I was surprised that Acorn released 'Poirot: Series 2' right next to the first series. Now come to find out that 'Series 3' is only a few months away. We're getting a lot of 'Poirot' in a short period of time, but that's okay by me. I love the quirky little, mustachioed detective who solves crimes all the while enjoying the finer things in life.
The second series of the show seemed to find its groove, for better or worse. I know that I enjoyed the first series because it seemed less pigeonholed into a formula, but I have to admit that I like the 'Poirot' formula anyway. Much like the modern day TV detective Detective Robert Goren (Vincent D'Onofrio) 'Law & Order: Criminal Intent,' Poirot has a habit of luring everyone involved in his case to a certain place in order to tell everyone exactly how he solved the crime. This big reveal usually always turns out to implicate someone in the crime that didn't think they were going to be implicated. He's just that good. I would be lying if I said that I didn't look forward to this every episode in the second season. Simply because for such a petite, well-mannered man, Poirot has a bit of an ego. Like a peacock spreading his feathers, Poirot reveals the intricacies behind the crime and then smirks the entire way through it. It's fun to watch because David Suchet plays the famous fictional detective with a slightly cocky swagger that isn't expected from someone as gentlemanly as Hercule Poirot.
The episode "The Lost Mine," which deals with the disappearance and murder of a Chinese business man is one of my favorite episodes of the series. There are so many personal details revealed about Poirot in this episode that we don't usually get. He and his compatriot Captain Hastings are playing a rousing game of Monopoly which takes the entire episode to finish. During that time we find out that Poirot, an observant man can even be distracted by something so silly as a board game. He forgets to keep track of his own bank account even though he's keeping an exact record of his Monopoly bank account. An instance in another episode called "The Veiled Lady," which was laugh-out-loud funny was when Poirot and Hastings dress up in all black, just like cat burglars in cartoons, and break into a suspect's house trying of find something crucial to the case they're working on. It turns into a bumbling exercise of two guys doing something they don't know how to do. Even though Poirot can solve crimes without a second thought, breaking into a house and staying silent provides its own list of unique challenges.
There's an insight that we start getting about the character in the second season which is very nice, especially for a fan like me. There are a few episodes where Poirot gets really steamed because people have tried to pull the wool over his eyes, but as he says, "You cannot fool Poirot!" Oh yes, he does refer to himself in the third person. Told you he has an ego.
Fans of the show are going to want to pick up this series along with the first series. There's just no denying that the 'Poirot' mysteries are fun and exciting. Not to mention 'Poirot' is one of the funniest, most clever fictional detectives out there.
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
Just like the first series, the nine episodes (the first episode is split into two parts) here are spread across two 50GB Blu-ray Discs. The discs are packed in a standard keepcase complete with a slipcover. They are coded for Region A use only.
The list of episodes is as follows:
1. Peril at End House, pt. 1
2. Peril at End House, pt. 2
3. The Veiled Lady
4. The Lost Mine
5. The Cornish Mystery
6. The Disappearance of Mr. Davenheim
7. Double Sin
8. The Adventure of the Cheap Flat
9. The Kidnapped Prime Minister
10. The Adventure of the Western Star
It's only a year later, in 1990, but the picture quality seems to have made a slight upgrade. The show is still sourced from 16mm footage, but there's a much clearer picture going on here. Detail is more refined than in 'Series 1.' Colors are deeper and more resonant. Reds, blues, and blacks are all very clear and provide a depth to the picture that didn't seem apparent in the first series.
Overall, the show looks very similar to the first series, given the filmic grain structure, but this series just seems better produced for the Blu-ray format. Textures seem easier to distinguish, shadows are better delineated. Details like errant hairs or the weave of designer suits appear natural.
Skin tones are always natural and never appear washed out like they kind of did in 'Series 1.' Everything here just seems one step above the visuals provided in the previous season's release. Not saying that series didn't look good, this one just looks a bit better.
Note: This is the same audio review that I gave the first series, because audibly there's no difference. We're still given the same Dolby Digital 2.0 mono track and it sounds exactly the same.
Considering the lossy aspect of the 2.0 mono track that has been provided, it still does a decent job at relaying the sounds of the show. Poirot's heavily accented words are more or less clear, depending on what is going on around him. I noticed a few times where music and the sounds of busy streets and hotels seemed to drowned out the principle dialogue, but that was pretty few and far between. For the most part dialogue is clear and intelligible. There's not much more to talk about when it comes to the audio mix provided. It's a straightforward mono track that replicates speech well enough for you to enjoy the show.
There's nothing fancy going on here, but at least you can hear everything that's going on.
There are no special features provided, just a whole load of Acorn Media previews for other shows.
If you pick up 'Series 1' you might as well pick up 'Series 2' also. This is a great little detective show, and I'll say it again, I love David Suchet! This series comes even slightly more recommended just because the video presentation looks better than the first series.