- Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
- Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
- Resolution: 1080i/60 (29.970Hz)
- Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 (48kHz/16-bit)
- Subtitles: English SDH
- Subtitles Color: White
- Region: A (Region-Locked)
- Rating: Not Rated
- Discs: 3 (3 x Blu-ray)
- Digital Copies: N/A
- Run Time: 706 Mins.
- Studio: Acorn Media
- Blu-ray Release Date: March 26, 2013
- List Price: $49.99
Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures
(The below TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)
Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, based on author Kerry Greenwood’s Phryne (pronounced, Fry-Nee) Fisher Murder Mystery novels, is an Australian television crime drama originally aired on the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Company) network. A glamorous, period piece set in late 1920s Melbourne, the series was budgeted at $1 million an episode, and from the looks of it, not a dime of it was spared. No worries, there’s much more to this series than meets the eye, however, because beneath the luxuriant period sets, intricate costume designs, and spectacular high definition cinematography, there’s actually a show worth watching.
Essie Davis plays the titular character, Miss Phryne Fisher. Recently returned to Melbourne, the well-to-do society lady turns her attentions to a new line of work, sleuthing, much to the chagrin of the handsome, square-jawed local police Detective John “Jack” Robinson (Nathan Page). With her gold-plated, pearl-handled revolver, the free spirited Phryne, a real modern woman of the era, finds herself in the seedy back alleys of Melbourne, shady jazz joints, and dank docks hunting down murder suspects with her helper, maid Dot (Ashleigh Cummings) and her two lackeys, brothers Bert (Travis McMahon) and Cec (Anthony Sharpe). She also manages to squeeze in a few moments here and there for a gentleman caller or two, or three.
The production of this first series’ 13 episodes is spot on and true to the period, covering the classic automobiles (Miss Fisher drives a classic the Hispano-Suiza) to the steam trains and over a hundred costumes for the series. Mostly, however, it’s the writing that keeps this series afloat. Obviously aimed at a female audience with its strong female leads, this series reaches way beyond those lines immediately. It’s funny, sexy, and sumptuous to look at. Most of all, the mysteries are intriguing from the get go. Anyone who loves great pulp detective stories, film noir, or mysteries can get into Miss Fisher, regardless of gender. Be it the mysterious death of a blackmailer in a jazz club from a projectile, a ghost haunting a theatre company, or a murder that looks to be connected to an abortion doctor, none of the puzzles are easy and many of the twists are completely unexpected.
Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries was shot in high definition with the Sony CineAlta SRW-9000PL cinematographic HD camera. It arrives on Blu-ray stateside from Acorn Media with a 1080i/60 AVC/MPEG-4 encodement that is strong in detail, contrast, and color saturation. There are some slight issues with motion artifacts that can be spotted in pans and a little bit of black crush, but for the most part this is a pleasing transfer. There is little video noise and lots of textural information.
The English soundtrack is provided in DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 (48kHz/16-bit) stereo. It provides a reasonable presentation of the material with clean dialogue and a natural ambient sound, although the additional channels in a surround mix are surely missed at times in this lavish period production.
These brief production featurettes are all in standard definition and they offer some interviews with the cast, author Kerry Greenwood, and members of the crew.
- The Look (1.78:1; SD; 19:01) – This featurette takes a look at the glamorous production design of the Miss Fisher series.
- Meet the Creators (1.78:1: SD; 00:04:47) – Author Kerry Greenwood talks about hr works coming to the screen.
- Set Tour (1.78:1; SD; 00:03:38) – Kerry Greenwood gives us a tour of the series’ set.
- Cast Interviews (1.78:1; SD; 00:08:36)
- Vehicles of the Series (1.78:1; SD; 00:02:06) – Have a look at the classic cars that populate the series.
- Steam Train Experts (1.78:1; SD; 00:01:29)
- Locations of Melbourne (1.78:1; SD; 00:04:12)
- Photo Gallery (1080i/60)
- St. Kilda Tribune pdf (requires computer Blu-ray drive)
The Definitive Word
This is an A-grade period crime drama from Down Under that, thankfully, will be getting a second series. With its high level of production values, memorable characters, and sharp dialogue, this one is easy to recommend to mystery lovers.
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