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    The Walking Dead: Season 4 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on August 29th, 2014

    The first thing you should know about The Walking Dead is that it’s unlike any television series you have ever seen before. The images here are intense, and the crew has been given a blank check to create this vision without the burden of censors looking over their shoulders. There are plenty of blood-and-gore effects that rival any of the Hollywood zombie films you’ve seen in the last few years. The makeup effects are handled by the very capable hands of KNB and supervised personally by Greg Nicotero (the N from KNB).
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    Haven: Complete Fourth Season (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on August 29th, 2014

    “You were always such a clever troublemaker.”

    When Audrey Parker (Emily Rose) entered the barn in the conclusion of season 3 of Haven, all “the Troubles” were supposed to come to an end for the small seaside town of Haven, Maine.  Sure everything seemed to go as planned, that is until Duke (Eric Balfour) took the plunge into the barn before it disappeared, leaving Sheriff Nathan Wuornos (Lucas Bryant) behind.
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    Boardwalk Empire: Season 4 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on August 27th, 2014

    “It’s like Prohibition never happened but for one thing. Prices will increase twenty-fold. We got a product a fellah’s gotta have. Even better is that, we got a product he ain’t allowed to have.”

    The fourth season of Boardwalk Empire began pretty much the only way it could have after the bloodbath that ended the previous season. It was an explosive season that delivered the best gangland war in television history. Now there has to be some kind of peace or at least status quo after the end of the violence. Nucky is making his peace with Arnold Rothstein and his people. He also owes Chalky White for saving his behind when war broke out.
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    The Normal Heart (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on August 26th, 2014

    “Could you please reduce your level of hysteria?”

    There is a lot of yelling and a lot of outrage in The Normal Heart. The film chronicles the confusing, terrifying onset of the HIV-AIDS crisis in the early 1980s and how a group of gay men (and one intrepid doctor) in New York fought to draw attention to the deadly disease. Their efforts are alternately frustrating and futile, which leads to a higher decibel level for much of the movie’s second half. Thankfully, The Normal Heart is shrewd enough to note that there’s more than one way to make a point.
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    Aerial America: Southeast Collection (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on August 25th, 2014

    One of the miracles of modern technology is its ability to shrink the world down so you can practically (well, proverbially) hold it in the palm of your hand. The cheerily square Smithsonian Channel series Aerial America goes the other way. In fact, the best thing about the show is how it uses technology to fill every inch of your screen with some of the most famous — along with some of the more underappreciated — U.S. landmarks, employing a larger-than-life/bird’s-eye point of view most of us wouldn’t otherwise be able to enjoy. Now, Smithsonian Channel and Inception Media Group have released another batch of episodes on Blu-ray.
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    Revolution: Season 2 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on August 22nd, 2014

    “Welcome to the SyFy Channel.”

    OK, not really. Revolution aired on sister network NBC, both part of the Universal family. Usually the sibling resemblances are not very visible. Revolution, however has all the elements of a typical SyFy Channel series. These shows almost always start with strong source material or a crazy but clever idea.
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    Rosemary’s Baby (2014) (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on August 19th, 2014

    It’s kind of astounding that it took this long for somebody to revisit Rosemary’s Baby. Don’t get me wrong: I’m not suggesting Roman Polanski’s indelible 1968 adaptation of Ira Levin’s 1967 novel was crying out for a remake. It’s just that at this point you’d be hard pressed to find any horror classic — or any horror film, period — that hasn’t been re-done. (Stay strong, Exorcist!) And you probably wouldn’t expect said horror classic to be re-imagined as a bloody network TV miniseries.
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    Bitten: Complete First Season (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on August 14th, 2014

    The television landscape has been flooded with shows about the supernatural. Vampires have been particularly hot topics in recent years, but werewolves are starting to get their own sub-genre going. MTV’s Teen Wolf manages to pull the theme off quite well. It’s no surprise that pretty much every network out there wants to throw their own hats into the supernatural ring. It’s getting quite crowded, but the popularity appears to have no end. Of course, with such a crowded field you have to find a way to stand out from the rest.
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    Star Trek: The Next Generation – Season 6 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on August 12th, 2014

    “Space… the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its continuing mission, to explore strange new worlds. To seek out new life and new civilizations. To boldly go where no one has gone before.”

    The sixth season of Star Trek: The Next Generation is arguable one of the best seasons in the history of the franchise. There are likely many reasons for this.
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    The Birthday Boys: The Complete First Season

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on August 7th, 2014

    It seems to me, if your ultimate goal is to get on television, there’s never been a better time to be a sketch comedian. Thanks to sites like YouTube — which thrive on the sort of bite-size videos that line up nicely with the rhythms of sketch comedy — funny folks can hone their craft online while building a big enough fan base to maybe compel a network to offer them a show. Comedy Central is the most obvious basic cable landing spot, but IFC has emerged in recent years as a haven for offbeat humor. That includes The Birthday Boys, which is characteristically uneven, but boasts an impeccable TV sketch comedy pedigree.
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    Hell on Wheels: Season 3 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on July 31st, 2014

    “Make no mistake. Blood will be spilled. Lives will be lost. Fortunes will be made. Men will be ruined. There will be betrayal and scandal and perfidy of epic proportions.”

    With a statement like that, how can you not want to check out AMC’s newest drama series Hell On Wheels? I’ve been told the title sounds like it’s about motorcycle gangs, and I couldn’t agree more. The term refers to the mobile tent city that housed the workers on the Union Pacific Railroad and the support entourage the camp attracted. It was a virtual tent city that had all of the essentials: a church, bar, and whorehouse.
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    Aerial America: Southwest Collection (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on July 24th, 2014

    One of the miracles of modern technology is its ability to shrink the world down so you can practically (well, proverbially) hold it in the palm of your hand. The cheerily square Smithsonian Channel series Aerial America goes the other way. In fact, the best thing about the show is how it uses technology to fill every inch of your screen with some of the most famous — along with some of the more underappreciated — U.S. landmarks, employing a larger-than-life/bird’s-eye point of view most of us wouldn’t otherwise be able to enjoy.
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    Tosh.O – Collas plus Exposed Arms

    Posted in Disc Reviews by William O'Donnell on July 19th, 2014

    Here comes Volume four of this clip commentary comedy show (CCC could catch on as a sub-genre title couldn’t it?). This time we get two seasons worth of episodes; the “Collas” and “Exposed Arms” entitled seasons, as it were. Very little is different as far as format or new segments are concerned since the last time I wrote about this show.
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    How the West Was Won: The Complete Second Season

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on July 16th, 2014

    The West — once a land of awesome but tranquil beauty — had become a battleground for a hundred diverse reasons.”

    The “second” season of How the West Was Won — and I’ll explain in a bit why the word “second” deserves to be in quotation marks — does a strong job dramatizing the myriad dangers of the Old West. This batch of episodes showcases vengeful gunfighters, greedy gold prospectors, a taxing cattle drive, and the tenuous relationship between frontiersmen and Native Americans. Of course, at the center of it all is one particularly intrepid clan.
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    Sinbad: Make Me Wanna Holla

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on July 3rd, 2014

    He’s old! How he gonna relate to me?!”

    For a good portion of his latest stand-up special, Sinbad playfully berates a 15-year-old audience member named Cory. It’s mostly standard-issue, old man, “back in my day” ribbing. But the most incisive observation comes when Sinbad points out that Cory would probably much rather be in the audience for a Kevin Hart show. The feeling that Sinbad is no longer the hot comic of the moment — and hasn’t been for a while — informs much of this inoffensive, baby boomer-friendly set.
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    Comedy Bang! Bang! The Complete Second Season

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on June 27th, 2014

    I like the fact that there’s no desk. I like the fact that he’s not wearing a suit and tie. And I like the fact that there’s not some over-hyped studio audience being prompted to laugh at topical jokes that we’re all gonna forget about in the next few days.”

    For its second season, IFC’s Comedy Bang! Bang! got bigger and bolder in the way it manically skewered decades of talk show and pop culture conventions. Not surprisingly, the show also got even weirder.
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    Unforgettable – The Second Season

    Posted in Disc Reviews by William O'Donnell on June 25th, 2014

    Detective Carrie Wells (played by Poppy Montgomery) and her former boyfriend/current crime fighting partner Al Burns (played by Dylan Walsh) have been noticed because of their uncanny crime solving percentage in the upper 90% (a fairly common thing in TV crime shows, but nearly unheard of in the real world) and get promoted to the NYPD’s Major Crimes unit. With this move, and the fact that this program bounced in and out of cancellation quagmire between the first and second season
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    Masters of Sex: Season One

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on June 24th, 2014

    In 1956, a nationally-renowned fertility specialist met a former nightclub singer. Ten years later, they published a scientific study, which revolutionized our understanding of human sexuality.”

    You can’t call your TV show Masters of Sex and not expect to elicit a few chuckles. (You also can’t be surprised if people go looking for it on Cinemax rather than Showtime.) Titillating title aside, Masters of Sex is actually an engaging, often-excellent period drama that shines when it’s conveying the thrill of discovery and exploration. Also, it turns out there’s a fair amount of sex.
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    Klondike (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on June 19th, 2014

    “You’re either gettin’ or gettin’ got”.

    It’s very tricky to make an historical drama. Writers and directors have to carefully balance the needs of entertainment over facts and authenticity. There comes the inevitable moment when they will be in conflict, and a decision must be made as to which direction will have priority in the telling of the tale. It might have been an unfair expectation on my part, but when an historical drama mini-series comes to a place like The Discovery Channel I tend to look for any conflict to be resolved in the favor of historical accuracy
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    Louie: Season 3

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on June 19th, 2014

    “I got kids and I work, and it’s hard sometimes. But, you know, boilerplate misery…alone in the world…might as well be a maggot sucking a dead cat’s face. What’s the point?”

    That’s how Louis C.K. describes his life during a season 3 episode of Louie. And since the FX comedy series — that is only nominally a comedy series — stubbornly and brilliantly defies any sort of easy categorization, the sad-sack declaration is also the best description you’re likely to get of what the show is about.
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    Ray Donovan: Season 1 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on June 13th, 2014

    “It’s a different world out there.”

    You can say that again. The television landscape is changing, at least on cable. Ray Donovan is the latest in the string of new shows that are attracting talent once thought out of reach for television. A show starring Liev Schreiber and Jon Voight, this Showtime series looked to be something very special… and it almost is.
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    True Detective (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on June 12th, 2014

    “You got a chapter in one of those books on jumping to conclusions?”

    It’s easy to jump to conclusions with a name like True Detective. The moniker conjures up images of the true crime pulp magazines of the 40′s and 50′s. You might get a sense that this is one of those “based on a true story” type of shows. There was even a second when I expected we might have our first “found footage” television shows. Whatever ideas you have going in, expect your perceptions to change.
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    Resurrection: The Complete First Season

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on June 11th, 2014

    “Maybe you’re missing the real question: do you want to believe?”

    Talk about a loaded question. If you apply it to the plot of Resurrection, it obviously refers to the formerly-deceased residents of Arcadia, Missouri who suddenly and inexplicably return home many years after their respective deaths. But I think the question also applies to the attitude modern TV viewers have toward any new network series. Before they decide to invest their time, those viewers “want to believe”…that an intriguing drama like Resurrection won’t get canceled after five episodes.
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    Falling Skies: The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on June 5th, 2014

    “Our planet, our war.”

    Those four words neatly summarize the overriding theme for the third season of Falling Skies, TNT’s earnest alien invasion drama. While the show still takes its broad thematic cues from the American Revolutionary War, this batch of episodes directly references some of the uneasy alliances formed during World War II. So in between the numerous instances of human characters shooting at aliens — and at each other — the show explored the question of whether the enemy of my enemy really is my friend.
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    Workaholics: Season 4 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on June 4th, 2014

    Before getting this season to review, my exposure to the show was fairly limited; I had seen a few episodes on Comedy Central, but that was about it.  Now that I’ve had a chance to kick back and take in the shenanigans of Blake (Blake Anderson), Adam (Adam DeVine) and Anders (Anders Holm) I can say it was a disservice to myself to hold out for so long.  For those that are unaware of the show, I see it as a bit of a hybrid between It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Office Space, as it follows three friends who live together and work together at a telemarketing company.
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