Thursday, December 01, 2005

TV On DVD - November 29, 2005

There's going to be an election in Canada on January 23, 2006. Barring any particularly good commercials, something that really interests me about debate format (which have in the past been radically different from anything that American politicians have been willing to try outside of The West Wing) or particularly good or egregious bits of broadcast policy, this is the last you'll hear of the election from me until the day after election day, if then.

Since it is December, and Christmas is coming (along with holidays in other religions into which a gift giving component has been shoehorned) I have a nascent idea about basic gift suggestions for the TV lover in your house. It'll probably be running over the next three Saturdays.

A very light week for DVDs, with more than a few exclusive offers that won't show up on Amazon.

C.S.I.: Crime Scene Investigation - The Complete Fifth Season
- Season 5 of CSI was one of my favourites. It started with Greg becoming a real boy - sorry a CSI field guy - and the search for his replacement which initially seemed to be Reiko Aylesworth but turned out to be Aisha Tyler. (Interesting: both Aylesworth and Tyler as well as Xander Berkeley who played Sheriff Atwater - in two episodes including the seventh episode of this season - and Glenn Morshower who played Sheriff Brian Mobley were in 24. Well I thought it was interesting.) The season ended with the Quentin Tarantino directed episode which also just happened to be the last performance of Frank Gorshin. Definitely a season that you should get if you're a fan of the show.

Crank Yankers V2 Season 2
- Okay, now I get it. This set was released in Canada and is only available on DVD from Best Buy in the United States. Crank phone calls reenacted by puppets. Conceptually at least it's interesting.

Criss Angel: Mindfreak - The Complete Season One
- The show sounds like a sort of cross between magic show and reality TV. I've never seen it, although I have seen Criss Angel on Las Vegas and he does seem amazing. Certainly he's one of the top young illusionists of his generation. Still there's always something suspicious about magic on TV despite all of the assertions that no camera tricks are used.

- ABC ran this last summer and boy was it a stinker. There were a couple of good performances (notably Colm Feore as Caesar) but if you're really smart you'll wait for HBO's far superior Rome or get I, Claudius.

Family Guy: Volume Three
- The little series that could. Volume 3 actually the first thirteen episodes of the fourth season revival of the show, which is currently running. These are the episodes that ran from May 2005 ("North By North Quahog") to the end of September 2005 ("Jungle Love"). Lord I love the way Fox runs series!

Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi: Rock Forever
- Okay I have absolutely no idea about this. Puffy AmiYumi is a Japanese pop group which amazingly for such groups has been in existence since 1996. This is an animated version of the two young women who make up the group (and occasionally appear in live action bits on the show) but although the style is Japanese Anime, the show is actually produced in the US using flash animation. Never seen it (it's on YTV here and early on a Saturday morning at that) so no opinion.

Lotsa Luck
- Now this is a real curiosity. A remake of the legendary British series On The Buses it lacked a lot of the charm of the original in part because British buses don't run in the same way that American buses do. There wasn't the partnership that Reg Varney and Bob Grant had in the original and much more of the focus in the American show was on the home life of the lead character. On the other hand it does star a younger Dom Deluise and the always enjoyable Kathleen Freeman. Still I don't recommend it.

Mission Hill: The Complete Series
- This animated series had an incredibly brief run on The WB of two episodes in September and October 1999 before it was cancelled. Then it was burned off in June and July of 2000. Worth it? Well it does have something of a cult following but there just doesn't seem to be that much there for what you're paying.

Project Runway: Season One
- Another one I've never seen. It was nominated this past season for Outstanding Reality-Competition Series (it lost to The Amazing Race - I'll resist the temptation to say "of course"). It helps that it was on Bravo since from what I've read the format - a competition between a dozen designers and a dozen models - seems like a combination of American Idol and The Apprentice. And we all know how network audiences reacted to what they saw as imitations of existing formats last summer. I don't know.

'Til Death Do Us Part: Carmen and Dave (Target Exclusive)
- Only available at Target stores, which we don't have here in Canada. This is the Carmen Electra and Dave Navarro series for MTV so I don't feel as bad about not being able to get it as I would if it were the British forerunner to All In The Family. On the other hand, on those rare occasions when I've seen him (and I don't listen to his music) he's been quite entertaining.

Timeslip: The Complete Series
- Why is it that the British do TV for children and teens that is so much more advanced than anything that anyone else seems willing to do, particularly the Americans. The series consisted of 26 episodes in black & white (for a variety of reasons). The two main characters are capable of slipping backwards and forwards in time. The 1970s series dealt with some incredibly up to date concepts like cloning and global warming in episodes which are linked up into what amounts to four serials. Can you imagine an American network producing anything like this let alone producing it for kids?

Tomorrow People: Set 2
- Seasons 3, 4 and 5 of the British Science Fiction series from the 1970s, although like most British Science Fiction series it suffered from terminally low budgets. Like Timeslip it's another example of the British doing shows for a teen audience that no American network would try. The concept of teens with "psi" powers wasn't exactly new at the time (see The X-Men comic books) but there's a certain charm here.

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