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Endeavour: Series 1(TV) (2012-2013)
No synopsis for Endeavour: Series 1.
For more about Endeavour: Series 1 and the Endeavour: Series 1 Blu-ray release, see Endeavour: Series 1 Blu-ray Review published by Brian Orndorf on July 8, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: Shaun Evans, Roger Allam, Flora Montgomery, James Bradshaw
Director: Colm McCarthy
» See full cast & crew
Endeavour: Series 1 Blu-ray Review
How it all began. Again.
Reviewed by Brian Orndorf, July 8, 2013
I wasn't familiar with the character of Inspector Morse when I reviewed the pilot for the prequel series "Endeavour" a few months ago. Perhaps this was for the best, as I didn't cling to any expectations when it came time to understand how the detective should be played. After years as a literary series (from author Colin Dexter) and a longstanding ITV program, it makes sense to return a little youth to the dramatic equation, allowing all idiosyncrasies and mysteries a cleansing reboot with "Endeavour," a show that convincingly refreshes the franchise. Playing nostalgic with its sixties setting and submitting powerful work from stars Shaun Evans and Roger Allam, the effort is rich with mood and stuffed with snappy whodunit attitude, sure to please those who've invested plenty of time with the "Inspector Morse" universe.
"Endeavour" isn't a traditional weekly series, developing the world one brick at a time. It's a collection of five movies, each devoted to the messy business of murder and sleuthing, with Endeavour Morse (Shaun Evans) gradually learning the ropes of police work, trying to overcome his innate remoteness with his professional aspirations, finding a friendly face in Fred Thursday (Roger Allam), the one man who recognizes his brilliance. The narrative has a tendency to lurch forward at will, and the extensive use of inside references and abyssal jargon makes for a sludgy sit at times, yet "Endeavour" has a pleasing routine about it that makes it perfectly digestible. Layers within the eponymous character are eagerly introduced, but the series as a whole is essentially devoted to the introduction of murder and the fight to crack macabre codes left behind, observing Morse wrap his developing detective skills around gruesome discoveries that are never as simple as they seem.
"Pilot" (102 minutes, U.K. Airdate - 1/2/12)
The year is 1965, and Endeavour Morse (Shaun Evans) is about to pull away from his career plans and education, only to be sucked into duty when a teen girl turns up dead in a nearby town. Rubbing his superiors the wrong way with his specialized methods of detecting, Morse works his way through the case one suspect at a time, developing his instincts and patience for the process, while finding his focus blurred by crush Rosalind (Flora Montgomery), a beloved opera singer caught up in the investigation.
"Girl" (92 minutes, U.K. Airdate – 4/14/13)
Newly emboldened by his recent accomplishments as an investigator, Morse looks to assert himself and his sleuthing skills as Chief Superintendent Bright (Anton Lesser) takes command of the force, showing little patience for the untested detective, while trusted associate DI Thursday (Roger Allam) warns Morse to tone down his demeanor. Investigating the strange death of a young girl from a supposed heart attack, Morse's sharp instincts pull him deeper into the case, coming across the curious existence of epileptic Pamela (Sophie Stuckey), a depressed woman fighting a desperate custody battle for her child against sister Helen (Olivia Grant) and father Edmund (Jonathan Hyde). As dead bodies begin emerge, including the murder of a local vicar, Morse pores through the clues, exploring connections to a rash of post office robberies and a flow of illegal amphetamine sales. Morse also makes a new friend in PC Jim Strange (Sean Rigby), a stout officer of the law who admires the detective's skill.
"Fugue" (92 minutes, U.K. Airdate – 4/21/13)
When the body of an unfaithful housewife turns up inside a train car, Morse and Thursday discover several clues that point to an intelligent murderer, though a true motive remains elusive. When more victims arrive, Morse connects the killings to an opera-obsessed manic using an elaborate game of evidence to confound and pique the curiosity of the police. While serial killer specialist Dr. Daniel Cronin (Geoffrey Streatfield) is brought in to profile the monster, Morse develops his own interests in the case, making his way to an unhinged musical prodigy who might be the only suspect worth investigating. Complicating matters further is Morse himself, who finds himself on a list of possible targets, screwing with his relative complacency as a detective.
"Rocket" (92 minutes, U.K. Airdate – 4/28/13)
A royal visit from Princess Margaret to a local munitions factory in the midst of constructing and selling missiles to a Middle East nation is cause for a celebration, requiring a police presence that drags Morse out of his cocoon of thought. During the festivities, an employee is murdered, with the factory's family ownership desperate to shut down rumor, while Bright is pressured by higher ups to keep the crown away from the headlines. Working at the factory is Alice (Maimie McCoy), Morse's former Oxford classmate and a woman with a longstanding crush on the detective. The tension between the pair causes great discomfort, yet Thursday urges Morse to follow the lead, who ultimately finds the attraction reviving his dormant, haunted interest in romance. Unsatisfied with a simple explanation for the murder, Thursday and Morse research an unsolved mystery from 12 years before to intensify pressure on the unraveling owners.
"Home" (96 minutes, U.K. Airdate – 5/5/13)
A deceptively simple hit-and-run case quickly reveals a swarm of suspects and motives when Mores and Thursday uncover a land deal concerning a local university, a plan of expansion that threatens local farmers. As the pair root through potential villains, Thursday finds himself reunited with nasty underworld figures he's spent the greater part of his adulthood trying to avoid, sucked back into defense mode as threats are made against his family. Breaking up his involvement in the case, Morse finds himself drawn back home to spend time with his ailing father, forced to confront a life he's left behind. Also on Morse's mind is an upcoming test that could take him out of the doldrums of general police work and turn him into a proper inspector.
Endeavour: Series 1 Blu-ray, Video Quality
The AVC encoded image (1.78:1 aspect ratio) presentation sharply retains the cinematic feel of the series, offering a crispness that allows the viewer to scan the frame for particulars. Fine detail is readily available, finding fibrous textures emerging from varied costuming while set design essentials are freshly defined. Facial nuances are equally accessible, with Evans's features a particular playground of expressions. Blacks are largely communicative, providing only a few moments of crush to contend with. Favoring a period grading push that highlights brownish, cooler hues, the presentation uses vivid color sparingly, providing a stable hold. Skintones are also naturalistic. Minor banding is detected, along with some motion blurring.
Endeavour: Series 1 Blu-ray, Audio Quality
The DTS-HD MA 2.0 sound mix carries itself with utter simplicity, putting forth a basic arrangement of voices and music that fits a television mood. Dialogue exchanges are clean and clear, with rich, full tones and a welcome management of accents, which helps to understand the intricate dialogue thrown around at top speed. Scoring is thin but purposeful, supportive without steamrolling over the visuals, offering some welcome suspenseful tonality. Atmospherics are agreeable, with interiors gifted a natural hollow sound.
Endeavour: Series 1 Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
There is no supplementary material included.
Endeavour: Series 1 Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
"Endeavour" is all about formula, but it's convincingly expressed by an outstanding cast and sharp production accomplishments, which deliver compelling costuming and exceptional cinematography, lending the series a cinematic feel. Even for a complete outsider, it's easy to become wrapped up in all the puzzling and dramatic movements of the series, which grow more confident as the episodes continue, lining up Endeavour Morse into established footprints as he advances into his future self. Granted, more profound admirers of the franchise might raise objections to the minutiae of the effort, but I can't imagine anyone dismissing the basic elements of this superbly crafted and enthusiastically articulated prequel production.
Endeavour: Other Seasons
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Endeavour: Series 1 Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Masterpiece Mystery: Endeavour Series 1 Blu-ray - June 10, 2013
PBS Distribution has announced it will release Masterpiece Mystery: Endeavor Series 1 on Blu-ray on July 16th, prior to the PBS broadcast of the season finale. The 3-disc set features each Series 1 episode presented in its full UK-edition length, as well as the ...
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