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Headsup: Of Bronte, Austen and Kipling

An ongoing attempt to make sense of the onslaught of new swag that people want you to buy. Should you? I’ll try and help.

My Boy Jack DVD Cover Art
Sense And Sensibility DVD Cover Art
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall DVD Cover Art

You know what’s odd? From the three actors who make up the core of the Harry Potter films, I would never have thought Daniel Radcliffe would be the one who steps up the most and preps his post-Potter career. I know that sounds counterintuitive but, honestly, Potter acting-wise is given nothing interesting to do until Book 5. But Radcliffe is setting himself well: another step in that process is this BBC flick where he plays the son of Rudyard Kipling, who goes off to World War I in order to get away from his family. David Haig (who wrote the play) reprises his stage role as Kipling the father. This BBC Home Video release comes with an interview with Radcliffe, Haig, and Kim Cattrall as well as deleted scenes. Fans of Kipling will probably want to rent, as will fans of Radcliffe. (Click here to buy it from Amazon.)

Ah, you have to love the bottomless well of Austen. It just seems like Jane’s got to have more adaptations of her stuff on the average per year than anyone else. Maybe Shakespeare’s right up there too. But anyway, this is the most recent version of Sense and Sensibility from the BBC and scribe Andrew Davies (who has adapted a few of Austen’s works in his time). This is a two-disc set. The show itself comes with commentary from cast and crew as well as interview with Anne Pivcevic and writer Davies. There’s also a photo gallery, a radio play and a biopic of Austen based on her letters. Austenophiles will at least want to rent it. (Click here to buy it from Amazon.)

Also from BBC Home Video, there’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, an adaptation of an Anne Brontë novel which stars Tara Fitzgerald, Rupert Graves and Toby Stephens. A woman arrives in town and takes up residence at Wildfell Hall. Conjecture abounds as to why she’s there, what with her son and all, and as a local farmer gets to know her better and become attached to her, her backstory is eventually revealed. No features. (Click here to buy it from Amazon.)

Michael Palin: New Europe DVD Cover Art
The Invisible Man Season One DVD Cover Art
Back in Business DVD Cover Art

I know this isn’t news, but I’ve got admiration for all of the former Pythons. They’ve all gone on to do the most interesting things. Michael Palin now travels the world, documenting his adventures, writing books, creating audiobooks about them, and that’s his job. What a damn fine job. He’s been all over the place and with New Europe (which originally aired last year) he’s trekking around eastern Europe. All seven episodes are here across three discs. You also get an interview with Palin and deleted scenes. I would buy this–but then again I’m a Python fanatic and think all of Palin’s programs are worth owning. If you are uncertain, rent it first. (Click here to buy it from Amazon.)

So what do you do with a Quicksilver Gland? And I don’t mean the movie with Kevin Bacon. I mean the gland that they put into Darien Fawkes that enables him to coat himself with stuff that renders him invisible. Miles better than Hollow Man (sorry, Kevin–but then again, my ass is better than Hollow Man) we’ve got season one of The Invisible Man, the Sci-Fi series. Twenty-three episodes are here across five discs–but Universal didn’t stop there. You’ve got commentary from lead actor Vincent Ventresca, creator Matt Greenberg and director Breck Eisner. You’ve also got a chat with Greenberg, the two-hour pilot and a bonus second season episode. Fans will want to snag this. Because…are they running this anywhere? If so, I can’t find it. (Click here to buy it from Amazon.)

Back in Business from BFS Entertainment drew my eye because of the cast: Brian Blessed, Chris Barrie, Martin Kemp. The British space agency has a new device that could put them ahead of everybody else who’s a space power. So Kemp and Barrie decide to make off with it in this caper comedy that’s extremely light. So light that I would normally recommend it be a wait for cable type of deal. But they get points for the features: commentary, music commentary, interviews, storyboard to film comparison and more. (Click here to buy it from Amazon.)