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 DVDOut now is a box set of the entire Downton Abbey series, which in addition to all 52 episodes includes over thirteen hours(!) of extras. Notable bonus features include the 90-minute documentary The Story of Downton Abbey, which traces the storyline through the entire series and treats the viewer to behind-the-scenes footage and interviews, Downton Abbey Creators’ Favorite Scenes, where Julian Fellowes (writer/creator) and Gareth Neame (executive producer) give commentary on their favorite scenes of the series, Supercuts, nine mini features on themes from the show (such as weddings, awesome stuff the Dowager Countess says, etc.), and The Manners of Downton Abbey/More Manners of Downton Abbey, two specials hosted by Alastair Bruce (the show’s historical advisor) examining the customs and protocols of the turn of the century and the Jazz Age. Additional extras include Great Houses with Julian Fellowes and Character Documentaries. The set is available on Amazon on DVD and Blu-ray for $74.99 and $89.99 respectively (that pricing divides out to around $1.44 per episode on DVD and $1.73 on Blu-ray). All episodes (and The Manners of Downton Abbey special) are available for free streaming to Amazon Prime members, but if you’re a big fan (or gifting for a big fan) and want to have all the awesomeness of the bonus features (remember: thirteen hours), consider getting the set.

By | 2017-09-24T22:24:40+00:00 December 15th, 2016|Headsup|0 Comments

Headsup: Doctor Thorne on DVD


Available tomorrow (October 18th) on DVD is Doctor Thorne, the period miniseries from Julian Fellowes which has widely been described (and even marketed) as emotional methadone for Downton Abbey addicts going through show withdrawal.   The drama is based on the novel of the same name by Anthony Trollope and follows the romance between the poor (but kind and beautiful) Mary Thorne and her childhood friend, Frank Gresham, whose elevated social status and snobbish family members complicate what would otherwise be a straight ride off into the sunset.

I would encourage any viewer who has not seen the series to manage expectations if comparing it to Downton Abbey–the two have very different attributes, not the least of which is that while Downton Abbey had fifty-two episodes in which to develop characters and tell its story, Doctor Thorne has four.  Also continuing with the “Downton Abbey Lite” theme is the lack of substantial bonus features on the DVD set: there are a few short snippets that talk about the characters and themes, a tiny featurette on the making of the series, a bit from Julian Fellowes about adapting the novel for the screen, and that’s it.  Considering that the creators obviously want viewers to draw parallels between the two (the trailer and DVD cover for Doctor Thorne both prominently reference Downton Abbey by name), I would have thought they might flush out the bonus features a bit more if they’re trying to bridge the divide for fans of the latter.

As it stands, the DVD set is available on Amazon for $9.99, but if you have Amazon Prime you can stream it for free (you won’t get the bonus features, but in my opinion they don’t add $10 of value.)  If you do decide that the DVD is a good option for you (or someone you’re gifting it to), if you’re in the US, make sure to get the one for Region 1 (the first one currently listed on Amazon is Region 2) to ensure the discs will play properly.

By | 2017-09-24T22:24:59+00:00 October 17th, 2016|Headsup|0 Comments

Your Weekend Justice #189: Yard Sales of the Apocalypse

It’s Weekend Justice: the Internet’s #1 audio trainwreck–the podcast that, if you were holed up during the zombie apocalypse in a military bunker, would pull a Miguel on your ass. And you know it, too.


Rox of Spazhouse: The Dark Years


  • Freestyle rap and Silver Linings Discomfort
  • In defense of Christoph Waltz
  • Iron Man 3 trailer–oh shit, discuss it quick! In pieces!
  • Kid cranium sub sandwiches
  • Cart Talk!
  • The Mystery of the Unipickle
  • Pickle talk that isn’t actually sexual
  • What not to do at the Carnegie Deli
  • The Walking Dead (SPOILERS)
  • Downton Abbey, period soap opera (slight SPOILERS)
  • The best gig
  • Quartets
  • Tom Clancyverse
  • Wolverine hair
  • (more…)

    By | 2017-09-24T22:28:19+00:00 March 8th, 2013|Podcasts, Weekend Justice|0 Comments

    Your Weekend Justice #188: Appetite for Destruction, Lust For Peeps

    Sorry it’s late. It’s been a day. So. It’s Weekend Justice: the Internet’s #1 audio trainwreck, which really wishes for the day where 3-D Peep printing technology becomes affordable enough to put such a printer in every home. One day, people. One. Day.


    Kids Incorporated
  • The new Thursday and the new Wednesday
  • Travel tips with Jon
  • Nakedness. And Peeps. And body paint.
  • Filling in boob.
  • Kim vs. Hansel & Gretel
  • Jeremy Renner and Geek Love.
  • In (very slight) defense of the Dungeons & Dragons film
  • Naughty witches
  • Peter Stormare spoilers!
  • Of Ren Fests and calendars
  • Elementary vs. THE PAST
  • Downton and Upstairs Downstairs. Yes, again.
  • Sparkles kill, kids.
  • Following The Following
  • (more…)

    By | 2017-09-24T22:28:20+00:00 February 23rd, 2013|Podcasts, Weekend Justice|0 Comments

    Stuff You Need to Know: Vice Squad to Hit HBO

    Shane Smith, founder of Vice

    Shane Smith (center), founder of Vice, and friends

  • Looks like Shane Smith and the maniacs at Vice are getting their own news magazine program on HBO. Looks like we may be getting expanded versions of stuff they’ve done previously, like for their online Vice Guide to Everything and the book/DVD they put out a few years back, The Vice Guide to Travel. That contained bits like the one after the jump, which is why you want to be watching this show when it hits in April. Source.
  • (more…)

    By | 2017-09-24T22:28:32+00:00 January 7th, 2013|Stuff You Need to Know|0 Comments

    Stuff You Need to Know: That? That’s the Sound of Princess Lolly Weeping.

    Candy Land

    But surely the film should be called Veggie Land! Think of the children!

    It’s a constant battle trying to keep up with pop culture news. We know. And if you’re trying to maintain the semblance of a life, we can see where that could get complicated. So never fear: we try to compact all the stuff you absolutely need to know into one post that you can read in one sitting–and then get on with your day. You’re welcome.

  • Candy Land the movie. Adam Sandler is at least on board to produce and co-scribe. Let me quote you what Hasbro prexy-CEO Brian Goldner had to say: “The creative talent onboard for this movie is amazing, and we are excited to bring alive the world of Candy Land for kids and families everywhere. Sony/Columbia has been a wonderful creative partner as we develop another of our games, Risk, for the bigscreen. We are looking forward to working with Sony/Columbia and Adam Sandler and his team at Happy Madison Prods. on this film.” That’s right, Brian. Be proud to bring the man behind Jack & Jill behind one of your supposed flagship titles. Source: Variety.
  • (more…)

    By | 2017-09-24T22:33:22+00:00 February 1st, 2012|Stuff You Need to Know|2 Comments

    Stuff You Need to Know: The Skyfall is Happening, Sayeth Chicken Little

    Albert Finney

    'I would make a KICK ASS Blofeld and you know it.'

    Yes, we’re back. Sorry we’ve been away, but there’s been a lot going on. Should have one of these at least weekly for you and we’ll try to keep you up to speed. The theme is simple: there’s just too much pop culture shite going on to spend your life reading a website about pop culture news. We try to give it to you in capsule form. Swallow briskly. Enjoy.

  • Amazon‘s deal of the day is the Blu-Ray set of Superman: The Motion Picture Anthology. It’s at $55.99 today while stocks last, which is 57% off the list price. You can snag that here.
  • James Bond 23 finally has a title and appears to be happening. Skyfall will hit the UK and Ireland October 26, 2012, hitting stateside November 9, 2012. The story apparently has a spectre (not SPECTRE) from M’s past rising up to be dealt with. Which means Judi Dench returns (as does Craig), with Javier Bardem on board as the villain, and Naomie Harris (28 Days Later) and Berenice Marlohe (a French model) as the Bond girls. Also in the cast are Albert Finney (yes!), Ralph Fiennes and Ben Whishaw (Perfume). Nice timing: the Variety article states that the announcement today comes on the 50th anniversary of the announcement that Sean Connery had been cast as Bond for Dr. No. Well played, Eon.
  • (more…)

    By | 2017-09-24T22:35:46+00:00 November 3rd, 2011|Stuff You Need to Know|0 Comments

    Friday Misc. Mayhem: Roberta, Downton and the Yakuza

    Rich Hall

    A few random bits that we had leftover to help you get done with your work week.

    One of the most startling things that happened when I started watching a lot of British panel shows was discovering somebody I hadn’t seen in forever. I’m speaking specifically of when I sat bolt upright on the couch and said, “Holy crap, that’s where Rich Hall went!” He had a series on HBO in the 80s and then sort of fell off my radar. And I don’t know, but he looks just the same as I remember him. No idea. Regardless, here he is from the most recent Channel 4 Comedy Gala singing “Roberta,” a song from his country alter ego, Otis Lee Crenshaw…

    By | 2017-09-24T22:39:22+00:00 July 15th, 2011|Stimuli|0 Comments

    Your Weekend Justice #110: Clamato For The Soul

    It’s Weekend Justice: the Internet’s #1 audio trainwreck. It’s the podcast that tries to have its cake and Edith too. It’s definitely not for the faint of heart. Or the owners of a lonely heart. This podcast was engineered–some might say over-engineered–by experts to escort you from the work week in the most chaotic manner possible. Please note: this podcast is profane, definitely oversexed and definitely overwrought. It is wrong and unsafe. You have been warned.


    James Brown: It's a Man's World


    • Beer quest!
    • Scott vs. citrus of all kinds
    • Scott tee hees and disturbs everyone. Everyone. In the world.
    • Iceman and Amazon MP3s
    • Upstairs Downstairs vs. Downton Abbey
    • Luther & Idris Elba
    • The quest for Global Frequency jackets
    • The Crow‘s return
    • Martian Chronicles
    • Rox of Spazhouse vs. chicken soup
    • Rob vs. Chicken Soup
    • Jesus vs. mimes
    • Rock lobster!
    • Chicken Soup for the Safeword
    • “Send in the Gimps”
    • Starship. Again.
    • Useless Alamo fact
    • (more…)

    By | 2017-09-24T22:42:10+00:00 April 15th, 2011|Podcasts, Weekend Justice|3 Comments

    Stuff: Stephen King’s Musical (No, Not Carrie, Don’t Worry) and More…

    Kris Kristofferson

    Kris Kristofferson is such a badass that Randall Flagg wouldn't think to mess with him.

    Movie news sites give you a lot of information. But it is a lot of information. Don’t you just wish you could find out what you actually need to know and leave the rest alone? Never fear, we are here. Well, I mean, it’s us…so fear a little. Anyway, subscribe to the Stuff feed or get this as a free email newsletter. Anyway you want it, that’s the way you need it.

  • It’s official. Ghost Brothers of Darkland County is back on the schedule at the Alliance here in Atlanta. Why should you care? It’s a musical with a score by John Mellencamp and book by Stephen King. T-Bone Burnett is musical director. Apparently a three-CD version of the musical has already been recorded with a full cast, which included Kris Kristofferson, Elvis Costello, Roseanne Cash, Mellencamp, King, Sheryl Crow, Neko Case and Joe Frazier (yes, the boxer). I want this album five minutes ago. Show dates? April 4-May 13, 2012. No, you can’t stay on my couch. Source.
  • (more…)

    By | 2017-09-24T22:42:23+00:00 April 2nd, 2011|Stuff You Need to Know|2 Comments