This prequel to the Inspector Morse series returns for a stronger second outing with the second series. It’s 1966 and Endeavour Morse (Shaun Evans) is back on the force, returned from sick leave and there are new mysteries to solve, and new complicated love interests. Ever the one to fall into the trap of hopeless romances, Morse starts one up with a nurse in the flat across from his, a charming young black woman. That’s sure to be easygoing in the mid-60s. Four new mysteries over the course of the series include the theft of an ancient artifact and the connection to a beauty pageant (“Trove”), a haunted girl’s school, a 100 year old murder, and the strange death of a schoolgirl (“Nocturne), the hunt for someone killing married women with silk stockings leading up to Remembrance Sunday (“Sway”) and the investigation of a missing boy that may be tied to the highest levels of law enforcement (“Neverland”). The series end with a shocking conclusion, and primes users for what will no doubt be a guaranteed third series.
Evans grows even more comfortable in the role as the young Morse, picking up all the eccentricities of the character – his growing drinking habit, his scruples, his clashes with authority. This comfort level with the character helps make the second series a better watch than the first, but the writing has also improved. The mysteries mostly evolve organically and believably, apart from “Nocturne”, which still manages to tip a bit too far into the supernatural.
Endeavour is shot in HD on the Red One camera and comes to Blu-ray in a 1080i/60 AVC encodement from PBS. While the image has good detail and also very extended shadow details, there looks to be a slightly high gamma setting in areas, so the black levels aren’t exactly inky. I also notice some banding and posterization, perhaps from the original source and not necessarily due to the transfer.
A simple stereo mix in DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 (48kHz/16-bit) is supplied that captures the dialogue and sound effects well enough. This is mainly a dialogue-driven series, and while it might have been interesting to hear some surround atmospherics in some of the more suspenseful scenes, the stereo panning and clean sound gets the job done.
We don’t get anything extra included here.
The Definitive Word
A superlative period drama laced with complex mystery and the compelling character of a young Endeavour Morse, Endeavour: Series 2 is a delight for fans of the mystery genre and the Morse franchise.
Additional Screen Captures