Jul 022016
 

“Vera”: Sets 1-5 is a great series of British crime-dramas that excels mostly on the performances by Brenda Blethyn and David Leon as well as some compelling stories with heart-felt conclusions that often are missing in these shows stateside.

 

 

“Vera”
Sets 1-5
Collection
(2011-2015)

Genre(s): Drama, Crime, Mystery
Acorn | NR – 1830 min. – $89.99 | June 28, 2016

Date Published: 07/02/2016 | Author: The Movieman

 


MOVIE INFO:
Directed by:
Various
Writer(s): Ann Cleeves (novels/characters)
Cast: Brenda Blethyn, David Leon, Jon Morrison, Riley Jones, Paul Ritter, Kingsley Ben-Adir, Tom Hutch, Kenny Doughty, Clare Calbraith, Cush Jumbo
DISC INFO:
Features:
Photo Galleries, Text Interviews
Digital Copy: No
Formats Included: DVD
Number of Discs: 20
Audio: English (Dolby Digital 2.0)
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 1.78
Subtitles: English SDH
Region(s): 1

 


THE SERIES — 4.0/5


Synopsis: Detective Chief Inspector Vera Stanhope (BRENDA BLETHYN) is a caustic but brilliant detective solving horrendous crimes in the remote corners of rural Northumberland. Aided by right-hand man DS Joe Ashworth (DAVID LEON) and later by troubled DS Aiden Healy (KENNY DOUGHTY), as well as members of her team — DC Holly Lawson (WUNMI MOSAKU), DC Kenny Lockhart (JON MORRISON), DC Rebecca Shepherd (CLARE CALBRAITH), DC Mark Edwards (RILEY JONES), pathologists Billy Cartwright (PAUL RITTER) and Marcus Summer (KINGSLEY BEN-ADIR) —, Vera contends with the untamed evil that lurks below the surface and exposes the demons that plague even those who dedicate their lives to good.

Quick Hit Review: “Vera” is a series of (pretty much) TV movies, 4 per season, that are mainly case-of-the-week type material where a crime occurs, Vera and her team come in to investigate, leads turn to red herrings and ultimately Vera gets her man or woman. However, where this stands out from other crime-dramas is the personal aspects. You do get a little here and there about Vera herself, a bit on Josh Ashworth’s home life and through these 5 sets, there is a shift in Vera from a gruff hermit-like woman that you can’t help by like.

Some of the episodes are better than others but the crimes are interesting enough and there is some bitter sweetness at the conclusion where the ultimate perpetrator didn’t do it for money but something far more personal, more often its family related. But even when the murders aren’t interesting, Vera’s, let’s call it vibrant, personality and Blethyn’s performance, more than makes up for lulls in the story.

EPISODES
SERIES 1:

  1. Hidden Depths
  2. Telling Tales
  3. The Crow Trap
  4. Little Lazarus

SERIES 2:

  1. The Ghost Position
  2. Silent Voices
  3. A Certain Samaritan
  4. Sandancers

SERIES 3:

  1. Castles in the Air
  2. Poster Child
  3. Young Gods
  4. Prodigal Son

SERIES 4:

  1. On Harbour Street
  2. Protected
  3. The Deer Hunters
  4. Death of a Family Man

SERIES 5:

  1. Changing Tides
  2. Old Wounds
  3. Muddy Waters
  4. Shadows in the Sky

 

SPECIAL FEATURES – 1.0/5


Each set comes housed in its own DVD keep case which are contained in a thin cardboard box. Features are a bit lacking. Sets 3 & 4 contain Photo Galleries and Text Interviews with Brenda Blethyn and David Leon. Unfortunately, that’s it.

 

VIDEO – 4.0/5, AUDIO – 3.75/5


“Vera” debuts in the States presented in its originally televised 1.78 widescreen aspect ratio and the show certainly takes advantage of its English locales and looks pretty darn good even in SD. Each episode comes with a standard Dolby Digital 2.0 tracks which are more than serviceable providing clear dialogue levels and the music comes through well enough.

OVERALL – 3.5/5


Overall, “Vera”: Sets 1-5 is a great series of British crime-dramas that excels mostly on the performances by Brenda Blethyn and David Leon as well as some compelling stories with heart-felt conclusions that often are missing in these shows stateside. My only complaint is that there are only 4 “episodes” (though I classify them as TV movies) but given we get 20 of them in these sets, they will more than satisfy fans of the genre.

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