After a fun day spent outdoors enjoying a Canadian winter, it is nice to curl up on the couch and enjoy an entertaining DVD. The following are some that I enjoyed recently.
Fans of Sherlock Holmes will enjoy this 3-disc set of the BBC television series that aired in the sixties. Filmed in Chesire, England by the BBC, this series contained 29 episodes. Unfortunately, only five episodes survive from this series and these are contained in this collection which features approximately five hours of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson solving murder mysteries (there is also the bonus "Sherlock Holmes: The Great Detective".)
The five cases in this set are: "The Hound of the Baskervilles" (2-part episode), "A Study in Scarlet", "The Boscombe Valley Mystery", "The Sign of Four" and "The Blue Carbuncle". All of these episodes were aired in 1968 and star Peter Cushing as Sherlock Holmes (Douglas Wilmer was Holmes in earlier episodes of this series) and Nigel Stock as Dr. Watson.
I enjoyed the 2-part episode "The Hound of the Baskervilles" which sees Holmes and Watson on the moors solving the murder of Sir. Charles Baskerville.
I just watched the first few episodes of Bonekickers and was impressed. Bonekickers is from the creators of Life On Mars, which was great, and features a team of four skilled archaeologists who can unravel mysteries from the past.
The series is set in the city of Bath and is an entertaining combination of ancient history with modern crime scene analysis. Julie Graham is Dr. Gillian Magwilde and she leads the team of archaeologists. The cast also includes Hugh Bonneville, Adrian Lester, Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Michael Maloney.
Season one contains six episodes. "Army of God" has the team of archaeologists unearthing a 2,000-year-old piece of wood stained with blood which attracts the attention of "a fanatical Christian preacher." Episode two, "Warriors", digs up political issues when the bones of 18th-century slaves are revealed in the Bristol Channel. Other historical revelations include King Arthur's Round Table and Joan of Arc.
This fun BBC series is approximately 344 minutes in length.
Looking for some animated entertainment for your children or your inner child? Super Friends! DC Comics Classic Collection Season One Volume One is now available. The 2-disc set contains the first eight episodes from this 1973 show from William Hanna and Joseph Barbera.
Join the DC Comics Super Heroes - Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Batman, Robin (voice of Casey Kasem) along with Wendy, Marvin and Wonder Dog as they save "...humanity from the threat of destruction at the hands of alien invaders, misguided geniuses and overzealous scientists."
Approximately 360 minutes of cartoons along with the special feature "Super Friends Trivia Challenge."
A good sitcom that ran from 1998 to 2007 was The King of Queens. This sitcom features Doug Heffernan (Kevin James), a delivery man who is married to Carrie (Leah Remini). Things at home are pretty good - until Carrie's father, Arthur Spooner (Jerry Stiller) moves in with them.
Now available is the sixth season of this funny, half hour comedy. The King of Queens: 6th Season contains close to 9 hours of comedy and features many funny storylines. Season six (2003-2004) sees Doug lose weight, lose at ping pong to Carrie and Arthur, Carrie looks for a job and Arthur and Doug participate in a shuffleboard tournament.
Season six has 24 episodes and features such guest stars as Judge Reinhold, Janeane Garofalo and Jon Favreau.
James, Remini and Stiller are very funny, especially together, making The King of Queens one of the better sitcoms on television in recent years.
Wow. The Simpsons are currently in their 21st season! The incredibly popular animated comedy show created by Matt Groening and featuring Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie Simpson has already had well over 400 episodes. Joining the Simpsons are such funny characters as Mr. Burns, Principal Skinner, Ned Flanders, Moe Szyslak, Chief Wiggum and Milhouse. Besides the funny plots there is also an impressive list of guest stars, well, guest voices to be more precise. The 21 episodes in season 20 sees such guest voices as: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Joe Mantegna, Denis Leary, Joe Montana, Marv Albert, Mark Cuban, Emily Blunt, Ed Begley Jr., Kelsey Grammer (Sideshow Bob), Anne Hathaway, Ellen Page and Jodie Foster.
Season 20 sees Homer and Ned going into business together, Bart makes prank calls with Denis Leary's cell phone, Mr. Burns wins a pro basketball team, Flanders buys the Simpsons' house, Grandpa Simpson revisits a pub in Ireland, Homer is kidnapped and much more more - and all in Blu-ray!
Last year I watched the first season of Chuck and really enjoyed it. Chuck is a comedy/action show about a computer nerd, Chuck Bartowski (Zachary Levi), who accidentally downloads important government information into his brain. Protecting Chuck, and using him for his downloaded information, are two agents - Sarah Walker (Yvonne Strahovski) and Major John Casey (Adam Baldwin).
This 6-disc, limited edition set contains all 22 episodes from season two including a 3D episode (episode 12) with two pairs of 3D glasses.
Season two sees Chuck getting his life back (but not for long), Chuck and Sarah attend Sarah's high school reunion, Chuck's college girlfriend is back in Chuck's life and Chuck is reunited with his father. Some of the guest stars in season two include Nicole Richie, Morgan Fairchild, Bruce Boxleitner, Andy Richter, Jenny McCarthy, Scott Bakula and Chevy Chase. There are lots of special features in this set.
Fans of this show, which I think is a combination of Get Smart and The Man From U.N.C.L.E., will enjoy the more than 1,000 entertaining minutes contained in this nice limited edition collection.
The Game is currently in its third season. This spin-off from the show Girlfriends looks at the relationships of women (Melanie, Tasha and Kelly) with pro football players on the San Diego Sabers. The cast includes Tia Mowry, Wendy Raquel Robinson, Brittany Daniel, Pooch Hall, Coby Bell and Hosea Chanchez. Lee Majors also joins the cast as Coach Ross in season two and The Game: The Second Season was recently released. I wasn't a big fan of the half hour comedy/soap. While it was funny at times, for me it wasn't consistently funny enough for a comedy or dramatic enough for a drama.
The 3-disc set includes all 20 episodes from season two.
Most shows, at some point, start to deteriorate before they are canceled or leave on their own terms. Becker was on the air for six seasons (1998-2004, 129 episodes). Becker: The Third Season recently became available and watching the episodes on the 3-disc set it is obvious that this show was still going strong after season 3.
For those who aren't familiar with Becker, it is a half hour comedy about Dr. John Becker (Ted Danson), a curmudgeon of a doctor with a big heart for his patients (although he rarely exhibits it). Joining Becker in his office are the flakey Linda (Shawnee Smith) and the efficient Margaret Wyborn (Hattie Wilson). Other regulars on the show include Jake (Alex Desert) and "Reggie" (Terry Farrell) who work in the diner up the road. Bob (Saverio Guerra) also has a more regular role in season three as the superintendent at Becker's apartment building.
The cast of this show is excellent and there are non-stop funny moments throughout every episode of this witty, entertaining sitcom. Season three has various things happening including Becker's car is stolen, Reggie receives a marriage proposal, Bob is superintendent, Becker tries to quit smoking, Linda and Reggie date the same man, John's old TV breaks and the final three episodes have Becker being sued by one of his patients.
Some of the guest stars in season three are: Leonard Nimoy, Regis Philbin, Mariel Hemingway and Jaclyn Smith.
Becker: The Third Season contains 24 hilarious episodes.
Just released on DVD (January 26) by Acorn Media is Callan: Set 2. Callan is a top secret agent and assassin for the S.I.S., (British counterintelligence) during the Cold War. This British spy drama was done over four seasons - 1967, 1969, 1970 and 1972 (43 episodes). Callen: Set 2 contains the final 13 episodes (done in 1972) of the show (season 4). The final season sees Callan (Edward Woodward) captured and imprisoned (not to mention interrogated) by the Soviets, his funeral is staged by his superiors, he is promoted (although not something he wanted) and he is also relieved of his duties. Throw in lots of other neat intelligence and espionage stuff and you have a good spy drama.
Joining Edward Woodward in this spy drama are Russell Hunter, Lisa Langdon, Anthony Valentine and William Squire. Special features include commentaries by Edward Woodward for episodes 5 and 11 along with a Woodward biography.
Looking to add to your Blu-ray library? The multiple Academy Award-winning film The Godfather is now on Blu-ray.
Francis Ford Coppola's famous 1972 film featured Marlon Brando as the head of the Corleone family. Also starring in this movie that received 10 Academy Award nominations are Al Pacino, Robert Duvall and James Caan.
This restored film features the director's commentary along with 5.1 digital surround sound.
And, if you are adding to your Blu-ray collection you have to at least consider including the classic comedy movies Grumpy Old Men and Grumpier Old Men. Of all the movies I've watched over the years, these two are near the top of my favourites list.
The films feature Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon as widower neighbours in Minnesota. When an attractive widow (Ann-Margaret) moves in, both men compete for her affections - with hilarious results. Ossie Davis, Darryl Hannah, Kevin Pollak and Burgess Meredith are also a big part of the special cast in Grumpy Old Men.
Most of the original cast returns for Grumpier Old Men which also has Sophia Loren play a new resident who turns the bait shop into a "ristorante". Both movies feature lots of laughs along with some touching moments. And while the movies are well written, it is the actors, and how well they work together, that make these two films absolute "classics".
The Burning Plain is an interesting romance-mystery starring Charlize Theron and Kim Basinger. Stick with the movie as the beginning is a little confusing, but the movie is quite good. It starts off with the remains of a burnt out trailer where two lovers died. The movie then jumps to different people in different times as it looks at the lives of several people, including two children of the couple who were having an affair and died in the trailer. As the movie progresses you see what happened before the fire as well as the affects it had on the lives of the two families of the lovers who died in the trailer.