Crime series releases on DVD – autumn 2014

AUTUMN SEES a glut of popular TV series, old and new, making their way onto DVD and Blu-ray.

Vera: series 1-4

All four series of ITV’s Vera, starring Brenda Blethyn and David Leon, are released today, 29 September. Based on the novels of award-winning crime author Ann Cleeves and set in Northumberland, the police procedurals have became a mainstay of the ITV schedules (a fifth series is going into production this autumn for broadcast in 2015). The box set of eight disks is comprehensive, including all 16 episodes so far, but there are no extra features. It’s available on Amazon for £36.

Chasing Shadows: series 1

Chasing Shadows, the recent four-parter starring Reece Shearsmith as a socially inept detective chasing serial killers with the help of Alex Kingston and Noel Clarke, is also out today. Must admit, while Chasing Shadows had an interesting premise and a good cast, it didn’t click with me. This one costs £10.25 from Amazon.

The Professionals series 2 on Blu-ray

Going further back through the TV vaults, Network is releasing a digitally restored second season of the The Professionals, with Bodie, Doyle, Ford Capri, tight jeans and all. It does look wonderfully fresh here, a fascinating glimpse of late 1970s London that is sharp and vibrant. There is also the fun aspect of seeing Martin Shaw in his youthful heyday, and young up-and-comers such as Pamela Stephenson, here playing a dolly bird. Lewis Collins, who sadly died of cancer aged 67 last November, certainly looked the real deal as the former SAS man Bodie. The Professionals, which ran on ITV from 1977-83, specialised in all-action stories that were flimsy on character and plausibility, but it is a pleasure to watch some of them again. There are also out-takes and behind-the-scenes footage among the special features.

The Hour of the Lynx on DVD

Fans of The Killing may interested in this slice of Nordic Noir. This feature-length thriller reunites Sofie Gråbøl and Soren Malling for the first time since The Killing series 1, and it’s a fairly dark affair. A 45-year-old priest, Helen, is approached by scientist Lisbeth in a plea for help. A young man, who has been sent to a high-security psychiatric ward after killing an elderly couple, has attempted suicide while rambling about God. The twist is that he has been the subject of an experiment to ‘humanise’ inmates… The DVD is released on 6 October.

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