Headsup: Twilight Zone Sets Galore!

twilight-zone-complete-series-dvd

Out now from CBS/Paramount are multiple Twilight Zone sets just in time for holiday shopping.  They have large, medium, and small options, with pricing to match pretty much any budget if you have over $5 to splurge on a gift (or yourself).  Here they are from large to small:

LARGE:

The Twilight Zone: The 5th Dimension – Perfect for the mega-fan, this is a limited edition 41-disc (yes, you read that correctly) DVD box set.  It includes both the original series and the one from the 1980s as well as more than twenty hours of bonus features.  It is currently available on Amazon for $159.99.

The Twilight Zone: The Complete Series – This 25-disc DVD set includes all 156 episodes of the original series.  No bonus features on this one, but you still get to see your favorite storylines and guest stars (including Ron Howard, Burt Reynolds, Carol Burnett, and about half of the Star Trek cast members) along with some pretty awesome box art so it looks snazzy on the shelf.  You can get this one on Amazon for $46.95.

The Twilight Zone: Definitive Editions – The Definitive Editions DVD series features both single seasons and a complete series set.  On Amazon, the Complete Series (28-disc) set goes for $95.99.  Special features include radio dramas and interviews with the cast and crew as well as audio commentaries.

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Headsup: House of Lies: The Final Season on DVD

House of Lies Final Season DVD

I didn’t know this, but apparently House of Lies is based on a fabulously titled book–House of Lies: How Management Consultants Steal Your Watch and Then Tell You the Time, written by the former real-life Booz Allen Hamilton management consultant Martin Kihn.

Perhaps that’s part of what gives the series its ability to be so unapologetic in its portrayal of “the 1%” and the (almost) larger-than-life characters who will stop at nothing to beat them at their own game (and then send them the bill). Leading this group is, of course, the charming anti-hero Marty Kaan, a role for which Don Cheadle achieved popular and critical acclaim. (Rounding out the main cast are Kristen Bell as Jeannie, Ben Schwartz as Clyde, and Josh Lawson as Doug.) Over its five-season run, the series collected thirty-one award nominations and five wins (including the Primetime Emmy for Art Direction in 2014 and Don Cheadle’s Best Actor Golden Globe in 2013). The show has been celebrated for tackling the difficult issues of interracial relationships, police brutality, gender identity, and the wealth gap in America–and remember, this is not only just a half-hour show, but a comedy. Such attempts are not for the faint of heart.

In the fifth season, viewers see the characters dealing with the challenges of raising a baby, navigating political and personal relationships, doing business in a communist country, and giving a TED Talk. When Kristen Bell signed on to star in NBC’s The Good Place, viewers began to wonder if this would be the final season. It was eventually announced that there would indeed be no sixth season, and fans said goodbye to “the pod” when the final episode of Season Five (and of the series) aired on June 12. (Fun fact: that episode was shot on location in Havana, Cuba, and thus made history as this the first American scripted series to be shot in Cuba since the US agreed to re-open diplomatic relations.)

Season Five is currently available for free streaming to both Showtime Anytime and Amazon Prime members. Individual episodes can also be purchased on Amazon and iTunes for $2.99 per SD episode or the entire season for $27.99 / $25.99 respectively. The DVD is available for pre-order on Amazon and will be officially on sale November 29.

Headsup: Bob Hope: Hope for the Holidays on DVD

Bob Hope Hope for the Holidays DVD

You’ve probably at least heard of Bob Hope.  You may already be a fan of Bob Hope.  But do you have any idea just how amazing that man was?  In a career lasting almost eighty years, he performed on vaudeville and radio, acted in over seventy films/shorts, did fifty-seven USO tours (prompting Congress to deem him an honorary veteran in 1997), and still holds the record of hosting the Oscars the highest number of times (nineteen, more than double Billy Crystal’s number).  He also somehow found time to write fourteen books, have a happy enough home life to be married for 69 years, and take such good care of his health that he lived to be 100.  I mean, dang.

One of the things people know and love most about this incredible man is the part he played in their Christmas traditions with his annual holiday special.  Now out from Time Life comes Bob Hope: Hope for the Holidays, a DVD compilation which includes his first holiday special (Dec. 24, 1950) along with material from Bob Hope’s Bag Full of Christmas Memories, a holiday retrospective filmed at his home with guest stars and his family in 1993.  A fair amount of content is packed into this DVD, including humorous sketches (featuring Jack Benny, Bing Crosby, Red Skelton, Robert Cummings, Redd Fox, and others), a selection of Hope’s USO tour monologues, musical performances by Lily Pons and Naomi & Wynonna Judd, a Christmas message from Eleanor Roosevelt, holiday bloopers, and (my favorite) Bob and his wife Dolores singing his signature holiday song, “Silver Bells.”

At a run time of 110 minutes, this DVD obviously only covers a fraction of the great material from the holidays portion of Hope’s career, but it’s a good way to give those who love him (or would like to get to know his work) a taste of the television magic that he and his team created.  (And at a current price of only $8.99 on Amazon, it’s a pretty good deal, too!)

Headsup: Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders on Blu-ray and DVD

Batman return caped crusaders blu-ray dvd

In a year which has given us many dark and serious portrayals of the Batman mythos, Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders is a vibrantly loud, bright, and cheesy film that hearkens back to original 1960s television show, not only with a similar look and dialogue, but the original stars as well: that’s right, Adam West, Burt Ward, and Julie Newmar are back!  Along with Batman, Robin, and Catwoman, we also get to see the villainous machinations of the Penguin, Joker, Riddler, and even Evil Batman (dun Dun DUN!!).

While the sixties were perhaps the golden age of corny television (although some episodes of Full House could definitely give them a run for their money), not everyone knows that Batman, with its goofy banter between the characters and admonitions to wear seatbelts, drink milk, etc, was intentionally so–William Dozier (executive producer) once described it as a sitcom without a laugh track.  This film follows in that vein, maintaining the lighthearted spirit of that much-loved show and making sure to work in lines like “Holy entrée, Batman!” along with the classic POW!s, SMACK!s, and BAM!s. (You can see a clip of Burt Ward discussing them here).  While the film has just enough spice to have earned it a PG rating (for “Action, Suggestive Material and Rude Humor”), it is safely within the family-friendly realm, and a good opportunity for the generations who loved the original Batman (or its re-runs) to introduce it to their millennial loved-ones.  Well-versed fans will also enjoy the many inside jokes and other Easter-egg-esque touches (such as the décor in the Batcave which references not only the TV show but the comics as well).

You may have caught the film’s premiere at New York Comic-Con or perhaps its one-night-only limited theatrical release from Fathom Events on October 10th, but for those who didn’t, you can check it out on DVD or Blu-ray combo pack now.  If you get the combo pack the film also comes with two bonus features, “Those Dastardly Desperados” (interviews from the cast and crew about the development of this particular version and how it ties in with the traditional and not-so-traditional treatment of the villains) and “A Classic Cadre of Voices” (where the actors discuss their approach to voice acting and the process of recording sessions, etc).

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Headsup: One Nation Under Trump on DVD

One Nation Under Trump DVD

Whether you love him or hate him, you have to admit that Donald J. Trump is currently a very relevant factor in America’s political future.  One Nation Under Trump is self-described as “the first comprehensive feature documentary to delve into the zeitgeist of the unstoppable Donald Trump revolution.”  I would, however, caution readers to take that description with a large grain of salt (even if you just stop halfway through the sentence).  This film is basically an hour of video clips from Mr. Trump’s public speeches and interviews with a small amount of voiceover to tie them together, which leads me to suggest that the term “documentary” is a misnomer.  As to background or supplemental info on the man himself, it includes a few comments about his childhood, but not much else.  It’s also good to note that this was created before the three 2016 presidential debates and therefore does not include that material.  I would therefore also suggest that the description of it being “comprehensive” is somewhat misleading as well.

So who among you may be considering watching/buying this?  Perhaps you are a still-undecided voter and think that this may fill in some of the blanks left with the media coverage to date.  Or maybe you are a teacher and planning on using it for a government or social studies class.  Both of these groups should know that you can find most of the content on YouTube (and even more, as it leaves out certain essentials such as the debates.)  If you are already a fan/supporter of Mr. Trump (or even if you aren’t but you consider him an interesting character) and want to see a documentary that gives a “behind closed doors” look into what makes him tick with things like interviews with school friends, business associates, and family, or rarely-seen photos/video that give a more complete picture of him, this is not such a film.

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