Category Archives: TV

A bird? A plane? Nope. It’s Melissa Benoist and Supergirl flying onto Blu-ray and DVD

It’s a bird! it’s a plane! It’s Super . . . girl!

A new superhero will begin flying into homes on Tuesday, as Warner Bros. Home Entertainment releases Supergirl: The Complete First Season on Blu-ray and DVD on August 9.  Fans can purchase the set which, in addition to all 20 exhilarating episodes, contains more than an hour of extra content, including the 2015 Comic-Con panel, featurettes, deleted scenes and a gag reel.


The show, starring Melissa Benoist as Supergirl, is a delightful high-soaring romp; it’s no surprise Supergirl was the winner of the 2016 People’s Choice Award for Favorite New TV Drama.

The plot is the stuff meant for the Daily Planet. Born on the doomed planet Krypton, Kara Zor-El escaped at the same time as her cousin, Superman, but didn’t arrive on Earth until years later after being lost in the Phantom Zone. Raised by her adopted family, the Danvers, Kara grew up in the shadow of her foster sister, Alex, and learned to hide the phenomenal powers she shares with her famous cousin.
107117_D0437bc_36a54143_566b7159c0be06.95399558Years later, at age 24, and now living in National City while working as an assistant for Catco Worldwide Media mogul Cat Grant, Kara has spent so many years trying to fit in that she forgot to ever stand out. All that changes when she decides to embrace her superhuman abilities and become the hero she was always destined to be. With the help of Daily Planet photographer James Olsen, her bioengineer sister Alex, and the research of the super-secret, off-the-grid Department of Extra-Normal Operations (DEO), who are tasked with keeping the Earth safe from aliens, Kara takes to the skies to protect her world.

 

106641_D_0833r_dd5a9040_566b70f8251f06.86574174In addition to Melissa Benoist, Supergirl  stars Chyler Leigh, Mehcad Brooks, Jeremy Jordan, David Harewood and Calista Flockhart.  Season One guest stars include Dean Cain, Peter Facinelli, Jenna Dewan Tatum, Laura Benanti and Helen Slater.  Die-hard Superman fans will know at least two of the guest stars make appearances!

We leave with some insight into how Melissa Benoist plays Supergirl; she knows young people look up to her, so she is careful how she plays her character, keeping a certain purity and goodness in your performance.

“I think that’s the driving force behind her. That makes it easy because I always know what to fall back on when I’m playing Supergirl. She does get angry, she does have flaws. But what ultimately is the most important about her is that she always finds the silver lining. She always finds a way to be heroic and good and pure at heart. So, there’s a pressure, but it’s something that’s kind of constant about her that I rely on.”

 

“Confirmation” revisits the Anita Hill/Clarence Thomas hearings with grit and power

It only takes one voice to change history. Let’s discuss Anita Hill and her powerful voice.
In July 1991, President George H.W. Bush nominated Judge Clarence Thomas to fill Justice Thurgood Marshall’s seat on the U.S. Supreme Court. In October, during the final days of Thomas’ confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee, both Newsday and NPR broke the story that one of Thomas’ former employees, law professor Anita Hill, had accused him of sexually harassing her 10 years earlier. These revelations triggered a maelstrom of events, with both Hill and Thomas testifying about the allegations before a stunned and riveted television audience.

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Kerry Washington as Anita Hill; Wendell Pierce as Clarence Thomas
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The real Thomas and Hill

History has been revisited in the HBO Home Entertainment TV movie Confirmation, now on DVD with Digital HD and Blu-ray with Digital HD. The film details the explosive Clarence Thomas Supreme Court nomination hearings, which brought the country to a standstill and forever changed the way we think about sexual harassment, victims’ rights and modern-day race relations. It looks behind the curtain of Washington politics, depicting a pivotal moment in American culture that became a turning point in workplace equality and gender politics.

The HBO Film was nominated for two 2016 Emmy Awards including Outstanding Television Movie and Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie (Kerry Washington as Anita Hill).

The Blu-ray and DVD releases include brief discussions with Washington and Pierce on the historical impact of the hearings as well as “Character Spot” featuring cast members discussing the character they play.

Save the date! “All the Way” gets our vote as best TV movie of the year

“Until justice is blind to color, until education is unaware of race, until opportunity is unconcerned with the color of men’s skins, emancipation will be a proclamation, but not a fact.” – Lyndon B. Johnson
Yes, Hillary will win, but put aside that lovely thought . . . just for a moment. As race relations and presidential politics continue to be top-of-mind, hot-button issues, HBO will be bring the Emmy-nominated All the Way to Blu-ray and DVD on September 6. Recently nominated for eight Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Television Movie and Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie (Bryan Cranston, who reprises his Tony-winning role), the powerful film underscores the fact that as much as things change, they remain the same.

All the Way is a riveting behind-the-scenes look at President Lyndon B. Johnson’s tumultuous first year in office in the wake of President Kennedy’s assassination. Witness LBJ during his early administration, as he stakes his presidency on what would be an historic, unprecedented Civil Rights Act. Johnson finds himself caught between the moral imperative of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the expectations of the southern Democratic Party leaders who brought Johnson to power. As King battles to press Johnson while controlling more radical elements of the Civil Rights movement, Johnson navigates the bill through Congress, winning a landslide victory against Barry Goldwater, but causing the South to defect from the Democratic Party.
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Bryan Cranston is brilliant; joining him in pivotal roles are Anthony Mackie as Martin Luther King, Jr., Melissa Leo as Lady Bird Johnson, Bradley Whitford as Hubert Humphrey, Stephen Root as J. Edgar Hoover and Frank Langella as Sen. Richard Russell.
You may now return your thoughts to Hillary.

Liam Neeson narrates a fascinating documentary on the Irish Rebellion

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!

“Person of Interest” comes to an end . . . and what an ending says Michael Emerson

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.

Stephen King, James Franco and a dead Kennedy make for riveting TV

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).

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Lee Harvey Oswald, recreated by the brilliant 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 never had shame: “Shameless” is an outrageous, irreverent Showtime series

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.

Stay tuned.

Shuffling along to spread news of a welcome war: “Card Wars”

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.
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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?

“American Masters” celebrates its 30th anniversary with the launch of “In Their Own Words: The American Masters Digital Archive”

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.

All full-length, digitized interviews will be archived by the American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB), a collaboration between WGBH and the Library of Congress to preserve and make accessible significant historical content created by public media.
“I’m thrilled that the National Endowment for the Arts has provided major funding to get this project off the ground so we can finally share gems from the cutting room floor with the public,” says Michael Kantor, executive producer of American Masters. “Series creator Susan Lacy built a rich library of more than 200 documentary films, which is a treasure trove of American arts, culture and intellect, and the amazing interviews that informed these films are largely unseen. While we are still seeking funds to create a comprehensive, interactive digital archive website, we are confident that In Their Own Words and the American Masters Podcast will inspire and entertain a broad audience both today and in the future.”
Here, A gem of Betty White chatting about her (and my) pal Carol Burnett.

“Bottersnikes & Gumbles” are ready to hit Netflix . . . get ready to g(r)umble!

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!

image001 (1)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!”