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Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: 'The Key'

A mid-season episode made me say "I can't wait until next week." for the first time in years. - Shawn
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In which Kim and Shawn regain their interest in the show. Kim: It finally happened! No, Negan’s not dead. No, Rick didn’t shoot himself. So what could prompt my response? I spent 75% of the episode actually interested in what was going to happen next. Furthermore, when it was over, I actually said, “Wow! I can’t wait to see how this turns out!” First of all, we got to see Jerry. Deuces! I’ve missed seeing him on the screen, even if this was a more subdued version of him, he was there. Daryl got in a nod and a few

TV Review: The Alienist: 'Requiem'

Sara and John continue the investigation, while Lazlo spends this episode in mourning.
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For a miniseries called The Alienist, the second-to-last episode took some chances by making its titular character not the main focus, and instead devoted more time to its supporting cast. It’s a rather bold move, especially since Daniel Brühl has been the show’s best character since the beginning. Both Dakota Fanning and Luke Evans have been intriguing to watch, too, although the latter’s stumbling into trouble has become an unnecessary gag. At the same time, though, neither of them has the same intensity as Brühl, nor do their characters have the same amount of intellect. It’s been interesting watching the

Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: 'Dead Or Alive Or'

For what was mostly set up to be a time-waste episode...I was entertained and maybe that's my new standard for this show. - Shawn
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In which Shawn and Kim wonder was it just the title that was incomplete or was it the episode? Shawn: Is this episode a Mad Libs where we get to fill in the final NOUN in the title? Was it a typo? Does it obliquely refer to one of the best Peter Jackson films or New Wave bands from the mid-Eighties? DEAD OR ALIVE OR GABRIEL. It was interesting that the most consistent beginning, middle, and end of a story of the past few seasons was with Father Gabriel and Carson the Doctor. I don't know how much screen time

TV Review: The Alienist: 'Psychopathia Sexualis'

John and Lazlo head to Washington, D.C. to further investigate the case, while Sara goes rogue to uncover more clues.
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At the end of last week’s The Alienist, Mary and Lazlo shared a kiss. It was a moment for both of them, when they felt like the whole world didn’t understand them and who they were, only to have them both come together and realize they are what the other needs. This week’s episode begins with both characters looking forward to being together. Mary had an upgrade in her wardrobe and a smile on her face, while Lazlo was smiling as he was on a train to Washington D.C. But “Psychopathia Sexualis” doesn’t really put all of its focus on

Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: 'The Lost and the Plunderers'

"I hate how hard it has gotten for me to watch this show and actually enjoy it or feel anything about the characters." - Kim
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In which Shawn and Kim debate to "Just give up." Shawn: After seven seasons and nine episodes, the show finally gave me title cards. Just in case I don't get around to it - thank you. Not to sound ungrateful but locations and dates and times might be considered for future upgrades. MICHONNE. The show has had this annoying pattern of following up major deaths with much less intense episodes that usually carry no weight. I figured that this was either going to be some version of a Benny Hill episode or 74 minutes of Rick and Michonne wringing their

TV Review: The Alienist: 'Many Sainted Men'

The latest death brings rising tension not just amongst the crew, but also the general public.
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Last week, The Alienist ended with the death of another boy prostitute, but unlike the others, this victim had just one missing eye (instead of two), a severed hand, and a scalped head. It’s as if the killer was in the middle of leaving his signature trademark and was interrupted by something. That is also something noted by the crew as they try to find the killer. As Stevie is still traumatized by the fact that he could have possibly been the killer’s next victim, he tries to recall to John what the person looked like. Lazlo accuses John of

TV Review: The Alienist: 'Ascension'

The gang set up a sting operation to catch the killer, while Lazlo's past reveals a particular clue that could harm his friendship with others.
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The sixth episode of The Alienist, “Ascension,” begins with a rather long glimpse at a dead horse lying in the streets of New York. It also ends with a death, but this time, it is that of another boy prostitute near the Statue of Liberty. The first death shown has no ties to the story of The Alienist, other than it maybe serves more as a symbol that the genre with which the miniseries is affiliated may in fact be that of a dead horse, but the writers keep finding ways to get around it rather than continuously beat it.

Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: 'Honor'

Why didn't they call this episode "Coral"?
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In which Kim and Shawn try to make sense of the show's disjointed timeline. Kim: Is it 2018 already? For the first time since The Walking Dead came out, I didn't sit with nervous anxiety during the mid-season break. Looking back, I think the only question I was really waiting for an answer to was "what happened to Jerry?" The kicker is, I still don't know. So yes, I start out disappointed, but I assure you that I didn't stay that way throughout the 1 hour and 23 minutes between the first and last scenes. I have a bunch of

Steven Universe: The Complete First Season DVD Review: An Adventure Well Worth Taking

Recommend for kids of all ages and families of all shapes and sizes.
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Created by Rebecca Sugar, Cartoon Network's Steven Universe is an intriguing fantasy series about the adventures of the titular character, a young boy (Zach Callison) whose father Greg (Tom Scharpling) is human and whose mother Rose is a humanoid alien from species known as Gems. Rose is no longer around as she "gave up her physical form" so Steven could be born, yet rather than live with Greg, who loves his son, Steven resides and is cared for by the Crystal Gems: Pearl (Deedee Magno), Garnet (Estelle), and Amethyst (Michaela Dietz). In addition to the typical travails a young person

TV Review: The Alienist: 'Hildebrandt's Starling'

The gang discovers more clues in the halfway point of the miniseries.
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For most of The Alienist, Lazlo has had this feeling like he is the superior of the three when it comes to understanding the clues given to them. It is most likely due to his high education and work as a doctor that has driven him to that belief. It appears that the more he works with people who don’t quite have the same level of expertise that he does, the more frustrated he becomes. That’s certainly present in the miniseries’ fifth episode, “Hildebrandt’s Starling,” but it also appears that he might be easing back a little and understanding how

The Deuce: The Complete First Season Blu-ray Review: The Gritty, Grimy, Mean Streets of New York

David Simon's new series is about the sex trade in '70s New York, it is as difficult to watch as it is good.
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These days, New York City's Times Square is clean, shiny, and safe. It's a Mecca for tourists and families and a fun stop for anyone looking to see the sites of The Big Apple. It wasn’t always like that. In the 1970s and '80s, it was a hot bed of sex, drugs, and crime. HBO’s new series The Deuce tells the story of that Times Square. Created by David Simon and George Pelecanos, The Duece has a lot in common with another of their shows, The Wire. That series, arguably the greatest show ever, used various institutions (the drug trade,

TV Review: The Alienist: 'These Bloody Thoughts'

There's a possibility that the killer's identity may have been revealed in this latest episode of the TNT miniseries.
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When it comes to these whodunit type of mysteries, the killer ends up being someone whom the audience already knows, and then all of the clues found by other characters that lead them to the person who kept their other identity a secret for the duration of the story. I’m not sure if The Alienist is going to go that route. Granted, we’re already four episodes into the TNT miniseries, but we may have just met the person who is responsible for the killings based on some clues that have been given to the characters - and the viewers -

TV Review: The Alienist: 'Silver Smile'

It seems more formulaic in the third episode, but there is enough to keep me invested in the show as a whole.
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In this third episode of TNT’s The Alienist, the opening credits sequence switches from being just a quick glimpse at the series’ title with a still image of a silhouette in a foggy evening in New York City to fully introducing all of the actors involved in the series with a slideshow of different images playing in the background. The new introduction is very reminiscent of HBO’s True Detective in terms of style and tone. It’s fitting, since it is a grim miniseries so far, but it almost seems like TNT wants to continue it beyond this one season, and

100 Years of Horror DVD Review: A Look Back at the Genre

Not the best of horror documentaries, but Christopher Lee more than makes up for its shortcomings.
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When it comes to the history of horror, there have been many documentaries tracing the beginning of this rather infamous of film genres, such as Nightmares in Red, White & Blue; Syfy's Masters of Horror, and Bravo's Scariest Movie Moments series. However, 100 Years of Horror, hosted by the late, great Christopher Lee, somehow gets overlooked. This may be a good and bad thing. Considering that the entire series consists of 26 half-hour episodes, narrowing in quality (VHS, mind you), but there is enough information to slighly satifsy the most jaded of horror fanatics. As the back of the DVD

TV Review: The Alienist: 'A Fruitful Partnership'

The investigation continues in the second episode of TNT's miniseries.
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In some ways, it’s appropriate to have a show like The Alienist airing in today’s climate to illustrate what was considered unacceptable then and how new changes have shown how far we as a society have progressed. In the opening of the second episode, “A Fruitful Partnership,” Lazlo is looking into a nearby morgue and questions on whether children are ever brought in. The mortician’s response is that they “only get the poor ones.” When Lazlo inquires about the Giorgio Santorelli, the boy found dead in the pilot episode, and asks if his business ever gets corpses that have the

The Best of The Carol Burnett Show: 50th Anniversary Edition 6-DVD Set Review

A must-own for fans of sketch comedy and variety shows.
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Time Life has been churning out DVD releases for The Carol Burnett Show over the past few years, and last year, they commemorated its 50th Anniversary with a variety of sets. The 6-DVD set contained 16 episodes, with at least one from each season, including the debut, which aired September 11, 1967, and the series finale, called “A Special Evening with Carol Burnett”. Featuring one of the television's funniest ensembles, Burnett was joined by cast mates Vicki Lawrence, Lyle Waggoner (who left in 1974), Harvey Korman (who left in 1977), and Tim Conway (a frequent guest star who joined the

TV Review: The Alienist: 'The Boy on the Bridge'

TNT's new miniseries, based on Caleb Carr's novel, gets off to a strong start.
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TNT’s adaptation of Caleb Carr’s The Alienist comes across as something bold and daring for the network. It has the feel of something that would make it seem like it’s a strong competitor against other cable networks such as AMC or FX, both of which have featured shows that can be graphic in detail but also rich in production values and have a tendency to showcase some strong, award-worthy performances. Mostly known for its procedural and science fiction programming, The Alienist proves that TNT is willing to take risks, especially on something that has been in the process for a

Be Cool, Scooby-Doo: Season 1 Part 2 DVD Review: Teamwork Screamwork

Scooby-Doo going out with a bust instead of a bang.
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It was almost two years ago that I reviewed the first volume of this series. As your resident, Scooby enthusiast, I had pretty much lost faith in the rest of this series to make it to DVD. To my surprise, the rest of Season 1 has finally arrived. Stating the obvious, it's hard to maintain much momentum when you are two years to finish a single season of a show. This two-disc set covers the disjointed history of this twelfth incarnation of the Scooby-Doo series. The first disc represents the episodes that aired on Cartoon Network from Christmas 2015 until

Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In: The Complete Second Season DVD Review: Still Funny? You Bet Your Bippy!

The humor of Laugh-In holds up, remaining just as wonderfully wacky as when it premiered.
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After previously releasing the Complete Series in June 2017, Time Life is releasing Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In as Complete Season sets. The Second Season, now available, presents 26 episodes, airing between September 16, 1968 and March 31, 1969, spread across seven DVDs. The comedy team of Dan Rowan and Dick Martin hosted Laugh-In, an anarchic take on the variety show that matched the youthful spirit of the era with fresh faces of its main cast; presented material that dealt with sex, politics, and drugs; and had a visual form with more in common with French New Wave films than anything

Samurai Jack: The Complete Fifth Season Blu-ray Review: Watch It!

One of the best television programs of 2017.
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Nearly 13 years since the end of its fourth season, the epic story of Samurai Jack concluded with this 10-part fifth season, an impressive piece of television led by creator Genndy Tartakovsky, and the Blu-ray highlights the visual artwork. As the season opens, fifty years have passed, although Jack (Phil LaMarr) hasn't aged, and he is still tortured by memories of his family left behind after the demon Aku (Greg Baldwin, replacing the late Mako) flug him into the future. Jack's hair has grown long, he wears a beard, and he uses a gun because he has lost his katana,

Fathom Events Presents Doctor Who: Twice Upon a Time

Peter Capaldi and Steven Moffat get a nice send-off while paving the way for a new generation.
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Having the Doctor regenerate when he "dies" was nothing short of a genius idea. In other television programs, replacing a main character with a different actor is a doomed idea, but in Doctor Who, it's just another day at the office. Regeneration has allowed the series to run (almost) uninterrupted for over 50 years, periodically injecting new life blood into it as new actors take on the role. That isn't to say regeneration isn't without its challenges or controversies. Whenever a new Doctor appears, there is much outcry from fans. When Jodie Whitaker (the first female Doctor ever) was announced,

A Town Called Panic: The Collection Blu-ray Review: Belgium's Greatest Export

GKIDS and Shout Factory! present what is arguably the funniest Blu-ray of 2017.
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Stéphane Aubier and Vincent Patar’s A Town Called Panic is a stop-motion animated Belgium TV series that began in 2002. Set in an idyllic countryside where toy figures of people and animals live together, the 20 five-minute episodes present delightfully absurd adventures, most of which feature the antics of roommates Cowboy, Indian, and Horse. Standouts include “Cow-Hulk,” which finds Cowboy transforming into various creatures after unintentionally swallowing a tiny piece if a meteorite, a number of the gang fighting over a flower in “Still Life,” and “Robin,” whose inaccurate bow and arrow cause farmer Steven quite a bit of trouble,

Fargo: Season 3 DVD Review: Oh, You Betcha It's Great!

Season 3 of the acclaimed FX series is just as quirky and brilliant as the previous two seasons.
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It may be a while until Fargo returns to television screens, since there has been no news of a fourth season, and showrunner Noah Hawley has his hands filled with Legion and other projects. Heck, this might even be the last time the series is on the air. It was already brutal for fans such as myself to wait a year for a whole new season, when they had to delay it in order to film in the correct weather climates. But now, we won’t even know if the show is coming back again. Thankfully, each season is a new

Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: 'How It's Gotta Be'

"This show is the 2017-18 Green Bay Packer season, but it is headed to a much darker place." - Kim
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In which The Walking Dead finale is the Cleveland Browns. Shawn: I'm not going to lie - I'm just going to put out some observations and let you tie them all together with an amazing conclusion to this piece. I'm still processing some of the events and what they mean for the long term story of the show. How It's Gotta Be. Carl has to die. Not that he had to die before the episode started but they've painted themselves into that corner now. If you save him, then every time someone got barely scratched on the arm or leg

Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: 'Time For After'

"This episode brings us one step closer to ending the agony of this two-day-long half-season." - Shawn
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In which Kim and Shawn determine what they would rather do than watch next week's episode. Kim: Well, now they’ve done it. They wrote a show that was complete bullshit without one single redeeming quality. Not a one. I don’t even know where to start voicing my displeasure. And so, right now I will happily present to you a list of things I would rather do next Sunday than spend 90 minutes of my time watching complete bullshit. I would rather pull out my old craft bag and try to work on the blanket I’ve been trying to crochet for

Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: 'The King, The Widow, and Rick'

"Why do I still watch this show?" - Kim
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In which Shawn and Kim ask "Why back after?" Shawn: What did you get for Thanksgiving? AMC was kind enough to give us a turkey. And I have a few thoughts. 1.) Rosita kicks ass. The best part of the episode was finally seeing Michonne and Rosita get to do something. The season has had some of the worst flow for side characters. Michonne is a major character and other than glimpses of her, I don't remember her contributing anything to this season. So we get to see Rosita and Michonne team up to raise some hell. And lo and

Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: 'Big Scary U'

"I didn’t completely hate the episode, but I didn’t really care for it either." - Kim
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In which Kim and Shawn aren't scared and kinda annoyed. Kim: Well, we got Negan back. Apparently, everyone did. Thank God for you, Negan. Whatever. I didn’t completely hate the episode, but I didn’t really care for it either. No, instead I liked snippets of it. Snippets that could have been far more interesting than they turned out to be. The rest? Complete garbage. Favorite moments: 1.) Daryl vs. Rick: This is not the first throw-down we’ve witnessed this season between comrades. It was, by far, the most intriguing though. Please note when I say "intriguing," I don’t mean I

The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson: The Vault Series, Volumes 1-6 DVD Review

Here's a perfect gift for Johnny Carson fans.
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Back in January 2017, Time Life released The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson: The Vault Series in a 6-disc version that was the back half of a 12-disc set, which were labeled Discs 7 through 12 and was reviewed here. And on September 26, the front half of that set, Discs 1 through 6, was made available. Predominantly featuring programs from the 1970s, this collection allows viewers to see what made Carson and his show so entertaining. He was a congenial host, who allowed his guests to shine and didn't feel threatened when they did well. He also enjoyed verbally

Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: 'Some Guy'

"I ain't nothing. I'm just some guy."
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Shawn: I'm not your King. I'm not your Majesty. I ain't nothing. I'm just some guy." - Ezekiel I'm always fascinated by the episodes that focus mostly on the arc of a single character. It's a challenge on a show that has at any given point about 15-25 main characters. I think that it's been a mixed bag in the past. There's a challenge to give us an in-depth look at character and not bring the whole show to a grinding halt. It worked with T-Dog but it was pretty annoying when it was Morgan because it felt like an

D.C. Follies: The Complete Series DVD Review: It's Valuable to Have Shows Like This Back on the Market

Sid and Marty Krofft puppets in a vintage series that captures pop culture and politics of the late '80s.
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If you watched Saturday morning TV in the late '60s and through the '70s, then you knew all about Sid and Marty Krofft. The puppet and human combination adventures of H.R. Pufnstuf, Lidsville, Sigmund and the Sea Monster, and Land of the Lost were familiar fixtures to children of that generation. Puppets had made the mainstream with The Muppet Show airing in syndication starting in the late '70s. As the children of the '70s became the politically aware adults of the '80s, Sid and Marty Krofft entered prime time with a syndicated show called D.C. Follies that brought them back

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