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Showing 1-10 of 227 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 249 reviews
TOP 100 REVIEWERon February 15, 2014
All the main protagonist actors have changed since "Midsomer Murders" premiered in 1997. But this is still the same off-kilter series it always was. If you haven't watched the very first episode, "The Killings at Badger's Drift" or read the book it's taken from, by the same name, I can recommend them. You will cringe at the weirdness and sly malevolence of Mrs. Rainbird and her son, Dennis. Thinking of them reminds me that "Midsomer Murders" has not been so much about real police procedure. It's always been its best as odd and arresting!

Set 23 of "Midsomer Murders" has 3 DVD discs or 2 BluRay discs. Episodes run about 93 minutes each. Plus there's one full-length commentary and one making-of featurette, for a total of over 5 1/2 hours of great viewing! English subtitles are available throughout and the episode viewing is in 16:9 widescreen.

The Region 1 episodes are presented differently than they are in England. Overseas, these three episodes (which aired 01/2013 - 01/2014) are the 1st, 2nd and 4th episodes of the 6-episode Series 15.

Episode 1 "The Dark Rider". On the boxed sets, this episode has one extra, a commentary track.
This episode features Death by Gargoyle and Death by Headless Horseman. And not just any horseman. The wealthy DeQuetteville's have a family curse, in the form of Jeffry DeQuetteville, beheaded at the Battle of Nasbey, 1645. As Julian tells Barnaby and Jones, "Whenever Jeffrey's seen riding around on his horse pointing at someone, it means that someone's going to die. Imminently."
The question, of course, is whether or not someone is helping the specter dispatch his victims.
COMMENTARY to "The Dark Rider": I enjoyed re-watching the episode with the commentary track. Henry Collin moderates, with commentators Alex Pillai (director) and Neil Dudgeon (plays Detective Chief Inspector John Barnaby). Dudgeon says of the prologue, "It's a great opening sequence, too. It's classic Midsomer territory." I agree, a headless horseman is weird enough for this series.
James Collins does a superb job of playing the twin brothers, Toby and Julian De Quetteville. The commentators talk about the green screen used in the scenes where both of him appear at the same time. The special effect is done so well, and Collins does such a good job of differentiating the brothers' walks, speech and mannerisms, that the viewer can be excused for thinking it's two actors.
In one scene, Sasha Fleetwood, a scheming neighbor, is talking to someone in the stables. Pillai remembers it as hilarious, because as they're filming, the horse kept trying to eat the hem of Sasha's dress.
A couple places, Pillai mentions that this or that was done a little differently than would be handled in a real situation. But we don't hold it against "Midsomer Murders"!

Episode 2 "Murder of Innocence". This episode has no Bonus Extra.
It's evening, and a man waits at the Causton bus station. He's taking the bus to Binwell. He has a defeated but defiant look about him. We soon find out he has a reason. A group of townspeople are at the Binwell bus stop to meet him, and they aren't friendly. One shouts, "We know why you're here. SCUM! ... You come anywhere near us, you won't know what's hit you, Felton."
Meanwhile, Giles Harrison is leaving the Causton Country Club in a taxi. He arrives home and has just unlocked his door, when someone silently approaches and plunges a syringe into his neck.
He won't be the only victim.
But Inspector Barnaby has more to worry about than solving murders. The police physical fitness test is only a week away and Barnaby has been procrastinating. In a comic touch, he tries some emergency boot camp physical conditioning, and is not sure he'll survive it.

Episode 3 "Death and the Divas". This episode has one extra, a making-of featurette.
A woman sits on her couch, typing into her laptop while simultaneously watching an old vampire horror film on TV. She hears her outer door open and says over shoulder, "Who's there?"
No one answers, but when she looks back, her face relaxes into a smile, "Oh, you frightened the life out of me." Since the visitor is not shown and does not reply, you know that this is the perfect entrance for a murderer. Sure enough, just as the fair damsel in the movie screams her last corseted breath, the woman on the couch is attacked, the blood from her wound spreading over her papers.
Not too far away, though, there is merriment. The newly formed Midsomer Langley Film Society is opening its first event, "The Stella Harris Film Festival". Barnaby is there with his wife, Sarah, who doesn't really understand his love affair with old horror films, but is enjoying him enjoying the festival.
The retired star of the festival, Stella Harris, lives right there in town. She has just accepted a giant bouquet of roses from the festival director, when she's upstaged by a new arrival. It's Diana Davenport, a movie star who's still working in America as well as England in spite of an ugly hair style. She's also Stella's sister, and they haven't spoken for 40 years. The sister dynamics are interesting and even comic. But what do they have to do with murder?
BEHIND THE SCENES, the making of "Death and the Divas" (30 minutes) Commentators include Neil Dudgeon (plays Barnaby), Nick Laughland (director), Jo Wright (producer), John Carson (plays an actor playing a gentleman vampire), Alexander Owen and Thomasin Rand (play actors playing Roderick Usher and Young Diana), Jason Hughes (plays DS Ben Jones) and Pierce Quigley (plays Colin Yule).
We get to see four film "clips" in this episode, all mimicking early Hammer Horror films with great affection. Wright says, "One of the great things we did was bring in some of the stars of the horror films of the 60's, John Carson and Caroline Monroe." Carson had been in 4 Hammer Horror films, including starring as Captain Kronos Vampire Hunter (1974). And Monroe had been in many vampire films. They appear in two of the pretend film clips that we watch in "Death and the Divas".
In addition, and by coincidence, Dame Harriet Walter, who plays Diana Davenport, is Christopher Lee's niece.

Edited to add: The next series, Set 24, continues the oddness that is Midsomer:
Midsomer Murders, Set 24

Happy Reader
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on March 21, 2014
After John Nettles' leaving spear-headed a mass exodus from the program, with the exception of Jason Hughes, I began a period of mourning. I was more than willing to give the "new" MSM with Tom's cousin, John, taking the helm of Causton's CID, a chance. I was sorry to see Nettles leave but, oh so happy that the series would be continuing. However, I was not thrilled with Set 21 but believed it would get better when the transition from one Barnaby to the other was complete. I was totally bummed when Set 22 seemed to be worse; I didn't like it all. I was disappointed in the storylines. Well, I was unhappy about a lot of things but I shared those in my review of that set.

All this backstory to tell you that I had trepidations about purchasing this set. In fact, I wasn't going to, I even said I wouldn't, but I did during one night of sleepless boredom. I'd seen everything! I needed something to watch to feed my addiction to British mysteries. In a fit of impulsive desperation I one-click purchased this set. (I definitely need to turn that off! Note to self: Don't grocery shop when hungry and don't shop Amazon in the middle of the night.) Guess what happened next? I had buyer's remorse! When it arrived, I put it aside for about three weeks until again during another sleepless night popped it in the DVD player. Oh! Bother! I should have watched it right away. Miraculously, in my mind it was a miracle, I loved it. Yippee! I've pre-ordered Set 24!

Set 23, marks a return to the original quirky but not outlandish (like Night of the Stag in Set 22) stories that made the original MSM of old one of my favorite British mystery series. I loved the humor that once again made its way to the circumstances surrounding the deadly dramas. There seemed to be a new affable rapport between Barnaby and Jones that was missing in the prior two sets since Neil Dudgeon's appearance. I also noted a subtle but definite change in how John treated Jones, which gave an appearance of his having more respect for Jones than I saw previously. All in all, I am very happy with what I see as improvements.

I enjoyed the storylines: A headless horseman targeting an aristocratic and country family? Ancient battle recreations? Great! Murder and mayhem from the movies? Wonderful! A weird whodunit with twists? Now you're talking!

One indicator, I use in rating films and TV is the "will I re-watch the episodes" quotient. If I will definitely re-watch...five stars. Maybe...four stars. Probably not...three stars. No way...two stars. If I "hate" something, which on Amazon is the one star designation, I usually don't watch the entire film and therefore do not review it. I will re-watch Midsomer Murders Set 23. Actually, I'm doing so right now.
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on April 17, 2014
I don't know. I'm such a purist and the former Barnarby was such a fit. I have written quite extensively about this series, love the countryside scenes but when Neil Dudgeon took over and the script writers went nasty, I didn't like it at all. From reading the reports from people I respect, I decided to give 23 a chance. Nah! Neil Dudgeon is a wonderful actor and I wonder what he actually thinks of the scripts. He is worth better than this. Mr. Barnaby has reinvented himself and he seems to be more passive. I like the relationship between him and his wife. He is far less pompous and there are some really funny parts with him and Sgt Jones. However, Jones appeared to be more aggressive and at times quite rude to his superior officer. So far, I don't like the story lines. Disc 3 is better. The first one was downright daft. Anyway, as I fair minded woman, I have ordered 24 and that will interesting as I will be extremelu judgemental!!!!!!!!!! Not sure how I feel about the doctor yet.
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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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on February 11, 2014
While I recognize that everyone has and is certainly entitled to their own taste, some of the reviews trashing Neil Dudgeon surprises me. I think he has walked into a long running institution admirably. He (or should I say the writers?) has not strayed far from the original formula but brings a nice little something extra to his role. The wit is similar, but I find his character to be just a tad more intelligent and thoughtful, and I delight in the exchanges between him and his pup. I also enjoy the interplay between him and DC Jones far more than I did before, perhaps because there is seemingly more of a likability, a friendship between these two... the new ME brings a fresh twist also. We seem to live in a world that doesn't like change, which is ironic since change is one of the few things we can't control. If we'd stop comparing and watch something on its own merit, we just might find we like it. If I have any complaints, it would be that I wish more episodes were included in a series instead of just 3, which seems to be becoming a standard for a lot of shows anymore.
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on March 12, 2014
I have heard others say that the series lost something when Neil Dudgeon replaced John Nettles in the roll of Tom Barnaby. Well, in my opinion this is completly false. In fact, this series is one of the few that has been able to hold my interest, and keep me coming back for more, even though all of the original cast members have been replaced with new actors. Yes, there might be a momentary wish to return to the old cast, after all no one really likes change, but if you continue to watch the program you will find that the new cast is every bit as good as the old. They are different, but it is a good difference. I feel that it is this change of cast that has keep the show from becoming stale.
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on February 10, 2014
Not as pleased since John Nettles retired -- there was something in his approach that was more satisfying; also his relationships with his DS (Troy, Scott, or Jones) seemed more personable and he didn't "talk down" to them (except Troy who couldn't pass a driving course for quite a while) or treat them as "secretaries" (which is how I feel this "cousin" of Tom Barnaby (Neil Dudgeon) does -- must be his psychology degree. DS Ben Jones (Jason Hughes) doesn't seem to have much to do -- I hope when he leaves the show they make him a DI as they did Troy -- Jones is a lot sharper -- and he doesn't just become a MidSomer victim.

I at first thought the scripts had turned "darker" -- but as re-watching early MidSomers they also were dark -- it was John Nettles handling of his character that makes me convinced we didn't see how dark they sometimes were.
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on March 15, 2017
Good dvds and always a good show. Was a great gift to my mother who loves BBC mysteries.
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on August 9, 2014
I have all sets including this one. It is the first set after the departure of producer Brian True-May and with this set (and Set 24) there is a definite change in the tenor of this wildly popular show. The village coziness and humour are missing along with the quirky characters that have so endeared viewers. The plots may as well been filmed in Sheffield as MM seems to have turned into just another cops show. Even the lighting is different having an odd washed out tone and the acting seems to lack energy. I do not blame Neil Dudgeon for this change - he's a fine actor and up to this set he was a worthy replacement for John Nettles. I would have no difficulty rating the prior sets 5 star but this one was a disappointment.
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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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