Mill (The): Series 2 (TV)
R2 - United Kingdom - Acorn Media
Review written by and copyright: Samuel Scott (18th August 2014).
The Show

***This is a technical review only. For reviews on the show from various critics, we recommend visiting HERE.***

Based on powerful true stories, The Mill continues its tale of workers at the time of the industrial revolution a revolution that would build an empire for the bosses, and a new world of unionised labour and the vote for the workers. But first, there is much to be done.

Young Esther Price, a girl not afraid to stand up for her rights almost loses her job, but instead finds herself negotiating her freedom. As she prepares to move into a place of her own, life at the Mill faces new challenges.

Migrant labourers have arrived in the form of the Howlett family from down South, and the father, John, soon rises to the role of new overseer. Paid by the piece, his attempts to improve output, and his wages, may lead to disaster. Another newcomer, Peter, is a black apprentice brought over from the Greg Plantation in the West Indies to speak in favour of the abolition of slavery. All around is change and striving, with workers rallying for their rights and the Greg Family struggling to maintain the status quo.

Regardless, the future awaits them kicking and screaming like a newborn baby with all that is both good and bad still to come.

Video

Independent distributor Acorn Media are releasing the second series of British Channel 4 drama "The Mill" over two discs. The episodes are anamorphic in the original aspect ratio of 2.35:1, and in PAL format. It looks as good as a recent TV show should on DVD.

The show uses the colour palette that you would expect from a drama set in the mid-nineteenth century, with many dark colours prevalent - especially the various browns and greys. Blacks are deep throughout with minimal crush, whilst the occasional lighter colour pops well in contrast to the generally dark and grimy feel of the poor in working class England during this period. With this show having many darkened locations, you may think that shadow detail may be below par, but apart from some intentional darkness due to the authentic feel of the lighting, shadow detail is surprisingly strong. Other details are also above average for the format, with facial close-ups and factory tools looking particularly good. As should be expected for such a new show from one of the UK's main television networks, there are no problems with the transfer in the way of damage, whilst banding and aliasing appears to be minimal.

The show is uncut, with episodes 1-4 on disc one, and 5-6 on disc two.

Audio

For this release, Acorn have provided us with a single audio track; English Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo. It's quite an unassuming and unsurprisingly basic track with quite minimal channel separation. However, sound effects do add some great depth, with the various noises of the mill coming across exceptionally well, whilst never overpowering the dialogue or Samuel Sims' score. Dialogue is clear throughout, with no mumbling or overly quiet speech. Volume levels are consistent, and there are no problems at any point with the track such as drop outs or scratches. I also didn't detect any background hiss. A 5.1 upmix would've been a welcome addition to add some more subtle environmental effects, but what we have is clear, clean, and concise.

Optional subtitles have been provided in English for the hard of hearing.

Extras

The main extra here has been split into two parts:
- "The Real Mill: Part One" documentary (46:17)
- "The Real Mill: Part Two" documentary (46:01)
This is a fantastic addition to the package in which one of Britain's best history presenters Tony Robinson explores the true story of factory workers who forged the industrial revolution, with a particular focus on Quarry Bank. Robinson is joined by social history professor Emma Griffin, as they discover where the workers of Quarry Bank came from, and who they were. This two-parter is of interest to anyone who wants to know more about the period the show is based upon, as well as those with an interest in British history. Excellent.

We also get a picture gallery (1:12).

Overall

The Show: B Video: B+ Audio: B Extras: C+ Overall: B

 


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