‘Space: 1999 — The Complete Series’ Is A “Universal” Hit For Science Fiction Fans Everywhere

Courtesy: Shout! Factory

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: 1999The 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: 1999The 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: 1999The 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: 1999The 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: 1999The 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: 1999The 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:

 

 

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PBS Distribution Announces ‘Endeavour: Season Six’ Release Date

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution

PBS Distribution is bringing the sixth season of the British crime drama Endeavour home next week.

EndeavourSeason 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.

EndeavourSeason 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:

 

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itv’s TV Take Of ‘The Sound Of Music’ Will “Score” With Musical Fans

Courtesy: itv/Shout! Factory

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:

 

 

 

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‘Endeavour: Season 5’ U.S. Release Date Announced

Courtesy: itv/PBS Distribution

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 — PoldarkCurse of the PhoenixDartmoor Killing) under his wing, his current partner, Thursday (Roger Allam — V For VendettaPirates of the CaribbeanOn Stranger TidesThe 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:

 

Website: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/masterpiece/shows/endeavour

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Twitter: http://twitter.com/masterpiecepbs

 

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‘Endeavour: Season 4′ Lives Up To PBS’ “Masterpiece” Moniker

Courtesy: itv/Public Media Distribution/PBS

Early this past September, Public Media Distribution released to American audiences the fourth season of PBS’ hit British import Endeavour.  The latest season of the phenomenal crime drama is yet another successful release for both itv and PBS that shows once again why this series easily bests any American crime drama on television today.  That is proven in part to the writing in more than one way.  This will be discussed shortly.  The work of the series’ cast cannot be ignored in examining this latest of the series’ installments.  It will be discussed later.  Last but definitely not least of note in examining this season’s recent home release is its bonus material.  It, like the season’s writing and acting, plays its own important part to the whole of the season’s presentation.  All things considered, the fourth season of Endeavour proves to be yet another entertaining offering from one of the U.K.’s top crime dramas.

Endeavour: The Complete Fourth Season has been available to American audiences for almost two months, having been released Sept. 5 via Public Media Distribution.  For those who perhaps have not yet had the opportunity to view this latest installment in the ongoing series, it goes without saying that it is another enjoyable effort for the series.  That is due in no small part to the work of the series’ writers.  This applies both to the stories featured in this season and to the series’ interweaving subplots.  All four of this season’s episodes give something totally different from one to the next.  The season premiere, for instance, is easily comparable to the story at the center of the hit 19999 Denzel Washington/Angelina Jolie crime blockbuster The Bone Collector.  At the same time, a comparison to author Dianne Setterfield’s novel The 13th Tale in the story, too (not to give away too much of the plot).  The second episode, ‘Canticle’ plays directly off of the summer of love for its central story.  Even with this in mind, it still manages to make itself an intriguing story nonetheless.  ‘Lazaretto,’ the season’s penultimate episode, changes things up yet again by taking place almost entirely in a hospital ward as Morse tries to find out why occupants of one bed keep dying.  The answer plays out almost like something right out of today’s headlines (again, not to give away too much).  There is even a nice, action packed police foot chase complete with gunfire for action fans.  The season finale, ‘Harvest’ centers around a body found during an archaeological dig. The killer may or may not be connected to a pagan ritual held near a power station.  It is yet another story that stands easily on its own feet separate from its counterparts in this season.  That distinct identity of the season’s stories is but one part of what makes the season’s writing stand out so much.  The writers’ ability to balance the stories with their underlying, interweaving subplots strengthens the writing even more.

Audiences will note in watching this season that while the central stories are solidly entertaining in their own right, they are not the only stories featured throughout the episodes.  From one episode to the next, the writers make sure to not forget the Thursdays’ anxiousness over their daughter Joan as well as Endeavour’s personal struggle with himself over his feelings for her.  Given, it is a serial element, but the writers at no point ever allow this element to overpower the season’s central standalone stories.  That balance gives fans of serials and standalone series alike something to anticipate and appreciate.

As if the stories presented within each of this season’s episodes are not enough for audiences (and their balance with the episodes’ secondary stories), the writers’ ability to keep audiences guessing right up until the end of each episode proves to be yet another way in which the writing proves so critical.  The stories put in just enough red herrings and twists to keep viewers completely engaged right to each story’s end without leaving viewers confused.  When this is considered along with the already discussed elements in the season’s writing, it becomes wholly clear why the writing is so critical to the season’s overall presentation.  It is only one part of what makes this season so engaging.  The work of the series’ cast is once again just as notable as the work of the show’s writers.

The series’ cast – most notably lead stars Shaun Evans and Roger Allum – is top-notch once more in this season. This especially the case as Endeavour and Thursday raise personal matters in each story.  Thursday becomes a powerfully sympathetic character as he tries to cope his daughter’s disappearance. Allum’s handling of Thursday’s emotional struggle makes these moments so powerful, even in their simplicity.  In the same breath, his stress at trying to fill in for Chief Superintendent Bright late in the season is just as engaging.  It is another way in which the writers develop Thursday’s character even more this season and another example of Allum’s expert acting chops.

Evans’ acting chops are just as notable as those of Allum this time around.  The way in which he handles’ Morse’s continued dedication to his job alone will keep audiences engaged.  His reaction at discovering the result of his Sergeant’s exam clearly exemplifies this.  His reaction at finally locating Joan (there again is that secondary story aspect) is just as moving and will keep viewers just as engaged as his handling of Morse’s casework.  When the work of the series’ supporting cast and extras is added alongside the work of Allum and Evans, the whole of the cast’s work does plenty to add its own share of engagement and entertainment to this season, showing in whole why the cast’s work is just as important as the work of the series’ writers.  It is not the last of the season’s most notable elements.  The bonus material that is included in the season’s home release is the last of those elements.

The bonus material included in Season 4’s home release includes a group of behind-the-scenes featurettes that discuss a handful of items.  From the series’ look as it applies to the era in which the season is set (the late 1960s) to Evans discussing his take on his character and on Morse’s relationship with Joan Thursday to Evans even taking a shot at being a cameraman behind the scenes, audiences are given quite the insight into how this season came to life.  Viewers will appreciate the discussion on the sets and costumes in “Making Endeavour in Oxford” because it shows the efforts taken to recreate 1960s Oxford.  Evans’ discussions on Morse and Morse’s relationship with Joan adds even more to that one underlying subplot that runs throughout all four episodes, adding even more interest to this season.  When that interest is joined with the interest created through the cast’s work and that of the series’ writers, the whole of those elements makes this season of Endeavour some of the show’s best work to date.

The fourth season of itv’s Endeavour is some of the series’ best work to date.  Even at only four episodes, this season offers audiences plenty to appreciate including the extensive work by the series’ writers.  The ast’s work adds even more interest to this season.  The bonus material included in the season’s home release outs the finishing touch to the season.  Each element is important in its own right to the season’s home presentation. All things considered, they make the season in whole another fully engaging offering from what is one of the U.K.’s best crime dramas.  It is available now and can be ordered online direct via PBS’ online store.  More information on this and other PBS Masterpiece series is available online at:

 

 

 

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‘Masterpiece Mystery: Endeavour’ Returns Sunday

Endeavour returns tomorrow.

The fourth season of Masterpiece Mystery: Endeavour begins at 9 p.m. ET on PBS stations nationwide.  The series’ fourth season opens with yet another major mystery for Endeavour Morse to solve.  This time, the clock is ticking as Endeavour tries to solve the connection between a drowning and a chess-playing “thinking” machine.

Audiences can view a trailer for Season 4’s premiere episode online now here.

Courtesy: PBS/itv

Support for Masterpiece Mystery: Endeavour is provided by Viking River Cruises and Farmers Insurance.

More information on Masterpiece Mystery: Endeavour is available online now along with all of the series’ latest news at:

 

 

 

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Public Media Distribution Announces ‘Endeavour: Season 4’ Domestic Release Date

Courtesy: itv/Public media Distribution/PBS

Public Media Distribution is bringing home the fourth season of the hit British crime drama Endeavour this summer.

Endeavour: Season Four will be released Sept. 4, just as summer starts to wind down and the weather starts to change, giving audiences plenty to enjoy through the rest of this year.  Season 4 picks up right where Season 3 left off with the young Detective Morse and his partner Thursday dealing with more personal and work issues.

Morse waits in the series fourth season for the results of his Sergeant’s exam at work while dealing with emotional issues off the job.  Thursday and Win have their own issues as Sam has left for the army and Joan has gone off to points unknown.

Season 4’s four episodes—‘Game,’ ‘Canticle,’ ‘Lazaretto,’ and ‘Harvest’—are spread across two discs, totaling 480 minutes.  The DVD will retail for MSRP of $34.99 and the Blu-ray for 44.99.  It will be listed soon online via PBS’ online store.  More information on this and other PBS Masterpiece series is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.pbs.org/masterpiece

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Twitter: http://twitter.com/masterpiecepbs

 

 

 

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