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.
PHIL’S PICKS’ 2021 TOP 10 NEW GROWN-UP DVD/BD BOX SETS
Cold War Creatures
All Creatures Great & Small: Season 1
Doom Patrol: Season 2
Miss Scarlet & The Duke: Season 1
Human: The World Within
Jekyll & Hyde
Star Trek Discovery: Season 3
Black Lightning: Season 4
Superman & Lois: Season 1
Star Trek Lower Decks: Season 1
Finding Your Roots: Season 6
Finding Your Roots: Season 7
The Twilight Zone: Season 2
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!
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:
Ahhhhh ,’tis better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all. Everyone knows that old adage about relationships. The thing is that the saying can just as easily apply to other areas of life, such as finding a television show that one enjoys, only to lose that show too soon through cancellation. In those cases, audiences have to remind themselves that at least for that moment, they had something they loved, if only momentarily. Such is the case with British television network’s short-lived action/drama, Jekyll and Hyde. The series ran from October to December 2015 on the British television network itv, but thanks to itv and PBS Distribution, the series, which was canceled after only one season, is getting another chance to be loved. That is because the two sides partnered to release the show on DVD March 9. Regardless of whether audiences are new to the show or original viewers, each side will agree that the show’s rebirth of sorts is a welcome return. Odds are it won’t help the series get some surprise second season, more than five years after the show’s original cancellation, but it will still provide audiences with at least 10 great stories. Those stories serve as the foundation for the series’ new DVD release. They will be discussed shortly. The cast’s work on camera adds its own appeal to the series’ enjoyment. It will be discussed a little later. The collective sets, costumes, and special effects round out the most important of the show’s elements. This will all be addressed later, too. When that is all considered along with elements, such as the show’s cinematography and editing, too, that overall whole makes Jekyll and Hyde a series that shows in its new home release, it more than deserves if not a new season, at least a movie. Even if it doesn’t get that much, this home release of Jekyll and Hyde proves itself a presentation that horror and science fiction fans everywhere will enjoy.
British TV network itv and PBS Distribution’s new home release of itv’s short-lived series Jekyll and Hyde is a presentation that so many audiences will appreciate and enjoy. That is due in absolutely no small part to the series’ story. The story in question finds a young Dr. Robert Jekyll dealing with his curse as he fights an evil monster organization called Tenebrae in Victorian-era London. In the process, Robert is also trying to make sense of his past, of which he knows next to nothing. Prior to fighting the evil monsters, he had lived in India with his adoptive family, even then fighting his curse. A letter that he received about his grandfather’s estate is what brought him to London in the first place. The whole story has such a comic book feel, most specifically that of Hellboy. At the same time, domestic audiences will also manage to make comparisons to the likes of other American science fiction shows, such as Fringe and The X-Files to a slightly lesser extent. The Hellboy comparison should come as no surprise. The show’s heads even mention in the “Introduction” in the set’s bonus content that the superhero feel that the show exhibits is fully intentional. The story starts off a little slow and does leave audiences with some questions, but luckily those questions are gradually answered as the story progresses. Even the fashion in which the questions are answered makes for a comic book vibe, even though apparently this series is not adapted from any comic book. Much the same can be said of the dialogue here. It is just as superhero/comic book-esque, and will be discussed more when the cast’s work on camera is addressed. All things considered here, the story featured at the center of Jekyll and Hyde makes for a solid foundation for this wonderful show. It is just a part of what makes the show so enjoyable. The cast’s work on camera adds its own share of enjoyment and engagement to the whole.
The cast’s work is so notable because of everything that it adds to the show. As noted, this show was intentionally presented in a very distinct superhero/comic book fashion. As most audiences know, such style presentation makes it easy for characters/actors to go over the top and really ham it up (sometimes too much). In the case of lead actor Tom Bateman, he balanced both of his roles (Jekyll and Hyde) so well throughout. The confident swagger that he presents as Hyde and the growth that he helps Hyde show throughout is applause worthy in its own right. That is because of the control that Bateman uses in his performance. At the same time, those moments in which Robert is facing his existential crises, Bateman does just as well to control his performance. Those moments have been and are far too often overacted by other actors in other shows. Thankfully, Bateman did not let himself fall victim to the moments. Rather, the way he handled the moments made his performance all the more engaging and entertaining. That balance of personalities and presentations from Bateman makes his performances through the show another bright spot. Of course his performance is just one of the many that shines here. That of Donald Sumpter, as Garson, is another notable performance.
Sumpter’s take on Garson is important to address because of its unique presence. Garson is, for all intents and purposes, the straight man to Bateman’s evocative lead. The subtle way in which Sumpter exhibits Garson’s concern for and friendship with Robert makes for an interesting juxtaposition to Bateman’s performance. One can almost sense a certain fatherly concern from Garson for Robert, not just a friendship. That is not to say that audiences should compare the duo’s relationship to that of a Bruce Wayne and Alfred, but it is there regardless, just with more of a lighthearted feel. Sumpter’s sometime deadpan delivery adds to that lighthearted nature, making for even more entertainment and engagement.
For all of the entertainment and engagement that Bateman and Sumpter bring to Jekyll and Hyde, their performances are but a bit of what makes the cast’s work stand out. Natalie Gumede’s take on Bella will appeal to men and women alike. She does so well to make Bella both a strong, confident figure, and feminine at the same time. That is evident in the swagger that she gives Bella. That balance of confidence and vulnerability does well to make audiences want her and Robert to end up together even more so than Robert and Lily.
Speaking of Lily, Stephanie Hyam’s performance in the role does well in its own right to make her a red herring of sorts. Right from Lily’s first meeting with Robert, audiences know something isn’t right about Lilly, that she is not all she seems to be. That proves to be exactly the case as the show progresses. At the same time, Hyam does so well to keep it from being too obvious. She makes Lily’s reluctance to fully commit herself to Robert clear that something is up, but the controlled fashion in which Hyam handles the duo’s interactions keeps viewers guessing at what is really going on, especially as Harry is introduced. All things considered here, Hyam’s performance is just as important to this show as the performances of her cast mates.
One more performance that is worth noting in examining the cast’s work is that of Christian Mckay as Max. Max is one of the first people that Robert meets when he arrives in London, and quickly becomes more friend than acquaintance. As with Sumpter, McKay’s performance alongside that of Bateman makes for its own share of entertainment and engagement. The somewhat skittish personality that McKay brings out in Max opposite Bateman makes for a lot of funny moments. The duo’s performances together are important to note because in comparison to Bateman’s performances alongside Sumpter, these moments make Bateman more the straight man and McKay more the comic relief. It serves well to help show Bateman’s versatility as an actor while also showing Mckay’s own enjoyable talents. Between McKay’s performance and those of Hyman, Gumede, Sumpter, and Batement (the majority of the show’s lead cast) no doubt is left as to the importance of the cast’s work. One could just as easily cite the work of Richard E. Grant as Bulstrode, Michael Karim’s supporting role of Robert’s adoptive brother Ravi, and even Tom Rhys Harries’ subtle but still engaging take on Sackler as proof of that importance, too. Either way, the fact of the matter is that the cast’s overall work stands out throughout the series. The cast’s ability to interpret the scripts brings the story even more to life and immerses audiences even more into the show. It is another tribute to the cast’s work and the show itself, proving even more why this show deserves so much more respect than it got in its initial run more than five years ago. It is just one more example of what makes the show just as entertaining and engaging all these years later as it was in its initial run. The collective sets, costumes, and special effects put the finishing touch to this show.
The sets, costumes, and special effects are so important to address because of their aesthetic impact. While sadly not discussed at all in the bonus content featured with the show’s new first-time DVD release, it is deserving of its attention. Audiences will be in awe as Garson reveals the original Dr. Jekyll’s lab to Robert early in the series. The cobwebs and dust that covers everything succeeds in making the lab look like something right out of an old Universal horror flick. In the same breath, it looks increasingly like something out of a comic book as Robert works to restore his grandfather’s old lab. That is evident in the vibrant lighting and the cleaned up lab equipment. It almost makes one think of the bat cave for lack of a better comparison.
On another note, Grant’s MIO office, as simple as it is, is strangely appealing with its gothic look. The large sculpture that hangs behind Grant looms over the set. What looks like a sun carved into the sculpture is interesting considering that MIO’s mission is a sort of Men in Black type quest: to keep the general public in the dark as it battles dark forces. Yet here is this sun-type presentation behind him. The sun is light and life. So it’s almost as if it is meant as a sort of intentional, subtle statement about MIO bringing life by combating darkness and keeping people in the dark about those battles against dark forces. It really adds so much to the importance of the show’s sets.
On yet another hand, the Empire music hall shows in its own way, the importance of the sets. The inside and outside looks so time appropriate. The stage lights are built into the stage floor, as lights in that era were known to be done. The curtains, tables and piano, and even the marquee outside the building are so eye catching in their own right. The seemingly period proper set makes for such a contrast to Grant’s MIO office and Jekyll’s lab. It almost comes across as a source of ease and relaxation against the sense of tension created in the other two sets, proving its success in helping set the mood as audiences watch. It also leads into a discussion on the costumes and their importance.
Just as the Empire transports audiences back to the roughly 1800s, so do the cast’s costumes and even costumes. Robert’s fine suits and the ladies’ dresses and gloves help enhance the setting. The same can be said of the cars. It takes audiences back almost to the turn of the century. That contrast of such a spectacular story taking place in such an era makes for so much more engagement and entertainment. Add in the special effects, such as Robert’s transformation into Hyde (which is simple in its own right, but still powerful) and the disturbing presentation of the Reaper as it goes from host to host, and audiences see even more how much work and time went into making Jekyll and Hyde fully immersive, entertaining and engaging. When result of the time and work spent on the show’s sets, costumes and special effects is considered along with the result of the cast’s acting and that of the story itself, the whole makes this show a presentation that every science fiction and horror fan will enjoy and appreciate even in just one season. With any luck maybe the renewed popularity of and interest in the show will lead to a deserved rebirth of the show either on the small or big screen. If not, then oh well. Audiences will at least have this short-lived standout series to enjoy anytime they want.
PBS Distribution and itv’s new domestic home release of Jekyll and Hyde is a surprisingly enjoyable presentation that every horror, science fiction and comic book fan should see at least once if not more. It only lasted one season, thanks to complaints from people who are far too easily offended and by ratings (supposedly), but now it will hopefully receive the respect that it deserves even years after its initial television run ended. Its appeal is due in large part to its story. The story is very much a comic book/superhero type presentation, even though it was not adapted from a comic book. It succeeds quite well, too throughout. The work of the show’s cast builds just as successfully on the foundation formed through the show’s story, making for even more enjoyment and engagement. The time and work that went into presenting the show’s sets, costumes, and special effects puts the finishing touch to the presentation. It makes the show that much more believable and immersive. When it is considered along with the show’s story and the work of the show’s cast, the whole of all of that content makes this presentation in whole a must see, again, for so many audiences. Jekyll and Hyde is available now. More information on this and other shows from itv is available online at:
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 Lightning – Black 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.
PHIL’S PICKS 2020 TOP 10 NEW DVD & BLU-RAY BOX SETS FOR GROWN-UPS
Endeavour: Season Seven
The Good Place: The Complete Series
Modern Family: The Complete Series
Doctor Who: Season 12
The Expanse: Season 4
Black Lightning: The Complete Second Season
Black Lightning: The Complete Third Season
Stargirl: The Complete First Season
Mission: Impossible: The Complete Series
Gunsmoke: The Complete Series 65th Anniversary Set
Gunsmoke: The Movies
Penny Dreadful: City of Angels Season 1
Swamp Thing: The Complete Series
Star Trek Picard: Season 1
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.
PBS Distribution is bringing the latest season of the crime drama Endeavour to its streaming service.
The seventh season of the British crime drama is scheduled to stream through the PBS Masterpiece Prime Video Channel Aug. 9. The channel is available with a subscription to Amazon Prime and Prime Video. Subscription to the noted services is $5.99/month.
The seventh season of Endeavour is believed by many to possibly be the last for the hit series. Opening on New Year’s Eve 1969, the three-episode season finds things back to some semblance of normalcy among Endeavour and his co-workers following the events of Season Six.
Chief Superintendent Bright is back in charge, and while new relationships will grow, friends already established will face their own new challenges.
The 1970s opens for the staff of Castlegate CID with the discovery of a body at the canal towpath on New Year’s Day. The only clue that the investigators have to go on in the case is a witness who alleges having heard whistling just before the crime happened.
Pre-orders are open now for the home release of Endeavour: Season Seven on DVD an Blu-ray. Its home release is scheduled for Aug. 25.
More information on Endeavour is available online now at:
British TV network itv’s hit crime drama Endeavour will return for a seventh season. The announcement was recently made on PBS’ official Masterpiece website following the airing of the finale for the series’ sixth season on PBS. That means that fans of the famed sleuth will have at least one more season to enjoy. The announcement, which is posted at to.pbs.org/31PxG7Z, states the seventh season will air sometime in 2020, but does not specify the air date for the season premiere. As audiences wait for the premiere of Season Seven, they can enjoy the series’ sixth season on DVD and Blu-ray. Released July 9, this latest season is another positive addition to the ongoing series. That is due in part to the season’s writing, which will be addressed shortly. The work of the series’ cast adds even more interest and appeal to the season. It will be addressed a little later. The bonus content featured with the season’s home release rounds out its most important elements. It will also be addressed later. Each noted item is important in its own way to the whole of the season’s home presentation. All things considered, they make the collection another positive offering from itv and PBS.
The recently released sixth season of Endeavour: Season Six is yet another positive addition to the series. That is proven in part through the season’s writing. Audiences will note over the course of season six, that the series’ writers do not just rely on all of the same storylines that made up the series’ first five season in terms of the crimes. To top it off, the character development – that ongoing storyline that started in Season One – continues to evolve throughout this season, too. In regards to the crimes featured throughout each of the season’s four episodes, fans of Law & Order SVU will find appealing the story in the season premiere, “Pylon.” The disappearance of a young girl leads Endeavour Morse and his now former partner DI Friday to an investigation into the Thames Valley’s seedy underworld of perverts, which leads to a years-old cold case being solved. The suspect in the case is someone that no one would have expected. The noted girl is eventually found, and her cause of death is just as unexpected. It won’t be given away here, but it is a plot element that has not been used up to this point in the series. The season’s second episode, “Apollo,” is a tribute to the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission. It serves as the basis of a murder mystery that also pays tribute to the late great Gerry Anderson and all of his supermarionation series. The murder happens, as it turns out, because of a love triangle between three people who are working on the fictional puppet-based series. “Confection,” the season’s third episode, is another whodunit centered on a romantic tryst. The season finale “Duguello” takes the season out on a bang as it takes in the all-too-familiar crime drama plot elements of corrupt cops and government officials for its basis. That is the extent of what will be given away here, but its outcome plays a key role in what happens at the Thames Valley headquarters. Again that element will be left for viewers to discover for themselves. All four stories offer more than their own share of entertainment and engagement for crime drama fans on both sides of the Atlantic. The fact that the writers continued on this season, to bring viewers new, twist-filled stories that will keep them guessing right to the end is in itself just one key element of the season’s writing. The writing involved with the season’s secondary story elements is just as important to note as that of the primary stories.
The writing involved with the season’s secondary stories – Morse’s relationship with Friday, Friday’s relationship with his (and Endeavour’s) new boss, and even Friday’s relationship with his own wife adds its own share of entertainment and engagement to this season. The writers are to be commended for how they handled each element within the bigger picture of the season. The change in Morse and Friday’s relationship is gradual and subtle. That subtlety in this storyline does just enough to leave viewers watching to see when the longtime friends’ friendship will finally reach its breaking point (and it does, too). In the same breath, Friday’s relationship with his wife creates its own share of drama too because of the subtlety in how it was approached. The balance of these secondary story lines with the primary story lines involving the crimes makes for more than enough entertainment and engagement. It shows once again why Endeavour remains one of the best crime dramas on television today if not the absolute best. While the writing at the center of Season Six does more than its share to keep viewers entertained and engaged, it is only one part of what makes this season work so well. The work of the show’s cast does just as much to make it so appealing.
As noted, the story line involving Friday and Morse’s friendship creates its own interest for viewers. While the work of the show’s writing team deserves its own accolades for that interest, stars Shaun Evans (Morse) and Roger Allam (Friday) deserves its own share of credit, too. It would have been so easy for the pair to go over the top as tensions rose between their characters, but being the consummate professionals that they are, that never happened. The same can be said of Allam’s work as he works on-screen alongside new co-star Simon Harrison (DCI Ronnie Box). The duo’s work together creates just the right amount of tension as their partnership progresses. Those developments play expertly off of the aforementioned work between Allam and Evans for a bigger developing story that shows in whole, just how hard the cast worked to keep viewers watching. Much the same could be said of Allam’s interaction on camera with co-star Caroline O’Neill, who plays Thursday’s wife Win. As the couple’s marriage seems to break down due to Thursday’s work life, it would have been just as easy for the pair to ham it up. Thankfully that didn’t happen in this case, either. The result is even more engagement for viewers. All things considered here, the cast’s work interpreting each script within this season makes for just as much entertainment and engagement for viewers as the stories that form the season’s basis. For all that it does to add to the season’s enjoyment, the work of the cast is not the last of the season’s most important elements. The bonus content that is featured with the season’s home release rounds out its most important elements.
The bonus content featured within the home release of Endeavour: Season Six is a series of featurettes that finds the cast discussing various aspects of the season. Harrison, Allam and Richard Riddell sit down to talk about the stylistic difference in law enforcement between Morse, Jango and Box in one of the featurettes. The featurette in question even presents a tribute to the famed British crime drama The Sweeney as Harrison discusses Box’s methodology. Fans of that series (which was the basis for FX’s former hit crime drama The Shield) will appreciate this mention, and in turn the noted relationships between Friday and Box, Friday and Morse and Box and Morse. In yet another of the bonuses, the cast talks about the tribute to Gerry Anderson in the episode “Apollo.” Viewers will be interested to learn about the episode’s tie to Anderson’s timeless series Thunderbirds with this episode, as well as the fact that the puppeteers had to be trained (yes, trained) in how to handle the puppets for certain scenes within the episode. There are also brief vignettes with certain cast members that features those cast members sharing fond thoughts about their characters and scenes that they recorded for Season Six. Some of those scenes made the final cut while others weren’t so lucky. All things considered here, the bonus content featured with the home release of Season Six is brief, but still adds its own share of entertainment and insight to the whole of the season. When that is considered alongside the engagement and entertainment guaranteed through the season’s acting and writing, it becomes no mystery why the sixth season of Endeavour is another success for the series.
Endeavour: Season Six is another strong new entry in the long-running crime drama’s run. That is proven in part through the writing that went into the series. Both the primary and secondary story lines show the strength of said writing. The work of the series’ cast is just as strong as the writing. The bonus content, though brief, adds its own entertainment and insight to the whole of the season’s presentation. Each item is important in its own way to the season’s whole. All things considered, they show why Endeavour continues to be one of television’s top crime dramas in its sixth season, if not the best. More information on Endeavour is available online now at:
Shout! Factory is resurrecting the cult classic sci-fi series Space: 1999. Due out July 16 on DVD and Blu-ray, the upcoming re-issue marks the first time that the series has received a full domestic release. It was released most recently released in a full set overseas via Network in 2017. Spread across 13 discs on DVD and Blu-ray, the collection is a must have for the most devout fans of the short-lived British import. That is due in part to the set’s packaging, which will be addressed shortly. The bonus content, which is expansive to say the least, is another key addition to the collection. The companion booklet that is also featured with the set, rounds out the set’s most important elements. Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of Space: 1999 – The Complete Series. All things considered, they make this first-ever domestic home release of the series one that will be difficult to top for any future re-issues domestic or otherwise.
Shout! Factory’s upcoming domestic release of Space: 1999 – The Complete Series is a collection that the cult classic series’ most devoted fans will appreciate. That is due in part to the set’s packaging. The series’ 48-episode run is spread across 13 discs in two separate Blu-ray boxes. The discs are placed on either side of a series of plates inside each box. While the series’ two seasons are separated out into boxes, the packaging manner for the discs actually minimizes the bulk of each box. Even with the main bonus features being placed on their own disc inside its own third case, the set’s overall Blu-ray box size is conservative on its size because of how the discs are packaged within the cases and because Blbu-ray boxes are themselves smaller than DVD boxes.
The actual packaging of the discs is just one key item to note in examining the overall packaging of Space: 1999’s Blu-ray set. Audiences will note that on the back of each of the collection’s main two cases is an episode listing for that season. The episodes are specifically aligned with their respective discs. This might not seem overly important on the surface, but in reality it is very important. Having the episodes listed specifically on their discs saves time for viewers in deciding which disc and episode to watch. Of course, this is nothing new for Shout! Factory’s home releases, but it is still worth noting since it is another example of that continued effort by the people at Shout! Factory to give viewers the best experience possible with each of its multi-disc sets. While the episode summaries are not included inside or outside the cases, Shout! Factory’s people did not forget those, either. They will be discussed a little later. Moving on, the packaging of Space: 1999 – The Complete Series is just one part of what makes the collection stand out for the series’ fans. The bonus content featured throughout the set adds even more to the set’s presentation.
The bonus content featured in this first-ever domestic release of Space: 1999 – The Complete Series is spread across the set’s 13-discs with the main discs featuring picture galleries from each episode. The main bonus content is a series of featurettes and a mix of old and new interview segments. Star Barbara Bain’s interview features her talking about her draw to the series despite not being a science fiction fan at the time that she tried out for a role on the series, but coming to enjoy her time on the show. Bain also mentions in her interview, her interest in the show’s premise and its set. There is also an entertaining anecdote shared by Bain here, about working with Christopher Lee in one episode of Season One. She joked about his height and how the show’s creative heads wanted to make him even taller than his natural 6-foot 4-inch height. That is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg here. The discussions on the series’ concept and creation features discussions with the series’ creator Gerry Anderson – who also created other classic series, such as Thunderbirds, Stingray and Joe 90 – as well as other members of the series’ creative team discussion the series’ creation. Anderson discusses the role that ITC had in the importing of the series to the United States while others discuss the things that went on behind the scenes. Perhaps one of the most intriguing discussions is that of show runner Fred Freiberger, who came into the show near the end of its first season. Anderson’s wife Sylvia speaks one way of Freiberger – essentially saying he did not understand the difference between British television and American – while cast member Nick Tate spoke a little more warmly of Freiberger. As if all of that is not enough for viewers, there is also a look into the models that were used That look is key because it reminds people about how groundbreaking Anderson’s series were then and are now in hindsight. As another interviewee noted in another segment, shows of this series’ caliber can only be made in this era using CG. Between these discussions, so many others featured in the bonus content, the bonus picture galleries and the audio commentaries also featured throughout the set, audiences get here a full and fully immersive viewing experience. It takes the foundation formed by the set’s packaging and strengthens it even more than one could even imagine. That foundation is strengthened more still through the companion booklet that is also featured as part of the collection’s whole.
The companion booklet that is featured with Space: 1999 – The Complete Series opens with a brief but concise look at the history of Space: 1999 by pop culture historian and Shout! Factory Associate Producer Russell Dyball. The history is also an appreciation for the series, with Dyball discussing the series’ theme music, its stylistic approach, which was far different from that of Star Trek – but common for Gerry and Sylvia Anderson’s series – and the expansive merchandising associated with the show. From there, the booklet features a full rundown of the series’ episodes with brief, but concise summaries of each episode. There is even a note ahead of the episode summaries stating that the lineup is based on the series’ episode production order, the most commonly accepted episode order. Considering that there was not enough space inside and outside the series’ cases for episode summaries, the people at Shout! Factory are to be commended for taking the time to make sure even that element was still included in one way or another with the set. Audiences will likely end up using this episode guide even more than the episode guides printed on the backs of the cases. It’s just one more positive to an already positive presentation that the most devoted fans of this classic series will appreciate. When it is considered along with the previously noted positives – the packaging and the bonus content – the set in whole becomes a presentation that every Space: 1999 fan will want to add to their home library.
Shout! Factory and itv’s upcoming domestic release of Space: 1999 – The Complete Series is a presentation that the most devoted fans of the series and the most devoted science fiction fans will appreciate. That is due in part to the set’s packaging. Once again, Shout! Factory has set the bar for multi-disc packaging with this Blu-ray set. The bonus content featured with the set adds even more interest to its whole, as it includes audio commentaries, interviews, retrospectives and picture galleries throughout the set’s 13 discs. The companion booklet that is also featured with the set rounds out its most important elements. Each item noted is key in its own way to the whole of the set. All things considered, they make this collection a “universal” hit among science fiction audiences, not just fans of this series. More information on this and other titles is available online now at:
PBS Distribution is bringing the sixth season of the British crime drama Endeavour home next week.
Endeavour: Season 6 is scheduled for release July 9 on DVD and Blu-ray. Shaun Evans returns as the series’ titular character Endeavour Morse alongside co-star Roger Allman, who portrays Detective Inspector Fred Thursday for four more episodes of murder and mystery.
Season Six picks up right where Season Five left off. The Oxford City Police Department has been dissolved and combined with the Thames Valley Constabulary. Detective Constable George Fancy remains in the minds of everybody from the Oxford City Police Department, even as the longtime friends and co-workers are all filling new roles in the new merger of departments.
In the season premiere — “Pylon” — Morse is back in uniform, working a quiet, rural region of Oxford when he discovers the body of a missing schoolgirl. Problems within the Castle Gate CID leave Endeavour to take the lead on the case and prove the innocence of a teenage suspect and find the girl’s real killer.
Episode Two — “Apollo: — is Evans’ directorial debut. The story in this episode ties the impending Apollo 11 mission to the death of a young astrophysicist and his girlfriend. The couple’s death in a car accident seems at first, to be completely accidental. However, a deeper investigation leads to the suspicion of foul play. In turn, Morse must get Thursday’s help to investigate and solve the case.
In Episode Three — “Confection” — Morse investigates the death of a successful chocolate factory owner. The investigation leads Morse to connect the confectioner’s death to another murder — that of a young, single mother.
The season finale — “Duguello” — centers on the death of a librarian, leaving Morse and Thursday to become their own Holmes and Watson. All the pair has to go on in their investigation is a pair of muddy boot prints. Morse’s investigation leads to an unlikely suspect.
Endeavour: Season 6 will retail for MSRP of $39.99 on DVD and $49.99 on Blu-ray. the DVD can be pre-ordered now at a reduced price of $34.99 and the Blu-ray at a reduced price of $44.99 via PBS’ online store. More information on Endeavour is available online now at:
Sixty years have passed this year since Rodgers & Hammerstein’s timeless musical The Sound Of Music made its stage debut. The timeless musical, which was based on the memoir of Maria Von Trapp went on to earn five Tony® awards. This is despite the historical inaccuracies in the story. The story won the awards — and went on to spawn an equally famed big-screen musical in 1965, that starred actress Julie Andrews – because of its musical numbers and performances by its cast. 20th Century Fox’s 1965 film adaptation of the play was just one of countless adaptations of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s timeless work that have been crafted on stage and screen around the world. British broadcasting network itv produced its own TV take on the play in the form of The Sound of Music Live in 2015. Its broadcast was followed early last November with a Blu-ray home release of the production, courtesy of Shout! Factory. The presentation is one that any die-hard fan of The Sound of Music will appreciate. That is due in part to its story, which will be discussed shortly. Its very presentation also plays into its appeal, and will be discussed a little later. The bonus content included with the show’s home release is important to its appeal, too, and will be discussed later as well. Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the home release of The Sound of Music Live. All things considered, they make The Sound of Music Live a good addition to the library of any musical fan’s library and to that of any devotee of The Sound of Music.
British broadcaster itv’s 2015 small-screen take of The Sound of Music is a work that is certain to appeal to musical theater fans just as much as devotees of The Sound of Music. That is thanks in part to its story. The story presented here uses Rodgers & Hammerstein’s original musical, which made its stage debut in 1959, as its source more so than the 1965 big screen adaptation, which starred Julie Andrews as Maria. However, much of what is included in the cinematic take is also included in the stage version, so audiences get here, the best of both worlds. Given there are some slight alterations between the 1965 version and this take, such as how the Von Trapp family ultimately escapes the Nazis (not to give away too much) and the initial ‘Do-Re-Me’ scene. That number’s setting is different in the two versions. The execution of the ‘Edelweiss’ number is also slightly different between the two versions, especially considering that in itv’s take, there is only one performance of the song while in the 1965 version, the song is performed twice in two separate settings. This is just one of the few differences that exist between itv’s live version of The Sound of Music and 20th Century Fox’s 1965 presentation of the story. There are other minute variances between each take. The fact that the differences are so minute ensures even more, that this version will still appeal to fans of the original play and those who are more loyal to the story’s cinematic standard. The story is just one part of what makes this performance of The Sound of Music so widely-appealing to audiences. The show’s very presentation adds to its appeal even more.
The presentation of The Sound of Music Live is important to address in examining the movie in that it adds to the ability of audiences to suspend their disbelief. This includes the sets and cinematography. Audiences get a behind-the-scenes look at the sets in the presentation’s bonus material. This will be discussed a little later. The sets give the feeling that they could just as easily have been used in an actual stage presentation of the classic musical, yet are just enough to give the show a little bit of a cinematic feel at the same time. That attention to detail and balance makes the show’s set designers worthy of their own share of applause. The equally sharp camera work throughout gives even more, that feeling of a stage presentation on screen without being too much over the top. The movements and the shots themselves couple with the sets to give audiences the best seat in the house. It’s like being in a theater watching the musical take place, but not having to deal with the noise and congestion created by other people. In other words, the sets and cinematography presented in The Sound of Music Live do just as much for the show’s overall presentation as its story. That collective is not the last of the presentation’s most important elements. The bonus content featured in its Blu-ray release is key in its own way to the whole package.
The bonus content featured as part of The Sound of Music Live’s home release is made up of a full-length audio commentary track featuring lead stars Kara Tointon and Julian Ovenden, as well as the previously noted behind-the-scenes featurette. The behind-the-scenes featurette is enlightening in its own right, as it shows viewers the intensity of the preparations for the show (roughly two months worth of preps to be exact). It also shows how hard it was to actually put on the show once the proverbial curtain lifted. That alone makes for more appreciation for the show. The bonus feature-length commentary adds its own share of enlightenment and interest. That is thanks to the variety of items that Tointon and Ovenden discuss. The pair addresses items, such as Tointon’s lack of knowledge about playing guitar, thee difficulty of shooting a stage presentation for the small screen and commentary that the cast and crew received from audiences in Austria. They note that the noted audiences were not happy with The Sound of Music in general because of the story’s historical inaccuracies. That’s just a sampling of what was discussed in the commentary. The pair also talks briefly about the use of the stock footage as part of the show, the humility of the younger cast members and the success of the casting for other parts, just to name a little bit more. Between all of this and the items not mentioned in reference to the bonus commentary (and the behind-the-scenes featurette), the bonus content featured in this Blu-ray adds even more appeal for the overall presentation. When it is considered along with the story and the show’s aesthetic elements, the whole proves to be a presentation that will appeal to plenty of audiences.
itv’s small-screen iteration of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s classic musical The Sound of Music Live is a work that will appeal easily to musical fans in general as well as to devoted fans of the noted musical. That is due in part to the show’s story with includes elements of the 1965 cinematic adaptation from 20th Century Fox and of the original stage musical. The sets and cinematography presented in the show collectively add more interest and appeal to the presentation. The bonus content featured in the show’s Blu-ray release adds its own share of interest to the presentation, too. Each item noted here is important in its own right to the whole of The Sound of Music Live. All things considered, the show is one that, again, is certain to appeal to musical devotees across the board. The Sound of Music Live is available now. More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:
itv’s hit crime drama Endeavour wrapped its fifth season this past March, and now Season 5 is coming home for the series’ American audiences.
Public Media Distribution will release Masterpiece Mystery!: Endeavour Season 5 July 10. It will be released on DVD ($39.99) and Blu-ray ($49.99). In the fifth season of the international hit series, it’s 1968, and turmoil is brewing inside and outside the Cowley Police Station.
As Endeavour Morse takes a new recruit named Fancy (Lewis Peek — Poldark, Curse of the Phoenix, Dartmoor Killing) under his wing, his current partner, Thursday (Roger Allam — V For Vendetta, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, The Wind That Shakes The Barley) is considering retirement. Organized crime is also on the rise in Oxford, causing plenty of concern for Morse and company.
Season 5 opens with an auction of a famed Faberge Egg at Lonsdale College. It catches the attention of an international thief — and in turn, the police — upon the report of a failed burglary. That case turns to an even bigger investigation into a serial killer. Along the way, Morse ends up taking the aforementioned Fancy under his wing, but not entirely willingly.
In ‘Cartouche,’ the second of Season 5’s episodes, a horror movie filming in Oxford crosses with the investigation into the poisoning of a former detective sergeant as Morse and Thursday are led to a theater in their investigation. It just so happens that the theater is hosting the stars of that horror film at a special event. Things take an even more unexpected turn when the theater’s organist is also poisoned, leading the movie’s stars to think an Egyptian curse is to blame for the poisonings. The reality though, is much darker.
‘Passenger,’ the season’s third episode follows Endeavour as he investigates a woman’s disappearance, fearing it may be linked to a cold case involving the death of a teenager killed years ago. Thursday meanwhile, is investigating a truck hijacking that is believed to have been linked to organized crime in the city.
The death of a model following a photoshoot on an army base lies at the center of the season’s fourth episode, ‘Colours.’ Things get even more complicated when Sam Thursday — the son of Morse’s partner — is implicated in the model’s death, leading him to be sidelined. DS Jim Strange takes Thursday’s place during the investigation. Tensions rise between the pair during the investigation, especially after a second model is found dead and more secrets are revealed.
‘Quartet,’ the season’s fifth episode, is a turning point for Morse and Thursday as Thursday decides to step away and work more from home following an investigation into an attempted assassination. While the investigation into the assassination attempt is halted, Morse wants to keep investigating, leading him deeper into the underbelly of Oxford than ever before, and revealing even more secrets than ever thought. Thursday meanwhile, has to face his own issues as he works from home.
The season’s finale continues the turning point in Morse and Thursday’s working relationship after Thursday’s brother returns suddenly. Meanwhile, Morse is investigating a case at a school involving the disappearance of a teacher and the appearance of a body. The discovery leads Morse to question who he can and cannot trust.
While audiences will have to wait until July 10 for Season 5 to be released on DVD and Blu-ray, the wait for its American television premiere is much shorter. Season 5 is currently scheduled to premiere on PBS stations nationwide June 24. Audiences can view a full season trailer for Season 5 online now here.
Season 5 is spread across three discs on each platform with a total run time of 540 minutes. It can be pre-ordered online now via PBS’ online store at reduced prices of $34.99 (DVD) and $44.99 (Blu-ray). More information on Endeavour is available online now at: