Disclaimer: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment requests we note that it provided a free copy of the first title featured below. The opinions I share are my own.
Out now are two titles dealing with power struggles, sex, sibling rivalry, and other forces that move men’s souls…
First we have The Vampire Diaries, the story of a love triangle between teenage heroine Elena Gilbert (Nina Dobrev) and two brothers, Stefan Salvatore (Paul Wesley) and Damon Salvatore (Ian Somerhalder), which just happens to be set against the backdrop of the world of modern-day vampires. Based on the L.J. Smith novel series of the same name, the show premiered in September of 2009 and has had a successful run ever since. It garnered 112 award nominations and 37 wins, including multiple People’s Choice, Teen Choice, and Young Hollywood Awards. Season eight follows Damon and Enzo (Michael Malarkey) as they continue to kill people while under the influence of a powerful and evil force, while at the same time Stefan, Caroline (Candice King), Bonnie (Kat Graham), and Alaric (Matt Davis) search for answers about the mysterious disappearance at the end of season seven. Matt (Zach Roerig) is in the mix as well, as it becomes apparent that an unknown family connection to Mystic Falls may be the key to saving the town from being destroyed.
Now out on DVD and Blu-ray is the eighth and final season, which includes all sixteen episodes plus some bonus features, including a 14-minute featurette (“Last Days As A Vampire”), a retrospective special (“The Vampire Diaries: Forever Yours”), a “Visit Georgia” PSA (with the exception of the pilot episode done in British Columbia, the series was filmed in Georgia), coverage of the 2016 Comic-Con Vampire Diaries panel, and deleted scenes. On Amazon you can get the DVD for $26.96 and the Blu-ray for $29.50. Alternatively, the entire season is available digitally on both Amazon and iTunes for $14.99 (which doesn’t include all of the bonus features, but the Amazon option has the Comic-Con panel and the iTunes option has the “Last Days as a Vampire” featurette). Do be aware of the $12+ price difference between getting the digital version versus hard copy–the bonus features are a good extra, but you can get access to at least one of them in either digital season option, so it’s up to you if the remaining ones are worth the extra dollars. Netflix subscribers will also be happy to know that they have access to not only Season Eight but the entire series as part of their membership—-no bonus features there, but still a nice way to see the show without additional cost if that’s all you’re after.
Next we have The Borgias, the epic Showtime drama about the rise of Rodrigo Borgia from a 16th-century cardinal to becoming Pope Alexander VI. Struggling to maintain his tenuous grip on the helm of the Christian religious and political world, Borgia utilizes everything at his disposal to keep his power, including his children, bribery, blackmail, and murder. The series stars Jeremy Irons as Rodrigo Borgia/Pope Alexander VI, François Arnaud as his dependable eldest son Cesare Borgia, David Oakes as his middle reckless son Juan Borgia, Holliday Grainger as his daughter Lucrezia Borgia, Aidan Alexander as his youngest son Joffre Borgia, Joanne Whalley as his former mistress and mother of his children Vanozza Cattaneo, Lotte Verbeek as his current mistress Giulia Farnese, Sean Harris as Cesare’s hit man Micheletto Corella, and Colm Feore as rival cardinal and sworn enemy Giuliano della Rovere. The series was cancelled after three seasons (one short of the four season arc proposed by creator Neil Jordan) for reasons reportedly having to do with high production costs, which sparked a (sadly unsuccessful) campaign from fans to convince Showtime to bring the series back. Even with its abbreviated run, the series received fifty-two award nominations and sixteen wins, among them multiple Primetime Emmy and Canadian Screen awards.
The entire series is now out in a nine-disc DVD set, which includes all three seasons plus a Showtime Original special with interviews and behind-the-scenes footage, a “World of Borgias” featurette, biographies, and some refreshingly amusing bloopers. You can get the set on Amazon for $22.97, which with a total of twenty-nine episodes divides out to around seventy-nine cents each—-not bad, especially considering Amazon’s per-episode price of $2.99. You can also purchase the seasons individually, but doing so would cost around $30 (or $60 if you do it digitally) with current pricing. Netflix subscribers should also be aware that, like with The Vampire Diaries, they currently have access to the series itself included with membership (no extra features, but also no extra money). If you want to have it on the shelf, though, remember that the pricing on this one probably won’t be beat any time soon, and may not be around for long.