‘Sesame Street: 50th Anniversary Celebration’ Is Fun But Falls Short Of Expectations

Courtesy: Sesame Workshop/Shout! Factory/Shout! Factory Kids

One week ago today, the beloved children’s television series Sesame Street marked a very important moment in its history.  The educational series celebrated 50 years on television.  That is a long time for any series to be on television.  Few series have lasted such a long time.  The only series that has lasted longer is Jeopardy.  For those wondering, The Price is Right did not premiere until Sept. 4, 1972.  In celebration of its 50th anniversary, the show’s heads created a special episode to mark the occasion.  It has already run on HBO, and will air tonight on PBS Kids stations nationwide.  Following its airings, it will be available on DVD on Dec. 3 through an ongoing partnership between Shout! Factory and Sesame Workshop.  The celebration is enjoyable in its own right and worth an occasional watch.  That is due to the collective whole of its overall content.  While the program’s overall content ensures audiences’ engagement and entertainment, the way in which said content was presented sadly detracts from that enjoyment and engagement.  Luckily, the negative impact of the program’s editing and ordering is not enough to make it unwatchable.  The program’s bonus content couples with its primary content to add to its appeal.  When that collective content is considered alongside the issues raised by the program’s editing and ordering, the presentation in whole proves to be maybe not a perfect celebration of Sesame Street, but one that is worth at least an occasional watch.

Shout! Factory and Sesame Workshop’s new 50th Anniversary celebration of Sesame Street is an interesting program that is worth at least an occasional watch.  That is due in part to its overall content.  The main presentation finds Elmo and his friends looking for Sesame Street’s street sign because it has gone missing on the very day that the neighborhood’s gang is to celebrate the show’s 50th anniversary.  As the group searches for the sign, they also have to keep host Joseph Gordon-Levitt from knowing the sign has gone missing.  Along the way, some random segments featuring some of the shows’ most well-known and beloved musical numbers are performed by the likes of Meghan Trainor, Norah Jones, Elvis Costello and Nile Rogers.  Of course it is obvious that some of the performances in question are lip synched; specifically speaking those of Trainor and Rogers.  They come across more like music videos than actual performances, which sadly do detract somewhat from the program’s enjoyment, but not so much so that the program is unwatchable.  Elmo and company’s search eventually reaches a happy ending with a surprise.  The whole thing lasts roughly one hour.

Following the finale of the program’s main presentation, audiences are treated to a series of guest appearances from other celebrities as they introduce their favorite moments from Sesame Street’s history.  In all, there are four segments.  Each segment is accompanied by the full-length segments which each guest star discusses with members of the Sesame Street gang.  These segments, honestly, offer more in the way of engagement and entertainment than the main program in this presentation.  This is where the program takes a bit of a turn.

The overall primary content featured in the Sesame Street: 50th Anniversary Celebration offers a certain amount of entertainment for audiences.  However, the editing and arrangement of said content detracts considerably from the presentation.  It would have made more sense (at least in this critic’s own view) for the extra guest appearances and segments to have been made part of the overall celebration than their own standalone presentation.  Instead of just having random musical numbers as part of the main presentation to break up the search for the sign segments, it would have made more sense to have Elmo and company go around Sesame Street, meeting those guests, who were hanging out with the other members of the Sesame Street “gang,” during the search for the sign, have the noted guests talk about their favorite memories and transition to those segments and then go back to the search for the sign than to have the whole assembled how it was put together.  By just incorporating the random celebrities the way in which they were used in the main presentation, the main program just feels disjointed, and the celebs just seem like little more than window dressing.  All in all, the editing drastically detracts from the general effect of the program’s presentation.  While it does not make the program unwatchable, it does detract from the presentation enough, that it makes one wonder how much thought and time was put into planning and scripting this celebration.  The effect is that while it does pay tribute to Sesame Street, its history and impact, the main presentation here is worth maybe an occasional watch, but is not the truly memorable tribute that it could have been.

While the editing and scripting of Sesame Street: 50th Anniversary Celebration clearly hurts the celebration’s presentation, it does not make it completely unwatchable.  The program’s bonus content, which is brief in itself, does a little more to add to the program’s appeal.  There is a brief “Elmo’s World” segment in which Elmo talks about the different kinds of celebrations with his smart phone friend “Smartie” and an even more brief look back at Sesame Street’s half-century history.  It is essentially just a video compilation of the series’ opening segments that eventually end up making a video mosaic of the show.  Again, this is where the scripting and editing come back into play.  That video mosaic of sorts could and should have been used to open the program instead of having Cookie Monster taking a cab ride to Sesame Street as he tries to find out where Sesame Street is.  How would Cookie Monster not know how to get to Sesame Street?  That is just not believable.  Getting back on topic, the bonus content overall adds a little bit of entertainment for audiences.  When it is considered along with the program’s primary content, the end result is an overall presentation that is worth an occasional watch, but certainly is sadly not the celebration that it surely could and should have been for such an iconic series.

Sesame Street: 50th Anniversary Celebration is an intriguing offering for audiences.  Considering the rich history of Sesame Street and the impact that it has had for half a century, the “celebration” is worth an occasional watch, but sadly falls short of being the tribute that it could and should have been.  The content that makes up the body of the program’s main presentation will entertain and engage audiences, but the editing and scripting of that main presentation greatly detracts from the program’s impact.  The bonus content that comes with the program’s DVD presentation works with the program’s content in its main presentation to make the whole enjoyable, but sadly not memorable.  Sesame Street: 50th Anniversary Celebration will be available on DVD Dec. 3.  More information on this and other titles from Sesame Workshop is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.sesameworkshop.org

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SesameWorkshop

Twitter: http://twitter.com/sesameworkshop

 

 

 

More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/shoutfactoryofficial

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ShoutFactory

 

 

 

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3rd Rock’s Season 6 A Funny Finale For Former Standout NBC Sitcom

Courtesy:  Mill Creek Entertainment

Courtesy: Mill Creek Entertainment

Today’s sitcoms are anything family friendly.  They have become increasingly over laden with sexual innuendo, foul language, and completely dumbed down humor.  These are the main complaints that are received by many audiences about many of the sitcoms currently airing on television’s “Big 4”, and even on some cable based comedies.  Thank goodness for companies Mill Creek Entertainment for offering audiences an alternative to the mostly blue humor that pollutes today’s comedies.  One of the most recent of those alternatives from Mill Creek Entertainment is the release of NBC’s hit sitcom, 3rd Rock from the Sun Season Six.

The sixth and final season of the once powerhouse NBC comedy is just as funny as the show’s previous five seasons thanks once again to the show’s writers.  The Solomon family continues trying to learn the ways of humans in its ongoing mission, all while creating its own share of laughs along the way.  Dick learns in the show’s final season that he’s *gasp* Canadian.  The Solomon family also temporarily takes on new lives in an alternate universe.  And Tommy experiences the human experience that is college.  These are just a few of the funny moments that fill out the final season of 3rd Rock from the Sun.  That’s not all that makes this season such a joy.  A who’s who of guest stars appears throughout Season six, too, adding to the laughs.  A whole slew of fellow NBC stars come in this season including former Saturday Night Live cast members Darrell Hammond, Tracy Morgan, and Ana Gasteyer.  Richard Belzer (Law & Order: SVU) and Mark McKinney (The Kids in the Hall) and singer Elvis Costello also show up this season.  Even as small as their parts are, the guest stars add their own comic element to the show, making it even more entertaining.

The writing in 3rd Rock’s final season is just as entertaining as it was in the series’ premiere season.  Some might have considered it a bit of a cheap thing to do a Saturday Night Live crossover and a slight pump for Law & Order: SVU.  But it all works quite well in the two-part episode, “Dick’ll Take Manhattan.”  The writers, probably knowing it was the show’s last season, take a playful stab at then fellow NBC hit, Saturday Night Live and even the NBC brass as Harry becomes the head of the network.  The writers didn’t just take a stab at NBC.  They even poked fun at HBO’s then hit show, Sex and the City, with Sally (Kristen Johnston) taking the place of Sarah Jessica Parker’s Carrie.  It gets even funnier, with each member of the cast having their own hilarious moments.  This standout episode was just one that served as a tribute to the wit of the show’s writers.  Fans will also love the semi-political comedy of “Red, White & Dick.”  This episode sees Dick discovering that he is Canadian in his quest to become more American.  What it is about this kind of joke that makes it so funny is anyone’s guess.  Canada seems to be the butt of so many jokes in American entertainment.  But it is hilarious nonetheless, and it serves as a solid cornerstone for Dick’s attempts to become more American and in the same vein, more human.  It will have any viewer laughing till they cry.

The writing behind each episode of 3rd Rock’s final season offers nonstop laughs in every episode.  It’s a prime example of what used to make NBC a powerhouse network during the 1990s.  The cameo guest spots don’t hurt, either.  Megan Mullally (Will & Grace) appears as Mary’s (Jane Curtin) sister Renita Albright this season.  She sets out to steal Dick from Mary purely out of sibling rivalry.  That adults could be such strong rivals goes back to the show’s solid writing.  Audiences will love watching Mary and Renita going back and forth, sniping at one another like two little children.  Mullally is just one of the many guest stars that made an appearance this season.  Richard Belzer, Tracy Morgan, and Ana Gasteyer—all NBC stars—made appearances, as did singer Elvis Costello.  Costello made an appearance in the series finale.  The others all appeared in the two-parter, “Dick’ll Take Manhattan.”  Watching a then young Joseph Gordon-Levitt go toe to toe with the then rising SNL stars is a laugh riot.  Who ever would have thought that Tommy would date Ana Gasteyer.  And his moments with Tracy Morgan are just as funny.

The writing and the guest spots together make this final season a fitting way to close out what is by this critic’s view, one of the greatest sitcoms of the 20th century.  The DVD release of this season has one more aspect that while not being perfect, is still good in its own right.  Mill Creek has packaged all three discs of this set in their own envelope.  Mill Creek Entertainment is the only company that packages DVDs in this fashion.  It isn’t a perfect packaging method, considering that the envelopes are not padded.  That would make them perfect.  But having them in envelopes allows audiences to take as many discs as they want when travelling instead of having to take an entire DVD case.  This is actually quite smart in its own right.  If the higher ups at Mill Creek would maintain its form of packaging and simply make the envelopes padded, it would make this packaging fashion quite impressive and the overall presentation of its multi-disc sets that much more impressive.  3rd Rock from the Sun Season Six is available now on DVD.  It can be ordered online via the Mill Creek Direct website at https://www.millcreekdirect.com/3rd-rock-from-the-sun-season-6.html. After ordering the three-disc set, audiences can find out about more releases from Mill Creek Entertainment on its official website, http://www.millcreekentertainment.com or its official Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/MillCreekEnt.

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3rd Rock Reclaims Its Spot In TV’s Upper Realms With Complete Set

Courtesy:  Mill Creek Entertainment/carsey werner Distribution

Courtesy: Mill Creek Entertainment/carsey werner Distribution

Mill Creek Entertainment will release tomorrow, the full collection of what is one of the greatest sitcoms of the 1990s.  That sitcom is the one and only 3rd Rock From The Sun.  The one of a kind show ran on NBC from January of 1996 to October of 2000.  Since the show’s original run, few shows—if any—have managed to live up to the level of 3rd Rock.  The show’s writers and the now all-star cast proved throughout its six-season run that comedy could (and can) be fun without being too blue.  Thanks to Mill Creek Entertainment, the show’s original fans and a whole new generation of audiences can see exactly that even over a decade after it ended its original run on NBC.

A big part of the success behind 3rd Rock From The Sun is the show’s writing.  In some bizarre way, the show’s writers were able to take what would have otherwise been mere observational humor and made it into a format that is as funny today as it was in its original run.  It would be safe to say that a big reason for the show’s writing being so timeless is its balance of being edgy, but not too edgy.  Simply put, there were comic elements that only older audiences would get, and then there were elements that some younger viewers would get.  The more adult comic elements weren’t so overt as to make parents want to usher their kids out of the room.  And the show’s tamer elements were still edgy enough to be proper for younger audiences, but still just as entertaining for the parents of said audiences.  Take a pick from any episode of this show’s six seasons on air.  Any of them exhibit that.  One good example of this comes from the show’s fifth season.  “Dial M For Dick” sees the Solomons going to a Murder Mystery playhouse, not knowing that everything that happens was an act.  Needless to say, plenty of laughs ensure, including plenty from the show’s final minutes.  Audiences will have to see for themselves what that means when they pick up this complete collection of the show’s six seasons.

The writing behind 3rd Rock From The Sun is a big part of the success behind the show’s continued success even more than ten years after it ended.  It wasn’t the only part of the show’s success, though.  The acting of the show’s cast also played a big part in its success.  There was an obvious chemistry between the cast—veteran John Lithgow, Kristen Johnston, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and French Stewart—throughout every episode.  The cast’s ability to interpret the comic elements of each script was expert.  And it makes for nonstop laughs from one episode to the next in every season.  If the chemistry between the cast isn’t enough for audiences, then the physical comedy from every member of the cast will push the show over the top.  This too is an element that today’s sitcoms have lost.  The physical comedy in this show harkened back to television’s golden age.  It just heightened each episode’s writing that much more, and made it that much more enjoyable for both adults and some younger viewers.

As one can already tell by this point, 3rd Rock From The Sun had so much to offer audiences.  It still offers every bit of that same comedy and heart to this day.  There is one more factor in this new complete set that audiences will appreciate.  That factor is the inclusion of the same bonus features from the original single season sets released over the past couple of years.  Now audiences who perhaps were unable to pick up previous seasons have the chance to have the complete series exactly as it appeared from Mill Creek’s previous releases.  Mill Creek Entertainment is to be applauded for this inclusion.  Considering everything that this show still offers today, one can only wonder if Mill Creek, or perhaps even another company, will one day give it the re-mastering it deserves and re-issue it to blu-ray.  Until then, audiences now have the entire series in one complete box set that they can enjoy over and over again.  It will be available in stores and online tomorrow, Tuesday, May 14th

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Lincoln A Solid Biopic From Start To Finish

Courtesy:  Dreamworks Studios/20th Century Fox

Courtesy: Dreamworks Studios/20th Century Fox

Much has been written of Abraham Lincoln.  Books upon books upon books have been published that center on the man and the myths surrounding his life.  Just as much has been crafted for televised documentaries.  And even more has been penned about the era in which our nation’s sixteenth President led his country.  Now courtesy of author Doris Kearns Goodwin, director Steven Spielberg and screen writer Tony Kushner, audiences have been presented with what is one of the most gripping portrayals of President Lincoln and his time in office in the simply titled, Lincoln.

Lincoln was largely met with applause from critics and audiences alike.  Though there were those that had their qualms with the near three hour long semi-biopic.  Many of the arguments against the story were centered on the fact that the movie in fact focuses on Lincoln and the battles in the halls of the nation’s government.  In the story’s defense, audiences should remind themselves that this movie is not about the war on the battlefield.  It is about the battles in Congress over the abolition of slavery and bringing a final end to the Civil War.  It is a beautifully shot and well acted story.  However, those who have mentioned its sometimes long winded nature can be agreed upon.  Sometimes, it does get rather wordy.  And the story’s slower pacing might turn off some viewers considering that the movie comes in at nearly three hours long.  But those that are true history buffs and/or civil war buffs will easily be able to overlook these issues and enjoy it for its positives, which outweigh the negatives.

For the negatives that weigh down Lincoln, its positives outweigh those negatives.  The first of the positives in Lincoln is that it doesn’t get lost in itself throughout the course of its run time.  The story is meant to focus on President Lincoln and what was the most pivotal moment in his time in office; his waning days in office before his assassination.  The new four-disc Blu-ray/DVD combo pack home release of the movie includes the bonus feature, “The Journey to Lincoln” on both formats.  This feature is a welcome addition as Spielberg, author Doris Kearns Goodwin—whose book was the inspiration behind this movie—and screen writer Tony Kushner all point out in this feature that the aim was meant to be on what went on in Congress during the final days of the Civil War, rather than on the frontlines.  Having this hammered home so gently by all three individuals makes the story more watchable in comparison to the likes of Public Enemies which was also based on a historical non-fiction.  That movie was a mere shadow of the far better book.  It really was a movie that never should have happened.   This movie at least attempts to stay closer to the book on which it is based.  It presents less the mythical Lincoln and more the actual man, and what he faced in what would be his final days in office.

The story and its primary associated bonus feature make up just one of the positives to the new home release of Lincoln.  The acting on the part of the star-studded cast is another positive to Lincoln.  Even though there are some portions of the movie that are more drawn out than they perhaps should have been, veterans Daniel Day Lewis (There Will Be Blood), Tommy Lee Jones (Men In Black 1-3), and Sally Field (Mrs. Doubtfire, Smoky and the Bandit), all contribute expertly, making their parts fully believable.  Making their performances even more believable are costumes that are spot on.  While the movie may not have taken the Oscar for this category, there is no denying how impressive the end result of that work was.  Speaking of which, audiences that pick up the new four-disc Blu-ray/DVD combo pack of Lincoln get another bonus in the addition of a feature titled, “Crafting The Past” in the set’s bonus Blu-ray disc.  This feature examines not just the costumes, but also the production work and other more fine details of the movie.

The costumes and production of Lincoln are just as important as any other part of the movie that makes it successful.  There is at least one more factor to the movie that makes this the impressive work that it is.  That factor is the movie’s cinematography.  The shooting style us especially powerful in the movie’s closing scenes as the President surveys the result of a battle.  And the movie’s final scene (which will not be revealed here for the sake of those who have yet to see the movie), is a prime example of expert cinematography.  The transition into that scene and the final pullout are such powerful statements in themselves, and will leave any true history and civil war buff feeling completely satisfied after having made it through the rest of the movie’s emotional journey.  After having made that journey and having viewed the extensive bonus features included in the new four-disc Blu-ray/DVD combo pack, those same individuals will agree that Lincoln is in fact one of the best biopics crafted in recent history, albeit only a semi-biopic.  It is available now in stores and online.

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3rd Rock At Its Best In Its Fifth Season

Courtesy:  Mill Creek Entertainment/NBCUniversal

Courtesy: Mill Creek Entertainment/NBCUniversal

NBC’s hit sitcom 3rd Rock From The Sun was one of the greatest sitcoms of the 90s.  Now nearly twenty years after it first debuted, it still stands as one of the funniest sitcoms to have ever been created, despite what some critics might want audiences to believe.  And thanks to Mill Creek Entertainment, fans can now own all six seasons of this laugh riot comedy.  Audiences who remember the series in its original airings will each have their own favorite season(s) and episode(s).  But there’s no denying that of the series’ six seasons, its fifth season marks one of the series major high points.  From the general writing to the guest spots, 3rd Rock From The Sun Season Five is an example of everything that used to make sitcoms great in television’s modern era.

3rd Rock’s fifth season is an exemplar of great comedic writing and timing right from the get-go.  The triple-disc set’s first disc offers what are two of the series’ best episodes in “Dial M For Dick” and “Sex and the Sally.”  In the first of the pair of episodes Dick and the others attend a mystery dinner theater.  Obviously being aliens from another world, they have no idea that the murders in question are just an act.  That is, they don’t know until something quite unexpected happens.  Audiences will have to find out what exactly that is for themselves.  Along the way, Dick thinks himself a sleuth and tries to pin the blame for the murders on one of his own group.  This alone will leave audiences laughing no less with each watch.  Speaking of laughing, audiences might find themselves laughing so hard that they’re crying in “Sex and the Sally.”  Sally discovers the dangers of sex and ways to keep from getting pregnant.  Along the way, the side effects of her using birth control will undoubtedly leave audiences laughing uncontrollably.

The set’s first disc offers more than its share of laughs, as is already noted.  But the laughs don’t end there.  The second and third discs are also front-loaded with more than enough comedy for audiences to enjoy over and over.  The return of guest star William Shatner as The Big Giant Head in “The Big Giant Head Returns” leads to a love triangle as Harry admits to Mamie that he loves her.  At the same time, Tommy tries to hypnotize Sally in order to get her to stop buying shoes.  It doesn’t work.  But it does work on Harry, resulting in some hilarious physical comedy on his part. 

If the solid writing and the physical comedy aren’t enough to keep audiences engaged, then maybe the bevy of guest stars will.  William Shatner returns not once, but twice this season.  Also Star Trek TNG star Jonathan Frakes makes an appearance along with then WWF/WWE wrestler Chyna, Larisa Oleynick (The Secret World of Alex Mack), “The Hoff” himself, David Hasselhoff (Baywatch, America’s Got Talent, The Spongebob Squarepants Movie, Pirana 3DD), and many others.  The continued revolving door of guest stars proves just how popular the show was.  Though, Shatner shined brighter than any others with both appearances this season.  Audiences will love seeing Shatner poke fun at himself when he brings Dick (John Lithgow) to a club and The Big Giant Head decides to do some “singing.”  This is just one of so many moments that will stick with both long-time audiences and newer audiences.

Whether for this moment or the loads of others peppered throughout all three discs of Season Five, 3rd Rock From The Sun has proven once more that it is still one of the greatest sitcoms in modern television history.  It’s available now in stores and online.  It can be ordered online via Mill Creek Entertainment’s online store at https://www.millcreekdirect.com/3rd-rock-from-the-sun-season-5.html

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Batman Finale One Of 2012’s Best Movies, Home Releases

 

Courtesy:  Warner Brothers Home Video

Courtesy: Warner Brothers Home Video

Thank you David S. Goyer.  Thank you Christopher Nolan.  And thank you Jonathan Nolan.  Thanks to this trio, action film fans have gotten what is one of not only the best actions films of 2012, but one of the best films of 2012, hands down.  And while it is an impressive movie, one can’t help but wonder if perhaps it would have been better served to have been split at least into one final movie instead of trying to cram the entire thing into a near three hour time span.  That, perhaps, is the only true fault of this franchise closer……or is it the closer.  For those who have yet to see The Dark Knight Rises, Goyer and the Nolanâ(TM)s leave the door somewhat ajar for the possibility of another movie, even if it isn’t helmed by either of the Nolans.  What that means will not be given away, for the sake of those who have yet to experience this thrill ride of a story.

The Dark Knight Rises is a fitting title for this third and final(?) movie in Christopher Nolan’s Batman franchise.  What audiences see in this installment is Bruce wayne having had everything taken away.  He even loses his fortune through a series of twists and turns written into the primary plot.  That is one of the problems with the story’s writing.  How he loses his money exactly won’t be given away, either, here.  But the manner in which it is tied into the larger storyline is somewhat roundabout.  But being that said instance happens, combined with another downfall of sorts (there’s a little hint there), it makes the movie’s title that much more of a fit.  Audiences see Bruce Wayne AND Batman rise.  There’s even homage to the comic storyline in which Bane broke Batman’s back.  Of course, in that storyline, another character named Azrael had to take on the Batman mantle.  That doesn’t happen here.

As subtle as it was there was another factor that made The Dark Knight Rises an interesting movie.  In the first fight scene between Batman and Bane, there is no music to heighten the mood of the moment.  Typically, with any action movie, said music would be standard.  But in this case, that fight scene in question as just as powerful without the music.  That’s because audiences see just how tough Bane is.  There’s no need for music to emphasize that he was one tough villain.  The music is actually discussed in the bonus features in the new home release of The Dark Knight Rises.  It’s just one of many bonus features that make the movie even better now that it is available on DVD and Blu-ray.  Whether one is a trained movie production professional or simply has an appreciation for the work that goes into bringing such an epic movie to life, the extensive bonus features included in this release make for much more appreciation for the dedication to the Batman franchise.  The only irony of the new home release of The Dark Knight Rises is the lack of commentary on the main disc with the movie.  That isn’t entirely a loss though.  Considering the extensive bonus features included in the set, the lack of commentary is a minor issue.  Add in impressive quality footage in the Blu-ray presentation and audiences get a work that is not just one of the best movies of 2012 but also one of the best home releases of 2012.

As previously noted, The Dark Knight Rises clocks in at nearly three hours in length.  Goyer and the Nolans should be commended for making such an effort to bring everything from the first two movies and bring the whole franchise full circle.  Even Dr. Crane (A.K.A. The Scarecrow) is back again.  But because the trio made such an effort, it felt like too much was crammed into too little space.  While most critics might have panned the men for doing it, since the Harry Potter franchise did the same thing,The Dark Knight Rises might have been even more of a joy had it been spread out into another movie.  It would have left both the most seasoned Batman fans and the more casual ones feeling fulfilled while still wanting more.  Instead, it obviously left some audiences feeling winded after such a wild ride.  Regardless, what David S. Goyer and the Nolans have done for audiences with not just given this generation its definitive Batman, but it has clearly left the door open for Nolan or anyone else to continue the franchise in his or her own vision.  Should that happen, here is to the hopes that whoever should take the reins next will bring audiences a Batman franchise as impressive as Nolan’s, AND Burton’s.

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The Solomons are stil as funny as ever in 3rd Rock Season Four

3rd Rock From The Sun is arguably one of the greatest sitcoms not only in the history of NBC, but in the modern history of broadcasting.  This outrageously hilarious comedy was unlike anything else during the entire six seasons that it aired.  And now, thanks to the people at Mill Creek Entertainment, fans of the show can re-live all the laughs once again.  Four of the show’s six seasons are now available on dvd.  3rd Rock Season Four is just as funny as the show’s first three seasons.  Season Four sees the on again/off again relationship between Dick and Mary roll on, with the introduction of another new love interest making for plenty of laughs.  The Solomons also discover the *joys* of having to pay taxes this season.  And when Mary receives a chain letter, her refusal to send it leads to a string of bad luck for her. It all makes for plenty of laughs.

Dick’s relationship with Mary has been a hilarious ride ever since the first season of this show.  Now four seasons in, the pair has another wave as the show introduces guest star Laurie Metcalf (Roseanne, The Big Bang Theory) in the episode, “What’s Love Got to do, Got to do with Dick?”  Metcalf plays professor Jennier Ravelli, who is brought in after Mary is promoted.  Jennifer and Dick become an item, and eventually lead Mary to get jealous.  This leads to one of many of the show’s funny moments in the companion episode, “D3:  Judgement Day.”  Dick and Mary play a game of wits to see who will crumble to the other first, with Nina playing her own role in the back and forth battle.  This battle of the sexes is something to which almost every viewer can relate.  That the duo would take it over the top how they do makes this mini-storyline all the funnier.

Of course, the ongoing story of Dick and Mary doesn’t get all the attention this season.  Another relateable matter for viewers is that of dealing with taxes each year.  In the episode, “Dick and Taxes”, the Solomons learn what humans deal with in having to file tax returns.  The family has to figure out its returns after a discussion between Dick and Mary.  The resultant frazzled effect on the family is, again, something to which every viewer can relate.  The family’s plans to try and defraud the IRS as a solution are hilarious.  One can’t help but laugh when the family makes up a fake salon as part of its attempts, only to suddenly have that backfire on them.  People actually start coming in.  Of course, the Solomons end up getting audited.  Their attempts to cover up being aliens make for their own laughs too.  It all adds up to yet another laugh riot episode.

The relateability of dealing with taxes makes “Dick and Taxes” one of the best episodes of Season Four.  Though it’s just one of the moments that make the whole season so enjoyable.  Another of the season’s really funny moments comes in the episode, “Superstitious Dick.”  In this episode, Dick learns the human concept of superstition after Mary receives a chain letter and refuses to send it on.  She starts having lots of bad luck when she doesn’t send it off.  From injuring her arm to her head, and even being hit by a hockey puck, Mary’s bad luck leads Dick to bring Miss Dubcek to the hearing for his grant proposal.  He’s so paranoid that he looks like someone with OCD, stepping only on certain floor tiles, tugging on Miss Dubcek’s ears, and more.  In the end, Dick doesn’t get his grant because of that.  But he does learn another valuable lesson about another human behavior and mindset.  And it leads to even more laughs for audiences.

It’s already been noted that 3rd Rock from The Sun is one of the single greatest sitcoms in the modern era of broadcasting.  The stories written for each season made this show unlike anything else out there in its entire six seasons on air.  The episodes included here are just a tiny sampling of what made the show so great even four seasons in.  Season Four ran a total of twenty-four episodes.  And this season has plenty more laughs for audiences, regardless of which episode one picks.  It’s one more great piece of television nostalgia for fans of truly great sitcoms.