1. Sign-up to become a member, and most of the ads you see will disappear. It only takes 30 seconds to sign up, so join the discussion today!
    Dismiss Notice

Blu-ray Review Agatha Christie's Poirot: Series 5 Blu-ray Review

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Matt Hough, Jun 8, 2012.

  1. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Director
    Reviewer

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2006
    Messages:
    21,084
    Likes Received:
    10,585
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    Real Name:
    Matt Hough
    XenForo Template

    For the fifth series of Hercule Poirot adventures, the ITV producers returned to Agatha Christie’s massive short story output and selected eight stories featuring the world’s most famous Belgian detective. These are the last Poirot short stories that have been filmed to date, and they constitute some of Mrs. Christie’s most ingenious short puzzles. Gone from most of these tales are many of her tried and true tricks from other stories (conundrums with names, overuse of disguises), and instead she’s plotted tight, perplexing mysteries that rank among the best short works she ever wrote.



    Agatha Christie’s Poirot: Series 5 (Blu-ray)
    Directed by John Bruce et al

    Studio: Acorn Media
    Year: 1993
    Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1   1080p   AVC codec
    Running Time: 407 minutes
    Rating: NR
    Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo English
    Subtitles:  SDH

    Region: no designation
    MSRP: $ 49.99


    Release Date: June 26, 2012

    Review Date: June 8, 2012




    The Series

    4.5/5


    Among the wonderful yarns Mrs. Christie spins in this collection are Poirot’s first case as a private detective while still a member of the Belgian police force and his own first encounter with glimmers of love (“The Chocolate Box”), a dry run for the later novel Sparkling Cyanide (which didn’t feature Poirot) and which features a murder in retrospect plot (“Yellow Iris”), and one of Mrs. Christie’s famous locked room puzzles which are always expertly conceived and delivered (“Dead Man’s Mirror”). What’s more, Poirot’s secretary Miss Lemon gets a beau and his friend Arthur Hastings gets a new foreign car in “The Adventure of the Italian Nobleman,” and there’s a laudable nod to women’s equality which forms the background of “The Case of the Missing Will.”


    Once again, with all of the stories here being set during the 1930s (apart from “The Chocolate Box” which takes Poirot back to the beginnings of his career in the 1920s), the production design for the series, from its art deco title design to the clothes and cars of the period, continues to impress; it’s one of the most exciting aspects of all of the elaborate Poirot productions produced over the past two decades. Because many of these stories were among the first short mysteries ever written by Agatha Christie, there’s a more deliberate intention by the author to have in each case a solid line of suspects who might possibly have committed the crimes, and she’s varied her methods of deception with each one so that one must really be astute to catch the perpetrator before Poirot unmasks him (or her).


    David Suchet continues to be in complete command of the role and milks Poirot’s little wry jokes and also his pained expressions of muffled exasperation to delightful effect. The bittersweet albeit chaste love affair he embarks on in “The Chocolate Box” along with the amusing make-up to take years off of Poirot’s age makes this episode one of the strongest in the set. Hugh Fraser may be as slow-witted as ever as the jovial Captain Hastings, but he’s irreplaceable in the role. Philip Jackson  continues to amuse as Chief Inspector Japp, and Pauline Moran is the ever-efficient, no-nonsense secretary Miss Lemon, though neither she nor Philip Jackson is in every episode in this set.


    Here are the eight episodes which make up the contents of Series 5 and are contained on two Blu-ray discs:


    1 – The Adventure of the Egyptian Tomb

    2 – The Underdog

    3 – Yellow Iris

    4 – The Case of the Missing Will

    5 – The Adventure of the Italian Nobleman

    6 – The Chocolate Box

    7 – Dead Man’s Mirror

    8 – Jewel Robbery at the Grand Metropolitan



    Video Quality

    4/5


    The episodes have been framed at their broadcast aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and are presented in 1080p using the AVC codec. The original DVD issues of these episodes were taken from videotape masters and were sometimes quite poor with brownish tints and problems with sharpness and a narrow color spectrum. These remastered transfers constitute a great improvement in sharpness, color saturation and consistency, and contrast. Sharpness is mostly very good, and flesh tones are much more consistent and realistic though flesh tones sometimes do run a bit pink (especially in “The Adventure of the Italian Nobleman” which also suffers from inconsistent sharpness). Color overall is beautifully controlled throughout. There is a bit of aliasing to be seen, but it and moiré from the previous DVD releases have been very much controlled in these Blu-ray transfers. Even with the mediocre black levels, the images retain a fine, crisp look with only occasional soft shots. Each episode has been divided into 5 chapters.



    Audio Quality

    4/5


    The liner notes state that this set contains PCM 2.0 stereo encodes, but what’s really here is a Dolby Digital 2.0 (256 kbps) stereo sound mix on each episode. The wonderful theme music, the well modulated sound effects, and the delightful background score by Christopher Gunning sound just fine in these new transfers, and there is no hiss or any other audio artifacts to intrude on understanding the dialogue, important when verbal clues become just as important as visual ones. One wonders, however, what happened to the PCM encodes from previous releases?



    Special Features

    0/5


    There are no bonus features at all on the discs.



    In Conclusion

    4/5 (not an average)


    Agatha Christie’s Poirot: Series 5 is a welcome high definition release of the fifth season of episodes featuring the definitive Hercule Poirot of actor David Suchet. With the great improvement in picture from the original DVD releases, most will be happy with the undeniable upgrade in quality as these Poirot television broadcasts continue to be delivered on Blu-ray. Recommended!



    Matt Hough

    Charlotte, NC

     
  2. JParker

    JParker Second Unit

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2011
    Messages:
    309
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Real Name:
    James Parker
    Thanks for the Review, Matt. Now when is the irrepressible and slightly irresponsible Robert Harris going to do "A Few Words About Poirot, Series 1,2,3, 4 and 5"? No? He's busy watching Smokey and The Bandit - again?! :P
    As to pricing, I don't see that fat "Buy now" button (and Blu-ray.com is dead, at least to me, as I type this, site is down?) but the other Series are (or were) on sale; so probably in a few months the price will be closer to $30.00. I got a pre-order price but now Amazon has raised it.
    What are you viewing on? Are you stuck with your "calibration" for eternity or do you adjust your system, if there are issues, for the show?
    If you have a $25,000 JVC like some people on this site, with that 100" screen, maybe it's not worth "fussing" but so much software is so lousy, I find I'll play around, even if it's considered sacrilege, especially when flesh tones are off -- minor adjustment.
    Oh boy, now I'm in trouble! ;)
     
  3. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Director
    Reviewer

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2006
    Messages:
    21,084
    Likes Received:
    10,585
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    Real Name:
    Matt Hough
    I have a 58" plasma, and it's 1 1/2 years old. I had it calibrated, so I don't futz with the picture. If I changed the settings continually, it would be an unending series of adjustments that would impair my ability to critique what the Blu-ray transfer looks like in order to write about its appearance. In another year, I'll likely have another calibration in case colors shift due to the age of the set. It's the first plasma I've ever owned, so I'm learning as I go with it.

    (I do have a 56" DLP rear screen projection model that I do fiddle with when I watch things on it for fun if I'm not satisfied with the picture.)
     
  4. Deepak Shenoy

    Deepak Shenoy Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 1998
    Messages:
    642
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Thanks Matt for an early review of this set (I have it on pre-order). I would love to see the Sherlock Holmes series featuring Jeremy Brett released on Blu-ray in a similar fashion.
    -D
     
  5. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Director
    Reviewer

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2006
    Messages:
    21,084
    Likes Received:
    10,585
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    Real Name:
    Matt Hough
    I agree with you. Those could also improve distinctly with some remastering and an upgrade to HD.
     
  6. JParker

    JParker Second Unit

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2011
    Messages:
    309
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Real Name:
    James Parker
    Samsung?
    Yes, I understand, especially your being a reviewer. If you were to "fiddle" with it, how do you know what the true quality of a Blu-ray is? However, for example, Eraser, the skin tones were all off, and I found that District 9 was too bright and washed out. After some minor tweaking, the film (well, digital, Red Camera) was amazing!
    But thank you for great reviews of Poirot, et al .:)
     
  7. Guest

    Set 6 is available for Pre-Order and then there will be the A&E Poirots that Id assume Acorn will do in HD as well.
    I was just thinking about the Holmes series in HD
    Id rather wait until all the Poirots are in HD.
    I have that Sherlock Holmes box set with everything on it - I still havent finished everything on it :)
     
  8. Deepak Shenoy

    Deepak Shenoy Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 1998
    Messages:
    642
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Me too (I also have the Complete Granada set sitting unwatched). In fact I had the entire Poirot series on DVD but never finished watching all the episodes (I had seen most of them during their original broadcast). I had waited a long time to buy these on DVD and finally got the ten 3-disc sets that Acorn put out (which were repackaged from their previous releases) along with three 4-disc sets from A&E. I got all these during a B&N 50% off sale and had barely taken the shrink-wrap off the sets when I saw the announcement about the Series sets on Blu :rolleyes:
    I ended up dumping all the DVD sets (I actually sold some for more than what I had paid for them and so overall it was a wash). Now I will get all the Poirot sets on Blu (already have 1-4).
    I read on one of the other forums that Series 6 may be the last release for this year but that Acorn will indeed be putting out Series 7-10 that A&E had originally released. Hopefully everything will be out on Blu by the time they get ready to release Series 13 (which will be broadcast later this year or sometime next year).
    -D
     
  9. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Director
    Reviewer

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2006
    Messages:
    21,084
    Likes Received:
    10,585
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    Real Name:
    Matt Hough
    Thanks for this information. Any idea what's coming up in Series 13?
     
  10. Deepak Shenoy

    Deepak Shenoy Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 1998
    Messages:
    642
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Series 13 is the final season and will feature the remaining Poirot novels (The Big Four, Dead Man's Folly, Elephants Can Remember and Curtain) and short stories (The Labors of Hercules). One short story (The Lemesurier Inheritance) will not be filmed. The show was nearly canceled but they renewed it for this one final season so that (nearly) the entire Poirot canon could be filmed with David Suchet as Poirot.
    -D
     
  11. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Director
    Reviewer

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2006
    Messages:
    21,084
    Likes Received:
    10,585
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    Real Name:
    Matt Hough
    Thanks for the information. I'm SO thankful they didn't cancel it when they're so close to finishing. What a relief!
     
  12. JParker

    JParker Second Unit

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2011
    Messages:
    309
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Real Name:
    James Parker
    Yes, even Wiki got it right: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agatha_Christie%27s_Poirot
    See also here: http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/tv/news/a350724/poirot-to-return-for-final-series-on-itv.html & http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0094525/episodes?year=2013
     
  13. Deepak Shenoy

    Deepak Shenoy Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 1998
    Messages:
    642
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Those familiar with Acorn Media's endless repackaging of their Poirot DVD releases won't be surprised by their plans to release Poirot Early Cases Collection on 09/04 (based on Amazon.ca). This will presumably contain Series 1-6 at a lower MSRP than buying the series sets individually. I can't wait to see what the box packaging looks like (no cover art available yet).
    -D
     
  14. Guest

    Im just keeping the 1-6 sets not going to double dip again for the Early cases. So 7-10 will have the A&E titles. Now there was a movie collection 1-6 where only # 6 was blu ray. I wonder if 7-10 will include the 1-5 movie collection series. I hope that doesnt sound too confusing
     
  15. Deepak Shenoy

    Deepak Shenoy Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 1998
    Messages:
    642
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Acorn never released the 12 episodes that make up Series 7-10 (which have 2, 2, 4 and 4 episodes respectively). These 12 episodes were released individually by A&E, then packaged into three 4-disc sets and finally as the 12-disc "definitive" collection. I expect Acorn to combine Series 7 & 8 into a single release (since each has only 2 feature length episodes).
    As for Acorn's movie collections 1-6 (by movies they mean feature length episodes - that's all), all the episodes that make up collections 1-3 are already a part of Series 1-6 (the show sort of interspersed feature length episodes with hour-long episodes). The movie collections 4-6 which had a total of 8 feature-length episodes will be released as Series 11 and 12. Here's a breakdown of the six movie collections
    Movie collection 1 - one episode each from Series 3, 4, 6
     
  16. Guest

    Basically the next set of Blu Rays will be the Definitive Collection. And then the Movie Collection except for the 6th set because thats already on BluRay
     
  17. Deepak Shenoy

    Deepak Shenoy Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 1998
    Messages:
    642
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Matt,
    Do you have your review copy of Series 6 yet ? It comes out in less than a month. I am looking forward to your review.
    I am not sure I like the "Early Cases" title for their boxset of the first 6 series (which will be released shortly after Series 6 comes out) but it gives people an opportunity to get all 6 series at a cheaper price. I am still waiting to see if it will be a slipcase containing the 6 sets or some kind of custom packaging.
    -D
     
  18. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Director
    Reviewer

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2006
    Messages:
    21,084
    Likes Received:
    10,585
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    Real Name:
    Matt Hough
    The review copy has not arrived yet, but I am ready for it. Acorn was very early with the review copy the last time they released a Poirot set, so I'm hoping it'll be here on Monday.
     
  19. Deepak Shenoy

    Deepak Shenoy Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 1998
    Messages:
    642
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    The Early Cases set is available for pre-order on Amazon and other sites. Seems like a good deal for those holding off on getting the individual series sets.
    -D
     
  20. Guest

    I saw that Early Cases and I think Ill just hold onto the Volumes 1-6 that I ordered. Acorn sure is milking these releases to death to. The plus to the Early Cases would be shelf space :)
     

Share This Page