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.
The first time I watched The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, I just remember enjoying the film. I hadn’t yet become the cinema geek you see before you sucking down a venti Starbucks concoction with five espressos. It was just a delightfully daft fantasy film. Only later did I learn the saga of its creation (and indeed, that this was just a chapter in the saga of Terry Gilliam’s ongoing crusade to Get The Fucking Movie Made (whatever that film might be at the time)). I think I first got fully immersed in that saga through the Criterion Brazil set, but there’s also Losing the Light and now we get a worthy Munchausen release in this 20th Anniversary Edition. Anamorphic widescreen with a commentary by Gilliam and co-conspirator/actor Charles McKeown, you’ve also got a three-part making of docu, storyboard sequences and deleted scenes. And upon rewatching it, guess what? It’s a delightfully daft fantasy film, just like I remember it. This is a must-own, friends. It’s out from Sony. (Click here to buy it from Amazon.)
Last of the Summer Wine has been running for a helluva long time–its 28th series ended last year. It begs the question of why we’re getting BBC Home Video hopping around like they’ve stubbed their toes on something–this is covering the third series, while two previous Region 1 releases have been leaping all over the timeline between them. And Region 2 has been steadily getting complete series after complete series. Um, why? If nothing else, put a sticker on them that proclaims they star Peter Sallis, Wallace from Wallace & Gromit, and you’ll grab the attention of all the Brit TV fiends who wouldn’t recognize this straightaway. But regardless, my consulting bits upon such marketing matters always go unheeded. For those of you who enjoy the show or would like to check it out, give it a rental, both for the episodes and the interview with Sallis and Brian Wilde. But as far as purchase goes, I’d say hold out until they come to their senses and start releasing full sets. (Click here to buy it from Amazon.)
A trio of Who? Sure thing. And if you’ve been keeping up with these releases, then you know that they’re each packed to the freaking gills with extras. The Jon Pertwee Doctor stars in The Time Warrior, Story #70. Scientists are being kidnapped–what does this have to do with the Middle Ages, beyond a need to reuse some props and costumes from the BBC? Find out…and then you can spend quite a bit of time caught up in the bonus bits: commentary from actress Elisabeth Sladen, producer Barry Letts and script editor Terrance Dicks. There’s a making of for the story, a piece where they use CG for effects in place of the “old school” ones, photo gallery and more. (Click here to buy it from Amazon.)
Then there’s Destiny of the Daleks, a Tom Baker Doctor story (#104) that takes our hero to the home of the Daleks. And there’s not the Dalek souvenir museum you might expect, or a Dalek theme park, or even a restaurant built along a Dalek theme–no. There’s just WILD DOOM. Or an equivalent. Anyway, again, you get a commentary with actress Lalla Ward, actor David Gooderson (Davros! And not of desks!) and director Ken Grieve. There’s also a docu regarding Terry Nation, the man who brought you Daleks, packed with interviews. A featurette with director Grieve, another CG replacement bit, and much more. (Click here to buy it from Amazon.)
Last but not least we’ve got the Colin Baker Doctor with Story #142, Timelash. The Doctor goes to a planet about to explode (metaphorically), ruled by a mysterious dictator who metes out punishments but isn’t seen. What’s the secret? In addition to the story, there’s a commentary from Colin Baker, actress Nicola Bryant, and actor Paul Darrow. There’s a making-of docu, with input from scads of folks. Any of these three Who volumes are must-buys for fans, as BBC really does pack them properly. (Click here to buy it from Amazon.)
The third season of Battlestar Galactica has hit DVD from Universal and I will give them this: they know how to treat the fans right (at least in their DVD support…I’m sure we could go on and on about fan reactions to this season). Every episode has got at least one commentary–some come with an additional one. Most come with deleted scenes. “Unfinished Business” comes in its original version, plus a 25-minute-extended Ron Moore version with new footage…and it has a commentary. There’s also a slew of David Eick’s Video Blogs, featuring all manner of behind the scenes goodness. You can get it for less than $40 on Amazon as I write this–and that’s an insane price, considering it’s twenty episodes across six discs. That’s $2 an episode before you even get to the scads of bonus stuff. Not bad. (Click here to buy it from Amazon.)
Another re-imagining that *cough* didn’t quite go over so well, Bionic Woman is here with a Volume One release…but it’s basically the whole series. Eight episodes before the Writer’s Strike finished what the ratings started. Or vice versa. Either way, Jamie Sommers is back (on DVD, briefly) to get injured, get bionic, and get to ass kicking. There’s splode and there’s Katee Sackhoff as Dark Bionic Woman. So you’ve got that going for you. Fans of the show will want to buy this, because this is probably the best you’re going to get. $25 on Amazon as I write this, so that’s not too shabby. And hey, if enough fans were to…oh wait, the online petition only has 3500 signatures. Hmm. Never mind. This is out from Universal. (Click here to buy it from Amazon.)