Grown-Ups Had Just As Much To Enjoy As Younger Audiences In All The New TV Box Sets

Courtesy: Arrow Video

This year offered lots for families to enjoy together in the way of television and movies.  It also offered plenty for older viewers, whether those audiences needed the occasional break from the more family friendly fare or just needed and wanted something to enjoy.  Between imports and domestic releases, this year’s field of new viewing options for grown-ups offered much to appreciate. 

DC and Warner Brothers’ second season of Doom Patrol, BBC America’s The Watch (It is sadly still unknown if the show will get a renewal for a second season) offered plenty of enjoyment in their own right.  Meanwhile, CBS/Paramount’s third season of Star Trek: Discovery finally got that ship righted.  Along with so many domestic and import releases from PBS and other sets from WB and DC, this year’s field of new offerings for older audiences helped audiences escape and relax every day.  So much new content was released that it gave Phil’s Picks more than enough for another annual list of the year’s top new offerings in said field. 

As with every list from Phil’s Picks, this list offers the Top 10 new entries in said field alongside five additional honorable mentions for a total of 15 titles.  Each entry in this list is deserving of applause in its own right, too.  Without further ado, here for your consideration is Phil’s Picks 2021 Top 10 New Grown-Up DVD/BD Box Sets.


  1. Cold War Creatures
  1. All Creatures Great & Small: Season 1
  1. Doom Patrol: Season 2
  1. The Watch
  1. Miss Scarlet & The Duke: Season 1
  1. Human: The World Within
  1. Jekyll & Hyde
  1. Star Trek Discovery: Season 3
  1. Black Lightning: Season 4
  1. Superman & Lois: Season 1
  1. Star Trek Lower Decks: Season 1
  1. Finding Your Roots: Season 6
  1. Finding Your Roots: Season 7
  1. The Twilight Zone: Season 2
  1. Star Trek Discovery: Seasons 1-3

That’s it for this list, but before the attention turns from the box sets, there is still one more category to check in on tomorrow.  That category is the year’s top new DVD/BD box sets overall between the stuff for families and that for older audiences.  From there, later this week, the attention will turn toward the year’s top new family DVDs and BDs to finish this year’s field of year-end lists.  So there’s still plenty to come.  That means as always, stay tuned!

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BBC’s ‘The Watch’ Is A Success In Hopefully The First Of Many Seasons To Come

Courtesy: BBC Studios/BBC America

More than six years ago when the British television network itv premiered its short-lived action series, Jekyll & Hyde, that series proved a big hit among many audiences.  Even with its popularity, the series ended up getting canceled after just one season.  The decision by the network’s heads to cancel the series due to pressure from certain group was a terrible decision.  That is because the series really could have been something great had it been given more of a chance.  Now years later, fans of BBC’s The Watch are hoping executives at that network do not make the same mistake with that series.  The show, which is an adaptation of Sir Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels, ran for eight episodes from January to February of this year and was released to Blu-ray and DVD over the summer.  For those who have yet to watch this hopefully inaugural (and not only) season, it is a surprisingly enjoyable presentation.  That is even with the deviations from Pratchett’s original novels.  Speaking of which, the story at the heart of the show forms a strong foundation for the show.  It will be discussed shortly.  The cast’s work on camera adds to the show’s appeal and will be discussed a little later.  The bonus content that accompanies the show’s home release rounds out its most important elements and will also be examined later.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the show’s home release.  All things considered, they make the hopefully first of many seasons to come a success from beginning to end.

BBC’s The Watch is a surprisingly enjoyable presentation from which so many American network executives could take a hint.  That is because of how bland and boring so much American television programming is today in comparison to this and so many other shows from “the old country.”  The show’s success comes in large part through its story.  The story centers on a group of misfit law enforcement officers in an alternate dimension who for years had done little to nothing in the way of law enforcement.  That is because crime in the city that they “watch” has become largely legal.  The Watch’s officers – Capt. Sam Vimes (Richard Dormer – Fortitude), Cpl. Cherry (Jo Eaton-Kent – Lessons, Don’t Forget The Driver), Cpl. Angua von Uberwald (Marama Corlett – Guardians of the Galaxy, Blood Drive, Sick Note) and Sgt. Detritus (Craig Macrae – Avengers: Age of Ultron, Mad Max: Fury Road, Resident Evil: The Final Chapter) spend most of their time just sitting in their office until one day when the young, naïve Constable Carrot Ironfoundersson (Adam Hugill – 1917, The Banishing, Sherwodd) comes along and shakes things up.  He and the re-emergence of Vimes’ former friend turned villain – Carcer Dunn (Samuel Adewunmi – Angela Black, You Don’t Know Me, Prime Suspect: Tennison) lead the officers to start returning to what The Watch once did.  It also leads the outcasts to grow personally and as a family of sorts as they work to try and prevent Carcer from achieving his evil goal.

Speaking of Carcer and his goal, he and his plan actually are just part of a bigger plot.  Not to give away too much here, but as the series continues, it turns out that Carcer is really just a pawn in a bigger plan by a group of unseen beings.  Many viewers might have missed this, but those beings really are a sort of updated take on the Gods in The Odyssey.  Just like they caused so much trouble for Odysseus in that timeless epic tale, these “gods” have their own plan for Vimes and company.  Keeping that in mind, that link between this show and such classical literature makes for its own appeal within the story.

As the story progresses, the character development that takes place within each of The Watch’s officers also plays into the story’s appeal.  Audiences will enjoy watching the growing relationship between Carrot and Angua in its subtleties, as well as Vimes’ own development.  Seeing him go from a “bottomed out” alcoholic police officer back to his former confidence is engaging and entertaining in its own right.  In the same vein, watching Cherry come into his/her own identity makes for its own interest, too. 

Getting back to the story itself, another big part of the story’s success comes in its overall execution.  Yes, it is a serialized show here.  However, the show’s writers somehow managed to make it feel episodic within the bigger picture of the serialized nature of the overall series.  The stories all connect but are their own from one to the next.  Now full discretion (and again, not to give away too much), the last episode does feel like it runs longer than it should have.  It seems like it could have wrapped itself up at many points, but then keeps going.  It makes one wonder how many hands were in the proverbial pot, considering this problem.  Thankfully it does finally end, and when it does, it leaves the door wide open for a second season that again BBC’s officials will hopefully provide.  That is because that second seasons is not only needed but deserved.

While the story featured in the hopefully inaugural season of The Watch does a lot to make it so enjoyable (even with the deviations from the source material in mind), it is just one part of what makes the show so enjoyable.  The cast’s work on camera does its own part to make the presentation engaging and entertaining.  Right from the top is Dormer’s work.  His take of Vimes throughout the show is the most notable.  The subtle way in which Dormer takes Vimes from a hopeless, alcoholic bum to a more self-assured, confident leader makes for so much appeal in itself.  That character development alongside his comedic timing throughout the show adds to the appeal in his acting, too.  Similarly, Eaton-Kent’s almost deadpan persona against the edgier presence of Corlett and the naivety of Ironfoundersson presented by Hugill makes for such a welcome contrast among the cast.  The cast members each make their characters’ personalities so rich yet controlled at the same time.  It shows such professionalism and in turn engagement and entertainment from each cast member.  Of course, one cannot ignore the work of Lara Rossi opposite Dormer.  Her matter of fact, “straight woman” persona opposite Dormer’s Vimes crates its own interesting character contrast that entertains and engages in its own right, too.

On yet another note, Wendell Pierce’s performance as Death is just as worth noting as the other cast members’ work.  The same can be said of Adewunmi’s work as Carcer.  Pierce’s performance, his very persona is so laugh-inspiring in the best way possible.  Instead of being this dark, evil character, he is just laid back, wishing he could be like any human whose soul he has to take upon their dying.  He even complains about it so often, stating, “No one ever listens, no one ever pays attention.”  He declarations and general presence makes Pierce’s work such a wonderful addition even being a supporting role.

Adewunmi does everything right that so many American actors get wrong in the way of playing an overly obsessed megalomaniac.  The subtle control in his anger is so gripping thanks to Adewunmi’s work.  The way in which he emotes, gives him an almost scary calm as he talks about bringing down the dragon to destroy the city and the whole world.  Even as he faces Wonse (Bianca Simone Mannie – Homeland, Vagrant Queen, Our Girl) in the final episode (again not too much will be given away here), accepting his fate, audiences cannot help but be gripped by that reaction.  It is just one more example of the importance of the cast’s work.  Keeping the cast’s overall work in mind here along with the impact of the story, the presentation becomes that much more engaging and entertaining.  Those items are just a part of what makes the show so appealing.  The bonus content that accompanies the show in its home release rounds out its most important items.

The bonus content that accompanies the show runs in a range of directions.  The lead, “Making of” feature takes audiences behind the scenes and shows how some of the program’s key scenes and characters were handled.  The discussion, for instance, on the determination of the show’s creative heads to avoid using CG at all costs really instills more respect for those efforts and the show.  The discussion in question comes as the costume and makeup officials talk about how they created the costume for Sgt. Detritus.  Watching the amount of work that went into the costume’s creation is awe-inspiring.  On another note, there is also a separate discussion in another feature that acknowledges the difficulty in staying true to Pratchett’s novels in creating this show.  The respect that is shown by all involved will hopefully encourage the show’s critics to change their minds about the program.  As if that is not enough, the character profiles do their own share to also show the importance of the cast’s work.  It compliments the other bonuses noted here and the rest of the bonus content to make the overall bonus content just as important to the presentation here as the cast’s work and the story.  When all three items are considered together, they make the overall presentation that is The Watch well worth the watch.

BBC’s The Watch is a surprisingly engaging and entertaining presentation.  Despite what many of its critics would have people believe, it is engaging and entertaining.  That is due in part to the show’s central story.  Yes, there are deviations from the source material, but few TV shows and/or movies based on books have ever been 100 percent true to its source material.  That is just sadly how it is.  Even with that in mind, the story here is still its own entertaining presentation.  From its ability to solidly balance episodic and serialized writing, to its very presentation, the story offers plenty for audiences to appreciate in itself.  The cast’s work joins with the story to make the presentation even more engaging and entertaining.  That is because each cast member’s work is so believable.  From one to the next, each performance is unique and bounces off the others just as well.  The bonus content that accompanies the show in its recent home release puts the finishing touch to the presentation.  It adds just enough background to enhance the viewing experience even more enjoyable.  Each item examined is important in its own way to The Watch.  All things considered, they make this show one of the best of this year’s new home DVD/BD releases for grown-up audiences.  One can only hope at this point that it will get a second season and that the BBC will not make the same mistake that itv made with Jekyll & Hyde.

The Watch is available now.  More information on The Watch is available along with all of the show’s latest news at:



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Audiences Will Enjoy PBS, BBC’s Latest Trip To Africa In Their New Documentary

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution/BBC

PBS and the BBC apparently have a thing for Africa.  The networks have taken viewers to Africa and its many nations multiple times over the years.  The networks’ trips have taken viewers to countries across the continent while examining the vast multitude of species that call the continent home.  This past May, the networks partnered again for yet another trip back to Africa in the new documentary, Life at the Waterhole.  As the title infers, the nearly three hour documentary focuses in this case on how various species interact at a water hole.  PBS Distribution released the show on DVD last month.  It is just as appealing in its home presentation as its television presentation.  That is due in no small part to the general presentation.  The cinematography that is featured throughout the show makes for its own appeal and will be discussed a little later.  The program’s pacing rounds out its most important elements and will also be discussed later.  Each item noted its important in its own way to the whole of Life at the Waterhole.  All things considered, they make this program its own interesting presentation that is worth watching.

PBS and the BBC’s wildlife documentary, Life at the Waterhole, is a presentation that plenty of audiences will find worth watching.  That is especially the case with the nearly three-hour program’s recent DVD release.  It’s appeal comes in large part through its general presentation.  The general presentation finds the program, which runs two hours, 45 minutes, separated into three separate segments, two of which run approximately 55 minutes and the third of which runs approximately 56 minutes.  The segments follow host Dr. M. Sanjayan as he observes the role of watering holes for ecosystems in Africa.  In this case, the waterhole is a man-made structure in a wildlife preserve in Tanzania.  Over the course of six months, audiences join Dr. Sanjayan as he and his team of scientists as they observe the social habits of various animals who come to the waterhole.  Viewers will find themselves just as interested to learn how animals change their habits with the changing seasons and their conditions.  Additionally, viewers will find themselves just as interested to learn about the diversity of the species who utilize the waterhole.  There are water buffalo, various species of birds, elephants, hyenas, giraffes, and so many others.  According to Dr. Sanjayan, he and his cohorts record more than 100 species of animals over the course of six months at the waterhole. The changes in prey animals’ habits at the waterhole in relation to predators’ introduction is also engaging.  Getting back to the story’s segmentation, this aspect works with the story to form a solid starting point for the program.  That is because it allows audiences to follow all of the changes at their own pace.  This is important to note because as simple as the story is, there is a lot of information in each segment.  Anyone who tries to binge all three segments will find themselves mentally drained.  To that end, this general presentation will encourage viewers’ engagement and in turn entertainment to a certain extent.  That positive starting point is just one part of what makes this story worth watching.  The cinematography is of its own importance to the show.

The cinematography featured in Life at the Waterhole is important because of its aesthetic value.  Audiences are taken up close and personal at times thanks to cameras mounted in and around the waterhole.  One is actually encased in a watertight dome at the water level.  That allows for those up close views from that vantage point.  The footage from that camera is unique just as is the footage from the cameras located above the waterhole and at its edge.  There is even a camera mounted inside the blind that allows viewers to see what Sanjayan and company see – a paper wasp nest and even a swallow nest.  As if that is not enough, the cameras even have night vision capability, thus allowing audiences to see how the animals interact at night.  The footage is so vivid and rich in its color while the varied angles give audiences plenty of equally wonderful vantage points from which to take in the story.  That expansive visual aid from the cinematography helps drive home everything that Sanjayan discusses in all three segments, ensuring even more, viewers’ engagement and entertainment.  This aesthetic element pairs with the program’s general presentation to enhance the viewing experience even more.  It is just one more aspect that makes the program worth watching.  The program’s pacing rounds out its most important elements.

Life at the Waterhole’s pacing is important to examine because, again, of the program’s content and run time.  As already noted, there is a lot of content to sort through over the course of two hours and 45 minutes.  Thankfully, as in-depth as the content is in each segment, Sanjayan and company ensure that the breadth of information is not overpowering.  Rather, they keep the story moving fluidly within each segment, connecting discussions on say, the weather and animals’ behavior smoothly.  As a result, viewers who watch the program one segment at a time will find each segment so easy to follow.  The engagement and entertainment ensured through the positive impact of the pacing pairs eventually creates an appreciation for the story, its general presentation and cinematography, too.  That overall appreciation will leave viewers agreeing that as extensive as Life at the Waterhole is while another visit to Africa, still a visit worth taking.

PBS and the BBC’s new documentary, Life at the Waterhole is hardly the first time that either network has presented any wildlife program centered on animal life in Africa.  Despite that, it is still a presentation that audiences will agree is worth watching.  That is due in part to the documentary’s general presentation.  In regards to the presentation, the nearly three-hour program is separated into three segments.  Each segment clocks in at less than an hour.  Even as in-depth as each segment is in terms of its information, that limited time and separation does its own part to encourage viewers’ engagement and entertainment.  The cinematography featured in the program adds its own layer of appeal.  That is because of how up close it brings audiences to the animals being observed by Dr. Sanjayan and his team of researchers.  The editing used in the cinematography increases that appeal, too.  Each segment’s pacing rounds out the most important aspects of this presentation.  Considering the depth of content in each segment, the pacing was especially important to track.  That is because of how easy it would have been for the program to get bogged down in itself.  Thankfully that did not happen.  Rather, the pacing remains fluid and solid in each segment, ensuring viewers’ engagement and entertainment even more.  When this aspect is considered along with the impact of the program’s cinematography, story, and general presentation, the whole makes Life at the Waterhole a presentation that is another worthwhile trip to Africa from PBS and the BBC.  Life at the Waterhole is available now.  More information on this and other titles from PBS is available at:




More information on this and other programs from the BBC is available at:




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Grown-Ups Got Plenty Of TV To Enjoy In 2020

Courtesy: itv/PBS Distribution/PBS

Families nationwide got a lot of worthwhile ways to spend time together during the COVID-19 pandemic this year, thanks to all of the new DVDs, Blu-rays and box sets.  Of course while families got plenty to watch together, grown-ups also needed something of their own to enjoy.  Thankfully this year produced just as much for grown-ups to enjoy as children.  That is why Phil’s Picks is taking a look at what were among the best of this year’s new DVD and Blu-ray box sets for grown-ups.  This year saw a bunch of new content from Warner Brothers and DC, some better than others (E.g. the new Swamp Thing reboot and new seasons of Black LightningBlack Lightning proved better this year than Swamp Thing, but the latter still proved worth watching at least once.  Itv and PBS presented a rather intriguing new season of itv’s crime drama Endeavour.  The season was okay but left something to be wanted.  The short-lived deep comedy The Good Place finally met its end this year and also received its only full-series release on Blu-ray thanks to the folks at Shout! Factory.  In an even more surprising move, ABC’s hit comedy Modern Family got a full series release this month exclusively through Target.  While not inexpensive, it is a presentation that devotees will appreciate.  It is just one more entry in Phil’s Picks 2020 Top 10 New DVD & Blu-ray Box Sets For Grown-ups category. 

As with every other list from Phil’s Picks, this list features the Top 10 titles in the category along with five honorable mentions for a total of 15 titles.  Without further ado, here is Phil’s Picks 2020 Top 10 new DVD & Blu-ray Box Sets for Grown-Ups.


  1. Endeavour: Season Seven
  2. The Good Place: The Complete Series
  3. Modern Family: The Complete Series
  4. Doctor Who: Season 12
  5. The Expanse: Season 4
  6. Black Lightning: The Complete Second Season
  7. Black Lightning: The Complete Third Season
  8. Stargirl: The Complete First Season
  9. Mission: Impossible: The Complete Series
  10. Gunsmoke: The Complete Series 65th Anniversary Set
  11. Gunsmoke: The Movies
  12. Penny Dreadful: City of Angels Season 1
  13. Swamp Thing: The Complete Series
  14. Star Trek Picard: Season 1
  15. The Twilight Zone: Season 1

One more list is up to finish up this year’s lists.  That list is the year’s top new re-issues.  Stay tuned for that.

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Corinth Films Resurrecting Einstein Documentary

Courtesy: Corinth Films

Independent movie studio Corinth Films is set to release a vintage documentary about legendary physicist Albert Einstein next month.

Einsteins Universe is scheduled for release Aug. 25 on Blu-ray/DVD combo pack and digital.  It marks the first time that the vintage documentary, based on author Nigel Caulder’s biography by the same name, has received a home release on any platform.

It originally premiered on television on March 14, 1979 in celebration of what would have been Einstein’s 100th birthday.  The broadcast was made possible through a partnership between the BBC and WGBH (America’s leading public television network).

Peter Ustinov — SpartacusLogan‘s RunDeath on the Nile — narrated the original broadcast.  As part of the documentary, Ustinov visited the University of Texas-Austin McDonald Observatory in his quest to learn about Einstein and the significance of his work.  He learns about topics, such as Einstein’s general theory of relativity, the “Doppler Effect,” and how the universe was formed.

The documentary’s run time is 118 minutes.  A trailer for the documentary is streaming here.

More information on this and other titles from Corinth Films is available at:






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‘Doctor Who: Season 12’ Available Now On DVD, BD

Courtesy: BBC/BBC America

The wait is over for the home release of Doctor WhoSeason 12.

The 12th season of the long-running science fiction series is available now on Blu-ray and DVD.  Season 12 is the second for star Jodie Whittaker, who plays the 13th doctor.Joining her on her travels are Ryan Sinclair (Tosin Cole), Yasmin “Yaz” Khan (Mandip Gill) and Graham O’Brien (Bradley Walsh).

Also making appearances this season are stars, such as Stephen Fry (The Hitchhicker’s Guide to the GalaxyA Bit of Fry and Laurie), Sir Lenny Henry CBE (BroadchurchHarry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban), Goran Višnjić (ER, Timeless), Sacha Dhawan (Marvel’s Iron Fist, An Adventure in Space and Time), and Robert Glenister (Paranoid, Law and Order: UK).

Season 12 proves to be a pivotal turning point in the legacy of Doctor Who, as it brought everything in the franchise’s history full circle in its finale.

Along with all of its episodes full of action, humor and heart, Season 12 also comes with a handful of bonuses for audiences.  The home release of the franchise’s 12th season features three feature-length audio commentaries, 10 behind-the-scenes featurettes ad a preview of Season 12 for audiences to watch ahead of taking in this season.

Doctor WhoSeason 12 will retail for MSRP of $59.99 (DVD) and $64.99 (Blu-ray).

More information on the 12th season of Doctor Who is available along with all of the series’ latest news at:






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‘Good Omens’ Is Its Own Good Omen For The Future Of Television, Streaming Programming

Courtesy: BBC Studios

Salvation comes in strange and unexpected fashions.  Author Neil Gaiman spoke those words in one of the bonus features included in the recently released home release of Amazon Studios and BBC’s Good Omens.  It is also the central theme of the mini-series, adapted from the novel of the same name, which was co-written by Gaiman and the late Terry Pratchett.  The mini-series created quite a stir among audiences when it made its streaming debut through Amazon in May.  Some loved it while others alleged it promoted something other than Christian beliefs and values.  Those who claimed it promoted anti-Christian beliefs clearly did not watch the six-hour mini-series.  Had those naysayers watched the program, they would have seen that if anything, it in fact presents some very positive messages, some of which are actually very pro-Christian.  Those noted messages incorporated into the story, go a long way toward making the program well worth watching. They will be discussed a little later.  The story at the center of the program forms the program’s foundation.  The noted bonus content that is featured with the program’s home release adds to the set’s presentation slightly.  The cast’s on-camera work also adds a certain element of enjoyment to the program.  When it is considered alongside the program’s primary content and messages, the whole of those elements makes Good Omens a presentation that is one of this year’s top new box sets for grown-ups.

Amazon Studios and BBC’s recent small-screen adaptation of Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchatt’s novel Good Omens is one of the most surprisingly enjoyable television offerings to come along so far this year.  While perhaps not necessarily memorable long timer, it is still quite the enjoyable program to watch at least once.  That is due in part to the program’s primary content – its story and related messages.  The story in question follows the angel Aziraphale and demon Crowley as the duo partners to prevent Armageddon from happening.  The angel and his fallen angel friend are not the only ones trying to stop an 11 year-old antichrist.  Anathema Device (Adrai Arjona – True Detective, Pacific Rim: Uprising, Life of the Party) also wants to stop the antichrist.  Not to give away too much for those who have yet to watch the series, but it isn’t the group that stops Armageddon from happening, but rather a much more unexpected group.  That group will be left for the noted audiences to discover for themselves.  Getting back on topic, the idea of the good guys and bad guys teaming up to stop the ultimate evil is anything but new in the literary, cinematic and television realm.  It is an oft-used trope that spans the entertainment spectrum.  Even with that in mind, the way in which the topic was approached in this case is still original, giving audiences reason enough to watch the program.

The story itself gives audiences reason to watch, clearly.  Looking deeper within the story, it actually boasts its own share of interesting content to add to its presentation.  Right from the start of the story, Adam and Eve are dark-skinned rather than white.  It is good to see someone buck the trend of white-washing everything, instead opting for something more realistic.  At another point, Aziraphale tells Crowley that the flood was actually localized, rather than global.  It is a subtle statement, but one that is certain to create its own share of discussion since it, in its own way, argues that we should not take the bible verbatim.  On another level, Adam’s admonishment of both sides that they want to have their war just to see who is better, at the cost of mankind, is sure to generate even more discussion among viewers.  These and other plot elements tied into the story make the story in whole well worth the watch.  They are just a portion of what makes it so intriguing.  The messages that are tied into the story add their own interest to the mini-series’ presentation.

One of the most notable of the series’ messages is raised through Crowley’s personal growth.  Crowley is a fallen angel, but over time, he realizes that he is not as evil as he would like to think he is.  He, like Aziraphale, starts to think more for himself, rather than just giving in blindly to “the infallible plan.”  He proves that even those who are bad likely are actually good deep down.  This certainly doesn’t sound like something evil.  Rather, it is the exact opposite, proving again that the mini-series’ naysayers clearly did not watch the program.  It is just one of the key messages incorporated into the six-hour run of Good Omens.  The program presents plenty of other positive messages that audiences will appreciate.

One of the other notable messages incorporated into the whole of Good Omens is that of looking past our differences and accepting others.  Crowley and Aziraphale are polar opposites.  Crowley is a demon and Aziraphale is an angel.  On a deeper level though, both figures are still angels.  One of the duo is just a fallen angel, so in reality the two are still more alike than they are unalike.  The pair realizes this over the eons and learns to look past the differences, in turn becoming longtime friends.

Yet another key message incorporated into Good Omens is that we are the masters of our own fates.  Adam might have been prophesied to have been the catalyst for Armageddon, but he ends up making his own choice, leading to the story’s unexpected ending.  Whether this message (like the others noted) was intended is anyone’s guess.  That is because nowhere in any of the bonus commentary is this discussed.  This will be addressed a little later.  Either way, the message is there.  Just because someone says that we are this or we are that does not mean we have to abide by what they say.  We make our own choices about our lives.  It is up to us what we do in our lives. Between this message, that of thinking for ourselves rather than blindly following, and that of overlooking cultural differences, the messages that are incorporated into the story of Good Omens, the obvious allegorical nature of the novel (and its TV adaptation) makes for more than enough reason to watch this mini-series.  When the messages noted here are considered with the show’s overall story and its plot elements, the whole of that content makes even clearer why this program is worth the watch.  They are just a part of what makes the set worth viewing.  The bonus content featured with the set adds its own touch to the mini-series’ presentation.

The bonus content spread across Good Omens’ two discs is worth noting because of the background that it adds to the show’s presentation.  The feature-length commentary featured with each of the show’s six episodes features discussions on topics, such as the program’s set and costume design, its adaptation from its literary source material and its symbolism.  Viewers learn through the commentary in the show’s fourth episode, that star Michael Sheen was very particular about his character’s attire and that the wings on the delivery man’s uniform were related not just to angels, but to a certain mythological figure.  There is also a discussion in Episode Four’s commentary about the use of Adam’s friends as their own “four horsemen.”  Of course even without that note, it was obvious in watching the episode that they were representative of the horsemen in their own  right.

In the commentary for Episode Three, viewers learn that the half-hour opening segment used for the episode was not actually included in Gaiman and Pratchett’s novel.  Speaking of sequences, viewers learn from Gaiman himself that the mini-series’ very opening sequence, which features Frances McDormand as the voice of God, was a direct transfer from the novel, but almost ended up in a different portion of the episode than where it ended up.  Late in the mini-series’ final episode, there is mention of a possible second season, but Gaiman never does confirm if a second season was even in the planning.  Considering that there were protests by some groups against this program, those protests apparently did not succeed, taking Gaiman’s statements into consideration.  It sounds like odds are there was little to no chance of a second season for the show.

The feature-length audio commentaries featured with each of the show’s episodes add their own share of engagement and entertainment for viewers, as noted here.  The items discussed here are but a portion of the content featured in the commentaries.  Each commentary included in this mini-series features far more than what is shown here, but for all that they offer, none of the commentaries features discussion on theology or anything related to it.  The closest that any discussion comes is in the first episode’s commentary in which a brief comment is made about Adam and Eve being dark-skinned.  Other than that, there is barely any talk by anyone involved, about the show’s religious roots.  It would have been nice to have received some discussion on that item.  It doesn’t make the commentaries unwatchable, but does detract from their enjoyment.  Of course, considering the messages and plot elements tied in to the story, viewers are sure to create their own discussions anyway.  To that end, the lack of any talks on theology doesn’t detract from the program too much.

The commentaries featured with each of Good Omens’ add their own touch to the whole of the mini-series’ presentation, and are just a portion of the key bonus content featured with the show’s home release.  The “Page To Screen” bonus, which is essentially just a “making of” featurette features interviews with Sheen and co-star David Tenant, along with appearances by Jon Hamm and others.  Audiences learn from Hamm that he worked to make Gabriel unlikeable, just for comedy’s sake. He jokes about making Gabriel that workplace boss figure that everyone hates.  He does an outstanding job of his performance, too.  Tenant and Sheen offer their own insights into working on the program.  Each actor’s commentary on that aspect adds its own share of appreciation for the show.  When it is considered along with Hamm’s discussions and those of the show’s other cast members, the whole of everything here makes this yet another key addition to Good Omens’ presentation.  All of that bonus content, considered with the show’s story, plot elements and messages, makes the program in whole that much more entertaining and engaging for everyone.  They make Good Omens in whole one of the year’s most surprising new shows and most surprisingly entertaining.

BBC and Amazon Studios’ Good Omens is a presentation that viewers looking for an alternative to everything on broadcast television will appreciate.  That is due in part to its story, which is original in a variety of ways.  The plot elements and messages that are tied into the story add even more engagement and entertainment for viewers.  The bonus content adds its own touch to the mini-series in its home release.  That is despite a clear lack of any talks on theology, that could and would have added even more to the whole of the show’s home release.  Even with that in mind, the whole of the items discussed here makes Good Omens its own good omen for the future of television.  More information on this and other titles from BBC is available online at:










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PBS, BBC’s New Apollo 11 Program Is Better Than Any “Based On Actual Events” Flick That Hollywood Could Ever Create

Courtesy: PBS Distribution/PBS

Eat your heart out, Hollywood. Your over-the-top, overly-embellished movies that are based on actual events have officially been put to shame thanks to PBS and BBC.  The agencies released last month, their own presentation based on an actual event – the Apollo 11 mission in the form of 8 Days: To The Moon and Back, and it is everything that a production within the “based on actual events” genre should be.  That is proven in part through the program’s story, which will be discussed shortly.  The combined special effects and actual vintage footage plays into its presentation just as much as its story.  This will be addressed a little later.  Considering the positives of all of this noted content, the presentation’s average price range proves to be money well spent and will be addressed a little later, too.  When it is considered along with the content, all three elements combine to make 8 Days: To The Moon and Back easily one of this year’s top new documentaries and an example of how to do movies based on actual events the right way.

PBS and BBC’s new docu-movie 8 Days: To The Moon and Back is an important new release from the two companies.  That is because it proves that it is possible to create a presentation based on actual events without a bunch of over-the-top special effects and unnecessary embellishments that clearly were not part of the original story.  The story in question is that of the Apollo 11 mission, which led to the very first human stepping foot on the moon. Presented here is that story from beginning to end without any extra, unnecessary drama.  There are no underlying romance subplots, no unnecessary drama points from when the program alerts happen and no added over-the-top speeches at any point throughout the story.  In place of those unnecessary elements are the actual comments from the crew of the Apollo 11 and from the late great Walter Kronkite coupled with actual footage of the mission control staff interacting by radio with the Apollo 11 crew.  They all join to make in whole, one complete story that provides just as much drama as any other movie that is based on actual events.  It shows that such presentations really do not need extra embellishments to make them enjoyable.  Now if only the officials at Hollywood’s “Big Six” would let that sink in.  Sadly, that likely won’t happen anytime soon.  That is okay, though.  It just means that PBS and/or BBC can continue making the true based on actual events presentations and meanwhile let Hollywood’s take on history continue to fade into history.

The story portion of 8 Days: To The Moon and Back is key in its own way to the whole of this presentation.  It is just one of the program’s most important elements.  The aforementioned vintage footage used to help tell the story is just as important to the program’s whole as the story itself.  That is especially the case when it joins with the special effects that are incorporated into the story.  The special effects are clearly computer generated, but are still worthy of their own applause.  They are not the multi-million-dollar, over-the-top blockbuster special effects that one might see in one of Hollywood’s action flicks, but are still impressive in their own right.  From the shots aboard the rocket during its separations to the moments when the Apollo 11 crew looks out of its windows and sees the stars and the sun peeking out from behind the moon to the very moments inside the spacecraft, the special effects utilized in the presentation prove just as good as anything viewers might see on the big screen.  When those special effects are set alongside the vintage footage of the Apollo rocket launching, the mission control staff hard at work keeping the crew safe and even the news footage, the whole of that combination makes the program’s secondary content just as impressive in its own right, as the program’s primary content and worthy of applause.  Once again, it shows that it is possible to make an entertaining, engaging program without the need for lots of explosions, lasers and other standard science fare.  To that end, the combined footage and special effects joins with the story itself to make this presentation a work that outshines any other space-based flick that Hollywood has ever churned out across the board and is well worth the price.

Speaking of the program’s price, that figure is just as important to note as the program’s content.  The average price point of $18.59 for this almost hour-long program is clearly affordable.  That price was obtained by averaging price listings at PBS’ store, Amazon, Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble Booksellers and Books-A-Million.  PBS’ listing of $19.99 is neither the most nor the least expensive listing for the DVD.  The most expensive listing comes in at $24.99 at Books-A-Million.  Amazon and Walmart list the least expensive price at $15.82.  Target’s price listing of $15.86 is only four cents more expensive than the noted listings while Best Buy and Barnes & Noble Booksellers list the DVD at $17.99 and $19.61 respectively.  Regardless of which retailer one chooses, PBS and BBC will still benefit from the sales of this DVD, and it is a work that is worth the money regardless of retailer, as has been pointed out here.  While the one noted price does exceed the average, the others are below that number.  To that point, the listings – average and separate – are affordable and worth spending for this program whose primary and secondary content more than delivers everything for which viewers can hope.  Keeping that in mind, the content and price comes together here to make 8 Days: To The Moon and Back a program that viewers will enjoy 365 days.

PBS and BBC’s recently released docu-movie 8 Days: To The Moon and Back is a standout presentation that history buffs, space history buffs and space science aficionados alike will appreciate.  That is due in part to its story, which completely ignores any unnecessary speeches, drama and other similar items.  Rather, it presents just the facts, but does so in a fashion that still makes the program wholly engaging and entertaining from start to finish. The combined special effects, which themselves avoid being over-the-top, and the vintage footage combine to enrich the program even more.  Taking into consideration that overall content, the DVD’s average price point of less than $20 – and separate listings that are mostly below that price, too – is appealing in its own way, considering how much engagement and entertainment this presentation offers audiences.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the DVD.  All things considered, they make 8 Days: To The Moon and Back a widely appealing work that is one of this year’s top new documentaries and new DVDs/BDs in general.  It is available now.  More information on this and other titles from PBS is available online now at:










More information on this and other titles from the BBC is available online now at:










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BBC Studios Announces Release Date For ‘Good Omens’

Courtesy: BBC Studios

BBC Studios — Americas is bringing the much talked about series Good Omens to DVD and Blu-ray.

The program (based on the novel by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett) is scheduled for release Nov. 5 on DVD and Blu-ray.  It can be purchased through BBC Shop and Amazon.  The series follows an angel and a demon — Aziraphale Michael Sheen — Masters of Sex, Midnight in Paris, The Queen) and Crowley (David Tennant — Dr. Who, Duck Tales, Fright Night) respectively — who are forced to team up to avert the apocalypse.

Sheen and Tennant are joined by an all-star cast made up of celebrities, such as Jon Hamm (Mad MenBaby DriverMillion Dollar Arm), Micheal McKean (This Is Spinal TapA Mighty WindClue) and Benedict Cumberbatch (Star TrekInto DarknessIn Search OfSherlock) for the series.Miranda Richardson (The Crying GameSleepy HollowThe Hours), Jack Whitehall (Fresh MeatBad EducationMother’s Day) and Adria Arjona (Pacific RimUprisingTrue DetectiveLife of the Party) are also included in the program’s cast list.

The six episodes that make up the miniseries’ six-hour run are spread across two discs.  They are accompanied by a variety of bonuses that are exclusive to the series’ DVD and Blu-ray platforms.  They include items, such as a variety of galleries, feature-length commentaries for all six episodes and a page-to-screen comparison of the series and its source material.

More information on this and other titles from BBC Studios is available online now at:






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Benedict Cumberbatch Returns Sunday In New ‘Masterpiece’ Movie

Famed actor Benedict Cumberbactch (SherlockStar TrekInto DarknessThe Imitation Game) returns to PBS’ Masterpiece this Sunday night, but not in his familiar role as the world’s most beloved detective.

Cumberbatch stars as author Stephen Lewis, opposite Kelly MacDonald (BraveThe Decoy BrideGosford Park) in this thriller, which sees Lewis on a desperate search for his daughter Kate after she mysteriously disappears.  Things only get worse when Kate’s disappearance and the search for the little girl ends Stephen’s marriage with Julie (played here by MacDonald).

His three-year-long search for Kate is only one of his problems.  He also has to deal with his best friend Charles Dark, who has resigned from his cabinet position and gone to live with his wife Thelma.  It is that situation that leads to the story’s climax, which is then followed by another surprise.

Courtesy: BBC/PBS

The Child in Time airs Sunday night on PBS at 9/8c.  More information on this and other Masterpiece programs is available online now at:






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