With a plethora of well judged preset picture modes (including Cinema and True Cinema) and space to store your own settings using the comprehensive and thoroughly advanced calibration menus, it's a relief to see the Panasonic TX-L42DT65B's pictures live up to their billing.
While black response isn't right up there with the best (there's a slight blueish tone to deep black), it's an improvement on the ET60 Series. But where the Panasonic TX-L42DT65B takes the lead over its rivals is with a totally even backlight. There's not a trace of light leaking from the panel's six LED clusters, though nor is local dimming particularly advanced.
The panel is capable of extremely punchy, bright colours even at tight viewing angles, though they tone down nicely for films. Our Hugo test disc received a pin-sharp treatment that was very impressive; the wisps of smoke and steam in the station are acutely visible, while light streaming through the station's windows juxtaposes skillfully with the dark shadows, though the latter do lack some shadow detail.
Fast-moving mixed brightness scenes, such as when Hugo leaps down the clock tower's ladders, is nicely judged, while that movement is smoothed out by the Panasonic TX-L42DT65B's 24p Smooth Film frame interpolation circuitry.
Despite the TV's panel's native speed, 24p Smooth Film mode proves to be key since it introduces fluidity and completely removes judder without creating any video nasties. Used on either its Mid or Max powers (don't bother with the Min setting - it does nothing), 24p Smooth Film is a much cleaner solution than last year's version, removing the judder from a sequence where a couple of actors rush across a camera shot.
Perhaps it's the Panasonic TX-L42DT65B's dual-core Hexa processor making this work better, but it doesn't stop there.
Despite 3D clearly not being on many people's shopping list - hence the drop down to the fuss-free polarised flavour on the Panasonic TX-L42DT65B - Hugo in 3D does impress.
Yes, those horizontal lines are visible (and will therefore sway some away from 3D altogether - including, we suspect, many at Panasonic), but 24p Smooth Film mode is able to take control once again, which adds some fluidity.
Without any crosstalk, free from artefacts and also with a touch more contrast than the 2D images, polarised 3D on the Panasonic TX-L42DT65B looks as good as it possibly can.
Streaming and SD
The same goes for YouTube, streaming apps and standard definition material. A web optimiser on the Panasonic TX-L42DT65B - which isn't on the drop-down ET60 Series - does well, dredging up some detail and producing a clean, thoroughly watchable cat video from YouTube.
The same goes for standard definition material, even the ropey ITV channel on Freeview, from which Hexa manages to remove digital blocking, smoothing over any artefacts.
Overall it's an incredibly versatile and highly impressive picture that scores high marks in all areas.