Power, love, influence, wealth, and family legacy all come to a head in two new releases out now from PBS and Paramount:
First we have Victoria, the sweeping Masterpiece / ITV costume drama that has taken audiences by storm. (Apparently ITV underestimated the show’s popular reception, declining to opt for the much-loved and oh-so-British “Christmas special” in 2016 and then making a complete turnabout for 2017’s plan after they saw the show’s ratings. ITV is now reportedly expecting it to run for six seasons.) The series stars Jenna Coleman in the title role along with Tom Hughes as Prince Albert and Rufus Sewell as Lord Melbourne (if you can’t put your finger on why he looks familiar, he’s the evil Nazi guy from The Man in the High Castle.) The first season follows Queen Victoria’s early years as head of the British Empire as she goes from being a teenage girl to a new queen to a wife to a mother, all with the burdens of operating as a constitutional monarch weighing heavily upon her petite shoulders. Season One is now available on DVD and on Blu-ray (on Amazon for $22.99 and $35.59 respectively). Bonus features include interviews with Jenna Coleman, Tom Hughes, and Rufus Sewell, a featurette on how creators used CGI to do things such as create busy period streets and fill a cathedral full of spectators, and a tour with Neil Hudson (Skerrett) and Tommy Knight (Brodie) through the sprawling Buckingham Palace set. It should be noted that the entire season (including the extras) is available on iTunes for $19.99, so if all you want is the content itself versus a disc, this may be one of the times to go with the digital option to save a few bucks without having to sacrifice bonus features.
Also in the mix is Dynasty, the 80s-tastic story of oil king Blake Carrington, his secretary-turned-wife Krystle, and the drama surrounding them as they navigate living at the top of the social spectrum in their 48-room Denver mansion. The series debuted in 1981 and (after a rocky first season) experienced steadily rising ratings until it became the #1 show in the US in 1985. Purportedly based on Robert Graves’ I, Claudius, the show was the ultimate mix of luxury, romance, and tragedy played out by devastatingly beautiful and glamorous characters. Throughout its run the show received multiple award nominations (24 from the Emmys alone) and won multiple People’s Choice Awards, Soap Opera Digest Awards, and a Golden Globe. Fans loved the world of Dynasty so much that it inspired a successful fashion line as well as a spin-off series (The Colbys). Season One is now available on DVD, featuring all fourteen episodes across four discs, plus a few bonus features (including interviews with Al Corley (Steven Carrington) and Pamela Sue Martin (Fallon Carrington Colby) along with the behind-the-scenes featurette Family, Furs, and Fun: Creating Dynasty). Amazon Prime members can get the season as part of their subscription (no luck on Netflix). The DVD set is available on Amazon for $14.99 (no Amazon video option), which evens out to around $1.07 per episode (plus bonus content). On iTunes you can also get individual episodes for $1.99 each or the whole season (with no bonus features) for $19.99, but unless you just don’t have access to a DVD player or Amazon Prime, this is definitely not the best as there are no bonus features included (less content for at least $5 more cost.) If you can, definitely check it on on Amazon Prime—nothing better than watching a story about mega millionaires without it costing a dime!