10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
TV Movies included! (Inaccurate product details),
This review is from: Murdoch Mysteries - Series 1 -3 Box Set [DVD] (DVD)
The TV series itself is absolutely brilliant: thoroughly enjoyable, well acted, well produced and with great variety, plus engaging ongoing background stories. There's nothing routine about this series; every episode is memorably individual and inventive, and I'm constantly amazed how well the series manages to find something new and fresh, and tread new ground, in every episode. Anyway, you can read about the charms of the series in other reviews; the purpose of my comments are to draw attention to something important regarding this specific box set.
As is noted elsewhere, the Murdoch Mysteries TV series was preceded by three TV movies that starred a different set of actors. The movies are somewhat different in character (a bit darker than the subsequent series), and perhaps not as broadly appealing as the series overall, but they're nevertheless good and well worth seeing.
These three movies are apparently only available separately on a disc called "Murdoch Mysteries Movie Collection", which is a Region 1-only, NTSC release; i.e. they're not available for individual purchase for the UK market.
In reality, although not available as a separate stand-alone disc, the TV movies *are* included in this Series 1-3 box set, which makes it particularly excellent value and an essential buy for Murdoch fans in the UK. However, the fact that these movies are present is far from obvious, and the packaging/advertising is downright misleading.
Look at the picture of the box set at the top of this page (close-up version): you can see that it says "12 discs, 39 episodes". However, the Amazon description says that there are 14 discs. The real-life box is slightly different from the artwork pictured here: where it says "12 discs, 39 episodes" in the picture, in real life the box reads: "14 discs, 39 episodes and 3 TV Specials". I can confirm that there are indeed 14 discs in the set, and that all three prequel movies are included (in 16:9 format just like the episodes).
The other thing that's extremely misleading about the box itself is that the TV Specials are all packaged up as though they belong to Series 3, which of course they don't. They all come from before the TV series had been commissioned. They also feature a set of completely different actors, who are *not* mentioned anywhere on the packaging. If you don't know about this in advance, and watch the first three series before you get to the movies (as I did), you'll be taken by surprise (and not necessarily in a positive way).
One interesting aside is that Helene Joy, who plays Dr Ogden in the main series, has a major role in the third of the TV Specials, but as a completely different character!
Anyway, ignore the disc and DVD menu labelling that claims that the TV Specials are part of Series 3. They're not. The correct chronological viewing order of the items in this box is as follows:
1. Except the Dying (TV Special)
2. Poor Tom is Cold (TV Special)
3. Under the Dragon's Tail (TV Special)
4. Series 1 Episode 1, etc.
Unfortunately, aside from the nearly unadvertised presence of the three TV Specials, there are no other special features in this set.
Anyway, for anyone who hasn't got the Murdoch Mysteries on DVD, this is unquestionably the best way to start collecting, as it's currently the only way (to the best of my knowledge) to get the three TV movies in Region 2 format, in addition to the first three seasons of the TV series proper. And the series is terrific.