the family estate out of debt. It's not as easy as it sounds, as Archie not only tries to balance the wishes of his mother and father with the agendas of the the estate's workers, but most also choose between his life in London with restaurateur business partner Justine, or live in Glenbogle with the mysterious Katrina.The locations are beautiful, the writing top-notch, and the performances are a delight to watch. Alastair Mackenzie is the center of the ensemble as Laird Archie, but is nicely rounded out by the other performers, the most outstanding in this first series being Dawn Steele as the feisty cook, Lexie, and Hamish Clark as the bumbling handyman, Duncan.The 2-Disc DVD presentation of the first series is just as well-produced as the program the discs hold. The picture is spot-less with little noticeable PAL-to-NTSC conversion artifacts, and is presented in 16x9 enhanced wide-screen looking far better than the show has aired on BBC America or PBS. The 2.0 sound mix is clear and dialogue is always intelligible. There is little in the way of extras, simply cast biographies and a six minute excerpt from BBC series "Holiday" about the locations that Monarch uses and brief interviews with the actors.If you're looking for an American program to compare this to the closest that I could point you to is "Ed," but even then, Ed is never as good-natured and beautifully produced as this fine Scottish gem. Most definitely recommended."
Charming, Sentimental, Inspiring!
Ross A. Faulkner | Canberra, Australia | 04/29/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Television shows that can truly warm the heart are hard to find nowadays yet, thanks to the BBC, we now have a stunning example of one that most certainly can. Monarch of the Glen, whilst technically a drama, is actually most memorable for its clever humour, not the American sit-com style (no offence), but rather that distinctly British, charming comedy, with ready wit and an acute sense of irony. This style of comedy is Britain's gift to the world, and is in stark contrast to many American comedies which, though amusing in their own way, tend to be more formulaic than the subtle word-play inherent in the British, Irish and Australian sense of humour. Nevertheless, the show is very well written, and its comic undertones should easily be spotted by most viewers.
The show itself centres around Archie MacDonald, Laird of Glenbogle (and, in the second series, Chief of Clan MacDonald), who abandons his London lifestyle to return to his ancestral home in the West Highlands of Scotland. This lifestyle change forms the basis of this first season and, although Archie ultimately chooses to stay with his kinsmen in the glen, he at times seems to yearn for his former life on the Thames. This homesick-whist-at-home contradiction serves to make Archie a complex yet accessible character, at times unsure of where he truly belongs. Add a dash of romance and some memorable and truly lovable support characters, and you have in essence the simple brilliance of this show. Of these characters, for me the standouts must surely be the ever bushy-tailed Lexie, the delightfully dotty Molly (Susan Hampshire at her most winsome), and that dependable old highlander, 'Golly' McKenzie.
As a series, Monarch of the Glen possesses a genuine character rarely found in modern television and, whilst the mood is for the most part light and humerous, some scenes are surprisingly moving. The emphasis on clanship, ancestry, and the call of the homeland are unashamedly sentimental, and the ruggedly beautiful highland landscape is simply breath-taking. Conversation between the characters is cleverly constructed and, beneath the pleasantries and somewhat misleading appearance of landed gentry, viewers glimpse the reality of a simple, kind-hearted folk, bound together by loyalty and love for one another.
A witty, charming, and heart-warming show, Monarch of the Glen stands as a rare gem in comparison to the rigidly structured nature of modern television. It is also presented here on a brilliant DVD, with the flawless widescreen transfer showing the vast landscape of the Scottish Highlands in all its haunting beauty. The Dolby Stereo soundtrack is also well mastered and proves more than adequate - as well as being a vast improvement over the audio transfer on the original UK Disc."
Can't we go any higher than five?!
feverpitch96 | 04/23/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There are too few words in the English language to describe this show. The scenery is gorgeous, the cast is top-notch, the plot is engaging, the music is inspiring...and best of all, the show has been recorded to DVD in its entirety, not cut down as it's been to air on BBC America to allow for commercials. If you've ever seen the show on BBCA before, would you believe they hack out about 14 minutes worth of the show ON AVERAGE for commercials? There are many precious scenes -- some essential to your understanding of the storyline, some just plain funny or touching -- that you WILL see if you spend the money on this DVD collection. Disc two has all the extras on it: cast bios, British trailers for the show and a short "Making of Monarch" documentary filmed for British TV. If you even remotely enjoy the show, this set is worth the money.My only complaint is the ENORMOUSLY long waiting period fans have had to endure before the release of the show on DVD...Series One was filmed back in 1999. Over in the UK, they have recently enjoyed the release of series FOUR on DVD this past year.Waiting (not so) patiently for the release of Series Two in May....."
One of the best TV series ever
rustydfw | Dallas, Texas | 01/02/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Okay, I always find it amusing how only a complete synopsis "review" is deemed as "helpful to you". Fine. Anyone can summarise. But what does that art MEAN to you? This series means much to me and my partner. I have been Anglophilic for much of my life. I've never experienced such a combination of subtly complex acting, photography, and script. The product is a thing of beauty that, as usual, American television has no idea how to produce. I gave up on our TV years ago.Beautiful DVD copy, nice clear picture and sound. And this is one series where I couldn't care less about the "extras"- it's that good.No one has mentioned the music. This has to be one of the many elements that glues this series together, yet stands completely on its own. I can't wait to own the soundtrack as well as the series. If you enjoy anything Scottish/Irish, you'll certainly find the music immensely satisfying. Perfectly blended with the action.I've seen 3 of the 5 years available, and it only gets better! Unfortunately, this is all we have so far, series 1.
One has to get BBC America, typically, to see the series. Our local station has discontinued running it. Alas, I now feel the same way I did when I had to finish "Lord of the Rings", and say goodbye to characters I had grown to know and love deeply.In the meantime, go join your local PBS television station, and support these programs being here in the U.S. You'll no doubt find even more than "Monarch" that you'll love."