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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

Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: 'Something They Need'

"Aside from the season opener, this was the best episode this season." - Kim
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In which Kim and Shawn find reasons to root for people again. Kim: So, here we are with one episode to go this season. Here's a shocking statement: aside from the season opener, this was the best episode this season. Do you know why? We saw many of our core group two episodes in a row. We furthered the "war with Negan" storyline, adding at least the guns from Oceanside, while not forgetting about Sasha, Rosita, and Eugene from last week. We got to see Daryl and Jesus in the same frame. We followed up with Maggie and that dick

Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: 'The Other Side'

"Wouldn't watch that episode again. Not even if you paid me." - Kim
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In which Shawn and Kim wonder if anything but a bloodbath save this season now? Shawn: I'm not going to have many complaints when they finally bring back my Maggie, Jesus, and Daryl to start the episode and then end with an actually interesting ending and in-between don't torture me with Carl or Father Gabriel. I mean, that's quite a formula for success. It seemed like a shorter episode, which is even better compared to the previous couple. I had a few thoughts along the way. Catching up with The Hilltoppers is not my ideal setting for a whole episode.

Romanzo Criminale: Season 1 & 2 DVD Review: Excellent Italian Crime Series

The violent rise and horrible fall of an Italian crime family.
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Contrary to what you might think having watched dozens of films and television series about the mafia, Rome was not controlled by the mob in the early 1970s. There were many small groups, or batteries as they were called, which committed low-level crimes, but no larger organization controlling it all. Romanzo Criminale, the Italian TV series that was a huge hit in its homeland and now makes its way to American home video via Kino Lorber, takes a fictionalized look at the real Magliana Gang that took control of Rome and ruled it for most of the '70s and '80s.

Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: 'Bury Me Here'

"Dumbing down the show just makes it dumb." - Shawn
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In which a bad cantaloupe does some irreparable damage. Shawn: As low as the show has gotten the past couple episodes, this was a tick up. A tick because there still was no Negan, Daryl, or Jesus again. I was left feeling a little better about where this episode pointed us. A little. A few random thoughts to try to tie together my feelings as we roll towards the finale. One bad cantaloupe can spoil your day. I've had nights ruined by bad peanuts but I have always had a fear of bad cantaloupe. I wondered why everyone else wasn't

Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: 'Say Yes'

"I don’t have any more points to make, because I’m very underwhelmed by this show these days." - Kim
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In which Kim and Shawn say no to "Say Yes". Kim: Another week, another character-focused episode that does next to nothing to further the story line. Allow me to share with you what I learned during last night’s episode. 1.) Rick and Michonne are super horny most of the time. Also, chili-mac comes as an RTE. Who knew? 2.) The Garbage Pail Kids really dislike speaking in complete sentences. I’m sorry, but this makes it impossible for me to feel anything but contempt for these folks. Or should I say, “Contempt. No likey.” 3.) Also, they don’t know how to

Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: 'Hostiles and Calamities'

"My wonder from week to week now is are we going to see anything we care about?" - Kim
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In which Shawn and Kim have the same thoughts about the episode where nothing happened. And they aren't positive. Shawn: Ridiculous. I guess I'd be on "Easy Street" if that was all I said about this episode. But what's an interrogation without a little torture. I sat through this and so I'll torture you too. Welcome to The Sanctuary - here's how it works around here. Oh, did we cover that already in your previous orientation? Well, did we tell you there's a number system? We did? Oh. Did we mention there's a barber? That's interesting, huh? And pickles. Really,

Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: 'New Best Friends'

"I feel like I have a bigger picture of where this is all going now and there's a certain satisfaction of watching the pieces fall into place like an old familiar movie." - Shawn
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In which Shawn and Kim have some pretty separate takes on the latest twist in the story. Shawn: If I felt like portions of the first half of the season were just long form advertisements for a new Walking Dead video game, then this week was a free playable demo that should be available for X-Box and PlayStation this week. Don't take that as too much of a criticism though because even though I will have some things to say and observations about some little things, I really didn't mind this episode at all. I feel like I have a

Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: 'Rock In The Road'

"Overall, I think this episode was much better than the first half of the season as a whole." - Kim
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In which Rick is Rick again and zombies are dying by the handful. Kim: The Walking Dead has returned and here we are, all revved up and ready to tell you what we thought of the second-half premiere. I have two thoughts to start with and we’ll just go from there. 1) This was everything I wanted it to be.2) This was everything I didn’t want it to be. Now, I know you’re wondering how the heck I could possibly have such bipolar feelings regarding a show. I mean, you either love it or you hate it, right? Wrong. I

Peanuts by Schulz: Snoopy Tales DVD Review: Captures the Spirit of the Source Material

Thirty-two new shorts bring the classic comic strip to life for a new generation.
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Over the years, I've tasked myself with watching and writing about new updates of shows that I loved as a kid. These updated versions would sometimes be simple revamps of the old show and sometimes they would be very different, modern takes on the characters. The most common example is Scooby-Doo. I've seen versions recently that expanded upon the mystery-solving attraction of the show and other versions that try to meld the trends in animation and culture to retell the old stories. Both failed and succeeded to varying degrees. I tried to entertain the new Peanuts animated shorts with the

Mannix: The Second Season DVD Review: Smart, Believable Mysteries

During these 25 episodes, Mannix is shot four times, knocked unconscious eleven, and keeps coming back for more.
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Joe Mannix (Mike Connors) is a private eye who works in Los Angeles. He comes from a long line of hard-boiled detectives who think with their brains and speak with their fists. A man’s man without frailties or weakness whose only indulgence appears to be slugs of booze. His character is a bit of a mystery with nothing else in his life but his work, although through the episodes we get pieces of his backstory, like of old girlfriends and Korean War buddies. Mannix was created by the team of William Link and Richard Levinson, who also created Columbo and

The Mary Tyler Moore Show: The Complete Fifth Season DVD Review: Life After Rhoda

Created by James L. Brooks and Allan Burns, the series excels because it has a simple formula of great writing brought to life by great acting.
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The fifth season of The Mary Tyler Moore Show continues the funny exploits of Mary Richards (Mary Tyler Moore) and her WJM coworkers, the main trio being gruff but lovable news producer Lou Grant (Ed Asner); wisecracking writer Murray Slaughter (Gavin MacLeod); and dopey, self-absorbed news anchor Ted Baxter (Ted Knight). Other recurring characters are Ted’s girlfriend Georgette (Georgia Engel), a Gracie Allen-type character, and man-hungry TV host Sue Ann Nivens (Betty White). Mary’s friend and neighbor Rhoda (Valerie Harper) is no longer around because she was spun-off into her own series and landlord Phyllis (Cloris Leachman) would leave after

I Love Lucy: Superstar Special #2 DVD Review: Lucy and the Duke

Over 60 years old, the shows remain funny and timeless thanks to the writing and the cast. And yet, I find the Superstar Special DVD to be an odd release.
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Following its airing on May 20, 2016, the I Love Lucy Superstar Special #2, which aired colorized versions of the first two episodes of Season Five, "Lucy Visits Grauman's" (original airdate 10/3/55) and "Lucy and John Wayne" (original airdate 10/10/55), comes to DVD. The special can viewed in its entirety as can the individual episodes, which are available colorized or in black and white versions and in their original broadcast length. During their stay in Hollywood, which began in the previous season, Lucy got into many star-studded misadventures. "Lucy Visits Grauman's" finds Ricky (Desi Arnaz) ready to head back to

The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson: Johnny and Friends Featuring Jerry Seinfeld DVD Review

Heeeeeeere's a lot of Johnny, a little Jerry, and, well...the good, the bad, and yada yada yada.
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It’s great that Time Life is finding new ways to market The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson by releasing the new series Johnny and Friends. The first installment to hit retail shelves on January 10, 2017 features Jerry Seinfeld. Unfortunately, it’s too little too late. With The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson running nightly on Antenna TV and Time Life making virtually everything “Johnny” available, it’s not too surprising that the average consumer might expect a bit more here than simply three episodes featuring appearances by Jerry Seinfeld. Perhaps you could have given us some bonus features. Some commentary by
Time Life has released The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson: The Vault Series comes available as a single disc release (2 shows), a 3-disc collector's set (6 shows + nearly an hour of bonus features), a 6-disc collector's set (12 shows + two hours of exclusive extras) and a 12-disc deluxe edition collector's set (24 shows + over 4 hours of exclusive extras). The 6-disc set was made available for review and appears to be the back half of the 12-disc set, as they are labeled Disc 7 through 12. Disc 7 is entitled “Streak Week from March 1974”

The Best TV Shows of 2016

How many shows do their top-11 lists share?
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In which Shawn and Kim take a look back at the brilliant storytelling shows from 2016. Shawn: If T&A is good at one thing, it's recognizing good and bad TV. Sometimes, those two things are all wrapped into one show. The end of the year is when I usually finish clearing out the DVR and assessing what shows will stay on the list and which ones need to be deleted to make room to try some new things. This is the Golden Age of television. It's probably more likely to call it the Golden Age of the Serial Story. The

The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story Blu-ray Review

An impressive miniseries that sheds light on a significant event in American history.
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FX's true-crime anthology television series American Crime Story has set a high standard for its duration because its first season, The People v. O.J. Simpson, was critically acclaimed and won nine Emmy Awards including three for acting, one for writing, and for Outstanding Limited Series. Based on Jeffrey Toobin's book, The Run of His Life: The People v. O. J. Simpson (1997), the TV series takes viewers behind the scenes during one of the most notable trials of the twentieth century, though what is factual and what has dramatized is not made clear. The series opens with news footage of

American Masters: By Sidney Lumet Review: See the Master in a New Light

An engrossing and thoughtfully revealing portrait of an American cinema master.
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The great Sidney Lumet (1924-2011) was an American original, a genius storyteller, and a quintessential New York filmmaker whose versatile gifts created some of the greatest films ever made, including 12 Angry Men, Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon, and Network among others. However, as amazing as he was, he is still highly underrated in film circles today. Award-winning filmmaker Nancy Buirski's enlightening documentary, By Sidney Lumet, gives viewers a chance to see the master himself in a new light, a light that should continue to shine over film history. This portrait with Lumet himself, which was filmed three years before his

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