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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Broadchurch Outshines All Other Crime Dramas Again In Its Second Season

Courtesy:  eOne/itv

Courtesy: eOne/itv

British crime drama Broadchurch is one of the greatest series within its genre on television today. That is in comparison to crime dramas both overseas and in the United States. It already proved that two years ago when it first debuted two years ago overseas on the British television network itv. It built one heck of a reputation over the course of its premiere season’s run both among UK and American audiences (not counting those that watched the American re-imagining that was Gracepoint). That meant that it had some major expectations to live up to when it was announced that Broadchurch had been re-upped for a second season. UK audiences already know that the hit crime drama more than lived up to its reputation when itv aired its second season this past March and April. American audiences that didn’t have access to itv weren’t so lucky. Speaking of luck, now that its second season has officially hit store shelves here in the U.S., American audiences will get to see for themselves what the series’ UK audiences already knew. Season Two lives up to expectations first and foremost because of its writing. The writing alone will keep viewers literally on the edge of their collective seats from Season Two’s premiere right to its surprising finale. The work of the series’ cast strengthens that argument even more. The material included as bonus material with this season rounds out the reasons that Broadchurch has more than lived up to expectations in its second season. By itself, the set’s bonus material proves entertaining enough. Together with the work of the series’ writers and cast, all three elements combine to make Broadchurch’s second season just as gripping and entertaining as its first season. What’s more, all three elements come together to prove that after only two seasons, Broadchurch has proven to be one of television’s greatest crime dramas if not the best.

Broadchurch is only two seasons into its run with a third season allegedly in the works beginning this summer. Even as young as it is, it has proven in only two seasons to be one of the best of its kind. The main way that it proves this is through its writing. The most noticeable way that the writing has proven so important again is that it continues in exactly the same fashion as the series’ first season. Rather than use the season’s eight episodes this time to make eight different cases (which is what American crime dramas would have done), Broadchurch’s writers have used all eight episodes of Season Two to tell the story of the fallout from Season One. And boy is there ever fallout? D.I. Miller’s husband Joe is finally in court, facing potential punishment for the murder of the Latimers’ son in Season One. Mark and Beth’s marriage is put to the ultimate test after Mark is asked to take the stand. Ellie’s friendship with Beth Latimer is put to the test, too after revelations are made about Ellie’s confrontation with her husband at the end of Season One. Making things even more interesting is that Ellie is pulled in to a second case being investigated by Alec. It is a case that has haunted Alec for years, as he notes at one point. With so much going on, one would think it easy for the writers to let Season Two get bogged down in itself. But the writers didn’t let that happen. It is obvious over the course of Season Two’s eight episodes that the writers went to painstaking efforts to keep that from happening. Their efforts paid off in spades. At no one point do any of these story lines overpower the others. Rather the writers have surprisingly managed to balance it all with the utmost expertise. The end result is a collection of story lines that will keep viewers literally on the edge of their seats from the season premiere to the season finale.

The manner in which Broadchurch’s writers handled Season Two’s multiple story lines is just one way that this season’s writing makes its episodes so engaging. There are just enough twists, turns, and red herrings to keep viewers guessing right up to the very end. At one point, the writers leave viewers thinking that in fact maybe Mark actually could have been the killer thanks to his meetings with Ellie’s son Tom (Adam Wilson). It does seem a bit creepy to say the least. The writers also keep viewers guessing whether Lee (James D’Arcy) was responsible for the deaths of Pippa Gillespie (Hollie Burgess) and her sister, if it was Lee’s wife Claire (Eve Myles) or if it was perhaps even both of them. The ultimate reveal will leave audiences astonished. As if that isn’t enough, viewers will find themselves just as shocked when Joe Miller’s final fate is revealed. The writers went to great lengths to mislead audiences as to what would happen to Joe. And those efforts paid off greatly. To that extent, that revelation will leave viewers breathless, chomping at the bit for the series’ third season. Yet again it shows just how important the writing is to the series throughout Season Two.

The painstaking efforts of Broadchurch’s writers in the series’ second season have resulted in eight episodes that will have viewers just as rapt as the episodes that made up the series’ first season. That is because the series’ writers have so expertly balanced each of the season’s various story elements from beginning to end. In a similar vein, the work of the cast this season is just as much worth the note. Olivia Colman (D.I. Ellie Colman) is most notable of the cast members this season. That is because of the impact of the story on her character. Viewers see her really grow and change over the course of this season’s episodes. Ellie is forced to face a lot of challenges this season. She sees her friendship with Beth Latimer put to the test after she is forced to take the stand in her husband’s case. She also has the emotional strain of the case on herself. Having to balance all of that emotional stress with helping D.I. Alec Hardy (David Tennant) only makes things more difficult, especially after the surprising verdict handed down to her husband by the jury. All of the psychological and emotional stress put on Ellie breaks her down. And Colman is to be applauded for the manner in which she interpreted Ellie’s reaction to it all. She shows the impact of these stresses to the fullest without going over the top even once. Her furious reaction toward her son after he lied to protect his dad is a prime example of how expertly Colman interpreted Ellie’s emotional strain as is her reaction to the verdict as Alec talks to her about his own case. That moment is actually a moment when Tennant shines, too. His reaction to her anger actually makes for a certain amount of humor if only for that one moment. Getting back on track though, Colman’s portrayal of Ellie is just one example of how the cast’s acting has added to the enjoyment of Broadchurch’s second season. Newcomer Marianne Jean-Baptiste adds even more enjoyment as the despicable yet sympathetic defense attorney Sharon Bishop.

Marianne Jean-Baptiste’s portrayal of defense attorney Sharon Bishop is another example of the role that the cast’s work plays in this season’s success. It is such a fine example of the importance of the cast’s work this season because of how easily Jean-Baptise makes it to hate her character yet feel a certain amount of sympathy for her at the same time. Audiences will love to hate Sharon because of her dogged determination to discount all of the prosecution’s witnesses including Mark Latimer, D.I. Miller, and D.I. Hardy. Bishop is like an attack dog when she faces each of the prosecution’s witnesses. Once she sinks in her proverbial teeth, she does not let go. As much as this makes her easy to hate, the revelation of what has caused her to be the way she is makes her something of a sympathetic character, too. In seeing what Bishop is personally going through, audiences won’t be able to help but feel sorry for her to a point and maybe even understand why she is the way that she is in the courtroom. Such ability to make audiences feel so many mixed emotions about one character is a tribute to Jean-Baptiste’s talents. And it shows yet again why the work of the cast is just as important to the success and enjoyment of Broadchurch’s second season as the work of the series’ writers.

The work of both Broadchurch’s writers and its cast pay off greatly over the course of the episodes that make up its second season. Thanks to the work of all involved, both those that might be new to the series and those that are more familiar with it will find themselves literally on the edge of their seats from the season’s premiere to its finale. Having made their way through all eight episodes of Season Two, audiences will also take note of the material included with the set as bonuses. The standard “making of” featurette is there as is a full complement of deleted and extended scenes as well as a group of interviews with the cast. The interviews in question see the cast discussing not just the events of Season Two but also those of Season One and how they relate to Season Two. While being mostly short vignettes, the interviews still each offer their own insight and entertainment. Viewers will laugh as James D’Arcy playfully compares his character to the classic villain thanks to the way that the writers developed his character. David Tennant’s joke about sitting on the bach in his “undercrackers” will have viewers laughing just as much as his co-star. In comparison to those short segments, the deleted and extended scenes played continuously run approximately half an hour. That is a lot of material that hit the cutting room floor (or in the digital age, the recycle bin). It’s obvious why some of the material in question got the axe. Other later scenes from Episodes six, seven, and eight make for more debate, though. Some of the scenes in question could actually have been kept. Others were more of a 50/50 call. It just goes to show the impact–yet again–that bonus material can have in the enjoyment of a presentation whether it be a TV show such as Broadchurch or any random movie. It is yet another way in which Broadchurch proves to be just as gripping and entertaining in its second season as in its first if not more so. Combined with the work of the series’ writers and its cast, all three elements together show why this season of Broadchurch is another hit not just for itv and eOne, but for viewers, too. It also shows once and for all why the second season of Broadchurch is without a doubt one of this year’s best new box sets for grown-up audiences.

As one can see by now, there is a lot to say to the positive in regards to the second season of Broadchurch. The series’ writers have crafted eight more episodes that display great depth and that expertly balance every story element. The cast’s equally impressive interpretation of Season Two’s scripts will pull viewers even deeper and leave them not wanting to turn it off. The bonus material included in Season Two’s home release rounds out the presentation, adding even more depth to the season as well as some laughs. All three elements together make Season Two one of this year’s best new box sets for grown-up audiences. Broadchurch: The Complete Second Season is available now in stores and online. More information on this and other titles from Entertainment One is available online now at:

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PBS Announces Release Date For Masterpiece Mystery!: The Escape Artist

Courtesy:  PBS/BBC

Courtesy: PBS/BBC

Officials with PBS announced this week that the network will release the latest installment of its series Masterpiece Mystery! this summer.

Masterpiece Mystery!: The Escape Artist will be released Tuesday, June 17th on DVD and Blu-ray. The legal thriller was written by David Wolstencroft (MI-5) and stars David Tennant (Dr. Who, Broadchurch) as successful defense lawyer Will Burton. Burton’s life is perfect. His career is on the right path. He has a beautiful wife and child. His talent for getting his clients out from behind bars has even earned him the nickname “The Escape Artist.” Burton has only one true rival. Her name is Maggie Gardner (Sophie Okonedo—Hotel Rwanda). Gardner is second only to Burton. The pair’s rivalry is purely professional. Both lawyers take more pleasure in manipulating he lives of their clients than each others’ lives. But things change dramatically when Burton receives a case file on the eve of his vacation that could change the very course of his career and his life.

The case file focuses on accused killer Liam Foyle (Toby Kebbel—Wrath of the Titans). Foyle has been accused and charged with the torture killing of a young medical student. Burton goes over Foyle’s case file during his vacation, trying to find any possible break in the file that could be used against the reclusive bird-lover. The legal battle that ensues upon Burton’s return from his vacation brings turn after turn that will keep viewers on the edges of their collective seats.

Masterpiece Mystery!: The Escape Artist will be available on DVD and Blu-ray Tuesday, June 17th. The DVD will be available for SRP of $24.99 and the Blu-ray will be available for SRP of $29.99. It can be pre-ordered now via PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=35446806&cp=&sr=1&kw=masterpiece+mystery+the+escape+artist&origkw=Masterpiece+Mystery+The+Escape+Artist&parentPage=search. More information on this and other installments of Masterpiece Mystery! is available online at http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/masterpiece/mystery/index.html, http://www.facebook.com/masterpiecepbs, and http://twitter.com/masterpiecepbs. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Rom/Com update is worth its own load of laughs

Courtesy: IFC Films

How do you know when you’ve found the one?  When you look into their eyes and find yourself singing, ‘You Are The Wind Beneath My Wings.’

This is one of the key moments of dialogue between Katie (Kelly MacDonald–Disney’s “Brave”) and James (David Tennant–Doctor Who) in IFC Film’s recent rom/com take off of Cinderella, “The Decoy Bride.”  That single line of dialogue is so important because not only does it take off Cinderella, it also lifts at least somewhat from Bette Midler’s 1997 rom/com, “That Old Feeling.”  It also lifts, at least to a certain degree, from the 1990 Julia Roberts/Richard Gere rom/com “Pretty Woman.”  It’s pretty easy to see Macdonald attempting to emulate Julia Roberts throughout the movie.  “Decoy Bride” does lift from other rom/com classics, as noted.  But in its defense, the central plot of James and Lara trying to escape the papparazzi so that they can get married is a prime example of art imitating life, especially withthe recent case surrounding certain celebrities, who will remain unnamed here.  That it’s such a direct mirror of the world’s obsession with celebrities makes it worthy of its share of laughs.

The story behind “The Decoy Bride” is great fun.  Audiences who want a little more insight into the story will appreciate the cast interviews included in the special features.  Each cast member discusses being added to the film, and working together.  [David] Tennant even discusses the weather during filming.  While a rain machine was used at some points, Tennant points out how precise the people on the Isle of Man were in  predicting the weather.  Director Sheree Folkson advances that with her own discussionon how perfectly the weather played out for the entire movie. 

The Decoy Bride is in essence an update of the classic story of Cinderella.  And it does lift from other previous rom/coms.  But it still manages to make its own identity and life.  And keeping that in mind, it is worth at least one watch by any fan of the rom/com genre.

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