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152 of 164 people found the following review helpful
on December 2, 2013
The latest series of Midsomer, available on Acorn, strikes out in a new direction. No spoilers, but the plots are darker, and the lurking humor that has characterized the series up to now is almost gone. The acting is still superb, the settings marvelous, and the casting excellent, but without the humor it's just another mystery. Well done, but not magical the way Midsomer's been for so long. Someone probably wanted to put their own stamp on the series, and in so doing it's less than it was. I hope enough people react to it so that the writers and directors get the message. Three stars but no more, for a previously five star series.
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73 of 82 people found the following review helpful
on December 3, 2013
This inimitable series continues amidst Midsomer's deceptively bucolic hills and dales, whilst denizens inflict numerous creative demises upon one another. Three new, feature-length Midsomer mysteries are a welcome arrival. Of a fond and generous heart towards Midsomer, this merits five-stars, but for the first episode and a fine cast of actors coping with material that is occasionally too contemporary, with less humorous banter between the main characters. These issues get ironed out. DCI John Barnaby is wonderfully played by Neil Dudgeon; unfortunately, Jason Hughes has been given little to work with as DI Ben Jones. On a musical note, loyal fans loved Midsomer's iconic score, composed by Jim Parker, and performed on the appropriately weird musical instrument, the theremin. Ears perked at Midsomer's spooky, inimitable opening notes. Unfortunately, a decision was made to replace the eerie theremin with a violin, resulting in a loss of continuity. There needs to be a return to charming but deadly places like Badger's Drift, with peculiar, humorous puzzles. Like a lace doily blotched with tea, Midsomer's coziness has a sinister stain, darkness seeps in at the edges.

The running time of "Midsomer Murders, Set 23" is approximately 278 minutes; subtitles are available; Extras: audio commentary for "The Dark Rider" with Neil Dudgeon and director Alex Pillai, and a behind-the-scenes featurette for "Death and the Divas."

"The Dark Rider"
Written by Michael Aitkens, who antagonized loyal fans with the abominable "Death in the Slow Lane," in Midsomer Murders, Set 21. Barnaby and Jones investigate a series of untimely deaths linked to sightings of a headless horseman. While Midsomer County sports a spectrum of deviant behaviors, this particular offering is overly preposterous and oddly paced, with a number of unsympathetic characters. The mystery revolves around the gentrified DeQuettevilles, who stage an historic battle re-enactment every year. There is silly competition with grating and obnoxious neighbors. At least there are bits about Barnaby, his wife (Fiona Dolman), and Sykes settling into Midsomer.

"Murder of Innocence"
Written by Elizabeth-Anne Wheal, this moody Midsomer mystery inveigles DCI John Barnaby (Neil Dudgeon) and DS Ben Jones (Jason Hughes) with the protection a hated offender. Momentarily, the beginning is a bit off; Midsomer fans prefer views of chocolate-box villages, hedge rows, and tree-lined lanes, as compared to bleak bus stations. Hang in there. Released from jail, the parolee, guarded against angry villagers by Barnaby and Jones, lodges in a super-dismal cottage. Past and present collide, and a local barrister dies in suspicious circumstances. The accused culprit claims to be innocent of the crime he was locked up for in the first place, as well as the barrister's death. The suspense and body-count builds; layers of the past must be peeled back, while previous events ripple into the present.

Death and the Divas
This is a standout episode, classic, quirky, Midsomer, wacky and weird; thanks to writers Rachel Cuperman and Sally Griffiths, who satisfy the macabre appetites of loyal Midsomer fans. The Midsomer Langley Film Festival is underway, and it turns out our Barnaby is a fan of the lead actress and her campy, gothic oeuvre. During the festivities, a writer is murdered whilst a campy horror classic plays on the telly. The murder is ghoulishly like one that occurred in a cult 1960s horror film. This being Midsomer, further murders ensue, each one reenacting a cult-film classic. Harriet Walter Dorothy L. Sayers Mysteries does a fine turn as an obnoxiously successful actress, returning home to Midsomer to upstage her sister, who happens to be the film-festival's star. Well done, in the spirit of the long-running series!

You may want to try a wonderful mystery series, set in the U.K.'s blustery, beautiful Northumbria, based on novels by Ann Cleeves (Crow Trap). The series features the great Brenda Blethyn as caustic DCI Vera Stanhope: Vera,Vera: Set 2,Vera, Set 3 (to be released). Be sure to have plenty of hot, strong tea and Carr's Ginger Lemon Creme Cookies on hand.

The U.K. boasts numerous fine and often underrated actors; catch Neil Dudgeon's unforgettable performance in a superb story in the BAFTA Award winning series The Street, (1st Season, Episode 3). He plays Brian Peterson, a teacher accused of being a flasher, whose wife waivers in her loyalty to him. When Peterson gazes out of a taxi window passing fogbound streets, we see that each street is full of stories, lives with moments of mystery. "The Street" is gritty and harrowing, unlike Midsomer's macabre villages.

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50 of 55 people found the following review helpful
on January 30, 2014
I have seen all the MSM episodes with Tom Barnaby, his wife and daughter and the three different sergeants and have enjoyed them all immensely. I really hated to see John Nettles retire but it happens. I do not think that MSM is bad with Neil Dudgeon as Barnaby but it is certainly not the same series and not nearly as enjoyable. The chemistry between Tom Barnaby and his sidekick was a big part of the story lines. The subtle humor that existed among all the characters was entertaining and kept the series from being just another run of the mill murder mystery. Those traits are still there but not with the same enthusiasm as before. Neil Dudgeon is a great actor, I have seen him in many movies and the decline of the series is not his fault. He is just not Tom Barnaby. I have several of the post John Nettles episodes and find them watchable but not as entertaining as the pre Nettles episodes. Tom, Joyce and Cully are greatly missed.
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95 of 118 people found the following review helpful
on December 26, 2013
What a mess they made of this wonderful series............. The plots are so ridiculous that they are not even worth mentioning.
Wish Tom would come out of retirement..even the beautiful scenery is beginning to disappear. Tom., Joyce, Calli where are you??
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on February 12, 2014
Don't buy this drivel. Once again a wonderful series has been destroyed by writers and/or director who have turned these well-crafted, fantastic, humorous, eccentric stories into run-of-the-mill, ridiculous story-lines that insult the intelligence. Everything that made Midsummer Murders a charming success (besides the wonderful acting which is the only reason this has two stars and not one) has been stripped away making this second-rate at best. I would consider myself a fan (having bought every DVD to date) and will re-consider whether I will continue. I'm not sure whether to be relieved that this DVD collection was only 3-stories (as opposed to the usual 4-stories per DVD) or outraged (since the pricing is the same). On the whole, I think I am relieved that I won't be watching any more and that the original series will not be tainted any more by this rubbish!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on June 13, 2014
We have always loved the Midsomers but the new stories are even better. Good combination of actors and writers! Worth the price!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 18, 2014
This set of Midsomer Murders mysteries continues with good scripts and interactions between John Barnaby and Ben Jones. With Tom's retirement at the end of Set 20 I was concerned that cousin John would not measure up but the writers have done a great job showing him as a multi layered character and the interplay between John and Ben is on a different path and one that works well. Love British mysteries! The plots are grand and the quirky inhabitants of the villages of Midsomer county are far more interesting than the car chases, gun battles, and screaming crowd scenes of American police dramas. Sgt. Jones' grandmother, his unseen "confidential informant", is a wonderful addition.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on June 6, 2014
the new inspector is above my expectations. the approach is better and I hope there will be seasons 25, 26, etc.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on May 25, 2014
Didn't know id I would like thw actor that took over the lead but he is proving a super detective!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on May 27, 2014
I was disappointed in the number of episodes (3) I was sent for the money it cost me. In the past there were usually 4-5 discs. Is there a reason for the limits?

I miss John Nettles; the current Barnaby is far more sarcastic and the episodes seem darker without those sweeping country scenes and charming locations....just an observation. After all, I only saw three episodes.
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