Thunder Road Is As Good As Any Action Flick Out There Today If Not Better

Courtesy:  Timeless Media Group

Courtesy: Timeless Media Group

Robert Mitchum spent somewhere in the range of fifty-five years of his life in front of the camera.  During that time, he made what have since gone on to become some of the most beloved and iconic movies and roles over the curse of that time.  In 1962, he starred in one of his most famous roles as Max Cady in the original take of Cape Fear.  Seventeen years prior, he starred alongside fellow acting legend Burgess Meredith in 1945’s The Story of G.I. Joe.  And in 1958, he starred in what would go on to be one of his most beloved films of all time in the form of Thunder Road.  Now nearly six decades after that movie’s original debut, it has finally been unearthed for a whole new generation of movie buffs to experience thanks to the people at MGM and Timeless Media Group.  It is a great movie that every classic movie buff should see at least once if not more.  The main reason any classic movie lover should see this movie is its script.  The movie’s original script was written by Mitchum before being adapted by the writing team of James Atlee Phillips and Walter Wise.  It is a story that while simple is enjoyable because of its simplicity.  Mitchum’s acting throughout the movie is just as key to its enjoyment.  Maybe it is just this critic’s own view but one can’t help but compare Mitchum’s acting alongside his look in this story to that of James Dean.  Had Dean lived, one can’t help but imagine Mitchum’s portrayal of Lucas Doolin would have been exactly what Dean would have looked and sounded like.  But being Mitchum was so much older than Dean, his acting and look still helped make the story believable.  Last and definitely not least of all worth noting in this movie is the fact that it was not only written by Mitchum but produced by him, too.  Some of the movie’s music was even written and performed by him.  Simply put, Mitchum had his hand in nearly every aspect of this work.  Because he had so much creative control, the end product proved to be a story that while it may be more a cult favorite today, is still one of the best works of Mitchum’s extensive career.  Now that it has been re-issued on a dual-disc Blu-ray/DVD combo set, it can also be said that it is one of the best new re-issues of 2015.

Thunder Road is one of the best works from Robert Mitchum’s extensive fifty-five year-long career in front of the camera.  It may not be one of his most well-known.  But there is still has so much going for it that it is still deserving of being considered one of his best whether among its cult following or among audiences and critics in general.  Whether or not they are familiar with the movie, audiences and critics alike will agree with that sentiment when they pick up the classic film’s new re-issue.  The main reason that audiences and critics alike will agree that this movie is one of Mitchum’s best is its script.  Originally penned by Mitchum himself, it would go on to be adapted by the writing team of James Atlee Phillips and Walter Wise.  It is a story that while simple is enjoyable because of its simplicity.  It follows Mitchum’s character Lucas Doolin as he runs moonshine in the hills of Kentucky all the while trying to outrun government tax agents and keep his little brother Robin (interestingly enough played by his real life son James) from following in his footsteps.  This movie is a guy movie, what with its mix of moonshine running, motors, and G-men.  Of course Lucas’ relationship with Francie (Keely Smith—Casino, Raging Bull, We Own The Night) will interest its female audiences.  The story runs at a pace that keeps audiences engaged with ease through its little more than hour and a half run time.  Because of its ability to keep audiences engaged through its simplicity, it could actually be argued that set against today’s action flicks, the script behind Thunder Road makes it even better than those largely forgettable special effects-laden flicks.  It’s just one reason that action flick fans and classic movie buffs should give this movie a chance.  Mitchum’s work on camera is another reason audiences will enjoy this movie.

Robert Mitchum played a big part in the success of Thunder Road because of the fact that he actually wrote the original story on which it is based.  It’s just one reason that audiences will appreciate it.  His influence on the movie reached much farther than just its script.  He was also the movie’s lead actor.  Being that he wrote the movie’s original story and produced the movie, too (which will be discussed later), it would be easy to assume that having so much role in the movie, it would go to his head and affect his acting.  Watching the movie though, the exact opposite is the case.  At no one point does he ever try to overdo it with his character.  Lucas’ reserved demeanor throughout the movie actually makes him a stronger character.  That is especially clear when Lucas is originally busted by the tax agents and even later when Lucas explains to Cark Kogan (Jacques Aubuchon—McHale’s Navy, The Shaggy Dog, Perry Mason) that he would not let his brother end up on the same path as him.  Watching Mitchum, moments such as those noted make clear why Mitchum played the lead role.  Interestingly enough though, one can’t help but watch Mitchum and wonder what if James Dean had lived longer.  Maybe it’s just this critic’s own view, but watching Mitchum, one can’t help but imagine James Dean playing Lucas.  That might have actually worked just as well considering Dean’s body of work before his untimely death.  That aside, Mitchum still impresses with his unassuming yet strong portrayal.  It’s yet another reason that audiences will enjoy this recently re-issued classic action flick.  It still is not the last reason that audiences will enjoy the movie, either. The fact that Mitchum also produced the movie is just as important to its success believe it or not.

Between the fact that he both wrote the original story for Thunder Road and that he carried the lead role, Robert Mitchum showed in this movie that he wasn’t just some actor throwing something out for the sake of it. He showed through both his acting and his writing that he meant business with this movie. Even more interesting to note is that he also produced the movie and even wrote some of the movie’s music. That means that he had quite the hand in the movie’s making. Yet it’s also obvious that despite having so much control, he never let that control go to his head at any one point in the movie’s little more than hour and a half run time. That is obvious in the work of his cast mates and those behind the cameras. Their work felt natural from beginning to end. It made that much easier the ability to remain engaged throughout the movie. Being able to so easily remain engaged means more enjoyment and ability to see the other noted reasons that Thunder Road is such an enjoyable classic. All noted elements taken fully into consideration, audiences will agree that they collectively make Thunder Road a must see for any action film fan and for any classic movie buff regardless of their familiarity with this classic story.

Thunder Road is available now on Blu-ray/DVD combo pack in stores and online. It can also be ordered direct online via Time Media Group’s online store at https://www.shoutfactory.com/film/film-crime/thunder-road. Audiences that order the movie via TMG’s online store can get it at a reduced price of $16.97 versus the retail price of $19.97. More information on this and other titles from TMG is available online at:

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com/tentpoles/timeless-media-group

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Shout! Factory Announces Release Date, Specs For MST3K Vol. XXXIII

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory

Courtesy: Shout! Factory

Shout! Factory will release the latest collection of episodes from the cult classic series Mystery Science Theater 3000 this summer.

Officials with Shout! Factory have announced that the company will release Mystery Science Theater 3000 Volume XXXIII on Tuesday, July 28th. The upcoming four-disc set will come a little more than four months after Shout! Factory’s most recent MST3K box set Mystery Science Theater 3000 Volume XXXII. That box set was released March 24th. Mystery Science Theater 3000 Volume XXXIII will feature four more so bad that they’re good movies from the halls of Hollywood’s history. Those movies are: Daddy-O (1958), Earth Versus The Spider (1958), Teen-Age Crime Wave (1955), and Agent for H.A.R.M. (1966). It also includes a pair of bonus shorts with Daddy-O and Earth vs. The Spider in the form of Alphabet Antics and Speech—Using Your Voice respectively. Rounding out the set is its bonus features including the featurettes “Beatnick Blues: Investigating Daddy-O,: “This Movie Has Legs: Looking Back at Earth vs. The Spider,” and “Film It Again, Sam: The Katzman Chronicles.” There are also interviews with actors Tommy Cook and Peter Mark Richman in “Tommy Cook: From Jungle Boy To Teenage Jungle” and “Peter Mark Richman: In H.A.R.M.’s Way.” If all of that isn’t enough for audiences, the mini-posters, theatrical trailers, and hour wraps that have all become standard for MST3K’s box sets over the years are all present here, too.

While Mystery Science Theater 3000 Volume XXXIII won’t be available in stores or online until July 28th, fans can still pre-order the box set now. It can be pre-ordered direct via Shout! Factory’s online store at https://www.shoutfactory.com/film/film-crime/mst3k-volume-xxxiii.  Fans that pre-order the set now will get it at a discounted price of $53.97 versus the MSRP of $59.97. Those same fans will also receive a free, exclusive MST3K coaster along with it. To sweeten the deal even more, those fans that pre-order the set now will also get it shipped two weeks ahead of its official release date.

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

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

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Mister Ed: The Final Season Is A Fitting Final Release For One Of TV’s Greatest Sitcoms

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory

Courtesy: Shout! Factory

For six seasons from 1961 to 1966 Allan Lane, Alan Young, Connie Hines, and animal actor Bamboo Harvester brought joy and laughter into homes across this country in the hit sitcom Mr. Ed. The beloved buddy comedy originally ran in syndication from January to July of 1961 before being brought to CBS in October 1961. It would remain on CBS until early 1966 at which time it would end up being canceled due to decisions from higher ups. Even after being canceled, Mr. Ed has since remained one of the most beloved sitcoms in television history even now into the 21st century. That is proven in the fact that it has seen five of its six seasons released in their own stand-alone box sets via home entertainment company Shout! Factory alongside a complete series box set. Now next week, the series’ sixth and final season will finally see the light of day again courtesy of Shout! Factory. It is yet another welcome release from Shout! Factory, too. Season Six boasts some of the series’ most outrageous writing. The on-screen chemistry between Alan Young and Allan Lane is just as strong as ever. Rounding out the presentation is the look and sound of these episodes. Audiences will be pleased to discover that this collection of episodes looks and sounds just as clean as the footage in the series’ previous five seasons. It is once again a tribute to the work of those charged with restoring the footage for its presentation. When taken into consideration with the work of the series’ whole cast and the work of the writers, the sixth and final season of Mr. Ed proves to be another fitting finale for another wonderful classic series and another example of why Shout! Factory remains today the leading name in home entertainment.

Mr. Ed’s sixth season may be the series’ last. But it most certainly is not the series’ worst. As a matter of fact, it should be noted that there really is no season of this classic sitcom that can rightfully be called bad or unworthy of watching. That is thanks to the work of the series’ writers. Speaking of that work, the writers have crafted in this season thirteen more episodes that will have both the series’ original fans and a whole new generation of fans laughing nonstop. It’s the central reason that this season is just as enjoyable as any of the series’ previous seasons. This season sees Wilbur and Mr. Ed getting into just as much trouble as ever especially with the temporary introduction of Wilbur’s father-in-law. That within itself is something rather interesting to note. Typically, sitcoms from that era tended to make jokes about the mother-in-law more so than the father-in-law. Both The Flintstones and The Jetsons, which were themselves inspired by equally beloved live action sitcoms, went after the mother-in-law figure as did other live action sitcoms. Those sitcoms in question just did so more subtly. That the writers would go the opposite direction, and introduce the father-in-law as the point of contention is definitely original and makes for its own share of laughs. It makes for so many laughs because rather than create the typical comic element that had been used by so many other series at the time, audiences got to see a battle for the alpha male position. And it was done with quite the comic twist, too. It’s just one way that the writing continues to make Mr. Ed just as funny this season as in its previous seasons. Along with making Wilbur and Mr. Ed deal with Wilbur’s father-in-law, the writers also put the duo into a number of rather precarious yet hilarious situations. Right from the season’s outset, Wilbur and Mr. Ed are thrust into a world of international espionage in a multi-part story arc that takes up the first four episodes of the season. Later in the season, Mr. Ed tries to get Wilbur to help him get married to a well-known filly with absolutely riotous results in “Ed The Bridegroom.” There’s even a slight conflict between the two friends when Mr. Ed wins a brand new TV in “TV or not TV.” These are just a few examples of why the writing behind the sixth season of Mr. Ed makes this season just as enjoyable as that of the series’ previous seasons. There are plenty of other episodes that could be cited such as “Ed and the Motorcycle,” “Don’t Skin That Bear” and “Ed Goes To College” as examples of what makes the writing so impressive. Simply put every episode included in this season exhibits why the writing makes this season so enjoyable. And it’s just one part of the whole that makes Season Six so enjoyable, too. The work of the series’ cast also plays a part in the season’s enjoyment.

The work of the writers in Mr. Ed’s final season more than lived up to expectations with the scripts featured in the series’ sixth and final season. By itself it is more than enough reason for audiences to add this final installment of Mr. Ed to their home collections. It’s not the only reason that this double-disc set shines, either. The work of the cast serves as just as much reason that audiences will enjoy these episodes. Allan Lane and Alan Young are especially to be noted here, being the stars of the show. Lane and Young are completely believable as they toss barbs and jokes back and forth at one another from one episode to the next. The juxtaposition of Wilbur–the straight man–to Mr. Ed’s more comedic, scheming style makes for a classic odd couple style comedy. It really is a brand of comedy that has sadly been lost since the passing of television’s golden era. Wilbur is a laugh riot as he tries to figure out how to get his equine pal married. His attempt to convince Mr. Ed to come back after Ed thinks Wilbur has traded him in for a motorcycle is just as funny. And of course when the pair is enlisted to help stop a group of international spies early in the season’s run, their antics show to be some of the greatest acting of its time on camera through the show’s run. Lane does an outstanding job giving Mr. Ed such a serious attitude toward being a spy yet not entirely being serious as he requests just a bunch of carrots for payment. It is one of those moments that is so funny that audiences can’t help but laugh. And there’s just something about Lane’s delivery of his lines that makes the situation not just funny but believable, too. More simply put, at no point does it feel like Lane or Young are hamming it up for the camera. Both men handle their roles with the utmost professionalism. And because of that, these moments and others throughout this season will have audiences of all ages laughing uproariously, proving once again exactly why true comedy lovers and classic TV buffs will want to add this set to their own home libraries.

Both the work of the writers behind Mr. Ed and of the cast–more specifically the work of Allan Lane and Alan Young–together make for just as many laughs in the series’ sixth season as its previous seasons if not more. As important as both elements are to the whole of Mr. Ed: The Final Season, they would not be worth the watch without the continued efforts of those charged with bringing the season’s footage back to life. Luckily, their efforts paid off once more. The footage looks and sounds just as great as that of the series’ previous seasons. Even being black and white, it looks clear but still has that certain something about it that creates that welcome, familiar feeling of nostalgia among viewers familiar with the series. That welcome, familiar feeling brought on by the expert re-mastering of the footage rounds out the reasons that the sixth and final season of Mr. Ed is such an entertaining finale for one of the greatest sitcoms in television history. Together with the work of both the series’ writers and its lead cast, all three elements prove this final set of episodes to be a fine final offering from Shout! Factory and one more great new release for fans of Mr. Ed.

There is plenty to say to the positive in regards to the sixth and final season of Mr. Ed. The series’ writers will once again have audiences of all ages laughing from one episode to the next. The key phrase here is audiences of all ages. It truly is one more release that the whole family can enjoy together. And in an age when families hardly even see each other anymore, that’s a very good thing. It gives parents an excuse to sit and spend time with their children. The same can be said of the series’ lead actors Allan Lane and Alan Young. While Lane is not necessarily on camera, being the voice of Mr. Ed, he is still technically on screen. That being the case it makes the Lane and Young’s work in front of the camera just as key to the episodes’ entertainment value. Thanks to the work of those charged with restoring the season’s footage, the work of both the writers and actors is made all the more entertaining. Without the expert restoration work presented here, neither other factor would be worth noting by any means. But being that the polar opposite is the case here, all three elements together make this final installment of episodes from Mr. Ed one more great addition to the library of any of the series’ fans. It will be available next Tuesday, May 12th. It can be pre-ordered online now direct from Shout! Factory’s online store at https://www.shoutfactory.com/kids/kids-comedy/mister-ed-the-final-season. More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

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Return Of The Heroes Is A Welcome Return For The Transformers Rescue Bots

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory/Shout! Factory Kids

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Shout! Factory Kids

In just a few weeks, Shout! Factory Kids will release its latest collection of episodes from Discovery Family’s hit series Transformers Rescue Bots. Transformers Rescue Bots: Return of the Heroes will be released Tuesday, May 12th in stores and online. Whether viewers are familiar with this family friendly incarnation of Hasbro’s beloved Transformers franchise or not, it can be said that it proves just as enjoyable for first time viewers as for those that are more familiar with the series. The main reason for this is the writing behind each of the collection’s five episodes. The stories themselves are tried and true. There are also smaller elements of the writing such as the dialogue that makes the episodes just as entertaining. The series’ animation remains the same in these episodes. Though, there is one episode in which the show’s animators get to show off their talents a little more as Blades and Cody enter a virtual reality video game. Audiences will enjoy this slight change of pace from the animation that they have become so accustomed to seeing from the series. It’s one more positive to the whole of this set that makes it worth the addition to any Transformers fan’s collection regardless of his or her age. Last but not least of all worth noting of this latest release is the work of the voice cast once again. LeVar Burton, Jason Marsden, Mauriche LeMarche and company are spot on in each episode as are the actors responsible for bringing the Rescue Bots to life. All three elements make this new collection of episodes a hit for Transformers fans of any age. Collectively, all three elements show why once again, Shout! Factory Kids, along with Discovery Family and Hasbro Studios, has released another DVD that is an easy candidate for any critic’s list of the year’s best new releases for children and families in Transformers Rescue BotsReturn of the Heroes.

Transformers Rescue Bots: Return Of The Heroes is another welcome return for Shout! Factory Kids and for this hit series from Hasbro Studios and Discovery Family. The main, and strongest, reason that it is such a welcome return is its writing. This applies not just to the episodes culled for the disc but for the actual writing within the episodes, too. The episodes themselves present plot lines that are tried and true. There is the standard plot line of the good guys being brainwashed in “Rise of the Heroes.” In “Bot To The Future,” audiences see the Rescue Bots, along with Cody go back in time and set things right so that their original timeline can be re-established and the bad guy defeated. “A Virtual Disaster” tackles the topic of technology gone awry as Blades and Cody go into a virtual video game, only to fin themselves trapped in the game after a freak accident. “Bumblebee To The Rescue,” the disc’s opening episode, sees Blades having an identity crisis of sorts when legendary Autobot Bumblee comes to Earth to investigate a meteorite crash that is affecting the Rescue Bots. Knowing Bumblebee’s legacy, Blades doesn’t like being rescued by him. He wants to prove to Bumblebee that he’s not helpless and to impress Bumblebee. These are stories that have been used plenty of times in any number of series before this one. But even used in this setting, the stories are still just as enjoyable as they were in those other shows. That could be because of the execution of each story line. The stories have been updated and adapted to the series to make them completely entertaining and in turn fully engaging.

The execution of the stories in this collection makes for plenty of enjoyment for audiences of all ages. On a deeper level, the writing within the episodes coupled with the execution of the stories themselves, makes for even more enjoyment. One example of how the writing within the episodes makes them more enjoyable can be pinpointed in the episode “A Virtual Disaster.” Before Blades ends up being caught in the virtual video game with Cody, he is helping rescue an unconscious skier on a mountainside. As he is hovering over the mountainside, Dani (Lacey Chabert) tells him he has made the exact same maneuver hundreds of times. Baldes’ reply to Dani: “Yeah, but not on a snow day.” His grasp of the term snow day is itself entertaining. At the same time, Heatwave makes a typical hero remark saying, “looks like it’s time to play in the snow.” If that line alone doesn’t get some laughs, then nothing will. Blades’ comment about whether or not Cody and his family are leading the Rescue Bots into a trap while they are brainwashed in “Rise of the Heroes” will get just as much of a laugh, considering his character’s worrywart personality. There is also Chase’s constant deadpan delivery about so many situations such as his inability to control his reactions in “Bumblebee to the Rescue.” He tells Cody and the others that he can’t move or control himself in any other way. This is linked directly to the work of the cast’s voicework, which will be discussed later. Again, his deadpan delivery at such an important situation makes for so many laughs. It’s one more example of how the writing within each of this collection’s episodes adds to the episodes themselves, proving once again why the writing incorporated into each of this set’s collection is so important to the whole of the disc and its enjoyment.

The writing incorporated into each of the disc’s presented episodes proves clearly both on n macro and micro level its importance to the whole of Transformers Rescue Bots: Return of the Heroes. The writing is just as certain in this collection of episodes to entertain audiences of all ages and keep said audiences fully engaged throughout each episode. While the writing is pivotal to the enjoyment of this collection, it is just one part of what should be considered. The animation incorporated into the presented episodes should be noted, too. More specifically the animation incorporated into “A Virtual Disaster” should be noted. This episode is one of those rare times when those responsible for bringing the series to life artistically changed things up. Rather than using the artistic style used throughout the series, said individuals got to stretch their wings, utilizing a completely different artistic style. that style is used when Blades and Cody go into the virtual video game. It actually throws back to the days of hand drawn animation. That is evident from the definition of both Blades and Cody. Their color is much richer. And neither figure looks as rigid, stylistically speaking, as they do outside the game. Their look is more smooth for lack of better wording. The same can be said of their surroundings, too. Regardless of their familiarity with the series, viewers will clearly notice the difference in animation styles. It’s a nice, welcome change of pace especially for those that are more familiar with the series. And it makes for one more reason that audiences will enjoy this latest collection of episodes.

That writing and animation incorporated into Shout! Factory Kids’ new Transformers Rescue Bots collection each play their own important part in its enjoyment. For all of their importance, they are not the disc’s only positives. The work of the series’ voice cast once again makes for its own share of enjoyment once again. As already noted, Chase’s deadpan personality and Blades’ worrywart make quite the character contrast. D.C. Douglas’ and Parvesh Cheena’s handling of the two rescue bots respectively is to thank for that continued character style. The same can be said of Heatwave’s voice, Steve Blum. The actors have developed such a clear style with their characters. And it shows time and again as is evident in their dialogue within each of this collection’s episodes. Jason Marsden takes a slightly lesser role in these episodes. But even when he does get some screen time, actor Jason Marsden gets in his own laughs. By comparison, lead voice actor Elan Garfias keeps audiences engaged thanks to his work voicing Cody Burns. Cody is just as confident as ever in these episodes showing once again that one doesn’t have to be a grown up or even the tallest in order to be confident and a leader. Garias’ interpretation of Cody’s role in each script shows once again that even the smallest person can be the biggest on the inside. Yet again, whether for Garfias’ voice work or that of his cast mates, it can be argued with ease in watching these episodes that the work of the Transformers Rescue Bots cast plays just as important part in the enjoyment of these episodes as those presented in any of Shout! Factory Kids’ previous collections from the hit Discovery Family series.

The work of the voice cast in the episodes culled for Shout! Factory Kids’ new Transformers Rescue Bots collection is its own important part of the presentation’s whole. By itself, it only goes so ar in making the episodes worth the watch. The addition of the writing both on a macro and micro level adds even more enjoyment. And the rare break from the series’ standard animation in at least one episode shows the series’ potential even more. All three elements combined, they show exactly why Transformers Rescue Bots: Return of the Heroes is one more collection from Shout! Factory Kids, Discovery Family and Hasbro Studios that is an easy candidate for any critic’s list of the year’s best new releases for children and families. It will be available Tuesday, May 12th in stores and online and can be pre-ordered online now direct from Shout! Factory’s online store at https://www.shoutfactory.com/kids/kids-animation/transformers-rescue-bots-return-of-the-heroes at a discounted price of $13.93. More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory Kids is available online at:

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

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

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Barney Miller’s Seventh Season Shows Again Why It Remains One Of TV’s Top Comedies

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory

Courtesy: Shout! Factory

When ABC’s hit cop comedy Barney Miller first hit the airwaves in 1974, there was little else on television like it at the time. Perhaps the only series to which it could be justifiably compared at the time was CBS’ equally popular medical drama M.A.S.H.. None of the other crime-centered series at the time could be compared to Barney Miller and neither can any of the crime-centered series on television today. Taking that into consideration Shout! Factory’s recent release of Barney Miller: The Complete Seventh Season becomes another breath of fresh air that proving once more why Shout! Factory remains today the leading name in home entertainment. The seventh season of Barney Miller–the series’ penultimate season–is just as enjoyable as the series’ previous seasons. That is thanks in large part to the talents of the show’s writers. Once again, the writers have exhibited the highest caliber of talent, crafting scripts that not only balance the show’s humor and heart but also do so in a way that leaves audiences not caring in the least that each episode takes place entirely within the squad room. Another positive aspect of this season’s episodes is the work of the show’s cast. The cast’s comedic timing is spot on throughout each episode just as much as each member’s ability to handle the show’s more delicate moments. Being that each episode takes place entirely inside the squad room, one can’t deny the work of the camera crew. It’s a very limited set in terms of size. So it goes without saying that those behind the cameras exhibited just as much expertise in catching every bit of the squad room as well as the cast. By themselves, each of the noted elements plays a pivotal role in the enjoyment of Barney Miller in its seventh season. Together, they make this season another joy for any of the series’ original fans and for those today looking to escape the seemingly never-ending barrage of overly violent and overly sexualized cop dramas on television today. They also combine to exhibit once again just why Shout! Factory justifiably retains the title of the leading name in home entertainment.

The seventh season of ABC’s classic cop comedy is one of Shout! Factory’s best new releases so far this year. The series’ penultimate season, it offers plenty for audiences to smile about beginning with the most important element of all, its writing. The series’ writers have once again crafted an entire season of episodes–twenty-two episodes in this case–that expertly balance the series’ humor and heart. That ability to balance the show’s humor and heart is exhibited right from the season’s two-part premiere “Homicide.” Barney and company have to deal with their usual crop of cases, including a bizarre case in which they have to hunt down a hitman hired by a woman to kill her husband. It’s not quite what audiences might think. The search is on after the woman in question actually comes to the squad in hopes that they would find him as she changed her mind about having the man carry out the crime. Both the case itself and its outcome will leave audiences laughing. It’s nice to see the lighthearted take on what would otherwise be a mega-event for so many of today’s unnecessarily overly dramatic and violent crime-centric series. It’s such a welcome change from those series comparatively speaking. The wildly entertaining “Rainmaker” is another excellent example of the writers’ continued ability to balance humor and heart in this season of Barney Miller. This episode sees an alleged rainmaker brought in to the squad room after he had lit a fire in one of the city’s busiest areas, only to find out that he had in fact been hired by the city’s department of water to try to make it rain.  Interestingly enough research proved that he had in fact been hired by the city to try to make it rain just as he claimed in his arrest. What happens from here won’t be revealed. But it will have audiences laughing. It could be argued that what happens from there makes this episode a lightly veiled commentary about the behaviors of those that run America’s cities and the country in whole. Anyone not laughing throughout simply has no sense of humor. If that isn’t enough proof of the writers’ abilities, then the two-part mid-season story “The Movie” will definitely show it just as clearly as any of the season’s other episodes. This episode sees Harris having to put together a fake adult film in order to infiltrate the city’s prostitution Harris ends up going thousands of dollars over budget in the process. He also ends up making something akin to an art film instead of an adult film, leaving his fellow squad members and others in attendance for its viewing in complete disbelief. It’s an approach that had never been used before in any crime-centered series and has never been used since again showing just how talented and brilliant this series’ writers were and remain by comparison to those running today’s crime-centered series. As a side note, audiences will find interesting that writer Reinhold Weege actually uses the name of Harris’ made up film company–Starry Night Productions–for his own company, which would later produce the equally iconic legal comedy Night Court. But that’s a story for another time. Getting back on track, the episodes noted here each exhibit in their own way the writers’ continued ability to balance Barney Miller’s serious and not so serious issues in a way that will entertain audiences in so many ways. They are just a few examples of that talent, too. The other nineteen episodes that much up Season Seven each exhibit the writers’ talents, too. All things considered the twenty-two episodes that make up the seventh season of Barney Miller clearly exhibit the continued ability of its writers to leave audiences laughing and to move them all while keeping most of the show’s episodes within the tight confines of the squad room.

The work of Barney Miller’s writing staff does so much to make the series’ seventh season a joy for both the series’ original audiences and today’s older audiences. From its light-hearted commentaries to its sometimes more zany plot lines, the writers’ are to be commended for crafting twenty-two more episodes that remain as hilarious today as they were so long ago in their original run on ABC. As entertaining as the writing makes this season, one would be remiss to ignore the work of the series’ cast in interpreting each episode’s script. Whether in its more lighthearted moments or its slightly more serious moments, the cast is spot on with its collective talents throughout the season. “Lady and the Bomb” is one of the best examples of the cast’s ability to interpret this season’s scripts. This episode sees a woman upset over her husband’s impotence (yes, his impotence) take the squad hostage with a pressure cooker bomb. She claims that radioactive medical waste at one of the city’s hospitals is to blame for his inability to perform. The very concept of someone taking such drastic measures is serious. The actions of both the woman and the squad members to the situation will leave audiences laughing just as much as their reaction when the woman’s husband reveals that maybe it wasn’t the medical waste in question wasn’t to blame for his performance problems. In any of today’s crime-centered series, the acting would have been just as over-the-top as the show’s scripts. But in the case of this episode, the work of the cast and writers together makes it one of the season’s best episodes overall and one of the best examples of how the cast’s work makes this season so great. The season’s two-part season premiere could be argued as good examples for the cast’s talents, too. The season’s other episodes each exhibit the cast’s talents in their own respective manner. There simply isn’t enough space or time to go into detail about how each one does this. Needless to say regardless of which episode(s) one chooses, audiences will agree that those talents are displayed in every one of this season’s episodes. And partnered with the continued solid work of the series’ writers, proves even more why this installment of Barney Miller is just as enjoyable as its previous seasons and why any fan of the series will want to add to their own home DVD library.

The work of both the writers and cast in the seventh season of Barney Miller more than makes this stand-alone season set a worthy addition to the home library of any o the show’s fans. They are both key elements of the season’s success in their own right. And as important as they are to the whole of Season Seven, the work of those behind the cameras is just as important to the show. Audiences must remind themselves that the set used for Barney Miller was not that big. And throughout the course of the show’s eight seasons on the air, writers only took the series out of the squad room a total of thirteen times. Of those thirteen times, only one of this season’s episodes took the show outside the squad room. Considering that this series was a multi-camera series and the squad room set not being that large, it meant a lot of tough decisions on camera placement. Luckily those decisions led to the director and camera crew catching every bit of the set without getting in the way in the process. There’s something about the camera crew’s work that makes the look of the squad room so much more believable than those of today’s crime-centric series. That ability to make audiences suspend their disbelief if only in terms of the show’s look is just as important to the show (and this season in particular) as the work of the show’s cast and writing staff. It makes this season all the more enjoyable or fans new and old alike. And when set alongside the work of the show’s cast and its writers, it shows clearly why this latest collection of episodes is just as enjoyable as the series’ previous stand-alone sets. The overall enjoyment of this set also serves once more as a reminder as to why Shout! Factory remains today the leading name in the world of home entertainment.

Whether it be for the work of the series’ writers, for the work of the series’ cast or that of the people behind the cameras, so much can be said of what makes Barney Miller’s seventh season so enjoyable. The writers have once again expertly balanced the series’ humor and heart throughout the season’s twenty-two total episodes. The cast has just as expertly interpreted each of the season’s scripts, too. Those two elements together make for plenty of reason for audiences to pick up this stand-alone season set. That is especially the case for those that already have the series’ previous six season sets. For those that don’t have said sets, this is still just as great a starting point. The work of the camera crew does its own impressive job of capturing the realistically small size of the squad room and its effect on the squad’s interactions. It did this all without getting in the way of the overall production. As audiences should be able to tell by now each of the noted elements plays its own important role in the whole of Barney Miller: The Complete Season Seven. All three elements taken into consideration together, this recently released box set proves without a doubt why it is another welcome addition to Shout! Factory’s ongoing series of stand-alone season sets from what is one of television’s greatest crime-centric series. It is available now in stores and online and can be ordered online direct from Shout! Factory’s online store at https://www.shoutfactory.com/tv/comedy/barney-miller-season-seven. More information on this and other titles available from Shout! Factory is available online at:

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Joe 90: The Complete Series Is One Of Gerry Anderson’s Classic Supermarionation Series

Courtesy:  Timeless Media Group

Courtesy: Timeless Media Group

Timeless Media and Shout! Factory have done it yet again. The two companies have proven once again today why they are collectively the absolute leader in home entertainment. How have they done this? They have done so by re-issuing yet another of Gerry Anderson’s classic supermarionation series, this time in the form of Joe 90. This release, much as with the companies’ other re-issued series, was originally released on DVD by A&E Home Video some twelve years ago in 2003. While Anderson’s series Thunderbirds leads the way among his many works, Joe 90 is deserving of its own credit, too. One could actually argue that among the many series that Anderson created throughout his life, this series actually stands right on par with Thunderbirds. Perhaps part of the reason for its success is its writing. One could argue that unlike Anderson’s other series, Joe 90 follows more purely the classic action model. Those other series were more sci-fi and fantasy-based by comparison. It is more akin to Thunderbirds than those series when placing them side by side. On a related note, there is something about the overall look of the series, too. There is something about the detail of the marionettes and the way that they move, coupled with the acting of those pulling the marionettes’ strings that makes this series look more realistic than any of Anderson’s other series. Simply put, seeing is believing. The bonus material included in this set rounds out the reasons that it performs so well. There is another archived interview with Gerry Anderson in which he discusses the roots of his work in even more depth, and commentary with specific episodes just as with Timeless Media Group’s other Gerry Anderson sets. The bonus features, the look of the series, and the writing are each important to the enjoyment and success of Joe 90 in their own right. When all three elements are assembled together, they show clearly why Joe 90: The Complete Series is another welcome addition to any classic TV buff’s collection. They also show collectively why Timeless Media Group and Shout! Factory together are the single leading entity in the world of home entertainment.

TMG and Shout! Factory’s brand new re-issue of Joe 90: The Complete Series is another big win for both companies and for classic TV buffs alike. It is not the first of Gerry Anderson’s classic supermarionation series that the companies have released so far. But it is one of Anderson’s best by comparison. One of the reasons that this series stands out among Anderson’s many series is its writing. Unlike Captain Scarlet & The Mysterons, Stingray, and Fireball XL5–or even Supercar, which is due out next month–Joe 90 is that one series that is perhaps most closely akin to Anderson’s biggest hit, Thunderbirds. The sci-fi elements of those other series are present here. But this series is more characterized by its pure action elements more so than the sci-fi elements. The sci-fi elements incorporate here are more tools to help the episodes advance than the star of the show again unlike those aforementioned series. Audiences that might not be so familiar with Joe 90 will appreciate in this series that as with Anderson’s other series, the main character–Joe 90–goes on all kinds of adventures. But in the case of this series those adventures are all centered on Earth. They don’t take Joe into the depths of space or the sea or any other outrageous backdrops. This makes the stories a little more believable and in turn even more interesting. Speaking of that ability to suspend disbelief, two of the series’ episodes pit Joe 90 against two of the West’s biggest Cold War foes in Russia and China. Presenting two real foes from the time the series ran helped to make the series that much more believable and in turn enjoyable. It made it that much easier for audiences to root for Joe 90. On another note, Joe 90 also boasts its own share of pure action stories. One example comes late in the series’ run in the episode “Trial At Sea.” This episode sees Joe 90 having to stop a madman that wants to sink a ship. Only Joe can stop the bomb from going off and sinking the ship on which he and his father are riding. Even when Joe and his dad try to go on vacation, they can’t get a break as they are pulled into an international incident in which a military organization has taken over one of W.I.N.’s outposts. It’s yet another example of how the stories crafted for Joe 90 make this series stand out from Gerry Anderson’s other series and in turn, what makes it so enjoyable. Whether for the noted episodes or for those not noted, Joe 90 proves itself a fun watch for the whole family. Its stories are more reality based despite their sometimes outrageous settings. One can’t help but think about James Bond at least to some extent in watching this series. And maybe at its heart, this is why the show works. Not only is it similar to Thunderbirds, but it also bears a similarity to James Bond. Regardless, the episodes crafted for Joe 90 are collectively one clear reason why Joe 90 is so enjoyable for audiences of all ages and why it is one of the best of Gerry Anderson’s series.

The writing that went into Joe 90 is one of the most important parts of the series’ enjoyment and success in its new re-issue. That is hopefully made clear with the basic outline of the writing noted above. As important as it is to the whole, the look of the series coupled with the work of the people pulling the strings is just as important. The look of Joe 90 is noticeably different from that of Gerry Anderson’s other supermarionation series. The detail on the marionettes makes them look even more human than in any of Anderson’s other series. The work of those pulling the strings adds to that feeling of realism as audiences will see. Maybe it is just the interpretation of this critic. But the motions of the marionettes seems more fluid and real than in any of Anderson’s other series. Those fluid motions from the marionettes and their seemingly more detailed look overall makes them as close as marionettes could come to being human without being human. It makes the ability of viewers to suspend their disbelief all the easier. In turn, it makes the series in whole that much more enjoyable and all the more worth adding to any classic TV buff’s home library.

The surprisingly impressive look of Joe 90 by itself makes for plenty of reason for classic TV buffs to check out this blast from the past. The series’ solid writing taken into consideration along with its look shows just as much why it is so enjoyable for audiences of all ages. They are not the only factors to note in the set’s success, either. The bonus material included with this box set rounds out the package. Audiences are treated to episode-specific commentaries and another archived interview with Gerry Anderson. The commentaries in question add their own insight into the given episodes, just as with TMG’s other Gerry Anderson series. Together with the archived Anderson interview, in which Anderson discusses another star of his series (not just Joe 90), the interview and companion commentaries offer plenty of insight into Joe 90 and the other series that made Gerry Anderson so famous in his day. They also collectively show why this series and his others remain family favorites to this day.

The insight offered via the bonus commentaries and archived interview are few. Even as few commentaries as there are, the amount of insight offered via said commentaries–and the bonus interview with Gerry Anderson–makes for plenty of enjoyment for every classic TV buff. The same can be said of the series’ writing and its equally surprisingly impressive look. All three elements considered together, they show without a doubt that Joe 90 is one of the best of Gerry Anderson’s supermarionation series. It also proves itself to be, again, a piece that any classic TV fan will love to have in his or her own home collection. Joe 90 is available now on DVD in stores and online and can be ordered direct online at https://www.shoutfactory.com/kids/kids-action-adventure/joe-90-the-complete-series. More information on this and other titles from TMG is available online at:

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com/tentpoles/timeless-media-group

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TMG Releasing Another Classic Gerry Anderson Series Next Month

Courtesy:  Timeless Media Group/Shout! Factory

Courtesy: Timeless Media Group/Shout! Factory

Timeless Media Group will release the latest installment of its classic Gerry Anderson series next month when it releases Supercar: The Complete Series on DVD.

Timeless Media Group will release Supercar: The Complete Series on DVD box set on Tuesday, May 12th. The series, another of Gerry Anderson’s hit supermarionation series, follows the adventures of one Mike Mercury, his sidekick Jimmy and geniuses Dr. Horatio Beaker and Professor Rudolph Popkiss. The group travels all over the world in Supercar fighting the forces of evil including Mike Mercury’s arch-nemesis Masterspy.

Supercar: The Complete Series features all thirty-nine episodes of the classic series spread across five discs. It also includes one more previously unseen interview with series creator Gerry Anderson, audio commentaries on select episodes, and the bonus featurette “Derek Meddings: The Man and His Miniatures.” Supercar: The Complete Series will retail for MSRP of $34.93 but can be pre-ordered online now for a discounted price of $29.93 at https://www.shoutfactory.com/kids/kids-animation/supercar-the-complete-series. More information on this and other titles from Timeless Media Group is available online now at:

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com/tentpoles/timeless-media-group

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Timeless-Media-Group/358391474233364

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.