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Midsomer Murders: John Barnaby's First Cases
DVD | Box Set
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The cozy villages of Midsomer County reveal their most sinister secrets in this hit British mystery series that has earned a worldwide following. In this collection of Series 14 and 15, John Barnaby (Neil Dudgeon, Life of Riley) takes over as Midsomer County’s new Detective Chief Inspector, solving macabre crimes with the help of DS Ben Jones (Jason Hughes, This Life) in his last cases as Barnaby’s assistant.
Guest stars include Samantha Bond, Edward Fox, Pam Ferris, Warren Clarke, James Callis, Julie Graham, Kerry Fox, Sinéad Cusack, Hattie Morahan, Martine McCutcheon, Kate Ashfield, Charity Wakefield, Kevin Doyle, and Harriet Walter.
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This collection includes 14 episodes, over 21 hours, originally aired from 2011 to 2013 including the episodes based on Dudgeon’s nomination for best actor in a drama series. The naysayers were proved wrong. These episodes have been provided on DVDs previously, this DVD set is simply a repackaging of great shows for those who have not been buying the series annually since 1998. Yes, Barnaby and Midsomer Murders is over two decades old, yet fresh as any new series beginning . . . nay, BETTER.
As ever, the production presents us with a remarkable number of original plots, with macabre touches, all set forth with a certain breezy light-heartedness, though one or two attain a surprising amount of power. Set in the rural beauty of this nonexistent English county, peopled with eccentrics, lovely young women and plentiful guest stars that include Samantha Bond, Edward Fox, Pam Ferris, Warren Clarke, James Callis, Julie Graham, Kerry Fox, Sinéad Cusack, Hattie Morahan, Martine McCutcheon, Kate Ashfield, Charity Wakefield, Kevin Doyle, Harriet Walter, Cheryl Campbell.
The 14 episodes are:
Death in the Slow Lane
Echoes of the Dead
The Oblong Murders
The Sleeper Under The Hill
The Night of the Stag
A Sacred Trust
A Rare Bird
The Dark Rider
Murder of Innocence
Death and the Divas
Written in the Stars
The Sicilian Defence
Schooled in Murder
Acorn TV sent me an advance copy of this box set in expectation of an honest unbiased review. The box set includes 14 mysteries on seven discs running approximately 21 ½ hours plus plentiful bonus material including Midsomer Murders in Conversation (34 minutes); The Dark Rider audio commentary; behind the scenes of Death and the Divas (15 mins.) and a biography of Sykes the dog. And subtitles, for those of us not up on the accents of this fictional rural county. Plus mild nudity, sexual situations, disturbing images, none of which were serious enough to dissuade PBS from scheduling the show at the 8 P.M. family hour. It’s terrific family entertainment, of course, and a heckuva lot of shows at a real nice price.