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    Banshee: Season 2 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on January 14th, 2015

    “There will be casualties”

    Alan Ball got my attention in 2001 with HBO’s black comedy Six Feet Under. It was one of the most original shows I had ever seen, and to this day I find it hard to characterize the series when asked to do so. It was there that he also introduced me to Michael C. Hall, who continues to amaze me in the role of Dexter over at Showtime. When Six Feet Under left the airwaves, Ball didn’t waste very much time in bringing his quirky style back, this time to the horror genre
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    Tyrant: The Complete First Season

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on January 13th, 2015

    “Those who are feared make peace. Those who are kind get killed.”

    Both temperaments are well represented throughout the first season of Tyrant, FX’s Middle East-set family drama. I say “family drama” because even though the show features plenty of political power plays and double-crosses, Tyrant is at its best when it focuses on the rotting and crumbling of the central Al-Fayeed clan. Call it Godfather-lite.
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    Girls: The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on January 12th, 2015

    Writers are a ridiculous class of people who make everything about themselves.”

    For many, the current face — and oft-naked body — of “writers who make everything about themselves” is Lena Dunham, the creator/star/writer/director of HBO’s Girls. The equal-parts brilliant and maddening quarter-life crisis comedy became one of the most polarizing shows on TV over its first two seasons, as self-involved heroine Hannah Horvath sought love and a career as a writer in NYC. At the start of season 3, Hannah has both of those things…which is why I’m astounded — and, frankly, pretty impressed — that she remains as egotistical as ever.
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    Looking: The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on January 6th, 2015

    The most remarkable thing about Looking might be how thoroughly unremarkable it is. This is a double-edged sword for HBO’s dramedy, which follows the love lives of three gay friends living in modern-day San Francisco. The series sidesteps the headline-grabbing sensationalism that accompanies many other shows that prominently feature gay characters. (Looking at you, Ryan Murphy.) On the other hand, Looking is often low-key to the point that it bypasses being funny or particularly entertaining. What the series does have on its side is a naturalistic tone that makes the show more engrossing and immersive as the first season progresses.
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    Broad City: Season 1

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

    Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: single gal(s) looking for love — among other things — in the big city. On television, the trope dates back to the days of The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Laverne & Shirley and continues with more contemporary entries like Sex and the City and Girls. It’s an effective, well-worn story hook that has now gotten a funny, tremendously weird spin thanks to Comedy Central’s Broad City.
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    Jeff Dunham: All Over the Map (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on November 28th, 2014

    “How the hell did this happen? I mean, I’m on the other side of the planet, and people know who I am and they’re laughing at my jokes.”

    Despite his status as one of the biggest draws in stand-up comedy, Jeff Dunham really does seem taken aback by his success. On one hand, you wouldn’t necessarily expect a ventriloquist to be one of the hottest names in comedy in 2014. Then again, the hard work and precision he has put into his act is evident every time he takes the stage. For his latest comedy special, Dunham packed up his puppets and took his show on the road like never before.
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    Hot in Cleveland: Season Five

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on November 14th, 2014

    I had never seen a single episode of Hot in Cleveland before I sat down to review this season 5 DVD set. So why did it feel like I’d been watching this show my entire life? Turns out, it’s entirely by design. On the surface, it doesn’t seem like I’m the target audience for Hot in Cleveland: I’m under 50 years old, and I’m a man. But if you look beyond the plastic surgery jokes and geriatric humor, you’ll find a show that aggressively channels — and ultimately appeals to fans of — many of the classic, multi-camera sitcoms of the past. In other words, Hot in Cleveland feels like you’re watching re-runs of a show you’ve already seen…and still enjoy plenty.
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    Getting On: The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on November 10th, 2014

    It’s noble work. It is useful. You are angels of mercy…I just never thought that I would end up here.”

    The geriatric care wing of a hospital — where the employees are undermanned and overworked, and many of the patients are in a near-catatonic state — is not the most obvious sitcom setting. As a result, HBO’s comedy series Getting On isn’t exactly what I’d call a gut buster. But even though much of the humor seems hyper-specific to this particular circle of workplace hell, anybody who has ever been underpaid to do a hard, crappy job should be able to relate.
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    The Newsroom: The Complete Second Season (Blu-ray)

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

    – “We don’t have the trust of the public anymore.”

    “Get it back!”

    The Newsroom took a pretty decent beating during its first season. Sure, plenty of people praised the show’s exceptional acting and ambition, but too much of the conversation seemed to revolve around its flaws and its polarizing creator. In this Blu-ray set’s bonus material, Aaron Sorkin cops to being “overly earnest” and “aggressively uncool” in his work.
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    Billy Crystal: 700 Sundays

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on October 22nd, 2014

    Billy Crystal has built a legendary career as one of the most multi-faceted entertainers in all of showbiz. He’s a successful actor, comedian, writer, producer and director. At various points, Crystal has been a major star on television, on stage, and at the movies. He’s entertained everyone from musicians to movie stars, thanks to his gigs as a three-time Grammy host and nine-time Academy Awards emcee. But what works best about his return to the stage in 700 Sundays — Crystal’s Tony-winning one-man show — is how it illustrates the idea that virtually every entertainer gets his or her first round of applause in the family living room.
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    Nashville: The Complete Second Season

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on October 15th, 2014

    If you’ve ever asked someone, “What kind of music do you listen to?”, chances are you’ve heard the phrase, “I like everything…except country.” By that logic, a significant portion of TV viewers automatically dismissed ABC’s Nashville when it premiered two years ago. The flawed, entertaining musical drama has deservedly made it to a third season, which kicked off a few weeks ago. However, I think it’s useful to revisit Nashville‘s sophomore season. This set of episodes significantly re-calibrated the series — not always for the better — and marked the start of a shift toward the version of the show that is currently on the air.
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    2 Broke Girls: The Complete Third Season

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on October 14th, 2014

    Everyone on TV has nicer clothes and a bigger home than you do. And I’m not just talking about fictional doctors or lawyers. Even small-screen characters with relatively modest incomes manage to live in palatial apartments. Need proof? The 2 Broke Girls in CBS’s hit sitcom have an apartment that is literally big enough to fit a horse. (Hi, Chestnut.) Season 3 brings a new pet (Ep. 3/“And the Kitty Kitty Spank Spank”) and briefly threatens to remove Max and Caroline from their home (Ep. 22/“And the New Lease on Life”). I don’t think I’m giving anything away by saying things work out in the end. By now, the show’s crass predictability has become oddly comforting.
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    “31 Nights of Terror” Sharknado 2: The Second One (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on October 9th, 2014

    “You know what you just did, don’t you? You jumped the shark.”

    People have been mocking SyFy original films since the days when the network spelled its own name properly. But staying home on a Saturday night to “MST3K” your way through flicks with D-list actors and Z-grade visual effects has been replaced by Twitter, which practically blew up when the impossibly campy Sharknado premiered last year. SyFy recognized that social media has made it possible for anyone with Internet access to trade yuks and one-liners on a global scale; more importantly, it has allowed the network to be in on the joke in an unprecedented way.
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    Ancient Aliens: Season 6 – Vol 1 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on October 8th, 2014

    “Millions of people around the world believe we have been visited in the past by extraterrestrial beings. What if it were true?

    Ever since Eric von Daniken released his speculative book and its subsequent 1970 film Chariots of the Gods, there has been an entire field of study created around something commonly called Ancient Astronaut Theory. The idea is that extraterrestrials have visited many of our ancient civilizations. The theory continues that these visitors had a hand in shaping our development, whether it be through technology or even manipulation of our very DNA.
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    “31 Nights Of Terror” From Dusk Till Dawn: Complete Season One (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on October 5th, 2014

    In 1996 it was a brave new world for  Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez. Tarantino was still riding the wave of Pulp Fiction’s fame, while Rodriguez was going strong with his follow up to El Mariachi, Desperado (which went on to be a bigger hit).  The two had crossed paths at various film festivals, and through the course of their meetings they discussed various projects they could possibly do together.  The project that brought these two together would be horror/ crime genre mixer, From Dusk Till Dawn.
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    Key & Peele: Season 3 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on September 30th, 2014

    It’s been quite some time since The Chappelle Show went off the air, and it would appear Comedy Central has finally found its replacement.  I wouldn’t go so far as to say the show is on the same par, but what Keegan Michael Key and Jordan Peele bring to the small screen is something that has piqued my interest and shows some potential.  Both Key and Peele got their big break from working on the sketch comedy show MADtv, and it would seem they are taking their talents and what they learned to bring us something that is a little familiar but still fresh and keeps its audience laughing.
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    The 100: Season 1 (Blu-ray)

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

    “Prisoners of the ARC, hear me now. You’ve been given a second chance, and as your Chancellor, it is my hope that you see this as not just a chance for you, but a chance for all of us, indeed for mankind itself. We have no idea what is waiting for you down there. If the odds of survival were better, we would’ve sent others. Frankly, we’re sending you because your crimes have made you expendable.”

    It’s 97 years ago and nuclear holocaust has made life on Earth unlivable… at least that’s what most people believed.
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    Reign: The Complete First Season

    Posted in Disc Reviews by John Ceballos on September 29th, 2014

    Politics, backstabbing, murder…just another day at French court.”

    The creators of Reign — the CW’s campy, compulsively-watchable adaptation of the Mary, Queen of Scots saga — seem to be perfectly aware of their audience. I don’t think I’m talking out of school when I say no one turns to the CW — home of DC heroes, vampires, and other Supernatural beings — for gritty realism or historical accuracy. So it really shouldn’t be a surprise to find the monarch’s life has been turned into a handsome, soapy, frequently ridiculous drama that will nevertheless make European History teachers around the world facepalm in unison.
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    Sleepy Hollow Season 1 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on September 26th, 2014

    “And I heard, as it were, the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, “Come and see.” Then, behold, a pale horse, and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him.”

    No, this is not a Johnny Cash song or a bible study post. Believe it or not, we’re talking Ichabod Crane from Washington Irving’s famous story The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow. Fans of the tale will recall that Ichabod came to encounter the headless horseman in one of the first American horror tales ever written.
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    Once Upon A Time: Season 3 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on September 25th, 2014

    “There is a town in Maine where every storybook character you’ve ever known is trapped between two worlds, victims of a powerful curse. Only one knows the truth, and only one can break her spell.”

    ABC has had a very important asset going for it for years. It’s one that the network has seldom taken any advantage of. That asset is its parent company. You see, ABC is part of the Walt Disney family. With the rich history of stories the studio has in its arsenal going back to the 1920’s, it was only a matter of time before some clever people decided to find a way to use that rich history into a television series.
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    Revenge: The Complete Third Season

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

    – “Let’s never say the words ‘Carrion’ or ‘Initiative’ ever again.”

    – “Amen to that.”

    “Carrion” was a tedious MacGuffin of a computer program. “The Initiative” was the shadowy, faceless organization responsible for the terrorist attack pinned on the father of Revenge heroine Emily Thorne. Together, they combined to make the sophomore season of ABC’s formerly scorching-hot nighttime soap a tiresome chore.
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    South Park: Season 17 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on September 18th, 2014

    “Oh boy, zombie apocalypse!”

    No, it’s just South Park. But it has invaded pop culture as much as zombies have over its amazing 18-year run. Trey Parker and Matt Stone have been walking a tightrope for over 18 years now, and it just doesn’t get old. One of the reasons the show doesn’t grow stale is their ability to make such a quick turnaround on current events.
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    Big Bang Theory: Season 7 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Brent Lorentson on September 18th, 2014

    In case you’ve been hiding beneath a rock the past few years, The Big Bang Theory isn’t just a hit TV show, but instead it’s a show that has ingrained itself into pop culture.  You can go out to most major retailers and find shirts with “Bazinga”, and I’m willing to bet at least one of your Facebook friends has posted a GIF on their feed about the show.  It’s a show I told myself I wouldn’t get caught up in because I was so sure it was nothing more than a fad.
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    Arrow: Season 2 (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on September 18th, 2014

    “The city still needs saving. But not by the Hood. And not by some vigilante who’s just crossing names off a list. It needs… something more.”

    That someone, that something more …that something else is the DC Comics character Green Arrow. Not to be confused with the same-colored Hornet or Lantern. In season 2 Oliver Queen finally sheds the name and reputation of the Hood or Vigilante. He has vowed not to kill, and he no longer has the list to guide him. His job now is to go after any bad guys in Starling City.
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    Spartacus: The Complete Series (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on September 17th, 2014

    “Spartacus’ mongrel horde has swelled with each passing victory since Glaber’s defeat at Vesuvius. They added thousands to rank liberating the mines of Lucania. Slaves across the Republic, humble and grateful to their masters for so many years, have broken to treachery in the wake of the ever-expanding legend of Spartacus.”

    Starz has had a pretty good run with their Spartacus series. Coming off the style of blood and violence that was popularized with Zach Snyder’s 300, Spartacus brought that comic book/graphic novel intensity to television.
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