‘Jazz And Art’ Paints A Wonderful Picture For Jazz, Art Lovers Alike

Courtesy: Blue Engine Records

The realms of visual and musical arts are two completely different worlds.  One creates pleasure for audiences through the eyes and the other does so through the ears.  That being the case, it makes sense that attempts by anyone to bridge the two mediums have been rare throughout each realm’s modern history.  Early last month though, Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra built that bridge with their new studio recording.  Aptly titled Jazz And Art, the 10-song album presents a series of compositions that are inspired by a select group of visual artists and their works.  That concept builds the foundation for the 55-minute recording and will be addressed more in-depth shortly.  The arrangements themselves are just as noteworthy as the album’s concept, and will be addressed a little later.  The record’s production rounds out its most important elements and will also be addressed later.  Each item noted here is important in its own right to the whole of the recording.  All things considered, they make this new effort from the group a piece that will appeal to fans of the musical and visual arts alike.

Jazz And Art, the latest full-length studio recording from Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, is a work that will unite lovers of the visual and musical arts.  That is due in part to the concept at the heart of the album.  The concept behind the album is the union of the two realms through the creation of songs inspired by a group of visual artists and their works.  It sounds like a bit of a stretch, but is in fact a very smart move.  By creating compositions inspired by artists and their works, the record serves as an entrance into the world of visual art for those who might otherwise have never taken the first step into that world.  It will inspire those listeners to conduct their own research into the artists and paintings in question, which can in turn potentially lead to a new interest and discussions on the noted artists and their works.  The same applies to art lovers who perhaps have never ventured into the jazz realm, opting instead to take in the landscapes painted with brushes instead of with instruments.  Regardless of whether it influences one side, the other, or both, the concept of marrying musical and visual art proves to be a smart move, considering the gap that exists between the two worlds.  It creates a strong foundation for this record.  Building on that foundation and making it stronger are the arrangements themselves.

The arrangements that make up the body of Jazz And Art are important to note in part because of their diversity.  From start to end, listeners get something different with each composition.  There are blues elements featured in the album, as well as big band influences and even some African influence.  The whole thing opens with a trio of works influenced by artist Stuart Davis.  Interestingly enough, Davis was himself inspired by jazz in creating his works during the 1940s and 50s.  All three works are fitting considering the paintings from which they rose.  ‘Mellow Pad,’ with its varied instrumentation – muted trumpet, drums, piano and saxophones – is just as active even in its subtleties as Davis’ painting.  ‘Garage Lights,’ meanwhile presents a rather blues-gospel tinged composition that, when set alongside Davis’ painting, conjures thoughts of perhaps New Orleans.  That is because New Orleans is itself a port town and is steeped in blues and gospel influences.  ‘New York’ meanwhile does its own positive job of capturing the essence of Davis’ painting by the same name.  The light piano line and time keeping echo quite well, the energy exuded in the painting’s colors and lines.  What’s more, it also echoes (on a completely different note) the works of the one and only Vince Guaraldi at times and even Henry Mancini with its horns.  The compositions influenced by painter Winslow Homer (who was known largely for his marine landscapes) offer their own intrigue.  ‘Homer’s Blues’ conjures thoughts of certain songs from the West Side Story soundtrack with its hard bop sound.  The painting that the song’s energy seems to echo is “Snap The Whip,” which he painted in 1872.  The painting features a group of young boys playing a game, aptly titled “Snap The Whip.”  The happiness on the boys’ faces embodies the painting’s purpose of showing the possibilities of the future at the time and the happiness that those thoughts brought about.  This is all of course just this critic’s interpretation.  Obviously jazz was not a thing at all in the late 1800s, but, the positive energy in the painting and the song seem to work well together.  Meanwhile, “Homer’s Waltz” mirrors so many of his noted marine landscapes with its gentle, reserved melody.  ‘Air Earth Fire Water,’ with its cross of Afro-Cuban instrumentation and American jazz elements does well to illustrate the story of the Orishas, which are – in much African lore – emissaries of God.  According to the lore, the Orishas control the forces of nature and everything that mankind does.  Many paintings of the Orishas have been painted over the years, depicting each being and what its role.  It stands out quite starkly from its fellow arrangements just as much as they do from one another.  All of the arrangements noted here and the rest of the record’s works come together to paint their own vivid picture that when considered along with the record’s approach, makes the album that much more enjoyable for audiences.  It is not the last of the album’s most notable elements.  Its production rounds out its most important elements.

The production that went into Jazz And Art is important to note because of how much is going on within each of the songs.  ‘Air, Earth, Fire, Water’ is just one of the songs that serves to illustrate this aspect.  The multitudinous instrumentation here means that there is quite a bit going on, but those behind the boards managed to capture it all.  The Afro-Cuban drums, the horns and every other instrument gets its own time in the limelight, with no one part overpowering the other at any point in the song.  ‘Blue Twirl,’ which comes almost halfway through the record’s run, is another example of the importance of the album’s production.  There is just as much going on here as in the album’s other entries, but in a completely unexpected fashion.  There are so many dynamic changes, as well as elements and moods throughout.  Again, those behind the glass managed to capture the full essence of that diversity.  The end result is a song that is one of the album’s best works.  Simply put, it is clear in listening through each of the album’s 10 songs that much time and effort was put into balancing each song’s arrangement and related instrumentation for the maximum impact.  The result of that work is a record that,  from start to end, is just as impressive for its production as for its concept and varied arrangements.  All things considered, they make Jazz And Art a work that will certainly appeal just as much to fans of the jazz world as to art lovers.

The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra’s new album Jazz And Art,  recorded with Wynton Marsalis is a strong new effort from the organization.  That is due in part to its approach.  The album merges the worlds of musical and visual arts for a whole that will serve as an educational tool as well as an entertainment tool.  The varied arrangements do just as much to make the album engaging and entertaining as its very concept.  The record’s production shows a lot of time and effort was put in to make sure the finished production would appeal to every listener.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the album’s presentation.  All things considered, they make Jazz And Art its own wonderful musical  work of art that will appeal to listeners from the worlds of Jazz and art.  More information on Jazz And Art is available online now along with all of the latest news from the Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra at:

 

 

 

Website: http://jazz.org

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/jazzdotorg

 

 

 

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‘This Island Earth’ Re-Issue Is Another Must For Science Fiction, Classic Movie Buffs Alike

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Universal International

Universal International’s 1955 science-fiction flick This Island Earth is one of the most notable entries in the genre.  That is because up until that point, no movie within the genre had to that point, taken viewers into the cosmos.  Every movie within the genre had instead seen beings from other worlds come to Earth.  That and the movie’s overall story makes the movie interesting in its own right.  Now thanks to Shout! Factory, viewers will get to enjoy that collective content for themselves in a new Blu-ray re-issue of the timeless sci-fi classic.  That noted element will be discussed shortly.  The bonus content featured in the movie’s recent re-issue strengthens its presentation even more and will be addressed a little later.  Considering the breadth and depth of the movie’s bonus content and the engagement and entertainment offered through the movie’s main story, its average price point proves to be money well-spent.  It will be discussed later, too.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of this movie’s re-issue.  All things considered, This Island Earth proves to be one more of this year’s top new DVD/BD re-issues.

Shout! Factory’s recent re-issue of Universal International’s This Island Earth is one more of this year’s top new BD/DVD re-issues.  That is due in part to the movie’s central story.  As already noted, the movie was — in its debut — the only sci-fi flick of its kind.  It was the only one that took its characters into outer space instead of bringing the aliens solely to Earth.  It would not be until a year later when Forbidden Planet made its debut that another science fiction flick would take viewers into the cosmos.  This is just one important aspect of the story.  The fact that it stays largely true to its literary source material (which is noted in the movie’s bonus content) adds even more enjoyment to the story.  Given, there are variances, but the fact that its so commonplace today for moviemakers and script writers to change so much from the printed page to the big screen makes that loyalty even more deserving of respect.  That is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg that is the importance of the movie’s story.  Whether it was intentional or not, the story presents itself as an anti-war allegory.  That allegory is presented as Dr. Meacham and Dr. Adams are swept away to a war-ravaged planet that is on the verge of being destroyed because of the war.  The interstellar voyage happens after the duo is made to help Exeter and a group of other scientists develop a death ray of sorts.  The group has no clue that they are making the ray for the purpose of the Metalunans’ war on their home planet.  There is also the whole discussion on nuclear power and its dangers, especially with warfare.  Again, these discussions may not have been intentional statements about the dangers of warfare, but they are most definitely there.  The thing is that even if the message is intentional, it doesn’t come across in the preachy fashion of so many other message movies of its time and even those that have come along since.  To that end, it makes the story all the more enjoyable.  For all of the enjoyment that the movie’s story brings viewers, the story is not the movie’s only source of entertainment.  The bonus content featured with the movie’s recent re-issue provides its own engagement and entertainment for audiences.

The bonus content that accompanies This Island Earth’s recent re-issue adds its own engagement and entertainment because of the background that it develops for the movie.  Author/ visual effects specialist Robert Skotak’s feature-length audio commentary is the most notable of the movie’s bonuses.  Skotak delves into a variety of topics throughout the course of the movie’s 86-minute run time, such as the story’s noted loyalty to its source material, the principal photography and the use of the infamous Metalunan mutant.  Skotak notes in his discussion that while much of the movie does stay loyal to the original book from it was adapted, it does reach a point late in its nearly 90-minute run where some variances start to appear, though the majority of the movie stays largely true to the original literary work.  The note of the principal photography is interesting in its own right because of what Skotak reveals here.  He notes that the scenes that were supposed to be shot in Washington, D.C. were in fact filmed in California.  He notes that much work had to be done in order to hide the hills in the distance in said scenes so as to maintain suspension of disbelief.  That makes for a certain level of appreciation for that work.  In terms of the mutant, Skotak reveals that while it has become a fan favorite in the decades since the movie’s debut, it almost did not make the final cut.  The reasoning for it remaining in the movie will put a smile on any viewer’s face, considering the statements made by so many in the bonus content about how old they were when the movie debuted.  That is the most of the clue that will be given to that item.  Everything noted here is just a preview of everything that Skotak discusses throughout the movie in his commentary.  He also addresses Russell johnson’s performance (Johnson is best known as the Professor from Gilligan’s Island), the matter of the “thermal barrier” and even the use of the “starfield” as a backdrop in the movie’s opening credits.  Between those discussions, the talks more directly addressed here and more, Skotak’s commentary adds quite a bit of insight and enjoyment to the movie.

Skotak’s commentary is just one of the movie’s notable extras.  The bonus “making of” featurette adds its own share of insight and entertainment to the movie.  This featurette includes actual audio of the movie’s cast talking about the work that went into its creation.  Audiences get to hear Faith Domergue (Dr. Adams) talk about how cold the water was in the pond where she and costar Rex Reason shot the car chase scene.  Viewers also hear from Reason about the movie’s production.  As if this is not enough, viewers also learn an interesting tidbit about the “car” in which Reason and Domergue rode in the Metaluna set.  It is revealed here that the car in question was used in the much more lighthearted movie Abbott & Costello Go To Mars.  Considering the heavy nature of This Island Earth and the much lighter feel of Abbott & Costello Go To Mars, that contrast makes for a good laugh for any viewer.  All of this is just a small sampling of what the “making of” featurette reveals to viewers.  There are more revelations about Domergue’s place in Hollywood when she signed on to star in This Island Earth, the marketing for the movie and even the Metalunan Brack.

The revelations made in the “making of” featuette are still not the end of the interest generated by the movie’s bonus content.  Film historian David Schecter’s audio commentary, which is not feature length, focuses primarily on the movie’s soundtrack.  It is clear throughout his discussions that he is reading direct from a script, as none of his discussions line up with the movie.  Keeping this in mind, it would have made much more sense to have just given Schecter his own featurette instead of his own audio commentary.  That aside, the things that he reveals in his discussions make for their own interest.  Viewers learn through his commentary, that as with so many of Universal’s classic science fiction flicks, Henry Mancini played a role in this movie’s soundtrack, but never got a credit for his work.  The same applied for the soundtrack’s lead composer Herman Stein.  According to Schecter, Stein never received the credit that he deserved, either.  On another note (no pun intended), Schecter reveals that the movie featured 31 minutes of original soundtrack music, which is far less than the movie’s 86-minute run time.  That means there was a lot of recycled music.  Despite that, the discussions on the original compositions makes for more appreciation for that original music.  Between all of these noted discussions, those on the making of This Island Earth and the back story of the movie, the bonus content in whole makes this latest re-issue of This Island Earth that much more enjoyable for classic movie buffs and sci-fi fans across the board.  When it is considered along with the movie’s deep story, the whole of that primary and secondary content makes the movie’s average price point a cost that every one of those noted viewers will be okay with paying.

The average price point of Shout! Factory’s re-issue of This Island Earth is $23.69.  That price is obtained by averaging prices listed at Shout! Factory’s store, that of Amazon, Barnes & Noble Booksellers and Walmart.  It was not listed at Target, Best Buy and Books-A-Million at the time of this review’s posting.  Walmart’s listing of $21.96 is the least expensive of the movie’s listings, while Shout! Factory’s is barely more expensive, by only cents at $21.99.  Barnes & Noble Booksellers’ price listing of $26.99  and Amazon’s listing of $23.80 both exceed the noted average price.  Considering that the difference in price between Walmart and Shout! Factory is only pocket change, viewers will not lose out much regardless of which retailer they choose.  What’s more, the amount of content – both in the primary and secondary content – and the type of content that viewers get in this re-issue, that price of roughly $22-$23 with s&h, is a price worth paying.  That is something to which most viewers will agree.  Keeping all of this in mind, the collective average price point of This Island Earth, the movie’s primary content and its secondary content make this re-issue a welcome addition to the library of any classic movie buff and science fiction fan and one of the year’s top  new DVD/BD re-issues.  More information on this and other titles available 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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Ala.ni Announces Sophomore Album Is Coming; Debuts Videos For Two Of Album’s Songs

Courtesy: Missing Piece Group

Ala.ni announced this week she will release her sophomore album ACCA next year.

In anticipation of the album’s coming release, Ala.ni debuted the videos for two of the album’s singles — ‘Differently‘ and ‘Sha La La‘ — this week.  The songs present a much more pop-oriented sound than the jazz-tinged sounds of her 2017 debut album You & I.

According to information in a news release announcing the coming album, ACCA is largely an a capella presentation with minimal instrumentation in each song.  Rocker Iggy Pop and rapper/actor Lakeith Stanfield make appearances on the album, according to the document.

The full track listing for ACCA is noted below. Pre-orders are open now.

Tracklisting:
1. Differently
2. Le Diplomate (ft. Iggy Pop)
3. Hide
4. Papa
5. Sha La La
6. Bitch
7. All The Things
8. Van P (ft. Lakeith Stanfield)
9. Wales
10. In The Land
11. Away Go

More information on ACCA is available online now along with all of Ala.ni’s latest news and more at:

 

Website: http://alaniofficial.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/alaniofficial

 

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Tulip Announces New Live Dates; Debuts ‘Pray For Me’ Video

Independent hard rock act Tulip has a new cover of The Weekend/Kendrick Lamar’s song ‘Pray For Me.’

The band debuted the video for its cover of the song Aug. 11. The video features the band’s members performing their respective portion in four separate windows.  The song’s arrangement displays the up-and-coming Texas-based band’s symphonic metal chops along the way.

Courtesy: O’Donnell Media Group

The band talked about the decision to cover ‘Pray For Me’ in a collective statement.

“‘Pray For Me’ is just a great song, and when we first heard it, we thought it would lend itself well to a bouncy metal remix,” the band said in the statement.  “The lyrics conveniently fit our life story as well.”

The debut of the band’s video for ‘Pray For Me‘ comes almost two months after the band premiered the video for the latest single from its forthcoming self-titled EP, ‘Limited‘ and almost four months after the band debuted the video for the EP’s lead single ‘Total.’

The band’s EP is scheduled for release next month. Its precise release date will be announced soon. The EP’s track listing is noted below.

Courtesy: O’Donnell Media Group

TULIP Tracklist:
1. Total
2. Unconditional
3. Limited
4. Irresistible
5. Perseverance

 

 

 

 

 

Tulip will promote its EP by joining Everygrey for its upcoming North American tour Aug. 23 in Los Angeles, CA.  Tulip’s schedule runs through Sept. 8 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and features performances in cities, such as Denver, CO; Austin, TX and Seattle, WA.

Evergrey’s upcoming North American dates are in support of its latest album The Atlantic, which was released in January through Afm Records.

More information on Tulip’s upcoming tour dates, its new video and more is available online now at:

 

Website: http://wearetulip.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/wearetulip

 

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ESPN Adds Del Rio To Its NFL On-Air Talent Roster

Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN has added another big name to its roster of on-air talent for its NFL broadcasts.

The company announced Thursday through a news release that it has added Jack Del Rio to its talent roster.  Del Rio first rose to fame as the head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars in the team’s early years.  Most recently, he was the coach of the Oakland Raiders.

As the newest member of the team, Del Rio will make appearances on NFL LiveSportsCenter and ESPN Radio.  He said in the news release, he is optimistic about his future.

“I’ve visited several training camps over the last few weeks, and I’m really looking forward to the upcoming football season and my new role with ESPN!,” he said.

ESPN Vice President of NFL and College Studio Shows Seth Markman spoke highly of Del Rio in talking about Del Rio’s addition to the network’s on-air talent roster.

“Jack was highly successful as a player and coach,” Markman said.  “He sees the game from both perspectives and he doesn’t shy away from sharing his honest opinion.  He will be a great addition to our ESPN team.”

Del Rio’s career as a player started at the University of Southern California. As a member of the Trojans, he was a consensus All American and co-MVP of the 1985 Rose Bowl. He would go on to be enshrined in the university’s Athletic Hall of Fame for his performance as a football and baseball player.  He also received the school’s Silver Anniversary Award in 2010.

After college, Del Rio was drafted by the New Orleans Saints in the third round of the 1985 NFL Draft.  That same year, he was named the team’s Rookie of the Year and a member of the National Football League’s All-Rookie Team.

Del Rio was named a member of the Pro Bowl team in 1994 as a member of the Minnesota Vikings. During his time with the Vikings (1992-95), he led the team in tackles for three consecutive seasons.

Along with his time with the Vikings and Saints, Del Rio also played for the Kansas City Chiefs (1987-88) and Dallas Cowboys (1989-91).  During the course of his 11 years as a player in the league, Del Rio amassed 1,005 career tackles, 13 sacks and 13 interceptions over 160 regular season games.

Del Rio went from the player ranks to the coaching ranks in 1997 as an assistant strength coach for the Saints.  He was eventually promoted to the team’s linebackers coach in 1998 before taking the same position with the Baltimore Ravens in 1999.  He held that position until 2001, helping the team the NFL’s top prize in Super Bowl XXXV along the way.

After leaving the Ravens in 2001, Del Rio added another notch to his resume, becoming the Defensive Coordinator for the Carolina Panthers in 2002.  That position led to Del Rio’s first head coaching position in 2003 with the Jacksonville Jaguars, which he would lead until 2011.

Del Rio headed west following his time as the Jags’ head coach, becoming the Denver Bronco’s Defensive Coordinator from 2012-14 before moving back to the head coaching ranks in 2015 as the head of the Oakland Raiders.  He helmed the team until 2017.

During his head coaching time,  Del Rio led the Jaguars and Raiders to three playoff appearances and 97 total collective victories.

More information on Jack Del Rio’s addition to ESPN’s talent roster is available online now along with all of the network’s latest NFL headlines at:

 

Website: http://espn.com/nfl

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ESPNNFL

 

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Dodgers, Braves Look To Take Weekend Series Sunday Afternoon On TBS

Courtesy: Turner Sports

TBS continues its coverage of Major League Baseball’s 2019 season this afternoon with a National League inter-divisional matchup.

The Dodgers and Braves finish off a three-game weekend series this afternoon in a battle of the NL West and NL East.  Coverage is scheduled to start at 1 p.m. ET, according to a news release from Turner Sports.

The Dodgers and Braves each lead their divisions coming into the matchup.  This afternoon’s game is the rubber match in the series.  Los Angeles won the series’ opener 8-3, but Atlanta rebounded in the series’ second game 4-3.

Max Fried (14-4) is scheduled to get the start for the Braves in this afternoon’s series finale between the Dodgers and Braves.  His last time on the mound was Tuesday against the Mets.  He took the win in the game, despite some struggles, allowing six hits over six inning and walking three batters. He struck out four batters in that time and allowed one earned run.

Tony Gonsolin (1-1) is scheduled to take the mound for the Dodgers in this afternoon’s game.  Almost two weeks have passed since Gonsolin was on the mound, on Aug. 5 against St. Louis. That game was a strong outing for Gonsolin, as it saw him pitch six innings, allowing only two hits and one walk in that time while striking out seven batters and allowing no earned runs.

This afternoon’s matchup is either team’s to win, looking at those statistics and the teams’ overall numbers.  Los Angeles is 34-27 on the road so far this season while Atlanta is 35-27 at home.  The Braves have been just as strong on the road at 38-25 while Los Angeles has been even stronger at home at 48-16.

Brian Anderson will anchor this afternoon’s broadcast.  He will be joined in the booth by Ron Darling for additional commentary.  More information on the game is available online at:

 

Website: http://www.tbs.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/TBSNetwork

 

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‘Endeavour’ Remains Among TV’s Top Crime Dramas In Its Sixth Season

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution

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 EndeavourSeason 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 EndeavourSeason 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.

EndeavourSeason 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:

 

 

 

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