Headsup: CMA, NYPD, NCIS, and More Letters

Disclaimer: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment requests we note that it provided a free copy of “Batman: Hush” and “Arrow: The Complete Seventh Season”. The opinions I share are my own.

“Taking home audiences from the early days of the CMA Awards to the present, CMA Awards Live: Greatest Moments 1968-2015 is a handsomely packaged 10-DVD collector’s set filled with 127 unforgettable performances from five decades of the nationally-televised ceremony. The set features performances from many of the premiere artists in the genre who’ve helped to shape the history of country music – Glen Campbell, Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash, Barbara Mandrell, Buck Owens and Kenny Rogers as well as artists who’ve nurtured the sound over the past decade and taken the music to new heights, like Miranda Lambert, Brad Paisley, Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood, and Keith Urban.” — from Time Life

Now out from Time Life is CMA Awards Live: Greatest Moments 1968-2015, available in a 10-disc DVD set. In addition to over one hundred featured performances, the set includes newly-produced interviews and other bonus content with artists such as Charley Pride, Kenny Rogers, Naomi Judd, Ronnie Milsap, Alan Jackson, Miranda Lambert, Vince Gill, George Strait, Carrie Underwood and others. The set also comes with a 44-page memory book featuring a history of the CMA awards, show photos, and a year-by-year guide covering five decades of award recipients. CMA Awards Live: Greatest Moments 1968-2015 is available on Amazon for $94.19.

Blue Bloods Season NineBlue Bloods is a drama about a multi-generational family of cops dedicated to New York City law enforcement. Frank Reagan is the New York Police Commissioner, and heads both the police force and the Reagan brood. He runs his department as diplomatically as he runs his family, even when dealing with the politics that plagued his unapologetically bold father, Henry, during his stint as Chief. A source of pride and concern for Frank is his eldest son, Danny, a seasoned detective, family man and Iraq War vet who on occasion uses dubious tactics to solve cases with his partner, Detective Maria Baez. The Reagan women in the family include Erin, a New York Assistant D.A. who also serves as the legal compass for her siblings and father, as well as a single parent to her teenage daughter, Nicky. Jamie is the youngest Reagan, a Harvard Law graduate and the family’s “golden boy.” Unable to deny the family tradition, Jamie decided to give up a lucrative future in law and follow in the family footsteps as a cop. He’s found a friend and ally in Eddie, his female partner who keeps him on his toes, and has very different reasons than the Reagans for joining the police force. After several years of working together, Jamie and Eddie finally succumbed to their strong feelings for one another and are engaged to be married.” — from CBS

Blue Bloods: The Ninth Season is now available on DVD. The set includes all twenty-two episodes from Season Nine , an on-set conversation with Abigail Hawk (Detective Abigail Baker), two behind-the-scenes Watch! Magazine specials, an examination of the character arcs and themes of the season, a featurette with the show’s technical consultant (and cast member) Detective James Nuciforo discussing the ins and outs of the show’s authenticity, deleted scenes, and a gag reel. The DVD set is available on Amazon for $34.99 and CBS All Access members have the season included in their subscription. You can also snag Season Nine digitally on iTunes and Amazon (for $29.99 each) but neither includes bonus features, so it’s up to you to decide if the $5 difference for the extras.

NCIS New Orleans season fiveNCIS: New Orleans is a drama about the local field office that investigates criminal cases involving military personnel in The Big Easy, a city known for its music, entertainment and decadence. Leading the team is Special Agent Dwayne Pride, a.k.a. “King,” a native of New Orleans who is driven by his need to do what is right. Working with Pride is his longtime friend and colleague Special Agent Christopher Lasalle, who plays hard but works harder; tough and acerbic Special Agent Tammy Gregorio, a former FBI Agent who was sent to New Orleans to investigate NCIS and upon completion joined Pride’s team; and Forensic Agent Sebastian Lund, a brilliant scientist who left the lab and, after much training, became an agent. Supporting them is coroner Dr. Loretta Wade, who is as eccentric as she is smart, and Investigative Computer Specialist Patton Plame, an animated and talented hacker. Joining the team this season is Special Agent Hannah Khoury, a seasoned agent who specializes in international counter-intelligence and has spent most of her career on overseas assignments. This colorful city that harbors a dark side is a magnet for service personnel on leave, and when overindulgence is followed by trouble, Pride’s team is at its best.”  — from CBS

NCIS: New Orleans: The Fifth Season is now out on DVD, which features all twenty-four of the season’s episodes (including the 100th episode of the series). Among the bonus features are interviews with the cast and crew, a special on the celebration of the show’s 100th episode, and conversations with the cast about their journeys as working actors. The DVD set is available on Amazon for $29.96. Digital options include seeing the season through a CBS All Access subscription or grabbing it via Amazon or iTunes, but both of the latter options cost the same as the DVD set and don’t have any of the bonus features. Unless you have CBS All Access, on this one it looks like the DVD is the way to go.

Batman Hush“A mysterious villain puppeteering Gotham’s most dangerous forces leads the Dark Knight into uncharted waters in Batman: Hush, the next entry in the popular series of DC Universe Movies. An adaptation of the seminal DC classic tale, Batman: Hush centers on a shadowy new villain known only as Hush, who uses Gotham’s Rogues Gallery to destroy Batman’s crime-fighting career, as well as Bruce Wayne’s personal life – which has already been complicated by a relationship with Selina Kyle, aka Catwoman.” — from Warner Brothers

Batman: Hush is now available on Blu-ray and 4K UHD.   Extras include audio commentary with executive producer James Tucker, director Justin Copeland and screenwriter Ernie Altbacker, a featurette about the character(s) Selina Kyle / Catwoman, the all-new DC Showcase animated short Sgt. Rock, two episodes from The Batman/Superman Hour, and a sneak peek at the next DC Universe Movie (Wonder Woman: Bloodlines.) Fans can get Batman: Hush on Blu-ray for $17.95 or 4K UHD for $24.95 on Amazon.

arrow season 7“Following Oliver Queen’s shocking decision to turn himself over the FBI and reveal his identity as the Green Arrow to the public, Oliver has spent the past five months in prison while his team was left behind to protect Star City. In the wake of Ricardo Diaz’s escape, Oliver has yet again turned into someone else inside Slabside Maximum Security Prison. Determined to keep a low profile to shorten his sentence for the sake of his family, Oliver’s limits will be tested when he and Team Arrow are pitted against the most ruthless villains they have yet to face.” — from Warner Brothers

Arrow: The Complete Seventh Season is now available on Blu-ray and DVD. The set includes all twenty- two episodes of Season Seven along with a handful of bonus features. Among the extras are featurettes on the crossover (Elseworlds) and the villains of the series, the show’s panel at Comic-Con San Diego 2018, deleted scenes, and a gag reel. The Blu-ray set also includes all three Elseworlds crossover episodes.  Arrow: The Complete Seventh Season is available on Amazon priced at $26.99 for the DVD and $29.99 for the Blu-ray. You can get the season digitally for $24.99 on iTunes (along with the two featurettes) and the same price Amazon (with no bonus features). Neither option includes the three crossover episodes featured on the Blu-ray set, so it’s up to you to decide if the $5 difference in price is worth it for the full extras / bonus episodes package.

I love Lucy colorized“America’s favorite redhead returns with a new collection of beloved episodes in glorious color. From CBS Home Entertainment and Paramount Home Entertainment, I Love Lucy: Colorized Collection [features] sixteen full-length/uncut episodes of the beloved comedy. ‘We are excited to be bringing this timeless franchise to audiences in a new manner and hope to attract a new generation of fans to one of the greatest comedies in television history,” said Ken Ross, EVP and General Manager of CBS Home Entertainment.’ ” — from CBS

I Love Lucy: Colorized Collection is available now on DVD. The set includes sixteen unedited colorized episodes of the iconic show along with a vintage stick figure animation, a colorized version of Lucy, Ricky, Fred, and Ethel singing “Jingle Bells”, and an in-depth featurettte about the colorization process.  You can get the DVD on Amazon for $19.99

DragonCon 2019: Locating the Oddballs

Victorian weirdos

DragonCon is here. It stands on your welcome mat demanding to be let in. And just as you go to turn the deadbolt you remember… We don’t have a welcome mat…

Follow our Needcoffee feed for last minute updates. Where available, everyone’s first mention has their Twitter ID linked up–so feel free to follow folks for their latest weirdness. (Except in cases where they’ve been added to an earlier panel than I first had them–so they’re Twitter-linked on here somewhere. I’m old and lazy.) As always, this list is subject to change without notice or reason or rhyme.

As always, inevitably, there will be formatting and other stupid errors on this schedule. If you find something wrong, just ping me and we’ll get it fixed. DON’T PANIC. Trust me, I’ll tell you when to panic.

Read More

All 2019 San Diego Comic-Con Trailers Have Now Been Destroyed

Invader Zim

It’s true. They all just spontaneously combusted in the wake of Netflix releasing this, the trailer and date announcement for Invader Zim: Enter the Florpus, the long-awaited continuation of the mad animated saga. If this doesn’t make you excited to see this, then your medication needs adjusting. And I say that as a friend.

Stuff: Never Mind the Cats, Check Out the Armored Bear

Lee Scoresbys balloon from His Dark Materials

There’s too much information out there. Especially when it comes to Comic-Con weekend. But don’t worry. Go on with your lives. I sift through this stuff so you don’t have to.

Because the Night is a four-part series coming to ITV across the pond (and then to the States and elsewhere eventually, of course) from Neil Cross, based on his novel Burial. Cross is the man who brought you Idris Elba as Luther, the first series of which is some of the most nail-biting television I’ve ever seen. As for the title, yes, I too finished it with “belongs to lovers.” Source.

Read More

The Taste of Caffeinated Nostalgia

Back in my younger days, somewhere around 1891 or so, there were a number of classic soft drinks that were near and dear to my heart. There was Surge, the thinking man’s Mello Yello, which has returned and doesn’t appear to be going anywhere. There was also the guarana-laced Josta, the best thing Pepsi ever created, which has yet to return. And there was Jolt Cola, much beloved among anyone who craved some liquid sleep and needed something to wash down the last pot of coffee.

Read More

Headsup: Baseball, Batman, and Burial Grounds

Disclaimer: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment requests we note that it provided a free copy of “Gotham: The Complete Series”.  The opinions I share are my own.

Major LeagueMajor League is the hilarious story of a group of baseball misfits who rally to bring home the pennant.  The film features an all-star cast including Charlie Sheen, Tom Berenger, Corbin Bernsen, Wesley Snipes, and Rene Russo.” — from Paramount

Major League is being re-released on Blu-ray and DVD in celebration of its 30th anniversary.  Both formats feature a handful of bonus features, including commentary by writer / director David S. Ward and producer Chris Chesser, three making-of featurettes, an alternate ending with an introduction from the creative team, a tour of Cerrano’s locker, and a photo gallery.  It’s important to note that this is exactly the same lineup of extras available on the 2009 release (and that the film is available for free on Amazon Prime).  However, at the current Amazon price points of $5.00 for the DVD and $8.59 for the Blu-ray, it’s not a bad deal if you’ve been wanting to add the film to your hard copy library.

Pet Sematary“After the Creed family relocates from Boston to rural Maine, they soon discover an ancient burial ground hidden deep in the woods near their new home. When tragedy strikes, the grief-stricken father is driven by the cemetery’s sinister power, setting off a perilous chain of events that unleashes an unfathomable evil with horrific consequences. Some secrets are best left buried in this twisted thriller.” — from Paramount

Pet Sematary (2019) is now out on DVD, Blu-ray, and 4K Ultra HD, the latter two of which feature over ninety minutes of bonus content. Extras include an alternate ending, deleted and extended scenes, featurettes about the characters’ fears and the story of Timmy Baterman, and a four-part feature examining the film’s production process and story telling. The Blu-ray and 4K HD sets are both available on Amazon (for $22.96 and $27.96, respectively).  You can also snag the DVD there for $17.96, but considering that format doesn’t include bonus features and that you can get the streaming version of the film for just $14.99, in that case it might make more sense dollars-wise to go digital.

Gotham complete series“How did Commissioner Jim Gordon become one of the crime world’s greatest foes? And how did he battle the corruption that secretly ruled Gotham City, spawning ground of the epic personas who would become Catwoman, Penguin, and Riddler? Find out with Gotham: The Complete Series, and, along the way, explore the friendship that helped young Bruce Wayne become the legendary crusader he was destined to be.” — from Warner Brothers

Gotham: The Complete Series is being released on July 9th in 26-disc DVD and 18-disc Blu-ray box sets, which include all 100 episodes of the show’s five-season run and previously released bonus features for each season.  On Amazon you can currently pre-order the DVD for $75.99 and the Blu-ray for $91.97.  Getting the single seasons on Amazon run a total of about $84 for the DVDs and $115 for the Blu-rays (and buying the digital seasons would total a whopping $145), so if you haven’t gotten any of the seasons on the shelf yet, either version of this set does save a few bucks.

Mtn Dew: Liberty Brew – Drink Review

Mountain Dew Liberty Brew
If you’re thinking that this drink is terrifying, well…you’re not wrong. (I’ve provided a backlit photo below so you can truly enjoy the blue-ness of this monstrosity.) Obviously this limited edition is geared towards July 4th here in the US, and well, “50 Flavors in One” is a very American sentiment either way you look at it.

Ideally, it could be 50 Flavors as in “look at what happens when you blend a bunch of stuff together like the melting pot experiment that this country is supposed to be!” Or, and more realistically, it could be 50 Flavors as in “look at what happens when you put 47 more flavors into a drink than is reasonable!” These are both truly American sentiments.

First thing upon opening the cap…not a lot of fizz. It could just be my bottle, though. What probably wasn’t just my bottle is the fact that it smells exactly like it looks. I’m not sure how to describe it except that, yes, it smells very…blue. Not blue as in “the classic music of the likes of Muddy Waters and Robert Johnson” but blue as in “this is in no way natural and it looks a bit like the blood of an alien.” It freaking smells that way. Just…blue. All the sugary drinks in childhood that you loved, this is what would cause those beloved drinks to wake up in the middle of the night screaming. That’s the smell I’m talking about.

As for taste, it tastes blue as well…and not even some cheery sort of cheeky kind of blue raspberry taste. It tastes blue like someone played some horrific taste-based version of “Telephone” with about sixteen people and this is what came out the other side when what you started with was blue raspberry. 50 Flavors? I guess I assumed those would be 50 different flavors, but it wasn’t. It was just…the taste of blue. The taste of blue with several tablespoons of sugar mixed into it.

Oddly, after this vicious assault on the tastebuds, it fades into the background, as though nothing happened. But you can tell something happened. There is the ghost of an aftertaste, like your tongue suddenly developed PTSD. And by that I mean, you’ll think the taste is gone and then it will surge forward again to freak you out, like your tongue is Tim Robbins in Jacob’s Ladder.

Read More

It Was 52 Years Ago Today…

Beatles Sgt. Peppers

July 1, 1967 was the day that Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band started its fifteen week run at the top of the Billboard 100 chart. It is (un)arguably the greatest album of all time. But as big a fan as I am, I had some idea of how much had gone into the creation of it…but I’m not a real musician so I didn’t really grasp everything that was going on in it musically. That is, until I saw this excellent BBC documentary (aired on PBS stateside) in which musical composer Howard Goodall takes you through it. Highly recommended.

Read More

The Wandering Earth (2019) – Movie Review

(gained a half-cup due to awesome visuals and a guy trying to shoot a planet)

Written by: Frant Gwo, Gong Ge’er, Wu Yi, Yan Dongxu, Yang Zhixue, Ye Junce & Ye Ruchang, based on the novella by Liu Cixin
Directed by: Frant Gwo
Starring: Qu Chuxiao, Wu Jing, Zhao Jinmai, Ng Man-tat, Li Guangjie

It’s the future, and not only do we (apparently) still not have jetpacks, but the Sun is going to expand and engulf the Earth in a hundred years. To add insult to injury, a couple centuries after that, it will have swallowed the rest of the solar system as well. Because mankind can get its act together when there’s some massive, obvious, world-shattering threat (and pretty much only then), humanity forms a world government with a focus on saving the planet and (most) of the people on it. To do this, they plan to spend a couple of millennia moving the Earth to a new solar system. You might think is a plan fraught with peril–and you’d be right–because Murphy’s Law (and the Law of Disaster Movies) says that Something Big goes wrong. And hoo boy, does it.

Read More

Polar Popcorn: Like Popcorn, Only Colder

David Klein, Candyman

Do you know the name David Klein? I did not. I certainly should have, because he’s the guy who created one of my favorite candies: Jelly Bellies. (Inevitably, each Xmas, I wind up getting one if not two large assortments because people know my weakness for the damn things.) Also, I should have known him because anyone who can effectively wear a candy sombrero is definitely worth knowing.

One of his most recent projects was handled through Kickstarter: Polar Popcorn. So of course I threw in with the lot because this guy is A) apparently damn good at coming up with tasty candies and 2) a veritable hoot.

Read More