Mr. Selfridge Is As Entertaining As Ever As It Counts Down To Closing

Courtesy:  itv/PBS

Courtesy: itv/PBS

Late last year, it was announced that the fourth season of itv’s hit drama Mr. Selfridge would be the series’ last. The reaction among the series’ audiences has been quite surprising with an overwhelming show of support for the show. Now as season three has come to an end both on itv and PBS, which imported the series from the UK, audiences here in the United States have begun anxiously awaiting the arrival of that final season. No official announcement has been made in regards to the arrival of Season Four either on television or on DVD and Blu-ray. That being the case, fans that have not yet gotten up to speed with the hit drama still have some time to do so while they wait for Season Four’s arrival. That is because Season Three is available now on DVD and Blu-ray. It was released this past May on both platforms. For those that perhaps have yet to add Season Three to their own home DVD/Blu-ray libraries, Season Three offers quite a bit of entertainment beginning with its writing. More specifically, the stories that make up Season Three lie at the center of Season Three’s overall presentation. The cast’s interpretation of said scripts is just as important as the scripts themselves. Together, both elements create ten episodes that will keep audiences engaged from season premiere to finale. Last of note in this season’s overall viewing experience is its bonus material. PBS and itv take viewers behind the series’ scenes once again this season and show just how much work went into bringing the season to life. Together with the Season Three’s scripts and acting, that bonus addition builds even more appreciation for the work that went into bringing Season Three to life. And together with the scripts and acting, all three elements make the third season of Mr. Selfridge yet another incredible installment of the hit drama and one of the best of this year’s box sets for grownups.

Mr. Selfridge: Season Three is yet another incredible installment of itv and PBS’ hit drama. It is also one of the best of this year’s box sets for grownups. The central reason for this is the series’ writing in its third season. More specifically, the scripts that were crafted for this season are primarily to thank for this season’s success. There is so much that is going on throughout the course of each episode’s script. Yet even with so much going on, the writers were able to balance every interweaving story element seamlessly throughout each episode. That is saying quite a bit considering just how much goes on throughout the course of Season Three’s ten episodes. The whole thing opens with Harry laying his wife to rest, only to follow that up with him escorting Rosalie down the aisle. From that point, there is much more to note. Harry’s son becomes the store’s new deputy (not to reveal too much) and falls for one of the store employees. Mr. Groves has to come to terms with a double dose of devastating news that rocks his world. And even Harry has his own issues to handle as the vile Lord Loxley has returned once again in another attempt to ruin Harry. That’s just one of his problems. He also meets a beautiful woman named Nancy Webb and falls for her. But she isn’t exactly all that she appears to be. What’s really great here is that the writers don’t make this obvious to audiences early on. It isnt until later that viewers find out who she really is and the result of the discovery. It’s just one more way in which Season Three’s writing proves to be key to the season’s overall presentation. There are plenty of other examples that could be cited such as Henri’s (Gregory Fitoussi) battle with PTSD having fought on the frontlines of World War II, and Kitty (Amy Beth Hayes) being assaulted by anoth veteran. There is simply so much going on in terms of the series’ writing this season that there is not enough time to note all of its strengths. Regardless, it can be said of the writing in whole that it is more than enough reason for any of the show’s fans to add this season to his or her own home DVD/Blu-ray library. It is just one part of what makes Season Three such a hit, too. The cast’s interpretation of the season’s scripts is just as important to its overall presentation as the scripts themselves.

The scripts that lie at the center of Mr. Selfridge’s third season are key to the season’s overall presentation. That is because of the engaging story arcs and the writers’ ability to balance said story arcs so expertly. While the scripts are important in their own right, they are nothing without a solid cast to interpret them. Thankfully every member of the series’ cast displays the utmost expertise in interpreting each episode’s script. Not one of the cast members outshines the others at any point in the show’s run this time out. Jeremy Piven (Entourage, PCU, Serendipity) is spot on once again as the series’ lead character. When he mourns for his beloved wife in the season premiere, he makes audiences fully feel Harry’s pain. And when he falls for Nancy, his blind, impulsivity is just as believable. Everyone has been in his position or at least knows someone that has gone through that blind behavior. On another note, Aidan McArdle is just as great as the villanous Lord Loxley. He really makes audiences not just want to hate him but love to hate him. His self-righteous, hate-filled portrayal is just as spot both by itself and when set against Piven’s portrayal of Harry Selfridge. Moving to even another example, Tom Goodman-Hill’s pained Mr. Grove is a wholly sympathetic character as he tries to deal with the revelations that challenge him this season. He makes audiences want so badly to root for him and see him get over his struggles. As much as this critic would love to spoil the outcome here, that won’t happen here. Though, the outcome will leave a smile on fans’ faces. That much can be said. These are just a few examples of how the work of the series’ cast proves to be just as important to Season Three as the show’s scripts. And as with the scripts, there are plenty of other examples that could be cited here. Case in point Hannah Tointon’s (Penny Dreadful, The Inbetweeners, Walking With The Enemy) portrayal of Violette Selfridge is just as convincing in its own right. Her portrayal of the now defiant young woman is just as relatable for viewers. What viewer out there hasn’t had that sassy, headstrong teenager in their home? Exactly. It’s a portrayal that transcends cultures and in turn will entertain audiences on both sides of the pond. And Leon Ockenden (Red Tails, Heavy Rain, The Cosmonaut) is just as entertaining as Serge De Bolotoff. It is interesting to see him handle Serge’s growth from a snobbish, snivelling playboy to a much more mature individual with his head finally in the right place. The path that he takes in order to get from point “A” to point “B” will keep audiences just as engrossed as any of the other cast members’ portrayals. Whether for any of those noted, those not noted, or all combined, it can be said in closing here that the work of the cast here in Season Three proves to be just as pivotal to the series’ presentation this time out as the season’s script. And together with said scripts, the two elements together give viewers more than enough reason for audiences and fans alike to add this season to his or her own DVD/Blu-ray library. They are just two parts of the whole of the season’s important elements, too. The bonus material included along with the episodes rounds out the ways in which this season proves to be well worth the watch.

The scripts at the center of Mr. Selfrige’s third season come together with the cast’s interpretation of said scripts to make this season well worth the watch by themselves. While both elements prove by themselves to make Season Three well worth the watch by fans and audiences alike, they are collectively just a portion of what makes this season’s home release a surprisingly impressive collection of episodes. The bonus material that is included with Season Three is just as important to the season’s viewing experience as the scripts and their interpretation. The bonus material included in this run of episodes features interviews with the series’ main cast members as well as some in-depth discussions on the efforts undertaken to make Selfridge’s and London in whole as believable as possible for audiences. Viewers that perhaps have never paid attention to the bonus material in the series’ previous season sets will be surprised to see the seamless balance of the series’ CG elements and live action elements. In the same vein, audiences will be just as surprised to learn little tidbits such as how vodka (yes, vodka) was used in the place of cologne and perfume so as to keep the color in the associated bottles and how the packaging designs of many of the displayed items had not changed once since they were originally presented in the real Selfridge’s well over a century ago. There is also an intriguing revelation that even the documents signed by Harry are in fact copies of actual documents once handled by the real Harry Selfridge so long ago. Between these noted discussions and others–such as the playful discussion on who would win in a fight between Selfridge and Loxley or Adam Wilson’s (Broadchurch, Silent Witness, Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch) discussion on growing a real moustache for the show versus having a false one put onto his face–the bonus material in whole shows to be just as important to the whole of Season Three’s overall presentation as the season’s scripts and acting. Each element plays its own important part in that presentation. Collectively, they make Mr. Selfridge: Season Three a collection of episodes that every one of the series’ fans will want to have in his or her own home DVD/Blu-ray library just as much as those that might be new to this hit series.

Mr. Selfridge: Season Three is yet another impressive installment of itv and PBS’ hit historical drama. That is made clear through solid writing that expertly balances its engaging and numerous story arcs. The cast’s interpretation of said scripts by the series’ cast is just as key to this season’s overall presentation. The bonus material that is included with the set (both on DVD and Blu-ray) rounds out the presentation. The bonus interviews and discussions add their own share of insight and entertainment to the season. Each element proves in the end to play its own important part in the whole of the season. Collectively, they make Season Three a fitting setup to the series’ final season and a box set that any of the series’ fans will want to have in their own home DVD/Blu-ray libraries while they wait for that final season to be released. Mr. Selfridge: Season Three is available now on DVD and Blu-ray. It can be ordered online direct via PBS’ online store at More information on this and other Masterpiece offerings from PBS is available online now at:




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Super Sentai Zyuranger: The Complete Series’ Domestic Debut Is One Of Shout! Factory’s Most Welcome Releases To Date

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory

Courtesy: Shout! Factory

A little more than twenty years ago, Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers made its debut on Fox’s Fox Kids afternoon programming block. At the time of its premiere, very little if any of the programming in that afternoon block was live action. The majority of the programming in the Fox Kids block was animated. So it goes without saying that the programming heads at Fox were taking a risk by bringing in Saban’s American adaptation of the Japanese series Super Sentai Zyuranger. Little did anyone know at the time that the risk in question would be one of the best risks that the network’s head would ever take. More than two decades later Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers has gone on to become the cornerstone of what is one of the longest-running and most successful children’s shows on television to date. Even after Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers’ original seven season run ended, it would not be the end of the success for Saban’s Power Rangers. Eleven more seasons would run between Fox and ABC before the Power Rangers would make the jump to Nickelodeon in 2012. Of those seasons that followed, Shout! Factory has already released ten with the eleventh–Power Rangers Lost Galaxy–set to see the light of day in a complete set next month. Shout! Factory’s releases of almost all of the Power Rangers’ first seventeen seasons have proven to largely be everything that Power Rangers fans have hoped for. And now that Shout! Factory is preparing to wind down its releases of those original seasons, it has made yet another dream come true for fans. It has made those fans’ dreams come true by finally bringing to America audiences the series that started it all in Super Sentai Zyuranger. Shout! Factory will release Super Sentai Zyuranger: The Complete Series on DVD next Tuesday, February 17th. It marks the first time that the series has ever received a full, proper domestic release. And just as with Shout! Factory’s Power Rangers box sets, this box set lives up just as much to fans’ expectations. It does so first and foremost thanks to the fact that it is presented exactly as it was in its original broadcast on Japanese television from 1992 – 1993. Every episode is there. And even better for American audiences is the fact that it includes English subtitles as a standard in every episode. In connection, audiences will also take note of the series’ writing. The adventures presented in Super Sentai Zyuranger are rather different from those in Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers. And while the camp of the two series is noticeable different it can be said that that aspect of the two series’ writing is at least similar. The inclusion of a bonus panel discussion with the original cast of Super Sentai: Zyuranger rounds out the collection. The cast discusses everything from that series to working as stunt actors for the Power Rangers series, working on Kamen Rider, Godzilla and so much more throughout the nearly half-hour long discussion. Some rather interesting tidbits are revealed through the discussion that some audiences might not have known up until learning them here. Together with its original presentation and its writing, Super Sentai: Zyuranger’s first-ever American DVD release proves to be a must have for fans of either series or both. They also prove collectively once more why Shout! Factory remains today America’s leading name in home entertainment.

When Shout! Factory releases Super Sentai Zyuranger: The Complete Series next Tuesday, it will make a long-held dream come true for thousands of fans. Its release will mark the first time ever that it will have received a full, proper domestic release. And in examining the set in whole, it’s safe to say that fans of both this series and of Saban’s Power Rangers franchise will be thoroughly impressed with this brand new release. The main reason that audiences will be so impressed by Super Sentai Zyuranger: The Complete Series is that it is presented to audiences exactly as it was presented in its original Japanese broadcasts. It takes viewers right up to the introduction of what would eventually become the Green Ranger and evil villainess Scorpina in Saban’s Power Rangers franchise. Audiences will notice quite the difference between the two franchises, too. Those differences will be discussed momentarily. For now though, the focus will remain on the prior of the pair. Audiences will appreciate that every one of the episodes included in the original series is included in this set. Shout! Factory has also included standard English subtitles with each episode. Though audiences are given the option to turn off those subtitles if audiences so choose. In watching the series with its English subtitles, it should be noted that there is some language peppered throughout the series that some parents might find objectionable. So suffice it to say that because of that language and other content, this box set is aimed more at adults more so than children. That fact cannot be ignored.

Moving on to another aspect of the set’s presentation, those that are familiar with Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers will see where Saban clipped footage from this series for MMPR. That is just as important to the whole if only for its historical value. That is because by comparison, that same footage placed back into Super Sentai Zyuranger, it presents a wholly different story. That wholly different story puts both series into an entirely different context in retrospect. It’s another way that the presentation of Super Sentai Zyuranger: The Complete Series proves to be an especially important addition to any fan of the Power Rangers and/or Super Sentai franchise. The overall presentation of Super Sentai Zyuranger is important in its own right to the success of this upcoming release. As important as it is, the writing behind each of the series’ episodes is just as key to its success.

The writing behind Super Sentai Zyuranger’s is just as important to its success among fans as the set’s presentation. And fans will be just as impressed by the writing as by the overall presentation of the episodes. As previously noted, audiences that are familiar with both MMPR and SSZR will note in these episodes where exactly Saban incorporated SSZR’s into MMPR’s presentation. In seeing SSZR in its entirety, the footage presents a story that is entirely different from that presented in MMPR. It is interesting to see the gradual change in Miss Bandora (Rita Repulsa in MMPR) as the series progresses. She goes from being an evil space witch who hates everyone including children to eventually doing a near total 180. And even throughout the course of the story’s progression audiences see a story completely unlike that presented in MMPR even from the series’ premiere. Having the original guardians being woken up from their deep slumber versus the Rangers being picked actually makes perfect sense. And the intentional camp incorporated into the story makes for even more enjoyment. Given it’s a camp different from that in MMPR. But it still adds its own element of enjoyment to the presentation in whole. Whether for that camp, the original story, or even for other unmentioned reasons, the work that went into SSZR’s writing proves the writing in question to be yet another reason that fans of this modern classic will want to add Super Sentai Zyuranger: The Complete Series to their own home libraries.

The writing and overall presentation of Super Sentai Zyuranger: The Complete Series collectively make a solid argument as to why ay fan of this series or of Saban’s MMPR will want to add the brand new box set to their home library when it is released next Tuesday, February 17th. Anyone still not convinced by these aspects of the series’ first-ever full domestic release is sure to be won over by the companion “Power Morphicon Panel” included as a bonus feature with the set. The original cast of SSZR is featured in this panel. Despite what one might believe, the cast discusses more than this series with fans in attendance. The fans actually bring up a number of topics including the cast’s work on MMPR and Godzilla among other series and movies. There are little tidbits shared along the way such as the issues raised by the language barrier when the cast worked on MMPR. There are also more personal stories that audiences might have never known about the cast and how it met among so much more. The discussion in whole lasts almost half an hour. And again subtitles are included both for the English and non-English speaking cast. The subtitles coupled with the depth of information shared throughout the panel’s extensive discussion rounds out the reasons that fans of Super Sentai Zyuranger will want to add this long-awaited box set to their home libraries. Together with the writing and the set’s overall presentation, all three elements prove Super Sentai Zyuranger: The Complete Series to be one of this year’s most welcome surprises from Shout! Factory. And it proves without a doubt once more why Shout! Factory is the leading name in home entertainment.

Shout! Factory has slowly but surely made its way to the top of the heap in the world of home entertainment over the years. It has done so with the release of some of America’s most beloved TV series and movies. The upcoming release of Super Sentai Zyuranger: The Complete Series is one more notch the Shout! Factory’s proverbial belt. It is everything that fans of this series have hoped for ever since it finished its original run overseas over two decades ago. Audiences will agree with that sentiment when they finally get to purchase the box set for themselves next Tuesday. It will be available next Tuesday, February 17th in stores and online and can be pre-ordered now direct via Shout! Factory’s online store at Fans that pre-order the set now via Shout! Factory’s online store can get it at a discounted price of $49.97 versus the SRP of $54.99. More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:



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I, Spy Full Series Re-Issue Is One Of The Year’s Best And Most Welcome Box Sets

Courtesy:  Timeless Media/Shout! Factory

Courtesy: Timeless Media/Shout! Factory

NBC’s classic action-adventures series I, Spy is one of the greatest series in the modern history of television. Ironically enough, the series only lasted three seasons. And still it managed to earn multiple award nominations and wins over the course of its run on the Peacock Network. Now nearly five decades since it first debuted, both the series’ original audience and a whole new generation will get to see why the series earned those nominations and awards thanks to the people at Timeless Media. Timeless Media will release I, Spy: The Complete Series next Tuesday, June 24th. Regardless of whether or not one is familiar with this short-lived series, audiences will agree in watching all three seasons of the soon-to-be-released box set, that there is so much to like about the series. One of the key positives to the show’s success is its writing. The writers crafted a series in I, Spy that is a rarity today. It’s not a serial. It’s far less graphic than the programs that currently dominate the television spectrum. And the language is far less of the level that is heard in today’s series. Just as important to note of this series is the lack of explosions and other special effects that are also so dominant in today’s series. And last but not least, the acting on the part of co-stars Bill Cosby and Robert Culp makes everything complete. The pair’s on-camera chemistry adds even more substance to every episode. Together with the aforementioned factors, it brings everything full circle in this set, making I, Spy: The Complete Series all the more valuable an addition to any viewer’s personal DVD library.

I, Spy: The Complete Series is a huge breath of fresh air for audiences. The primary reason for this is the series’ writing. In an age when it seems like so much of the broadcast spectrum is dominated by overly violent and oversexed serials that force audiences to dedicate so much time to said shows, the writers behind I, Spy crafted a series that doesn’t require such level of dedication, nor do viewers have to worry about the unnecessary levels of violence and sexuality that dominate today’s “grown-up” series. Sure there are fight scenes, action sequences, and a certain amount of sexuality. But, each of the noted factors is a product of its time. Ergo, each aspect is used tastefully. That’s especially the case in comparison to what’s on television today. The end result of such balance is a show that is front loaded with wonderful action and adventure. From facing down one of their own to hunting down a man wanted for tax evasion to tracking down a boy (played by Ron Howard) who has stolen a vital piece of a top secret device and more, every episode of this series will keep viewers engaged throughout its near hour-long run time. And considering that so many of today’s big name series seem to rely on everything that this series doesn’t use to keep viewers’ attention for that run time, it makes I, Spy all the more a breath of fresh air.

The overall writing behind I, Spy is the foundation of the success for Timeless Media’s latest classic television release. It isn’t the only factor that makes this classic yet short-lived series a must see. Just as important to the series is its overall lack of over the top special effects and explosions. The show’s writers did such an outstanding job crafting stories with real substance and class that there was no need for the over-the-top, flash-boom-bang approach that nearly every action and drama series uses today. The fact that the approach used in I, Spy is still just as appealing as that of today’s series shows that that approach can and does work. It serves as a model of television done right. And even when all those other series have gone by the wayside, the approach used in I, Spy will continue to make it one of the truly best of its genre and in the modern history of television.

Last but definitely not least to consider in the success of I, Spy is the acting on the part of co-stars Bill Cosby and Robert Culp. The acting on the part of both men is entirely believable. Both men are entirely believable in their roles whether alone or as a unit. And that is thanks to the obvious chemistry between the men. That chemistry extended beyond the cameras and the exotic locales at which the series was shot. One can tell in watching the men act that neither is trying too hard by comparison to so many of today’s actors. Again, this applies to solo and dual scenes in which the men share the spotlight. Audiences that let themselves be pulled in by the duo’s acting will even find themselves laughing at both the obvious and not so obvious comedic moments. And when they are fighting off the bad guys, some viewers might even find themselves almost like a little kid, getting wrapped up in said fight scenes. Again, that’s because the acting on the part of both men is simply that expert. When audiences take into account the expert acting of both Cosby and Culp, and set it alongside the general lack of special effects and the solid writing throughout the series, they will agree that together, all three aspects join together to make I, Spy one of the most welcome and enjoyable classic series to be released this year.

I, Spy will be available in stores and online next Tuesday, June 24th. It can be pre-ordered now via the Shout! Factory online store at More information on this and other releases from Shout! Factory is available online at and To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at