** Disclaimer: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment requests we note that it provided a free copy of the first DVD featured below. The opinions I share are my own.
If you’re a fan of watching family drama unfold amidst the background of criminal enterprise, one (or both) of these new releases may be for you:
First we have Animal Kingdom: TNT’s new show based on the 2010 Australian film (same title) written by David Michôd, who also executive produces the series. Animal Kingdom tells the story of Joshua (“J”) Cody, a troubled teen who is forced through circumstance to move in with his southern California family (with a penchant for petty crime) led by matriarch Janine (“Smurf”) Cody. The show features an ensemble cast, including Finn Cole (Joshua), Emmy award winner Ellen Barkin (Janine), Scott Speedman (Barry “Baz” Blackwell), Shawn Hatosy (Andrew “Pope” Cody), Ben Robson (Craig Cody), Jake Weary (Deran Cody), Daniella Alonso (Catherine Blackwell), and Molly Gordon (Nicky Belmont). Out now is the complete first season in both DVD and Blu-ray formats. Special features include “Family Comes First” (a 14-minute featurette where the cast and crew discuss the family dynamics of the show’s characters), “Setting the Stage” (a brief look at the design and construction of the set for Smurf’s house), “Meet the Codys” and “Getting into Character” (which look at the development of the Cody family characters), “Inside Animal Kingdom” (a quick discussion with producers and the cast about the world of Animal Kingdom), “Animal Kingdom: Stunts” (which examines some of the stunt work on the show, involving such feats as skydiving and surfing moves), and deleted scenes. (It should be noted that with the exception of “Family Comes First,” the featurettes are all around two minutes in length, so be aware that this isn’t hours of bonus content.)
On Amazon the DVD set of Animal Kingdom:The Complete First Season is currently priced at $19.53 and the Blu-ray set is currently $24.42. Amazon Prime members also have access to the entire first season for free as part of their membership. Other digital options include purchasing the season on either Amazon or iTunes (both priced at $19.99), although only iTunes offers the aforementioned bonus features as part of its season package. With that in play, it’s kind of a toss-up; getting the DVD and buying the season on iTunes are pretty much the same price and offer the same bonus content, so it’s up to you to decide if you want a disc on the shelf or to keep things digital.
Next we have ICE, the AT&T Audience Network / DirecTV original series about the Green family, reputable Los Angeles diamond dealers who find themselves suddenly thrown into a world of smugglers, blood diamonds, and murder. The series stars Cam Giandet (The Magnificent Seven, Twilight, Easy A) as Jake, Ray Winstone (The Departed, The Sweeney) as Cam, Jeremy Sisto (Suburgatory, Six Feet Under, Law & Order) as Freddy, Donald Sutherland (Forsaken, The Hunger Games) as Pieter Van de Bruin, Raymond Barry (Training Day, Born on the Fourth of July) as Isaac, and Judith Shekoni (Heroes Reborn, Twilight) as Lady Rah. The series was originally ordered back in 2014 but due to creative reasons was dropped, then picked up again for a 10-episode season to premiere in August 2016 on The Audience Network. (For those of you who are unfamiliar, Audience is one of the general entertainment channels (with no commercials or editing for content) that have gone through many identity changes with AT&T’s acquisition of DirecTV— it began in 1999 as Freeview, then The 101 Network, and now sports its current title. The Audience Network was originally only available via DirecTV, but with AT&T’s takeover it is now available on AT&T U-verse as well as the DirecTV Now subscription streaming service).
Coming out on May 16 is the complete first season of ICE in a 3-disc DVD set, which includes all ten episodes from Season One as well as a few bonus features, including a featurette on the premise of the show, interviews with stars Jeremy Sisto and Cam Giandet, and a music video of the song “Diamond Girl” by Rachele Royale. As previously mentioned, those who have AT&T U-verse and / or DirecTV Now have access to the series, but as far as other digital platforms you’re pretty much out of luck—it is (unsurprisingly) not currently available for streaming on Hulu, Netflix, Amazon or iTunes, but you can pre-order the DVD set on Amazon for $28.44. If you’re intrigued but haven’t gotten a real taste of the show yet, you can check out the series trailer here.