Reviews written by registered user
james_89

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11 reviews in total 
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10 out of 21 people found the following review useful:
Epic. Back on form., 21 April 2011
10/10

Neil Dudgeon is a great actor, but unfortunately his first two Midsomer episodes were frankly terrible, as they were written by the dreadful Michael Aitkens who simply writes pantomime characters and simplistic stories.

This episode is what Midsomer Murders is all about.

When a young woman is found strangled, dressed like a bride and laid in a bath, with a message in lipstick on the mirror reading "Blessed Be The Bride", it is clear someone dangerous is on the loose. It soon becomes clear a wedding-obsessed serial killer is at large when another innocent young woman is killed, dismembered, stuffed in a crate and sprinkled with rose petals. The maniac is copying murders from the early 20th century, but why? And who are they? Peter J Hammond rarely disappoints, and this was one of the best episodes ever. The story is gripping, the characters 3 dimensional and although its not a surprise who the truly repugnant serial killer turns out to be, it doesn't really matter as the climax is utterly terrifying, edge-of-the seat stuff.

Its a dark story, and as the other reviewer says, disturbing even for adults. Nick Laughland made his Midsomer directorial debut here and he is terrific. Some of the most creative and chilling scenes the series has seen. I think the episode was the first time i have ever felt uncomfortable watching Midsomer Murders. That is no bad thing. This is a murder drama and should not be light and fluffy.

An amazing episode. Hope this is an example of whats to come from the series. If it is, the show has plenty of life (or death) left in it yet.

5 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
Unremarkable, 14 October 2010
5/10

When John Kinsella, a talented local boxer, wins the world title fight in New York, not everyone is happy about it. Then Giles Braithwaite, solicitor to the boxer's manager, is found murdered. He has been struck and suffocated, then propped up in his office chair.

Secrets soon begin to come out of the woodwork as more victims fall foul of the killer...

This episode, by Barry Purchese, is totally unremarkable. Its enjoyable enough, but unlike Master Class last week, everything here is very easy to solve, even before there's been a murder (which doesn't take place until nearly half way through).

The deaths themselves are bloodless and unmemorable, the killer turns out to be the most blatantly obvious one and it just fizzles out after very little suspense...

It was alright, and much better than the absolutely awful Made-to-Measure and Blood on the Saddle, but overall it was completely forgettable.

Must try harder.

16 out of 21 people found the following review useful:
A classic, 9 October 2010
10/10

Talented piano student Zoe Stock has won a place at the Devington winter school taught by celebrated pianist Sir Michael Fielding. By the river in the grounds of the manor she sees a woman abandon a baby on the banks and jump in. Zoe tries to help but the current is too strong. The woman drowns and her body vanishes.

With no body and no baby, just gut instinct, DCI Barnaby is convinced Zoe saw something. His suspicions are confirmed when a hooded figure tries to kill Zoe at a nearby abbey. Soon after, Barnaby does have very real dead bodies as he struggles to solve what will become the most disturbing case of his career, and prevent others falling victim to the killer.

Well, what a story! I was beginning to think the series has lost it, but this sort of episode proves there's life in the old dog yet! All the producers need to do is hire the right script writers and the series can go on indefinitely! Unfortunately though, one brilliant episode once in a blue moon doesn't bode well for the series.

Master Class, by Nicholas Martin, is packed full of intrigue, twists and turns, subtle humour (not pantomime as has been the case recently) and a solution to the mystery that is genuinely horrific. Also, there are some brilliant actors in this one, who after reading the script must have really wanted to be a part of it. Lydia Wilson, who plays Zoe, i suspect is a name to watch out for. She's a star in the making.

Not only one of the best for years but one of the best ever.

Note to producers: Keep Nicholas Martin as a regular writer. He's a genius! And get rid of the dead wood!

9 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
A sombre episode, 5 August 2010
7/10

Joyce Barnaby is driving her daughter Cully home from a concert when she takes her eyes off the road to turn the radio down, noticing Cully is asleep. She looks up to see a figure in the road, she swerves to avoid it and crashes. The next morning Gerald Ebbs, a man whose only meaningful relationships are with dead people, is found dead in the old cemetery. His corpse appears to be kissing a grave. Did Joyce run him down or did someone kill him? This is a particularly dark episode, and is a lot better than the nonsense that was Blood on the Saddle. Its just so much more involving when characters and their situations are believable. The characters here are all very well developed. Peter J Hammond is a very experienced writer. It explores grief as a central theme, and does so very effectively, but is livened up by a charlatan ghost tour leader and other interesting locals.

My only complaint is the very low body count! A really good episode of Midsomer Murders is rare these days, so i was really pleased with this one. Peter J Hammond is the shows best writer.

But Peter... more bodies next time please.

9 out of 12 people found the following review useful:
Full of holes, 1 August 2010
1/10

This story makes no sense, seriously. The motive for murder doesn't work The killer actually has no logical reason to kill anyone, other than a letter that identifies no one in particular.

We are supposed to believe the killer followed an ambiguous letter about murdering everyone who saw it. But he didn't murder everyone who saw it. Just two. Why?

Also we are supposed to believe a woman is filled with anxiety about a letter which is none of her business on any level.

This is cheaply made, badly acted and directed and the script is an embarrassment.

James Wilby should have been put to better use in a better episode.

What has happened to this once wonderful show?

25 out of 30 people found the following review useful:
Brilliant Mystery, 17 June 2010
10/10

A woman is killed on halloween and is revealed to be a friend of Dr Hobson. More murders occur that appear to be connected to her and her university friends and Lewis and Hathaway become convinced she is hiding something...

This is a fantastic episode. It is very dark and creepy and is packed full of twists and turns.

The final scenes are stunning and particularly chilling..

As a trainee doctor i find one of the other reviews deeply worrying... When will you people realise stem cell research is about SAVING lives and finding cures or treatments for, among other things, serious degenerative diseases that cause unimaginable suffering to those who have them and their loved ones!

17 out of 18 people found the following review useful:
Fantastic episode., 17 May 2010
10/10

In the village of Little Worthy, caretaker Bob Moss arrives at the miniature village on a winters morning and finds a gruesome tableau; Richard Tanner has been stabbed and staked out amongst the tiny houses, replicating a scene from Gulliver's travels. Barnaby and Jones learn he was not a popular man, and was known to cause trouble. When moody teen and Richard's lover Christa Palfrey is impaled on a trident at the annual crazy craft race, the plot thickens and the race is on to catch a disturbed murderer...

This is a fantastic episode, something of a rarity these days. It is extremely dark and very bizarre but i can't complain when a story is as original and gripping as this. Also, it contains one of the best developed murderers in the entire series. Their identity is gradually revealed and makes perfect sense.

Brilliant stuff and one to watch, especially if you like something a bit different.

7 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
Brilliant Episode, 30 April 2010
9/10

Four people disappear into thin air one morning in the tiny village of Monks Barton. The postman, Sam Nelms, discovers their cottages with warm tea and breakfast still on the table - but no sign of the occupants, just traces of blood... Barnaby and Jones soon learn of the history surrounding the village and its supposedly haunted woods, where a massacre once took place. Colin and Molly Thomas, one of the missing couples, moved there after their ten year old son got lost in the woods and died. Molly Thomas, suffering a break down, believed she would be closer to his spirit there. Shortly before he died of hypothermia he was supposedly heard speaking in tongues. Barnaby remains sceptical of all the talk of ghosts and ghouls,even when an unidentified corpse is found by a colourful psychic, buried in the wood and the missing start turning up brutally murdered...

This is a fantastic episode, especially by the standards set by recent stories. The script has the right balance between humour and drama. Too often these days the line is crossed and you just end up with a pantomime (though i must confess the psychic did come close to being over the top) The solution to the mystery is very satisfying and there's one particularly grisly method of murder which i wont spoil!

All in all one of the best episodes of recent years... Maybe even ever.

7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
A good episode., 20 February 2010
7/10

After some rather disappointing instalments recently, i was quite impressed with this episode. An impressive guest cast helped bring a brilliantly over the top, Gothic story to life.

That's not to say its perfect mind you. There is an incredibly tedious sub plot about a land deal and the story only really gets quite dark towards the end, when a bizarre and twisted motive for the murders reminds us of earlier Midsomer Murders stories. I prefer a dark and sinister note to run through Midsomer Murders episodes because the team pull it off so well when they do it.

More gory than usual (and better for it!), i was still disappointed with the low body count and the fact that no one dies for 40 minutes! Also, ITV insist on cramming these mysteries with adverts so the running time is down by 15 minutes from the original episodes which doesn't give the writers the time they need to throw in the detail they used to be able to. For example the identity of the culprit is clear from the start and wont surprise anyone, although their motive is harder to fathom though there are plenty of clues given.

I like Neil Dudgeon as a replacement for John Nettles and think he'll fit in well.

2 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
Forgettable episode, 8 February 2010
4/10

This episode is one of the poorest Midsomer Murders. It has a weak plot with bland characters and the solution is rushed and the motive uninspired. As a huge fan of the show i was disappointed. I was not overly fussed who did it as no one in the plot really stands out. It could have been good, i liked the idea of someone believing themselves to be committing murders in their sleep, but it just isn't pulled off very well in the end. Also there are few clues given to actually help you solve the mystery yourself. There is no suspense and no real big name guest stars, other than Paul Kaye who is wasted and could have been put to much better use in a much better episode.

Watchable enough, but don't expect much and you wont be disappointed.


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