Headsup: Falling Skies, Family Drama, and Funnies

Cloverfield 4K Ultra HD 10 Cloverfield Lane 4K Ultra HD
In the celebrated film Cloverfield, the viewer is given a first-person account of a mysterious and terrifying attack on Manhattan by an unknown foe. Action-packed visuals and a heart-racing storyline combine to tell the story of an unexpected and seemingly inescapable apocalypse. Celebrating the tenth anniversary of its original release this year, Cloverfield is now available in a new 4K Ultra-HD / Blu-ray combo pack. The set boasts over an hour of bonus features, including alternate endings and deleted scenes, a “making of” special, multiple featurettes, and audio commentary by director Matt Reeves. Paired with its predecessor is the 4K release of 10 Cloverfield Lane, a psychological thriller starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead, John Gallagher Jr., and John Goodman as three (supposed) survivors of an apocalyptic attack that has thrown them together in the latter’s underground bunker. Tensions run ever higher as revelations begin to spark questions about whether the true danger lies inside or outside the bunker, and whether escaping it will mean salvation or death. 10 Cloverfield Lane is also now available in a 4K Ultra-HD / Blu-ray combo pack, with extras that include seven featurettes covering the film’s production (and how it relates to Cloverfield) along with commentary by director Dan Trachtenberg and producer J.J. Abrams. The Cloverfield 4K combo pack and the 10 Cloverfield Lane 4k combo pack are both currently available on Amazon for $26.62.

Ray Donovan Season Five DVDTurning from apocalyptic damage to damage control, we have Season Five of Ray Donovan.  In this season, the elite Hollywood fixer Ray Donovan (Liev Schreiber) must deal with challenges within his own family as together they charge into unfamiliar territory, including issues of life, love, death, and Parkinson’s Disease.  Also starring Susan Sarandon in her recurring role as the incomparable media titan Samantha Winslow, Season Five takes the characters (and the audience) on an emotional rollercoaster not set to stop any time soon.  The DVD set of Ray Donovan: The Fifth Season will be released on January 30.  In addition to all twelve of the season’s episodes, the set presents almost thirty minutes of special features, including featurettes exploring Abby’s fate, dealing with introducing the challenges of Parkinson’s Disease into the storyline, and other issues from the season, along with commentary on Episode 508 (“Horses”) with Paula Malcomson (Abby) and series showrunner David Hollander.  Ray Donovan: The Fifth Season is currently available to pre-order on Amazon for $29.17.  Fans who have already watched the season likely have a subscription to Showtime or Amazon Prime with the Showtime add-on option and already have access to the season, but if you’re looking for some background on Season Five’s production (or are looking to gift it to someone), it might be worth checking out the DVD option.

Rowan and Martins Laugh-In Season TwoFar from the dark thoughts of cities falling and beloved characters dying is the refreshingly lighthearted second season of Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In, which was itself an answer to the turmoil of the 1960s.  Starring “straight man” Dan Rowan and the endearingly goofy Dick Martin alongside a cast of regulars (including Goldie Hawn, Richard Dawson, Lily Tomlin, and Ruth Buzzy, among others) who would become famous in their own right, the show was a tidal wave of skits, non-sequiturs, rapid-fire one-liners, and just plain silliness.  Season Two of the series featured a bevy of epic guest stars, including Jack Benny, Victor Borge, Mel Brooks, Sammy Davis Jr, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Hugh Hefner, John Wayne, Johnny Carson, Bob Newhart, Tony Curtis, Richard Nixon, and several others.  Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In: The Complete Second Season is now available in a 7-disc DVD set from Time Life, which includes all twenty-six episodes from Season Two along with interviews from Dick Martin, Gary Owens, and Ruth Buzzi as bonus features.  You can currently get the set on Amazon for $26.60.

 

 

Headsup: Giggles and Guffaws

 

Out now are two titles to help you get some much-needed laughter:

Hee Haw Pfft You Was Gone

 

First we have Hee Haw, which was actually created as “the rural alternative” to Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In and ran during some of the same years as its counterpart (1969-1971) before hitting its long-lasting syndication.  A comedy variety show set in fictional rural “Kornfield Kounty” and hosted by Buck Owens and Roy Clark, Hee Haw was originally made to be a summer replacement series for The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.  It ended up gaining such popularity that even when it was cancelled in CBS’s “Rural Purge” of 1971 (along with other “country” shows shows The Beverly Hillbillies, Mayberry R.F.D., and Green Acres) in an effort to focus on the network’s more affluent/urban viewers, the show was quickly picked up for syndication, where it stayed for a record-setting twenty-one years (making it the longest-running weekly syndicated original series in television history).

Now out from Time Life is the two-disc set Hee Haw: Pfft! You Was Gone!, which includes four rarely-seen episodes from the show which aired between 1969 and 1973.  These classic episodes include sketches such as “Pickin’ and Grinnin,” “Archie’s Barbershop,” “Hey, Grandpa, What’s for Supper?”, “The KORN News,” and “Rindercella” and feature guest stars Dolly Parton, Porter Wagoner, Merle Haggard, Tammy Wynette, and George Jones, among others.  The set is currently available at Amazon on DVD for $22.44.  No special features on this one, but if you just want a taste of Kornfield Kounty homespun fun, this is a good place to start.

 

Speaking of Laugh-In, Time Life is also currently offering up Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In: The Complete Series as a box set, including all 140 episodes (over half of which have never before been released on any format) along with a bonus DVD, which features the pilot episode, a tribute to George Schlatter, bloopers, interviews with Lily Tomlin, Dick Martin, Gary Owens, Ruth Buzzi, and more.  The set also includes Laugh-In Memories, a 32-page collectible booklet with archival photos, jokes and one-liners from the show, notes from Schlatter, and other fun tidbits.  The Complete Series Set is currently only available through Time Life and retails for $249.95.

 

 

South Park-The Complete Twentieth Season

Next is the twentieth (TWENTIETH!) season of South Park, out now on DVD and Blu-ray.  This season showed South Park school boys Cartman, Stan, Kenny and Kyle dealing with both old and new issues, including politics, online trolling, the concept of Cartman having a girlfriend, and the epic Member Berry epidemic.  Developed from one of the internet’s first viral videos (The Spirit of Christmas) that hit the web in 1995, South Park has been running strong for two decades, earning it five Primetime Emmy Awards, a Peabody Award, and consistently high ratings. There are also no signs of it stopping any time soon, as the current production deal has the show set to air episodes into 2019.

The Complete Twentieth Season set includes all ten episodes that rounded out the show’s second decade on air as well as some bonus features, including a season commentary with creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone (who also act as writers, voice artists, and executive producers for the show), social media commentary for all episodes, the 2016 Comic-Con panel with Parker and Stone, and deleted scenes.  On Amazon you can snag the DVD for $19.96 or the Blu-ray for $29.84.  You can also purchase the season digitally on iTunes and Amazon for $24.99, both of which include some bonus features (not the same ones on the DVD/Blu-ray option); it’s good to note, though, that the Amazon extras are available as free stand-alone content for Prime members whether you get the season or not.