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Headsup: Video Games, A.I., and Antihero Peacemakers

DISCLAIMER: Warner Brothers Home Entertainment requests that we note it provided a free copy of “Westworld: Season 4 – The Choice” and “Peacemaker: The Complete First Season” for review purposes. The opinions I share are my own.

THE OFFER” follows the journey of Al Ruddy, a Hollywood outsider who starts as a programmer & ends up producing one of the greatest films of all time: The Godfather. Over the course of the production, Ruddy, along with his assistant Bettye McCartt and director Francis Ford Coppola, contend with all the problems of a making a movie: from battles over casting & scripting, to the involvement of the real-life mafia. Paralleling Ruddy’s rise is the ascent of crime boss Joe Colombo & the Italian-American Civil Rights League, which condemns Mario Puzo’s bestselling novel. Ruddy’s film adaptation puts him & Colombo on a collision course that will ultimately make or break the movie. Hanging in the balance is Paramount Pictures, a last place studio on the verge of being scrapped by parent company Gulf & Western. Robert Evans, the iconic studio executive, gambles on The Godfather to save Paramount and put it where it belongs: at the top. — from Paramount

Everyone’s seen and is familiar with The Godfather, of course. (If not, go take care of that. I’ll wait.) Here we have essentially a biopic of a movie in the form of a ten-episode miniseries. Miles Teller plays Al Ruddy, this is based on Ruddy’s story, and Ruddy himself is an executive producer on the whole thing. And because nothing Godfather-related should be bare bones, they’ve included deleted scenes, plus three new featurettes (the last one of which comes in four parts), all for a total of two hours of bonus bits. If you already have the films themselves on your shelf, and want an adjacent project, it might be worthwhile to put this up there alongside them. Available at Amazon here.

HALO: SEASON ONE takes place in the universe that first came to be in 2001 through the launch of Xbox’s first “Halo” videogame. After years of human civil war and growing political unrest, mankind’s very future is threatened when our outermost colonies intrude upon the sacred worlds of an alien threat known as the Covenant. As this fanatical powerful alliance destroys world after human world, only one soldier slows their advance – a cybernetically enhanced “Spartan” supersoldier, the Master Chief (Pablo Schreiber, “American Gods” and “Orange is the New Black”). As the mystery of the Covenant’s true ambitions are revealed, the Master Chief must find a way to save humanity from the alien threat while also coming to terms with the secrets of his own enigmatic past. — from Showtime

All nine episodes of the first season are here so Halo can finally be enjoyed by people like me who can’t play the game properly to save my life. In addition to the show itself, you’ve got scads of bonus bits—over five hours of it. Just some of the things included are: a costume featurette, a weapons and vehicles featurette, general behind the scenes, two music featurettes, and all nine episodes of Halo the Series: Declassified (think Talking Dead for Halo, basically). And the second season was confirmed before the first one ever aired, so no buyer’s or watcher’s remorse like this was a Netflix show or something. The fan will definitely want this for the bountiful bonuses. It also comes in four flavors: DVD, Blu-ray, 4K UHD and limited-edition 4K UHD Steelbook. Grab it from Amazon.

The fourth season [of Westworld] picks up over seven years after the protracted war between A.I. hosts and sentient humans – humanity is finally free. Or so it seems. Maeve and Caleb soon begin to suspect that Hale and a host version of The Man in Black are seeding a conspiracy to regain control of the human race. Meanwhile, Bernard returns from The Sublime with a new power. And a young writer, by the name of Christina, begins to question the nature of her reality. Westworld continues to thrill as it deftly weaves together stories about the complicated relationship between man and machine. — from Warner Brothers

Well, the show was pulled up one short from its original vision of five seasons. This fourth season is the last. And since that decision probably happened long after this was in the works, the ending is not addressed in any of the bonus bits. You can take consolation in those bits that are present, however. There’s a location featurette, a story featurette, a set tour, and each episode comes with its own behind the scenes goodness. Hardcore fans will want to own for the bonus bits. Regular fans will be content to rewatch on HBO as needed. You can find it here.

Renewed for a second season, Peacemaker explores the continuing story of the character that series star John Cena reprises in the aftermath of executive producer, writer and director James Gunn’s 2021 DC film The Suicide Squad – a compellingly vainglorious man who believes in peace at any cost, no matter how many people he has to kill to get it! Delving into current world issues through the lens of Super Hero/Super-Villain/world’s biggest douchebag, the series extends the world created for The Suicide Squad while bringing to life the soul and wit of Peacemaker and the team. — from Warner Brothers

As James Gunn rides in to hopefully save the DC Expanded Universe, we can look back to the first television show to come out of that blend of DC Comics and Gunn’s wacky mind. All eight episodes are here with a ton of tiny bonus bits. There are a few standouts, however. There’s a character introduction, a featurette about Peacemaker’s relationship with his dad, and a gag reel. Since there is a second season on the way, the hardcore fan is going to want something like this to re-watch it with. Every one else might be contented with HBO. Acquire it from Amazon here.