Headsup: Downton Abbey: The Complete Collection

Downton Abbey Cast

So full disclaimer of bias: I'm crazy for costume dramas, I love pretty people walking around in pretty clothes saying pretty things, and I'm a history buff, with a particular adoration of stories about Britain in the Edwardian and post-Edwardian eras. So unsurprisingly, I'm a sucker for Downton Abbey and all its trappings. I also grew up on Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood and as an adult I'm in love with Great Performances, Antiques Roadshow, American Experience, Masterpiece, and all the other wonders of PBS. So I was very happy to see how Downton Abbey not only became the most-watched series in the history of PBS (45 years!), but a television colossus in its own right, with people tuning in all around the world (including Russia, Sweden, South Korea, and the Middle East) to the tune of tens of millions of viewers; the sixth season opened to 9.9 million viewers in the U.S. alone (Season Six of Game of Thrones, for example, opened to 7.9 million). The show's viewership crossed lines of age, race, economic status, education level, and prompted people who previously didn't even know what their own PBS television channel was to follow the story with the kind of rabid fandom that most had until then only exhibited for mainstream TV. It brought millions of new eyes and new interest to PBS, and on this point, I am especially pleased.

Downton Abbey Complete Series <a href=[...]

By |December 15th, 2016|Headsup|0 Comments

Rogue One - Movie Review

Felicity Jones - Rogue One

If you are reading this, chances are high you are at least a casual fan of Star Wars. It comes with the territory. Let's assume you've come here to find out how good Rogue One is without reading spoilers. I think I can be of help.

To summarize the story briefly: Agents of the Rebellion seek out Jyn Erso, daughter of the Death Star's architect. They want to use her to gain access to information about that rumored, terrific weapon. When they find out that the Death Star is real, a group of soldiers tries to steal the blueprints to the space station in order to find a hidden vulnerability in the design. If this is not what you expected then...where have you been the last couple of years?

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By |December 15th, 2016|Reviews|1 Comment

Headsup: 2016 World Series Doubleheader

Unless you were living under a rock the first week in November, you probably heard about the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series for the first time in a while--108 years, to be precise (which many ascribe to the curse placed on the team by a fan angered when his billy goat was denied entry into Game 4 at Wrigley Field in 1945...).

In a year that's been shaded heavily with loss of life, natural disasters, social tensions, and political strife, the Cubs' win after the longest dry spell in MLB history was at the least very refreshing. It was also life-changing, not only for the players but also for fans, many of whom have kept the faith in their team for generations without any return until now.  Over the years a popular catchphrase among them became "just one before I die"... ESPN published a touching story about a man who drove from North Carolina to his father's gravesite in Indiana to keep a pact that they would listen to the Cubs play the World Series together (and was there for the win), and there have been many reports of the iconic blue-and-white W "win pennants" decorating cemeteries nationwide.  There have also been multiple projections about a rise in births nine months after the win as a result of other celebrations.

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By |December 15th, 2016|Headsup|0 Comments

Your Weekend Justice #246: They Recorded a Podcast... You'll Never Believe What Happened Next!

Doctor Who gingerbread by Metallicar-67

It's Weekend Justice: the Internet's #1 audio trainwreck...and after a hiatus required to allow the new meds to adjust, we continue to claw out of the 2015 archive. Considering how much fun 2016 has been, I'm almost glad we haven't gotten there on the show yet. Yeesh.

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By |December 9th, 2016|Podcasts, Weekend Justice|1 Comment

Headsup: Hawaii Five-0: The Sixth Season on DVD

hawaii-five-0-sixth-season-dvd

Ah, Hawaii. Glowing sand, sparkling waves... sounds pretty nice right about now, doesn't it?  In Season 6 of Hawaii Five-0, however, the people and situations Steve McGarrett and his task force come up against are anything but nice-- including the mob, a Russian spy, an indestructible suit of armor, and a cannibal (just to name a few).  In addition to the main cast of Alex O'Loughlin, Scott Caan, Daniel Dae Kim, Grace Park, Masi Oka, Chi McBride, and Jorge Garcia, guest stars of the season include Carol Burnett, Michel Pfeiffer, Sung Kang, Duane "Dog" Chapman, George Kee Cheung, Londyn Silzer, and Ziggy Marley.

Out now from CBS Home Entertainment is a DVD set that includes all twenty-five episodes from the sixth season as well as a fairly wide variety of bonus features. Behind-the-scenes extras include "Aloha Action" (which examines the stunt work from season 6), "Pirates & the Palace" (which discusses the production process for Episode 1), "Shorelines" (comments from some of the cast and producers on major plot points of the season and how they relate to the broader picture for the show), "Behind the Scenes with Alex O'Loughlin" (where the starring actor takes viewers on a tour of the filming lot), and "Casting Five-0” (a discussion of the guest star casting process along with some of their auditions).  Additional bonus features include commentaries on Episode 1 and Episode 19 with input from producers Peter Tassler and Peter Lenkov along with Chi McBride [...]

By |December 6th, 2016|Headsup|0 Comments

Headsup: Star Trek: The Animated Series on DVD

Star Trek Animated Series DVD

Star Trek: The Animated Series (often referred to simply by the abbreviation "TAS") was an important part of the Star Trek cannon for a few reasons: it bridged the gap for content-hungry fans between the end of the original series in 1969 and the debut of first film (Star Trek: The Motion Picture) in 1979, it was the first to win an Emmy award, and the first on-screen instance in which fans heard that the "T" in James T. Kirk stood for "Tiberius."

The series ran from 1973-74 and continued/supplemented many of the storylines from the original series. It also featured the voice talents of William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, George Takei, James Doohan, Nichelle Nichols and Majel Barrett (the only member of the original cast missing was Walter Koenig as Pavel Chekov). While it was popular among many adult fans and critics, the show failed to garner enough of the children's market as originally intended, and it was cancelled after a total of only twenty-two episodes.

Currently available from CBS/Paramount is a four-disc DVD set that includes all episodes from the series as well as multiple bonus features, including Show History (a simple slideshow-esque collection of facts about the show), a storyboard gallery, audio commentaries (with fun behind-the-scenes info) and text commentaries (pop-up trivia), What's the Star Trek Connection? (a grouping of mini features that draw lines between the show and other Trek movies and television series), and Drawn [...]

By |December 6th, 2016|Headsup|0 Comments

Headsup: Scorpion Season 2 on DVD

Scorpion Season 2 DVD

In the second season of Scorpion, fans saw the quintet of genius misfits expand their A-Team-meets-Big-Bang-Theory-meets-MacGyver adventures across the globe.  This season features the team finding themselves in even more high-octane scenarios as they deal with a nuclear satellite, a Soviet submarine, a speeding train, a 7.8 earthquake, and an F4 tornado, all while trying to navigate personal issues and relationships.  If you're a fan of the show and want access to Season 2, you have a few options:

1) If you're a CBS All Access member, you have free access to the season through your subscription (Amazon Prime, Netflix, and Hulu subscribers do not)
2) Amazon and iTunes both offer HD epsiodes for $2.99 and the full season for $19.99 and $24.99 respectively
3) You can purchase the DVD set (all 24 episodes plus over an hour of bonus features), currently available on Amazon for $33.49

And that's where the number crunching comes in. The main difference here (other than having a hard copy on the shelf) is the bonus features, none of which are included in the "buy the season" option on Amazon or iTunes (all they include is a three minute Season 1 recap).  Based on Amazon's price of $33.49, the cost-per-episode on the DVD set divides out to around $1.40 (versus 84 cents per episode if you get the whole season digitally for $19.99), so before you pull a trigger on either, consider how much these extras mean to you:

Storytelling:

  • "Unlikely Heroes" - Nick Santora (creator/producer) examines the story arcs of Walter (Elyes Gabel), Paige (Katharine McPhee), Toby (Eddie Kaye Thomas), Happy (Jadyn Wong), and Sylvester (Ari Stidham) in Season 2.
  • "Quintis" – a two minute mini feature with the actors talking about Episode 17 ("Adaptation") and how it promotes the relationship between two of the characters
  • "Scorpion: The Comic Book" – Nick Santora (creator/producer) and Nicholas Wooton (writer/executive producer) talk about the comic book from IDW based on the series that was created for distribution at Comic-Con

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By |December 1st, 2016|Headsup|0 Comments

The 33rd Day of Halloween: Countess Dracula!

Countess Dracula

Happy 2nd Halloween everyone! Confused? It's an idea I gleaned from The Oatmeal a while back and it has helped me to make it through the holiday season since then. This way, you get all the food...and yet the mayhem of Halloween! Join me!

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By |November 24th, 2016|32 Days of Halloween|1 Comment

Headsup: Billions Season One on Blu-ray and DVD

billions-season-one-blu-ray

This year we saw Showtime's debut of Billions, a wall street drama created by Brian Koppelman and David Levien (the writing team behind Rounders and Oceans 13) along with the journalist Andrew Ross Sorkin.  The series stars Damian Lewis (Homeland, Life) as the hedge fund billionaire Bobby "Axe" Axelrod alongside Paul Giamatti (Cinderella Man, John Adams) as US Attorney Chuck Rhoades Jr.  In a take-no-prisoners battle of wills, the two men play a high stakes game of chicken that eventually envelops their colleagues and loved ones in a clash of money, power, sex, and criss-crossed loyalties.

Now out on DVD and Blu-ray is the four-disc Season One collection that includes all twelve episodes along with almost thirty minutes of bonus features.  The extras on Disc One include "Street Slang," which explains some of the economic/business-centric vocabulary threaded through the show's dialogue and "Character Profiles," which gives a general overview of Axe, Chuck, Wendy (Maggie Siff), and Lara (Malin Akerman).  Disc Two features "Location: New York," which discusses how the city plays a prominent part in the storytelling and also touches on the show's subtextual yet purposeful use of food.  Disc Three has "Character Development," which summarizes the backgrounds of the characters and how those in turn lead to some of the central conflicts of the storyline.  Disc Four boasts "Shadows and Light," which discusses how none of the characters are fully "good guys" or "bad guys" and explores the gray areas that both connect and separate them from one [...]

By |November 23rd, 2016|Headsup|0 Comments

Headsup: Twilight Zone Sets Galore!

twilight-zone-complete-series-dvd

Out now from CBS/Paramount are multiple Twilight Zone sets just in time for holiday shopping.  They have large, medium, and small options, with pricing to match pretty much any budget if you have over $5 to splurge on a gift (or yourself).  Here they are from large to small:

LARGE:

The Twilight Zone: The 5th Dimension – Perfect for the mega-fan, this is a limited edition 41-disc (yes, you read that correctly) DVD box set.  It includes both the original series and the one from the 1980s as well as more than twenty hours of bonus features.  It is currently available on Amazon for $159.99.

The Twilight Zone: The Complete Series – This 25-disc DVD set includes all 156 episodes of the original series.  No bonus features on this one, but you still get to see your favorite storylines and guest stars (including Ron Howard, Burt Reynolds, Carol Burnett, and about half of the Star Trek cast members) along with some pretty awesome box art so it looks snazzy on the shelf.  You can get this one on Amazon for $46.95.

The Twilight Zone: Definitive Editions – The Definitive Editions DVD series features both single seasons and a complete series set.  On Amazon, the Complete Series (28-disc) set goes for $95.99.  Special features include radio dramas and interviews with the cast and crew as well as audio commentaries.

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By |November 23rd, 2016|Headsup|0 Comments