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Ernie Kovacs: Take A Good Look: The Definitve Collection DVD Review

A treat for fans of Kovacs and this era of television.
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Take A Good Look, Ernie Kovacs' comedic twist on the "Guess Who?" game-show genre, most notably What's My Line?, aired 53 episodes on ABC Thursday nights from October 1959 through to March 16, 1961. This seven-disc set from Shout Factory presents the 49 episodes that still exist. The show was sponsored by Dutch Masters, and Kovacs appears in commercials for them and smokes cigars throughout the programs. Coming from Kovacs, it should be no surprise that the show is a very silly affair. The celebrity panel needs to identify the mystery guests "who've done something that put them in the

The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson: Johnny and Friends: The Complete Collection DVD Review

At nearly 29 hours, it offers a lot of laughs for fans of Carson, comedy, and classic television.
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Over the summer, Time Life released a three-disc Johnny and Friends set featuring Steve Martin, Robin Williams, and Eddie Murphy. Those three discs (Volumes 2, 7, and 10) are part of this 10-disc set and were previously reviewed. The remaining discs focus on Don Rickles, David Letterman, Jay Leno, Jerry Seinfeld, Burt Reynolds, Rodney Dangerfield, and Jim Fowler. As with previous Carson releases, the complete shows can be watched with vintage commercials and may have technical flaws, which are noted. Volume 1 features Don Rickles on November 14, 1973 and January 6, 1976. On '73, the insult comic followed retiring

Michael Jackson: Searching for Neverland DVD Review: Singer's Final Years Explored

While the film presents a largely sympathetic portrait of the reclusive star's last years, it never quite captures Jackson's struggles during that period.
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Filming a biopic is fraught with difficulty. How can a writer and director accurately portray an international icon onscreen? Few Beatles films have adequately captured the complex personality of John Lennon, while Elvis Presley-themed movies have to walk a fine line between real life and caricature. In addition, are the screenwriters drawing from respected source material, or from authors with an axe to grind? These questions again surface while viewing the Lifetime movie Michael Jackson: Searching for Neverland, set for release on DVD on October 10. While it presents a largely sympathetic portrait of the reclusive star’s last years, it

Detective Montalbano: Episodes 29 & 30 DVD Review: More Murders, Less Fun in the Sicilian Sun

Italian crime series has grown more serious since the last time I checked it out, but it's still entertaining.
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Detective Montalbano (Il commissario Montalbano) is an Italian crime drama set in the fictional town of Vigàta, Sicily. It is based upon a series of novels and short stories by Andrea Camilleri. Started in 1999 it has ran for eleven seasons. Each season normally consists of two episodes with a run time close to two hours making them more like individual movies than what you might consider a normal television episode length. Season 11 consists of Episodes 29 (“A Nest of Vipers”) and 30 (“According to Protocol”). It is brought to the United States by MHZ. The series protagonist is

Arrow: The Complete Fifth Season Blu-ray Review: A Period of Uncertainty Awaits Team Arrow

Well worth checking out for DC Comics fans.
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Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided us with a free copy of the Blu-ray reviewed in this Blog Post. The opinions shared are the writer's own. At the end of Season Four, the heroes of Team Arrow had gone their separate ways, leaving Oliver Queen/Green Arrow (Stephen Amell) and Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards) behind as the only members left. This is a comic-book series however and there are villains to be fought so, in spite of their efforts to bail on Queen, he ends up drawing them back in, albeit in somewhat different roles. Arrow: The Complete Fifth Season takes

Longmire: The Complete Fifth Season DVD Review: The Best Season to Date

Season Five continued the series' successful formula.
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Season Five of Longmire, which aired on Netflix, continued the successful formula of a twisting and turning season-long story arc along with intermittent original and intriguing cases for our beloved sheriff to solve. Starting off with a bang, Sherriff Walt Longmire (Robert Taylor) is recovering in the hospital after being shot by an unknown assailant and having no memory of what transpired. After he starts to remember what happened, he realizes his love interest Donna (Ally Walker) is missing. What started out as a search for his shooter has turned into a hunt to find her and unravel the mystery

Caïn: Season One & Season Two DVD Review: Like House Meets Sherlock, But French

French crime series is enjoyable but never quite enthralls.
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By my count there are at least 825,732.5 crime series currently running on television. In order to distinguish themselves, these shows need a hook, something to make them stand out. About half of them go with a brooding, sarcastic, and downright mean lead character, which doesn’t make them stand out at all. If your main character is going to be obnoxious, then I’ve got two rules. First, he (or she, but inevitably it's a he) needs to be a genius. He needs to be able to solve impossible cases using just his brain power. That gives the show a reason

TV Review: Star Trek: Discovery: 'The Vulcan Hello'

Star Trek: Discovery seems better suited for those who know little about Star Trek and those without hard, fast rules of what it should be
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Set 10 years before The Original Series, which makes no sense in terms of continuity with the technology, aliens, and characters for longtime fans, Star Trek: Discovery debuted on CBS before the series moved to the streaming channel CBS All Access. The episode "The Vulcan Hello" set forth some interesting premises and expands the boundaries of what a Star Trek series will deal with, which may be too far for some. After a brief reveal of yet another variation of Klingon, Captain Philippa Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh) and First Officer Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) of the USS Shenzhou are on a

Supernatural: The Complete Twelfth Season Blu-ray Review: An Enjoyable Comprehensive Season

The Winchesters may know how to deal with monsters and demons, but have no clue how to handle the return of their mother.
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Disclaimer: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided Cinema Sentries with a free copy of the DVD reviewed in this post. The opinions shared are those solely of the writer. In Season 11, the Winchester brothers took on one of the most powerful beings in the universe, Amara (Emily Swallow), who is God’s sister. But even teaming up with angel Castiel (Misha Collins), the King of Hell Crowley (Mark Sheppard), and Lucifer (Mark Pellegrino), they couldn’t stop her. It took a heavenly intervention by God (Rob Benedict) himself to stop the omnipotent threat. So what possibly could follow an entity that big

Black Sails: The Complete Fourth Season Blu-ray Review: An Exciting Final Season Filled with Action and Surprising Twists

If you like pirates, it is very authentic to the genre and is certainly worth watching.
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At the end of Season Three, most of the pirates had been run out of Nassau by the new governor Woodes Rogers (Luke Roberts) and his British soldiers. Licking their wounds, Captain Flint (Toby Stephens) and John Silver (Luke Arnold) had made an alliance with a hidden city of former slaves that had escaped and formed their own community. At the beginning of Season Four Flint, Silver and the slave leader Madi (Zethu Dlomo) have returned with an army, a fleet of ships, and the most feared pirate of all, Captain Edward ‘Blackbeard’ Teach (Ray Stevenson) to retake Nassau in

The Flash: The Complete Third Season Blu-ray Review: The Fastest (and Best) Superhero Show On TV

Season Three had some growing pains and is overloaded with characters but is still the shining star on The CW.
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Disclaimer: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided Cinema Sentries with a free copy of the DVD reviewed in this post. The opinions shared are those solely of the writer. The Flash is by far my favorite of the CW superhero shows. I’m not alone in this as it routinely beats all the other super shows in ratings. For good reason too, it's action packed, has a great cast of characters, it generally nails its tone of lighthearted action adventure with a dash of romance, and is a joy to watch. Grant Gustin brings an innocence to Barry Allen/the Flash, along with

Peanuts by Schulz: School Days DVD Review: I Still Highly Recommend This Series

Another three hours of new animation based on the classic strips.
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Disclaimer: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided Cinema Sentries with a free copy of the DVD reviewed in this post. The opinions shared are those solely of the writer. The third collection of Peanuts by Schulz shorts has arrived on DVD from Warner Bros. The two-disc set collects over three hours of material from the recent show on Boomerang in 29 shorts. It's interesting that Warner Bros has gone against form to release the episodes by theme instead of the order in which they aired. Previous volumes based around Snoopy and Sports have earned high marks in previous reviews of mine.

Just Shoot Me!: The Complete Series DVD Review: A Classic Sitcom That Should Be Known As One of the Greats

Even 20 years later from the airing of the first episode, this show holds up.
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Releasing today by Shout! Factory, Just Shoot Me! is a television series that ran for seven seasons on NBC from March 4, 1997 until its series finale on August 16, 2003. The show was based around a fictional fashion magazine called Blush, much like Vogue or Cosmopolitan. The story begins when Maya Gallo (Laura San Giacomo) is fired from her job as a television editor when she decides to get back at a snotty reporter by replacing her teleprompter script with some inappropriate dialogue. With her rent due and no other employment offers, she decides to turn to her estranged

Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In: The Complete First Season DVD Review: Highly Recommended for the Comedy Fan

While the first season has a late-'60s sensibility and some of the references might slip by modern viewers, Laugh-In remains fresh and delivers a lot of laughs.
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After previously releasing the Complete Series in June, Time Life will be releasing Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In as Complete Season sets. The First Season, now available, was only 14 episodes, airing between January 22 and April 22, 1968, and is spread across four DVDs. Disc 1 has all the Bonus Features. They are the Laugh-In Pilot Episode; a George Schlatter Interview (41 min) where the co-creator/producer discusses the show; 25th Anniversary Cast Reunion Highlights (15 min), which is a Q&A, although not clear who the people asking the questions are, with the cast in 1993; and Laugh-In Bloopers (24 min),

DC's Legends of Tomorrow: The Complete Second Season Blu-ray Review: Much Stronger and More Coherent than Season One

Facing off against the Legion Of Doom may not be good for the world, but it makes for an exciting adventure.
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Disclaimer: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided Cinema Sentries with a free copy of the DVD reviewed in this post. The opinions shared are those solely of the writer. During Season One, the newly formed Legends managed to vanquish Vandal Savage (Casper Crump), an immortal madman set on the total conquest of Earth. During their adventures, they managed to lose a few crewmembers, defeat the Time Masters, and ended up becoming the only ones to watch over time and history for any time aberrations to occur and repair them. But things didn’t work out so well for our heroes as the

Gotham: The Complete Third Season Blu-ray Review: A Look at the Dark Underbelly of One of the Comic World's Most Famous Cities

Gotham's characters get one step closer to their comic-book versions.
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Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided us with a free copy of the DVD reviewed in this Blog Post. The opinions shared are the writer's. The third season of FOX’s prequel drama Gotham offered a gritty take on Bruce Wayne’s city, while inching the characters closer to their eventual familiar roles. It brought in elements from the Batman comic books, while presenting fresh takes and incorporating some surprises in the process. Gotham is perhaps the best written of all the DC TV shows. It is now available on Blu-ray as Gotham: The Complete Third Season. At the start of Season Three,

Star Wars: Rebels: The Complete Season Three Blu-ray Review: An Excellent New Chapter in a Galaxy Far, Far Away

This season brings new characters to life while adding new dimensions to old favorites.
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The Star Wars animated series have done a good job of bridging the gap between movies and telling stories the movies don’t get to explore. Rebels is no exception to this. Set about 14 years after the end of Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, Rebels tells the story of how the Empire grew in power and how the Rebellion came to be. The Complete Season Three further explores the relationship between Ezra and Kanan and saw the onscreen debut of fan-favorite Grand Admiral Thrawn. The season opener “Steps Into Shadow” finds Ezra Bridger (Taylor Gray) leading a mission to

Riverdale: The Complete First Season DVD Review: An Entertaining Guilty Pleasure

A provocative, creepy and sinister version of 90210 with a murder mystery thrown in.
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Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided us with a free copy of the DVD reviewed in this Blog Post. The opinions shared are the writer's. Summer always meant new Archie comics. These were the only comic books I read growing up and I was addicted. My cousins and I would debate whether or not Archie should be with Betty or Veronica. I was always Team Betty. When I heard there was going to be a TV show based on the characters, I was all in. Riverdale is much darker and sexier than the comics but it is an entertaining teen drama.

The Bureau: Season Three Review: Prestige TV From France

Similar to The Wire, but with terrorists.
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The Bureau is a French geopolitical thriller from Canal+ brought to the U.S. by the SundanceTV. It concerns the inner workings of the DGSE (which is France’s equivalent to the CIA). It is a densely plotted show that weaves multiple storylines together with over a dozen regular characters. It is probably easiest to compare it to Homeland, but I’d argue it shares more DNA with The Wire. Like Homeland, it deals with escalating terror threats from the Middle East but where Homeland tended to jump the rails (and eventually the shark) in its never-ceasing need to raise the stakes (and

The Carol Burnett Show: The Best of Harvey Korman DVD Review: Mother Marcus is Missing!

Ultimately, there is more material here without Korman than with him.
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Eight years before we had Saturday Night Live, Carol Burnett and her wonderfully talented and crazy crew (Harvey Korman, Vicki Lawrence, Lyle Waggoner, and a parade of talented guest stars) had America laughing every week with some of the best sketch comedy ever seen. They surrounded the creative sketches with amazing production numbers that set the standard for all variety shows to come. The success of the shows was built on the versatility of the cast, and Harvey Korman proved week after week that he could do it all. Where SNL did outdo Carol and company was with the release

Pretty Little Liars: The Complete Seventh and Final Season DVD Review

A show with countless plot holes, farfetched storylines, and unrealistic wardrobes - PLL worked, and worked well.
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Disclaimer: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided Cinema Sentries with a free copy of the DVD reviewed in this post. The opinions shared are those solely of the writer. This seventh and final season begins after the girls spent Season Six slowly healing from the Dollhouse imprisonment and attempting to finish their senior year in peace. At Prom, they finally found out the identity of A, who was CeCe Drake. Not only was that a surprise, but it was revealed that CeCe was really Charles DiLaurentis, Alison’s unknown and secret brother. Conveniently, the show jumped five years ahead after that reveal,

The 100: The Complete Fourth Season DVD Review: It's The End Of The World As We Know It

This season returned to the survivalist nature of the first two seasons while seamlessly mixing in the science-fiction aspect.
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Disclaimer: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided Cinema Sentries with a free copy of the DVD reviewed in this post. The opinions shared are those solely of the writer. When last season ended, Clarke (Eliza Taylor), with the help of her friends managed to stop Allie (Erica Cerra), the Artificial Intelligence that had not only brought forth the original Armageddon that destroyed the world but was trying to enslave all the remaining humans by taking over their minds. But just before the victory was obtained, Allie informed her of something even worse to come. The remaining nuclear power plants on the

Crashing: The Complete First Season Blu-ray Review: A Worthwhile and Hilarious Series

An edgy and painfully honest TV show about the lives of comedians.
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When it comes to being a comedian, there are good things (great material, popularity, success), and there are definitely bad things (accusations of stealing jokes, scorn from other comedians, drugs), but when it comes down to it, comedy and being a comedian can lead to a very important life lesson and rewarding career. There have been a few TV shows that showcase the often turbulent paths of comedians, but the semi-autobiographical Crashing (created by Pete Holmes and Judd Apatow), is actually the most realistic. The show stars real-life comedian Pete Holmes (playing himself), a Christian man who is gearing towards

The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson: Johnny and Friends Featuring Steve Martin, Robin Williams & Eddie Murphy DVD Review

In addition to how wonderful it is having Carson's Tonight Show at one's fingertips, it is interesting to compare the different styles of the comedians.
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The latest Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson release from Time Life collects Volumes 2, 7, and 10 of the "Featured Guest Series" in a three-disc set with each disc focusing on one classic comedian for a total of nine episodes. Disc 1 / Volume 7 features Steve Martin from July 21, 1976; May 21, 1982; and December 19, 1991. On the '76 episode, the only one is this set when the show ran 90 minutes, Martin comes out after Jimmy Stewart and performs stand-up, some of which appeared on his debut album Let's Get Small. He then got a segment

Book Review: Batman: A Celebration of the Classic TV Series by Bob Garcia and Joe Desris

A book no Bat-fan of the series should be without.
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Given its own yellow utility belt, Batman: A Celebration of the Classic TV Series is a marvelous compendium about the TV series which ran for three seasons from 1966-69 and is still currently airing in syndication. Adam West, the first Bruce Wayne/Batman for many, gave his blessing to the book by writing the Introduction in which he thanks fans for the life he has been granted thanks to their love of the show. Authors Bob Garcia and Joe Desris were very thorough, beginning the story by acquainting readers with the three ABC executives, understandably referred to as “wise men,” who

Bob Hope Salutes the Troops DVD Review: Thanks for the Military Memories

Six TV specials recorded while Hope and company were on the road entertaining U.S. servicemen and women.
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Bob Hope was a great supporter of the troops and performed many USO shows for them. This 3-DVD set from Time Life presents six TV specials that aired over the years while he was on the road entertaining U.S. servicemen and women. Disc 1 start with Bob Hope's Christmas Cheer in Saudi Arabia (aired 1/12/91) - Hope went to Saudi Arabia during Operation Desert Shield, and this special features him on different stops during the trip. He gives three different monologues and his frequent digs at Saddam Hussein always go over well with the crowd. The Pointer Sisters sing "I'm

Twin Peaks: The Definitive Gold Box Edition (The Complete Series) DVD Review: One of the Most Original TV Series to Ever Hit the Airwaves

Best watched while enjoying a slice of cherry pie, a few donuts, and some “damn good coffee.”
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From the minds of David Lynch and Mark Frost sprang forth one of the most original TV series to ever hit the airwaves. The opening credits signaled the viewer was going to see something different, very different. The beautiful nature shots juxtaposed with the moody, ethereal “Twin Peaks Theme” were an unusual contrast compared to the big hits of the time like The Cosby Show and Matlock, although fans of Lynch’s Blue Velvet would recognize the motif of something off-kilter in small town America that the credits evoke. One morning, a beautiful high school girl, Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee), is

The Red Skelton Hour in Color 3-DVD Set Review: An Entertaining, Old-fashioned Variety Show

Skelton ends every show hoping he and the gang have at least brought a moment of entertainment into the viewer's life, which they do many times over.
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Red Skelton, who became a personality in vadeville, radio, and movies, had a very impressive run with his TV program, The Red Skelton Show, which aired from 1951 to 1971. Starting in September 1962, the show expanded to an hour, leading to the name change. During the time period of the the late '60s when these episodes debuted, between January 4, 1966 and October 28, 1969, the show aired Tuesdays at 8:30-9:30 pm on CBS and ranked in the Top 10 except for the 1968-1969 season when it dipped to #11, tied with Mission: Impossible and Bewitched). Most of the

Peanuts by Schulz: Go Team Go! DVD Review: An Excellent Addition to the Peanuts Family

In which the Peanuts strips come to life with a collection of sports-themed shorts.
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Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the DVD I reviewed in this Post. The opinions I share are my own. It would have been easy to just take my review for Peanuts by Schulz, Volume 1: Snoopy Tales and copy and paste it generally into a review here with a couple tweaks. Warner Bros. is releasing Volume 2 of the new series under the subtitle of Go Team Go! with over two hours of sports-themed shorts. I lauded the first volume for capturing the comic pace of the strips instead of being in the tradition

Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: 'The First Day of the Rest of Your Life'

"I'm going to kill you. In fact, you're already dead" - Rick, spoiling the Season Eight finale.
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In which Shawn and Kim react to the Season 7 finale. Shawn: A season full of ups and downs finally came to an end this week and it kinda ended back in the middle. A success if you consider where we were a few weeks ago. The problem with writing 16 times a season is that we've usually covered most of the themes. This finale doesn't leave the Internet aflame with theories about what just happened or what's about to happen. In many ways, I prefer the natural break to end the season but I also see this as the

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