It’s a great day for the Irish. Yet it wasn’t always so great. On Easter Monday 1916, a small group of Irish rebels including poets, teachers, actors and workers took on the might of the British Empire. Although defeated militarily, the men and women of the Easter Rising would soon win a moral victory with their actions leading to the creation of an independent Irish State and contributing to the eventual disintegration of the British Empire. They have inspired countless freedom struggles throughout the world from Ireland to India.
Welcome to PBS Distribution’s 1916: The Irish Rebellion on DVD. Narrated by acclaimed actor and Irish native Liam Neeson, and directed by award-winning Irish documentary directors, Ruán Magan and Pat Collins, the three-episode series commemorates this seminal event with a combination of rarely seen archival footage, new segments filmed on location worldwide, and interviews with leading international experts. The documentary also uncovers the untold story of the central role Irish Americans played in the lead-up to the rebellion that would change the course of Irish history.
Called a “thoroughly engaging history lesson” by The Irish Times, the film was produced to coincide with the international celebration of the centenary of the Easter rising. The program aired on American Public Television (APT) in the United States and Raidió Teilifís Éireann (RTÉ) and the British Broadcasting Corp, and a shorter version will be screened globally at Irish embassies throughout the world.
Éirinn go Brách!
All things come to an end. Even great things. Warner Bros. Home Entertainment has released Person of Interest: The Complete Fifth and Final Season on Blu-ray and DVD. This is the end of one of television’s most compelling, action-packed, crime dramas.
For years, the Person of Interest team, consisting of tech genius Harold Finch (Michael Emerson), ex-agent John Reese (Jim Caviezel), NYPD Detective Lionel Fusco (Kevin Chapman), cyber-hacker Root (Amy Acker) and missing-in-action operative Sameen Shaw (Sarah Shahi), have been protected by The Machine. As worlds collided, however, and a rival AI known as Samaritan finally cornered The Machine inside the nation’s power grid, it was the POI team’s turn to protect Finch’s creation.
In season five, the cold war is over. The world might appear to look the same, but something has drastically changed. Samaritan’s lethal “correction” has initiated its control. Finch’s Machine is essentially dead. Shaw is still missing. And the team is once again hiding in plain sight. But with Samaritan’s invisible grip tightening everywhere, will Finch be able to rebuild and resurrect The Machine? And if he does, will it be the same Machine when it comes back online?
We wonder what Michael Emerson (best-known for his theater work, including a great run as Oscar Wilde in Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde and a greater Willie Oban in The Iceman Cometh), feels about Person of Interest ending.
“I feel good. I think we were surprised when we first heard that it was coming to an end,” he says. “You always think that as long as your ratings are high, you’re good to go. But it doesn’t necessarily always play out that way. There were other kinds of concerns and such. Once we got used to the idea, and when they said, ‘We’re just going to shoot 13,’ somewhere in my heart there was a leap of joy because I thought, ‘Praise God. I think I can get through 13.’ I wasn’t sure I could do another 22.”
As for the way the series ended? “Oh, that’s alright. That’s a human ending, not some contrivance or irony or device. I’m really pleased with it and at peace with it and so happy that I’m not still out there shooting,” he adds.
It’s a question most people can readily answer: Where were you when JFK was shot? And almost everyone remembers Walter Cronkite wiping away tears while reporting the tragic news.
Imagine having the power to change history. Willing? Then journey back to 11.22.63. The Hulu original series stars James Franco as Jake Epping, a high-school teacher at a loss with his life, who wants to make a difference and do something meaningful. Encouraged by his ailing friend (the wonderful, but aging Chris Cooper), Jake journeys back in time to prevent the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The story transports audiences into the world of ’60s Texas as Jake explores the multiple mysteries surrounding the alleged assassin Lee Harvey Oswald (Daniel Webber).
But Jake’s mission faces threats not only from Oswald, but from Sadie (Sarah Gadon), a beautiful librarian he falls in love with, and from the past itself . . . which doesn’t want to be changed. And if the Past doesn’t want to be changed, it will push back often violently. With something for everyone, this edge-of-your seat mystery offers an epic and emotional thrill ride as viewers hurtle deep into the unpredictable darkness of the American dream.
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment’s release of 11.22.63 is on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD. Executive Produced by Emmy winner J.J. Abrams, Stephen King, Bridget Carpenter and Kevin Macdonald, the event series includes all 8 episodes as well as a brand new featurette. The series is based upon the New York Times best-selling 2011 novel written by King.
We have no shame promoting all the great DVDs and Blu-ray releases Warner Bros. Home Entertainment brings to fans. On August 30, one of the top-rated Showtime comedy series will get in your hands with the release of Shameless: The Complete Sixth Season. Get set for the Gallagher clan, one of television’s most outrageous families as they entertain viewers with another highly addictive season featuring 12 irreverent episodes, plus bonus content, including two new featurettes and deleted scenes.
Shameless, based on the long-running, award-winning British series, was adapted for American television by John Wells and original UK series creator Paul Abbott. The show stars Oscar-nominated actor William H. Macy as Frank Gallagher, the outspoken, alcoholic, single father of six clever and resourceful kids from Chicago’s South Side. Scrappy, stubborn and strong, the Gallaghers are tested by changing times but season six finds them older, wiser and better at playing the system.
Accustomed to their natural state of chaos, the Gallaghers are as surprised as anyone at how life is turning out for them. But as they come into their own and find out who they really are, is it really possible that they might grow apart for good?
During season six of Shameless, Frank continues to grieve the loss of Bianca, while his newfound appreciation for life is freaking everyone out. Debbie (Emma Kenney) has decisions to make about her pregnancy while Fiona (Emmy Rossum) learns that she too, is expecting. Lip (Jeremy Allen White) is still in a dangerous relationship with one of his college professors. Ian (Cameron Monaghan) is adjusting to taking his meds and finding a new purpose in life. Carl (Ethan Cutkosky) is released early after serving time in juvenile detention. And just when they think it couldn’t get any worse, the Gallagher clan faces the possibility of losing their home when they are served with an eviction notice.
When we stumbled upon Adventure Time, we knew Cartoon Network wasn’t the only people having magical (mis)adventures. Then, in the fourteenth episode of the series’ fourth season, we aced it when we stumbled up Card Wars.
Shades of Huck Finn . . . of sorts. The series follows the adventures of human boy Finn (voiced by Jeremy Shada), and his best friend and adoptive brother Jake (voiced by John DiMaggio), who happens to be a dog with magical powers. Yep, he can change shape, growing and shrinking at will. Oh, they live in the Land of Ooo.
Jake begs Finn to play his favorite trading card game (thus Card Wars), but things take a turn for the worse when Jake becomes overly competitive, insisting on playing for a “cool guy cup” and the “dweeb cup”. Trust us: This is some funny stuff.
Adventure Time: Card Wars (Cartoon Network) is a nifty DVD that will have you shuffling through 16 episodes, including the original Card Wars. The DVD also comes packaged with an exclusive Card Wars playing card, making this DVD a must have for fans, collectors and the huge following that Card Wars has accrued since the episode, app and physical game debuted.
Old maid anyone?
Everything old is new again. And in the case of THIRTEEN’s American Masters, the old is very new and very special. The series made in debut in 1986 on PBS with Private Conversations: On the Set of “Death of a Salesman,“ a cinéma vérité documentary about the making of Arthur Miller’s masterpiece for network television, and its stars Dustin Hoffman and John Malkovich.
Today, American Masters celebrates its 30th anniversary with the launch of In Their Own Words: The American Masters Digital Archive and the American Masters Podcast, featuring previously unreleased interviews filmed for the documentary series: 2,156 tapes, approximately 1,388 digitized hours, 800-plus interviews and counting.
A selection of short-form videos showcasing interviews with David Bowie, Gloria Steinem, Herbie Hancock, Bernadette Peters, Mike Nichols and other luminaries discussing America’s most enduring artistic and cultural giants are available now on the American Masters website (pbs.org/americanmasters). New videos will be released on an ongoing basis as the archive is digitized.
The American Masters Podcast, hosted by series executive producer Michael Kantor, will feature long-form interviews from In Their Own Words. The first season, “Women on Women,” presents interviews with influential women discussing women cultural icons. Episode one features Gloria Steinem in conversation with the late, multiple Emmy-winning filmmaker Gail Levin taking a critical look at the life and career of Marilyn Monroe from 2006’s American Masters Marilyn: Still Life. New episodes will be released biweekly on the American Masters website, iTunes, Soundcloud and Stitcher.
Great things do come in small packages. Bottersnikes & Gumbles, a new award-winning CGI animated series, is set to make its U.S. and Canada debut with 26 episodes on August 19 on Netflix. Full of action, suspense and laughs, each 11-minute episode is set to thrill the imaginations of kids . . . though we hear the show’s spokesperson suggests the small-screen sagas are for kids “aged 6 and older,” we think it’s perfect for kids of all ages!
Bottersnikes & Gumbles follows the adventures of three young Gumbles, Tink, Bounce and Willi,who love nothing better than to “gumble” all day long, which means crazy, stretchy capers around their junk valley, while carefully avoiding getting tin-canned by their lazy, grumpy neighbors the Bottersnikes, led by the foul tempered and vain Bottersnikes King. Endless battles ensue involving plenty of stealth, trickery, daring rescues and narrow escapes as the Gumbles try to outwit the Bottersnikes in every episode.
Bottersnikes & Gumbles earned this year’s Pulcinella Award for Best Kids TV Series at the international animation festival, Cartoons on the Bay, in Venice and was nominated for a Logie Award in Australia for Most Outstanding Children’s Programme.
Bottersnikes & Gumbles has been developed and adapted from the characters and world as they first appeared in the much-loved Bottersnikes and Gumbles books by S.A. Wakefield, with illustrations by Desmond Digby. The books were published in the UK and Australia between 1967 and 1989.
“I wonder if Sam Wakefield ever imagined this when he wrote the original books in the 1960s?,” asks Patrick Egerton, Executive Producer at Cheeky Little Media. “Making this show, and bringing these much loved characters to life has been amazing.”
Adds Darren Price, Executive Creative Director, Mighty Nice: “The original books created a truly unique, often hilarious, fantasy world of imaginative creatures, personalities and situations. Taking it further with animation has been a hugely rewarding experience. Netflix viewers, get ready to gumble!”
From the makers of Broadchurch comes a new thriller that has to have mass appeal. The Tunnel is set against the backdrop of Europe in crisis . . . and what a crisis it is. When a prominent French politician is found dead in the middle of the Channel Tunnel, straddling the border between the UK and France, detectives Karl Roebuck (superbly played by Stephen Dillane) and Elise Wassermann (an excellent Clémence Poésy) are sent to investigate on behalf of their respective countries. The case takes a surreal turn when a shocking discovery is made at the crime scene, forcing the French and British police into an uneasy partnership. As the serial killer uses ever more elaborate and ingenious methods to highlight the moral bankruptcy of modern society, Karl and Elise are drawn deeper into his increasingly personal agenda.
The Tunnel has already addicted PBS viewers (the series airs Sunday through August 21); the Blu-ray and DVD will be released on August 9 by PBS Distribution. The DVD and Blu-ray editions also include 20 minutes of behind-the-scenes footage, cast interviews, and more. The program will also be available for digital download.
We won’t reveal anything else, except to remind you that faces may look quite familiar: In addition to Dillane and Poésy, The Tunnel also features Angel Coulby as Laura Roebuck, James Frain as John Sumner, Joseph Mawle as Stephen Beaumont, Keeley Hawes as Suze Beaumont, Tom Bateman as Danny Hillier, Jeanne Balibar as Charlotte Jubin, Thibaut de Montalembert as Olivier Pujol, Jack Lowden as Adam Roebuck, Cedric Vieira as Philippe Viot and Sigrid Bouaziz as Cecille Cabrillac.