Television Reviews

Share this:Share on Facebook0Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+0Pin on Pinterest0
Adventure Time: The Suitor
Warner Brothers
Street: 05.06
For me, it is not the weird plots or scenery that make Adventure Time an addictive and ridiculous time-consumer. The characters make the show, and Cartoon Network now has a whole DVD dedicated to fan favorite characters that make parents ask, “What are you watching?” Included are sixteen episodes, all focused on individuals and providing laughter for kids/youths/stoners for hours. One episode in particular, “Shh!” is some of the best writing and visual performance I’ve ever seen in a cartoon. The DVD features a “Little Did You Know” gallery, highlighting characters like whimsical baseball cards. It’s the sixth volume in a sure to be long list of special Adventure Time releases. –Rebecca Frost
Afterlife: Series 1
BBC Home Entertainment
Street: 05.13
I was excited when I received Afterlife, a short-lived series that aired on the BBC in 2005. I did, unfortunately, judge a DVD by its cover. The cover promised a horror series and I looked forward to ghosts, demons and other terrifying things that would keep me up at night. Once I popped in the DVD and started watching, I understood why Afterlife was cancelled after two seasons. The episodes are slow-moving, wrought with exposition and minimal payoff. The scares are brief and graphic, usually only during climactic scenes. I guess I had my hopes up because Andrew Lincoln (The Rick in Ricktatorship from The Walking Dead) stars as a skeptical University professor/author who teams up with psychic Alison (played by Lesley Sharp) to chronicle her seemingly legitimate psychic powers, because he is a skeptic. Did I mention he’s a skeptic? Afterlife tries to drive home the fact that even in a world full of skeptics, perhaps there is an afterlife and ghosts walk among us. The premise is promising, but, like Andrew Lincoln, I just don’t believe it. –Rebecca Frost
Doctor Who: The Enemy of the World
BBC Home Entertainment
Street: 05.20
Back in 2013, Doctor Who fans received the best gift a Whovian could receive: the discovery of lost episodes from 1968. BBC Home Entertainment has released the episodes onto DVD to fully complete fans’ collections. The Enemy of the World is a unique plot arc, as it allows actor Patrick Troughton to play dual roles: The Second Doctor and villain Salamander. Initially, only one episode of the six episode arc survived. Since the discovery of missing episodes, all six are reunited and remastered for our viewing pleasure—and it looks amazing. The episodes look like they were shot in present day, albeit in someone’s basement, and then converted to black and white. The fact that these lost episodes are finally available to own makes the DVD a must have for any Doctor Who collection, large or small. –Rebecca Frost
Doctor Who: The Web of Fear
BBC Home Entertainment
Street: 04.22
Along with the release of The Enemy of the World, BBC Home Entertainment released The Web of Fear: the second story arc to be discovered after being believed to be long destroyed. The lost episodes were rediscovered in 2013 and are now available to add to your ever growing Doctor Who collection. Is it campy? Yes. Is it retro? Absolutely. Entertaining? Surprisingly so. The Web of Fear uses cheesy costumes and scares, but it is everything that embodies Doctor Who. The remastery looks great on a high definition TV, and makes for a lovely marathon since old Who episodes are only twenty minutes long. You can even craft along to make the props with stuff you find in your own home! –Rebecca Frost
Futurama: Volume 8 (Blu-ray)
20th Century Fox
Street: 12.10.13
Volume 8, the last season of Futurama (but in this history of show cancellations and rebirths, who can be sure?), is one of the best seasons the show has ever bestowed upon us fans. It retains its typical adventure-of-the-week, but the possibilities for a show like this have always been limitless. The future was theirs, and the writers never failed me. You can even catch a behind the scenes featurette, Inside Futurama: The Writers’ Room of Tomorrow, if you’re into the writing that goes into the classics. Watch it through once, then watch it again with commentary. Then put it on your shelf and admire the Hypnotoad artwork. Rally the Internet with the passion of a Firefly fan to bring it back. But, in the meantime, enjoy the finale. Enjoy every single emotion of anger, happiness, and nostalgia it brings to you. –Rebecca Frost
Legit: The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)
20th Century Fox
Street: 02.25
Following in the tradition of many FX shows about terrible people doing terrible things, Legit stars Australian comedian Jim Jefferies as he tries to better himself while being totally selfish at the same time. Based off his stand up (like Louie, but less sad), Legit sets the bar with its pilot episode in which Jim takes his friend’s paralyzed brother to a brothel to lose his virginity. Yes, it starts with that. Succeeding episodes do not quite live up to the initial level of crudity, but they certainly hold up. Drug use, foul language and poor life decisions are the make-up of Legit. A combination that, if you are a fan of any other FX show, will never get old. The Blu-ray features the ability to view the season in “Season Mode”, a fancy rewording for “Play All.” Still, totally worth it for a day of marathoning while procrastinating your good life choices. –Rebecca Frost
The Mr. Magoo Theatrical Collection (1949-1959)
Shout! Factory
Street: 04.22
There is a difference between the Mr. Magoo television shorts and the theatrical shorts. The theatrical shorts have won awards. Academy awards. The theatrical shorts went on to become television shorts and television specials, but there is a uniqueness and originality to the shorts that were projected in theaters. The eagerly awaited box set comes with 53 shorts and one film, 1001 Arabian Nights. Mr. Magoo, voiced by Jim Backus (Gilligan’s Island), adorably grumbles around, like a stubborn old man will do. What’s special though, is Backus improvises Mr. Magoo’s dialogue. The Theatrical Collection box set is a great addition to an early film buff’s collection, or even tame enough to put on for a child. Either way, entertainment abounds. Just don’t forget your glasses. –Rebecca Frost
News Radio: Seasons 1 & 2
Mill Creek Entertainment
Street: 04.01
As a child born into media in the ‘90s, I do actually remember Newsradio. I thought that radio mostly took place in an office and not in a booth like that fake fool Frasier. I’m an adult now, so I understand that the Newsradio team worked behind the scenes while Frasier worked in the booth. Newsradio is definitely a show of its era: fashion, relationships, quirkiness. It features the late Phil Hartman (who was a god damn gem in everything he touched), a wee baby Dave Foley (The Kids in the Hall) and a wee baby Andy Dick (MTV, I guess). Seasons 1 and 2 are worth watching, and then possibly stopping because the show got weird. Like, going to space and stuff. Mostly check it out for a journey back in time when things were simple and, at the same time, so painful. The size of those laptops. Those wedge shoes. Where are all the cell phones? –Rebecca Frost
Ripper Street: Season 2
BBC Home Entertainment
Street: 04.15
BBC does not mess around when producing historical crime dramas. Fast paced, authentic, action packed and character driven, Ripper Street is better than any crime procedural you would find here in the United States. Set in London (Whitechapel, specifically) in 1889, the show follows the police charged with protecting and investigating the street six months after the last Jack the Ripper killing. The possibility of his return looms in the air while attending to other investigations. Season 2 picks up where season 1 left off, but newcomers to the show could easily jump in with this second season. Ripper Street goes beyond the Guy Ritchie aesthetic and delivers history lessons as well, dealing with opiate drug rings, immigrant cultures and even women’s roles in olde England. Fans of Sherlock and the American show Copper will certainly appreciate and enjoy touring the division known as Ripper Street. –Rebecca Frost
The Simpsons: The Sixteenth Season
20th Century Fox
On DVD: 12.03.13
Now that The Simpsons’ DVD sets are coming out regularly after the most recent season ends, it’s become a challenge for fans to get back on track with the previous seasons, but 20th Century Fox is making it worth your while. Content-wise, it’s almost hard to properly judge the show during it’s second decade, as a lot of older fans became tired with the frequent guest appearances (this season especially with Gary Busey, Tom Brady, Liam Neeson and LeBron James, to name a few) and sometimes lack of cohesive stories, and younger fans not really catching the humor that originally made it great. The passion is there, but there’s something lacking in this season. The gem episodes that stand out are “Treehouse Of Horror XV,” “Goo Goo Gai Pan,” “Future-Drama” and “Thank God It’s Doomsday,” which break away from the norm of the family life and take a lot of risks with the content, often becoming the highlights. The real humor and insight into the show comes from the bonus content, like deleted scenes, Easter eggs and the always fabulous audio commentary, which, ultimately, make the DVD set worth buying. –Gavin Sheehan
Photos: