‘Inspector Lewis: The Complete Series’ Is A Fitting Final Farewell For The Hit Crime Drama

Courtesy: PBS Distribution/PBS

Courtesy: PBS Distribution/PBS

Inspector Morse, the hit crime drama from itv Studios and PBS, finally made its final bow late last year when it wrapped production of the hit crime drama’s eighth season. Over the course of the past nine years, Robbie Lewis have kept audiences enthralled with his modern-day Sherlock Holmes style sleuthing.  But as the old adage states, all good things must come to an end…or must they?  Next week, PBS Distribution will release Inspector Morse: The Complete Series on DVD, allowing audiences to relive every one of the series’ stories any time that they want.  There is a lot for audiences to appreciate about this set beginning with the most obvious of its elements, its packaging.  That will be discussed shortly.  The series’ episode guide is another important element to discuss. It will be covered later.  The set’s price rounds out its most important elements.  Each element is clearly important in its own right to the set’s overall presentation.  All things considered, Inspector Morse: The Complete Series proves itself to be one of the year’s top new box sets for grown-ups.

Inspector Morse: The Complete Series is one of this year’s top new box sets for grown-up audiences.  It is a wonderful way for fans to say not goodbye but hello all over again to the hit UK crime drama.  That is due in part to the series set’s packaging.  The set’s 34 total episodes are spread across 18 total discs within three separate cases.  That sounds like a lot on the surface.  But in reality, PBS Distribution is to be highly commended for its work ensuring the series’ packaging turned out quite ergonomically sound.  As a way to illustrate how smart the set’s packaging is, it is the exact same depth and width as the series’ previously released Season 1 – 6 box set, which was released in 2007.  That means that the packaging used to house this set saves quite a bit of space on audiences’ DVD/BD racks since Season 7 and Season 8 were released in their own standalone boxes separate from that six-season set. Keeping this in mind, the set’s packaging proves to be quite the positive to its overall presentation.  It is only one of the positives to note of the set, too.  Its episode guide is worth noting, too.

The packaging that houses Inspector Lewis: The Complete Series is in itself a key part of the set’s presentation.  That is because of its ergonomic value.  In comparison to the series’ six season set and its standalone sets for Seasons seven and eight, this full series set’s packaging definitely saves some space.  It is just one part of what makes the set’s presentation stand out.  The set’s episode guide is just as important to note as its packaging.  Sadly though, that is both a good and bad thing.  On the good side, each standalone box within the larger set lists the episodes contained within each disc.  The down side to the episode guide is that there is no actual guide providing an episode summary of the episodes inside the boxes.  This seems like a minor issue on the surface.  But in the bigger picture, it does detract from the set’s overall presentation.  That is because something as simple as an episode summary, even a brief, concise summary, can make a world of difference in a set’s presentation.  That is because even as simple as it might be, it helps a viewer decide which episode he or she wants to watch at given moment.  To that extent, the set’s episode guide is not perfect but still is a positive at least to a point.  It is still not the only remaining element to examine in the set’s presentation.  The set’s pricing is just as important to note as its packaging and its episode guide.

The packaging used to house Inspector Lewis: The Complete Series’ 18 discs and the episode guide used to help viewers make their way through the series are both key elements to note in examining the set’s presentation.  The packaging is a clear positive.  The episode guide, however, is a bit of a double-edged sword so to speak.  It is a positive.  But there is a downside to it, too.  Even with that in mind, the set in whole is still a win despite that one negative.  Having minded all of this, there is still one more element to note in examining the set’s presentation.  That final element is the set’s pricing.  The set is seeing a very wide range of pricing from its different outlets.  Both Best Buy and Amazon have the series’ set listed below $70.  more specifically, each outlet has the set listed at $68.99.  Of course shipping and handling adds a little more to the price.  But that still keeps the set’s price well below the $100 mark.  PBS’ online store is the most expensive, listing the set at $94.99.  That is still below the MSRP of $99.99 in PBS’ defense.  So even with some shipping and handling, it will still again be just below the $100 mark.  On the surface this doesn’t seem significant.  But when one adds up the prices for the series’ other standalone sets, the price for this full-series set is still comparably much more affordable.  When one sets that fact alongside the set’s space-saving packaging and its episode guide, double-edged as it may be, then one will agree that the pricing is in fact its own important part of the set’s presentation if not one of its most important elements.  Keeping all of this in mind, one can say that all things considered, Inspector Lewis: The Complete Series is still a win overall, and one of the year’s top new box sets for grown-up audiences.

Inspector Lewis: The Complete Series is one of this year’s top new box sets for grown-ups and a must have for any true fan of the series.  That can be argued by examining the set’s space-saving packaging first and foremost.  The episode guide that is included with the set, despite being both a pro and a con, still does its own part to add to the set’s presentation.  The set’s pricing, which would appear to remain below $100 regardless of the outlet from which it is ordered, is the finishing touch to the set.  It isn’t cheap.  There’s no denying that.  But in comparison to the total price of owning all eight seasons alone –or other related variances—it proves to be quite affordable.  All things considered, this brand new full series set from Inspector Lewis proves in whole to be, again, one of the year’s top new box sets for grown-ups and a must have for any of the series’ hardcore fans.  Inspector Lewis: The Complete Series will be available next Tuesday, Oct. 18.  More information on this and other PBS Masterpiece series is available online now at:




Website: http://www.pbs.org/masterpiece

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PBS To Release Inspector Lewis’ Final Season This Summer

Courtesy:  PBS/Public Media Distribution

Courtesy: PBS/Public Media Distribution

The end has finally come for Inspector Lewis.

On Tuesday, August 23rd PBS Distribution will release the eighth and final season of Inspector Lewis.  Robbie Lewis has been through quite a bit in the series’ seven previous seasons, both good and bad.  Through it all, he has always been there, even agreeing to come out of retirement in the series’ seventh season.  But now with a whole bunch of changes in store for Lewis and his long time partner, it looks like Lewis may finally call it a career.  Those changes include a new Chief Superintendent on the force, the potential retirement of forensic pathologist Laura Hobson, and much more.

Masterpiece Mystery!: Inspector Lewis Season 8 features three more episodes and runs a total of 270 minutes on 2 discs.  The first of those episodes, “One For Sorrow” sees Robbie Lewis coaxed back out of retirement once more.  And just as in the series’ seventh season it doesn’t take long for mystery to come along.  A body is discovered in a well but identifying the remains seems almost impossible for Lewis.  It isn’t the only mystery that Lewis and CS James Hathaway have on their hands either.  Another possible murder looks to possibly be linked to the body found in the well.  It’s up to Lewis and Hathaway to figure out if there is a connection between the two cases.  Meanwhile Lewis has to prove himself to his new boss as he works the case.  And Hathaway finally manages some important time with his estranged father.

“Magnum Opus” is the season’s second episode.  This episode puts Lewis and Hathaway on the trail of a possible serial murderer.  The culprit isn’t just any random killer either.  An alchemic symbol found near the body of the first victim, and symbols found on the victims’ bodies seem to point to a connection between the murders and a secret society.  Having made this discovery it is up to Lewis and Hathaway to hunt down the killer and stop the killer before a fourth murder is committed.

Season 8 closes out with “What Lies Tangled.”  This episode is sure to keep audiences on the edge of their collective seats.  First a prominent math professor is killed in a bomb attack.  The man is known for his infidelity and thus has many enemies who could be considered suspects.  The mystery deepens even more when a bomb is found at the home of the professor’s brother, who is also a math professor.  As if that isn’t enough, a chemistry professor is also later found dead.  This time a clue is found at the scene of the crime that will help Lewis and Hathaway solve the case.  The stress doesn’t end for Lewis here.  His vacation with his girlfriend is on the line when Lewis worries whether or not he will have a job upon returning from vacation.

This is all in the eighth and final season of Masterpiece Mystery!: Inspector Lewis Season 8.  It will be released Tuesday, August 23rd, only days after the season (and series) ends Sunday, August 21st.  It will be available both on DVD and Blu-ray.  The DVD will retail for MSRP of $29.99 and the Blu-ray for $34.99.  Both can be pre-ordered online now direct via PBS’ online store at a discounted price of $24.99 (DVD) and $29.99 (Blu-ray) respectively.  More information on this and other Masterpiece Mystery! Series is available online now at:



Website: http://www.pbs.org/masterpiece

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MLB World Series Takes Top Honors In The Phil’s Picks 2014 List Of Best New Box Sets For Grown-Ups

The days are officially ticking away to the end of another year. That means that all of the critics out there are now putting out their annual “Best Of” lists. This critic is still working on some of those lists while others are official. The jury’s still out on some right now such as the year’s Best New Documentaries, Independent Movies, Re-Issues, and Best New Movies overall. The lists for all the new music are still in the works, too. So while those lists are being completed, Phil’s Picks offers to everyone to start off the year, a look at the Top 10 Best New Box Sets for Grown-Ups. This year’s list is capped by a box set featuring the entire 2014 World Series, courtesy of Lionsgate, A&E Home Video, and MLB Productions. Also on this year’s list are some blasts from the past and some imports from our neighbors across the pond, and one surprise entry in the Honorable Mention list. The box sets’ packaging, bonus material and more were collectively taken into account in building this (and the other lists to come). Only 15 titles total could make the list. So there were some that didn’t make the list such as the sixth and seventh seasons of Star Trek The Next Generation on Blu-ray or the full six-season run of Ancient Aliens among others. It goes without saying that this was not an easy list to build. But it feels right. So without further ado, here is the list of 2014’s Top 10 New Box Sets For Grown-Ups.

2014 Best New Box Sets For Grown-Ups

1. 2014 MLB World Series Collector’s Edition

2. Endeavour: Series 2

3. Here’s Lucy: The Complete Series

4. The Carol Burnett Show: Carol’s Crackups

5. The Dean Martin Show: Fully Roasted

6. The Roosevelts

7. Inspector Lewis: Series 7

8. Psych: The Complete Series

9. Secret Agent (A.K.A. Danger Man): The Complete Series

10. The Wonder Years: Season 1

Honorable Mention

11. The Red Skelton Show: The Early Years–1951 – 1955

12. The Almighty Johnsons: Season 1

13. Hell on Wheels: Season 3

14. The Definitive WWI & WWII Collection

15. I Love Lucy: Ultimate Season 1 (BD Re-Issue)

Tomorrow, Phil’s Picks looks into the list of the year’s best new box sets for Children and Families. Stay tuned! To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Inspector Lewis’ Seventh Series Is A Welcome Return For One Of Television’s Greatest Crime Dramas

Courtesy:  PBS

Courtesy: PBS

Never say never.  Famous words.  Everybody has said or heard these words at one time or another.  That includes the world of popular entertainment.  So it goes without saying that when itv wrapped Inspector Lewis in its sixth series in 2013 the instant reaction was for audiences to say never say never.  Low and behold Inspector Lewis returned earlier this year overseas for its seventh series.  And PBS brought in Series Seven this fall.  Now, for those that weren’t lucky enough to see Series Seven, PBS and ITV have made it available both on DVD and Blu-ray.  Inspector Lewis Series Seven is a welcome return for what has become over the years one of the greatest crime dramas on television.  The proof lies first and foremost in the writing behind each of the series’ episodes.  The writing even in these three episodes is just as strong as in earlier episodes.  The acting on the part of lead stars Kevin Whaley and Laurence Fox.  The same can be said of new addition Angela Griffin as DS Lizzie Maddox.  Whately and Fox haven’t lost a step.  And Griffin brings in a whole new dynamic to the program that makes it even more enjoyable.  The writing and acting are of equal importance to the overall presentation of Inspector Lewis Series Seven.  Also to be considered to the success and enjoyment of this installment of Inspector Lewis is the fact that it maintains the standard set by the show years ago when Inspector Lewis in terms of not using overt sex, blood, and violence unlike the crime dramas that dominate American television.  That the show’s heads would maintain that standard all these years later is a testament to their dedication to the show’s fan base.  It rounds out the whole thing, making it again well deserving of a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s best new box sets.

When itv wrapped Series Six of Inspector Lewis, it wasn’t too much of a forgone conclusion that somewhere along the line, Inspector Lewis would be back in some form or fashion regardless of whether or not it would be part of the series that made him such a beloved figure.  That’s especially the case considering the success of the series’ prequel series Endeavour.  So seeing Inspector Lewis’ return for a seventh series was quite the welcome return albeit not too surprising.  It goes without saying that expectations were high when it was even announced that Inspector Lewis would in fact return for a seventh season.  And thankfully this series has lived up to the hype.  It has lived up to the hype primarily through the writing behind each of the series’ three episodes.  One of the key examples of how the writing this time out keeps Inspector Lewis such a fan favorite comes in the episode “The Lions of Nemea.”  There are more than enough twists and turns in this episode to keep audiences guessing right up to the end.  The mystery starts right off the top when a well-respected professor is intentionally hit by a mystery driver while on his bike.  From there, the murder of a student at the same university where that professor works deepens the mystery even more.  The revelations of illicit affairs, literary fraud, and murder will keep audiences on the edge of their seats trying to solve the mystery themselves.  In the series’ closer, audiences’ minds are left twisted when one of Lewis’ most notorious cases comes back to haunt him and even threaten his career.  Surprisingly enough, the story’s closing moments leave the door wide open for another collection of episodes should the show’s heads opt for it to happen.  Even in the series’ opening episode “Entry Wounds” audiences will agree to the strength of the show’s writing.  Lewis’ desire to return to the force is made entirely believable thanks to the show’s writers.  What’s more, the growing relationship between Lewis and Hathaway and their new partner make this series all the more enjoyable.  Audiences will laugh at little jokes tossed in here and there in regards to Maddox’s having to answer to both detectives.  At one point, Maddox is asked by another officer how things are going with her boss. Her response is a flat “which one?”  One can’t help but laugh at her deadpan delivery of that simple line.  Again, the writers put the line at just the right moment to make it a good lighthearted break from the seriousness of investigating the crime at hand.  It’s just one of a number of moments that along with the stories themselves, exemplifies the strength of this series’ episodes.

Lewis and Hathaway built a strong working relationship and an equally solid friendship throughout the course of Inspector Lewis’ first six series.  The addition of Lizzie Maddox adds a whole new dynamic to the pair’s relationship.  It is highlighted expertly throughout the course of all three episodes in this series.  In terms of the show’s writing, the trio’s partnership and their friendship play a big role in the success of the episodes’ writing.  If not for the acting on the part of the trio though, the writing in regards to the trio’s personal and professional relationship would be moot.  Luckily, the chemistry developed by Laurence Fox and Kevin Whaley during the duo’s original run together had not lost anything in these episodes.  Whether sharing a joke in one of their more lighthearted moments or handling a tougher topic in one of their more serious moments, both men are fully believable.  Fox and Laurence even make believable even the slight tension in Lewis’ return before their characters reconnect as if not a day had been missed.  Angela Griffin is just as believable even in what very quickly becomes more of a supporting role.  Should Inspector Lewis pull off a miracle and see an eighth series, it would be interesting to see Maddox develop even more into her own character.  If an eighth series is not in the books, then it can at least be said of Griffin that she adds her own enjoyment to the overall product thanks to her own acting.  All three together pull viewers into their world, making suspension of disbelief so simple along the way.  The end result of the trio’s acting, and its interpretation of the scripts, is total immersion in and enjoyment of all three ninety-minute episodes.  It serves to show yet again why Inspector Lewis is just as enjoyable in its seventh series as in its first.

The scripts behind Inspector Lewis’ seventh series and the acting on the part of its veteran cast both play pivotal roles in the success of this series’ episodes.  Fox, Whately, and newcomer Griffin expertly interpret each episode’s script and in turn fully immerses viewers in each story.  The scripts themselves will keep audiences fully engaged and guessing right up to their final moments.  As if that isn’t enough, the episodes that make up Series Seven maintain the high standard set by the show’s previous series.  Simply put, Inspector Lewis remained in its seventh series the polar opposite of the crime dramas that populate American commercial networks.  There is no overt sexuality.  There is no unnecessary violence, gunplay, etc.  And the amount of blood and gore is kept to the same minimum as in the show’s previous series.  Again, this is the total opposite of all of the crime dramas that are so popular on American television.  Rather, the show continued here to focus on story and character development as is evident in the episodes’ scripts and the acting on the part of the cast.  Those factors, together with the continued high standard of content overall, round out the reasons that Inspector Lewis remains such a hit in its seventh series.  They collectively show once more why this series is quite well-deserving of a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s best new box sets.

Inspector Lewis: Series Seven is available now on DVD and Blu-ray.  It can be ordered online direct from PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=46782166&cp=&sr=1&kw=inspector+lewis&origkw=Inspector+Lewis&parentPage=search.  More information on Inspector Lewis is available online now at:

Website: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/masterpiece/lewis/

Facebook: http://twitter.com/masterpiecepbs

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Inspector Lewis Returns For His Seventh Season This Fall On DVD And Blu-ray

Inspector Lewis is back.  That’s right.  Everyone thought that the end of the road had come in the sixth season of the hit itv crime drama when Inspector Lewis called it a career.  Low and behold, he’s back.  And it wasn’t his own choice to return as audiences learn in the season premiere.  This fall, fans of the hit crime drama series will find out the circumstances of Inspector Lewis’ return when the series’ seventh season is released in whole.

Masterpiece Mystery!: Inspector Lewis 7 will be released Tuesday, November 25th on DVD and Blu-ray.  Kevin Whately and Laurence Fox both return to reprise their iconic roles as DI Robert Lewis and newly promoted Inspector James Hathaway in the show’s seventh season/series (different terms for the same thing depending on which side of the pond on which one lives).  Masterpiece Mystery!: Inspector Lewis 7 is comprised of three episodes, spanning a total of 270 minutes (or 4 ½ hours roughly).  The DVD will retail for MSRP of $29.99 and the Blu-ray for MSRP of $34.99.  It will also be available for digital download.   It can be ordered online direct from the PBS online store at:

Courtesy:  PBS

Courtesy: PBS


Courtesy:  PBS/itv

Courtesy: PBS/itv


The episode listing for Masterpiece Mystery: Inspector Lewis 7 is included below complete with episode summaries.

Entry Wounds

Hathaway gets to work on his first case as an Inspector, with the help of his new partner, DS Lizzie Maddox. The crime is a complicated one that bridges the worlds of neurosurgery, blood sports and animal rights. Lewis, struggling to adapt to retired life, jumps at the chance to rejoin the force when Superintendent Innocent seeks his help. With Lewis back on the team, will they be able to solve the mystery?


The Lions of Nemea

After a difficult start, Lewis and Hathaway seem to have settled back into their former relationship, and Maddox has become integral to the team. Their abilities are tested as they investigate the brutal murder of Rose, an American Classics student. Suspicion immediately falls on a young professor who had recently broken off an affair with her, but as the detectives delve further into the case, they only find more secrets and murky motives.


Beyond Good and Evil

Thirteen years after Lewis’ first successful arrest as a Detective Inspector, the forensics have been called into question and the case re-opened for appeal. Lewis fears the worst – but nothing can prepare him for a new string of murders resembling the original murders with the original weapon. Did he arrest an innocent man? With Lewis’ reputation in jeopardy, Hathaway and Maddox race to catch the killer.


More information on Masterpiece Mystery!: Inspector Lewis 7 is available online at :


Website: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/masterpiece/lewis

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/masterpiecepbs

Twitter: http://twitter.com/masterpiecepbs


To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Broadchurch Outshines Almost All Other Crime Dramas In Its First Season

Courtesy:  Entertainment One

Courtesy: Entertainment One

Crime dramas are all the rage on American television. Each one of the “Big 4” has more than its fair share of gritty crime dramas. Even the cable networks are becoming overloaded with their own crime dramas. Even PBS has its own crime drama series in the forms of Endeavour and the newly resurrected series Inspector Lewis. Considering all of this, it goes without saying that fans of the crime drama genre have more than their share of shows from which to choose. The problem is that save for perhaps PBS’ Inspector Lewis and Endeavour, the majority of the crime dramas that fill the broadcast spectrum today are relatively formulaic. Now thankfully, eOne has offered American audiences a series unlike any other crime drama out there today, including those on PBS. And that is saying something. The series in question is Broadchurch. The series’ first season is available now on DVD. And this debut season of the British import is nothing short of spectacular. Yes, it is a serial. But the show’s writing more than makes up for that. That’s just the beginning of what makes this first season a hit. The use of original music at the right moments will keep viewers’ just as much on the edge of their seats from episode to episode. The same can be said of the acting on the part of the cast. This includes not just lead actors David Tennant (Dr. Who) and Olivia Colman (The Iron Lady, Hot Fuzz, Locke), but to the cast in whole. Their acting, along with the wisely used music and even smarter writing together make Broadchurch: The Complete First Season a truly surprising first impression from this British import. And it gives quite a bit of hope for the series in its second season. Audiences that give this season a chance will largely agree with that sentiment when they purchase or order the box set for themselves.

Broadchurch is not the first imported drama or even crime drama to make its way to America’s shores. The series, as a matter of fact, has been adapted for broadcast on the Fox network this fall. Before audiences even begin to watch that Americanized ripoff, they would do well to check out Season One of Broadchurch if only for the show’s writing. That is the most important factor to the success of this season. Any viewer that is the parent of a small child will agree that this season’s story hits hard because of its reality. It’s a sad reality that children die in this country (and other nations) every single day at the hands of rather sick individuals. That reality gives so much depth and believability to this season’s story. Fair warning, it’s difficult to watch and will make any parent want to hold their child even closer by the season’s final minutes. Even more so, any viewer that is left dry-eyed after watching this season’s story simply isn’t human. Even this critic will admit to tearing up quite a bit by that time.

The emotional depth and believability of the writing is just the starting point of what makes the first season of Broadchurch such a surprise of a series. Audiences will appreciate just as much the twists and turns that are included over the course of this season. They are just enough that they will keep viewers watching on the proverbial edge of their seats right to the season’s end. The twists don’t just include the characters, either. There are minute details on which the camera focuses at random points that keep viewers thrown off the track right up to the shocking season finale. The finale won’t be given away for the sake of those that have yet to see Season One. But it is most definitely unexpected, though sadly very much a reflection of life. To that extent, it makes this season’s story all the more gripping and worth the watch.

On an even deeper level, the writers responsible for bringing Broadchurch to life are to be applauded for the manner in which the series’ first season was constructed. Rather than have eight separate episodes, the writers used the model from Fox’s 24 in establishing each episode. Whereas each episode of 24 is one hour, each episode of Broadchurch’s first season is a continuation of the previous episode. So, all eight episodes of this season comprise just one storyline. And each episode has been written so well (unlike 24), that audiences won’t be left feeling like they need a program to figure out what’s going on. It’s the final touch to the series’ writing that makes the writing the cornerstone of this first season.

The writers behind Broadchurch are to be highly commended for the painstaking efforts put into making this series’ first season the gripping first impression that it proves to be in the end. Just as worthy of applause in Season One are those responsible for the show’s music. Yes, the music in this series plays just as important a role in its success as the writing. This is hardly common in most American television series. Audiences will note in the series’ first season that unlike so many other shows out there, it doesn’t rely on popular songs or music put in just to be there. The music incorporated in Broadchurch: Season One plays directly in to the series’ writing. The smart use of dynamics and overall placement from scene to scene within each episode heightens each episode’s emotional depth. Whether it be the season’s more pained moments as when Danny’s mother saw him lying dead on the beach, or even the more tense moments of the search for the killer, those charged with music placement went above and beyond the call of duty. It’s one more factor that makes the debut season of this gripping British crime drama worlds better than its countless American counterparts.

The music and the writing behind the first season of Broadchurch are by themselves integral parts of the season’s overall success. Together they make Broadchurch a fully gripping and engrossing series in only its first season. There is still one more aspect of this first season that proves Broadchurch to be the standard by which so many other dramas should model themselves. That final factor is the acting on the part of the cast. That applies not just to lead actors David Tennant and Olivia Colman but to the entire cast. Each member of the show’s cast expertly interprets the show’s script, making it even more difficult to figure out who is the killer until said person is revealed in the season finale. On the other hand that expert acting also pulls in viewers on a deeply emotional level, too. That expert acting on both sides of the coin adds one more level of depth, thus making this season of Broadchurch even more gripping. That final factor, set alongside the season’s writing and music, makes the presentation whole and wholly of the best first impressions from any new series in recent history. It makes the first season of Broadchurch one that any fan of dramas must see at least once this year.

Broadchurch: The Complete First Season is available now on DVD in stores and online. It can be ordered direct from Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Broadchurch-Season-1-David-Tennant/dp/B00HGE90Z4/ref=sr_1_1?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1403311459&sr=1-1&keywords=broadchurch+the+complete+first+season. More information on this and other releases from Entertainment One is available online at entertainmentone.com/home. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

No Mystery Here, Inspector Lewis Series Set Could Be One Of 2013’s Best Box Sets

Courtesy:  itv/PBS

Courtesy: itv/PBS

Masterpiece Mystery! Inspector Morse: Pilot Through Series 6 is a wonderful reward for fans of this imported British crime drama.  The box set boasts all twenty-seven of the series’ episodes on fourteen discs as a starter.  This is just the start of what fans will appreciate from this potential contender for a slot on this critic’s list of the year’s best box sets.    Also for audiences’ enjoyment, they are treated to a bonus interview with series star Kevin Whately (who played Inspector Lewis) as well as a bonus “Making of featurette that takes audiences behind the lens of this hit crime drama.  The full series run and the bonus content collectively make this box set well worth the time and money for any fan of Inspector Lewis.  One can’t ignore the set’s packaging.  It plays just as big a role in the set’s overall presentation as the aforementioned aspects of the box.  Together with those factors, it makes a solid case for a potential spot on this critic’s list of the year’s best box sets.

American TV shows that run twenty-seven episodes are generally considered to be not that successful.  In American television, twenty-seven episodes is generally the equivalent of perhaps a season and a half for a show.  However in the case of a show such as Inspector Lewis, that’s actually quite a bit considering that each episode ran roughly ninety minutes.  That equals out to roughly forty point five total hours of programming, or a total of two thousand four hundred and thirty hours of programming.  It would take nearly forty-one hour-long episodes of an American crime drama to equal this.  Add in the fact that Inspector Lewis survived through six seasons/series because of its solid writing and audiences get even more reason to pick up this box set.  Unlike American television, its writers didn’t rely on sex appeal and overt violence to drive its episodes.  This is such a welcome change of pace for those that want more than just a bunch of eye candy and blood.  And this was the case from the pilot all the way through the series’ beautiful ending.   It really serves as a monument to crime drama writing done right.

The writing that spans all six seasons/series of Inspector Lewis is a triumph for fans that have followed his character since the days when he worked with Inspector Morse.  To that extent, audiences will appreciate the bonus “Making of” feature included in this new complete Inspector Lewis box set.  That’s because while it does offer some behind the scenes information on this series, it also offers a rather in-depth history of how Inspector Lewis came to be his own person after Inspector Morse ended.  It’s interesting to note that between the two series, everything really came full circle by the end of Inspector Lewis.  The “Making of” featurette shows how Lewis went from being the young, cocky sidekick in Inspector Morse to being the cranky old detective that was Inspector Morse.  Keeping that in mind, one could even argue that Inspector Lewis was less its own series, than a continuation of Inspector Morse in its own right.  That makes this series box set even more valuable for anyone that has followed the career of Inspector Lewis from his earliest days with Inspector Morse.

The bonus “Making of” featurette is quite the interesting addition to this new box set.  It’s not all to which fans have to look forward, either.  Also included as a bonus, is a first person “interview” with Kevin Whately.  Whately discusses in his “interview” what it’s like to play Robbie Lewis and what made it so fun to play his character. He also discusses the expectations from Season 5, and much more.  It is slightly dated being that Whately is discussing a previous season.  But Whately’s thoughts on playing Robbie Lewis for twenty years makes up for that and makes his “interview” another nice addition to this set.

There is so much that can be said of Masterpiece Mystery! Inspector Lewis: Pilot Through Series 6 as one can already tell by now.  But a proper look at this set wouldn’t be complete without looking at the set’s packaging.  On the outside, it is a relatively large box.  But even if the set had been released on Blu-ray as well as DVD, the set still would have been relatively large.  It still would have consisted of at least ten discs if not more.  Audiences will appreciate that that packaging was not even larger when looking at how the discs were packaged inside the set.  All fourteen discs are contained within three cases that make up the box.  In order to keep the number of cases as small as possible, each disc was placed smartly inside each case.  They are placed on their own spot on “plates” inside the case.  Not only does this help to conserve space inside the case, but it also protects the discs from one another.  So to the credit of itv and PBS, this was again a very smart way to package the set.  It would have been nice to see the set released on Blu-ray.  But as is, the DVD packaging combines with all of the aforementioned factors to easily make this set a contender for a spot on this critic’s list of the year’s best new box sets.  It’s available now and can be ordered direct from PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=23286606&cp=1413205&ab=Aspot10off49&parentPage=family.  More information on Inspector Lewis and other Masterpiece Mystery! programs is available online at http://www.facebook.com/masterpiecepbs and http://www.pbs.org/masterpiece.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.