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Best of 2019 TV / Streaming Lists

The best of shows that came across my TV screen and the little movies called advertisements.
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From 2005 through 2012, I pretty consistently wrote my Sunday Morning Tuneage blog. It continued inconsistently through 2013 before being abandoned. Each year was punctuated with a series of best-of lists. While the blog still remains retired, I'm revived it last year for a Best of 2017 and 2018. The feedback was enough for me to compile it again this year. BEST OF TV / STREAMING 2019 We live in a very high quality TV-show era now. Maybe the top end isn't as strong as a decade ago but the number of very good shows is amazing. It's hard to

The Dick Cavett Show: New York Radio Pioneers DVD Review

This release showcases some of the medium's great talkers.
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The Dick Cavett Show was a talk show that aired on different TV channels, broadcast and cable, from 1968 to 1996. S'More Entertainment is releasing The Dick Cavett Show on DVD, gathering episodes together under themes. New York Radio Pioneers showcases some of the medium's great talkers. Although the two disc's labels list all four men, they don't appear on both discs. Disc 1 presents two episodes featuring the comedy team Bob (Elliot) & Ray (Goulding). The June 1, 1972 show aired on ABC and the fellas do a routine where Bob interviews Ray, playing a government official. They were

TV Review: The Flash: 'Crisis on Infinite Earths, Part 3'

What did you think of the Crisis cliffhanger? Do you agree with Gordon and Shawn?
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A pair of Sentries are teaming up to take on the five-part "Crisis on Infinite Earths" crossover event. If you would like to start with previous episodes, please read Part 1 and Part 2. Gordon S. Miller I have been disappointed that Black Lightning hadn't taken part in previous crossovers. Even though it was a DC Comics character in a show airing on the CW, the series set itself apart from the Arrowverse. Thankfully, that changed this year although Black Lightning wouldn't be one of the five shows presenting “Crisis.” However, similar to a comic book that is apart from

The Big Bang Theory: The Complete Series Blu-ray Review: One of the Most Beloved Sitcoms Comes to a Beautiful Conclusion

As difficult as it is to believe how long the show ran, it's even more difficult to accept that it won't be returning.
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Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided the writer with a free copy of the Blu-ray reviewed in this article. The opinions shared are his own. It’s hard to believe that it was 12 years ago that the two loveable nerds, Leonard Hofstadter (Johnny Galecki) and Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons), first walked into Penny’s (Kaley Cuoco) life and into television history. Over that time, the show was nominated for 46 Primetime Emmy Awards and holds the record of most episodes for a multi-camera sitcom at 279. The premise was fairly simple. You take two socially awkward physicists and put them next to

TV Review: Batwoman: 'Crisis on Infinite Earths, Part 2'

"Finding Paragons is a boring side quest. And I don't really get the purpose as it relates to the story." Shawn Bourdo
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A pair of Sentries are teaming up to take on the five-part "Crisis on Infinite Earths" crossover event. If you would like to start at the beginning, please read Part 1. Gordon S. Miller This was my first Batwoman episode so I have no idea about any of the storylines other than what I may have heard in Supergirl. There seems to be some serious family battles and intrigue taking place with Kate, but a few hours removed, I'm not sure how I would do on a pop quiz. It is very odd for “CoIE Part 1” to have contained

TV Review: Supergirl: 'Crisis on Infinite Earths, Part 1'

"Am really curious where the story goes from here and to see some of the things already leaked to the press." Gordon S. Miller
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A pair of Sentries are teaming up to take on the five-part "Crisis on Infinite Earths" crossover event. Gordon S. Miller Based on the epic 12-part miniseries “that rocked the comics community, tragically dooming some of DC's most beloved characters and drastically altering others,” as stated on the trade paperback; hinted at in the previous CW/DC crossover “Elseworlds”; and referred to frequently during this season of The Flash (the only Arrowverse series I watch regularly); “Crisis on Infinite Earths” begins with a cool introduction. The writers gives the audience a few Easter eggs as characters from parallel universes, such as

The Kominsky Method: The Complete First Season DVD Review

Watching this cast perform together is a lesson in acting.
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Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided the writer with a free copy of the DVD reviewed in this Blog Post. The opinions shared are his own. From producer Chuck Lorre and Netflix via Warner Brothers, Michael Douglas stars in this interesting series as Sandy Kminisky, an aging acting teacher known more for his coaching than his acting career. Represented by successful agent and best friend Norman Newlander (Alan Arkin), this not quite odd couple take on the challenges of getting old and surviving in youthful Hollywood. Though the two don’t cover a lot of new ground in the first eight episodes

TV Review: Hellier: Season 2

What began as a series of emails for Greg Newkirk has become so much more than he or the rest of the team ever expected.
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Last year, Season 1 of Hellier debuted on YouTube and quickly won over fans and critics alike. The ten episodes of Hellier: Season 2 will premiere this Friday, November 29th on Amazon Prime. And after watching Season 2 of Hellier, I am telling you will want to scrap your Black Friday shopping plans and experience a different kind of madness. Don't worry, I will not be posting any spoilers. You will need to watch for yourself, but Hellier: Season 2 begins with reconnecting the audience to the investigation team and the key points from Season 1. We are reintroduced to

Stephen King's Storm of the Century (1999) DVD Review: Intriguing Premise at Snail's Pace

Perhaps the best of the run of Stephen King TV movies, Storm is atmospheric, creepy, and slow, slow, slow.
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TV made sense as its own thing until about 20 years ago. Nowadays, what constitutes TV is so sprawling and broken up that it's not really one thing anymore. Twenty years ago, cable was not king, and there weren't that many networks (though, to understand the zeitgeist of TV criticism, one should note Bruce Springsteen could chart a single in 1992 called "57 Channels and Nothin' On") and so the big TV networks competed in splashy ways to get eyes-on, especially in sweeps weeks. Sweeps were the few times during the year, one a quarter, when the Nielsen Company processed

Doctor Who: The Sun Makers DVD Review

The Doctor, Leela, and K-9 lead the people against their oppressors, a frequent Who story trope.
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Doctor Who is a long-running British science-fiction television series featuring the Doctor, a Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey whose adventures see him travel through time and space. Over the years, different actors have starred in the role, and to compensate for the realities of the television business Time Lords were given the ingenious ability to regenerate their bodies when they die. The Sun Makers is the 95th story of the Doctor (Tom Baker). It debuted in four weekly parts beginning November 26, 1977 on BBC 1. Humanity has moved to the planet Pluto, which is supported by artificial suns.

Sesame Street: 50 Years and Counting DVD Review: A Golden Celebration

Having to compile a greatest hits for a 50-year-old show is a daunting task and the makers of this collection do a great job considering there are thousands of episodes to choose and the number of viewers the show has had.
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Sesame Street: 50 Years and Counting, available on DVD and as a digital download, celebrates the most successful children's entertainment television program of all time. Although in recent years, there have been dramatic changes due to children's changing viewing habits and economics of producing the show. Sesame Street has been shortened from an hour to 30 minutes and episodes air first on HBO before running on PBS stations and its affiliated websites nine months later. Yet, it still continues its core mission of educating children in entertaining ways. I was born in 1967 and grew up with the show, which

Dreamworks Ultimate Holiday Collection Blu-ray Review: Holiday Specials for a New Generation

Having them all in one set is too much to pass up.
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As my friends and family can attest, Christmas is my favorite time of year. Not only do I decorate the inside and outside of my home and throw my own party, but on Christmas Eve, I have created my own special tradition. I make hot chocolate, open a box of See’s Candies, and watch all my favorite holiday movies. Most of those end up being various half-hour animated specials. Several of those I watch every year are on this new collection and there are a few that I had never seen before. Trolls Holiday is a lot more musical than

The Toys That Made Us: Seasons 1 & 2 Collector's Edition Blu-ray Review

A pleasant stroll through your childhood toy box.
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Ever have that experience of pulling a box out of the closet and finding a bunch of your old toys? It’s hard not to sit down and start examining each one up close. Do the wheels still roll? Are all the pieces still there? Does everything still work? You start to remember the fun you had playing with those toys. Specific memories pop into your head like the time you threw the toy and hit your sister in the face? Ok, that one might just be me? The Netflix Docu-series The Toys that Made Us is a trip down memory

Robin Williams: Comic Genius (5-DVD Set) Review: A Retrospective of the Brilliant Comedian

A collection that Williams fans will return to time and time again.
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Time Life, in conjunction with the estate of Robin Williams, has released Robin Williams: Comic Genius as a 5-disc DVD collection. This set, which chronicles his career as a stand-up, features over 15 hours of comedic performances, behind-the-scenes footage, outtakes, interviews, and material that has previously never been seen by the public. This collection arrives five years after Williams’ suicide. A loss that is still being felt by his family, friends, and fans alike. This collection is for both the fan and the superfan. Although some of the content can be a little repetitive, the overall collection is strong. And

Doom Patrol: The Complete First Season Review: Seriously Weird

In a culture that seems more homogenized every day, it's wonderful to see something completely different, which makes this well worth the watching.
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Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided the writer with a free copy of the Blu-ray reviewed in this article. The opinions shared are his own. For years now, our popular culture has been swimming in comic book stories. We are positively drowning in the stuff. Marvel releases two or three films a year that not only dominate the box office but consume our cultural conversations. While DC hasn’t been nearly as successful, their films still make money and have developed large fandoms. Beyond the movies, there are lots of television series and actual comic books. You cannot escape the power of

Scooby-Doo! Return to Zombie Island DVD Review: The Plot Is Pretty Much Contained in the Title

The Gang returns to the setting of their best film with less exciting results.
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Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided the writer with a free copy of the DVD reviewed in this article. The opinions shared are his own. For almost 30 years, Scooby-Doo! TV shows and movies didn't have what you would call continuity. There was a backstory to the characters that was changed slightly to fit the needs of the plot. There was always a hint that the gang had encountered ghosts and villains before but not a continuing story from episode to episode. The changing landscape of animated television series and movies has added to the evolution of the franchise. Now, we've

TV Review: Country Music: Episode Eight 'Don't Get Above Your Raisin'' (1984 - 1996)

Unfortunately, all good things come to an end, and so we get the final chapter in Ken Burns's outstanding documentary.
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Ken Burns's latest examination of the fabric of the United States sees him focus on another musical genre, Country Music, in an 8-episode, 16-hour documentary airing on and streaming through PBS. The story is narrated by Peter Coyote and supplemented by a wealth of interviews ranging from country artists, giants in the business like Dolly Parton and Kris Kristofferson to lesser-known artists keeping the spirit alive like Ketch Secor from Old Crow Medicine Show and Rhiannon Giddens; from those who lived through it like session musicians and radio DJ Ralph Emery to the children and grandchildren of beloved musicians. Much

TV Review: Country Music: Episode Seven 'Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way' (1973 - 1983)

In this episode, we see the biggest stars of this era are the folks who got successful doing things their way and expanding the genre's perceived boundaries.
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Ken Burns's latest examination of the fabric of the United States sees him focus on another musical genre, Country Music, in an 8-episode, 16-hour documentary airing on and streaming through PBS. The story is narrated by Peter Coyote and supplemented by a wealth of interviews ranging from country artists, giants in the business like Dolly Parton and Kris Kristofferson to lesser-known artists; from those who lived through it like session musicians and radio DJ Ralph Emery to the children and grandchildren of beloved musicians. Much like Shelby Foote served as a frequent contributor to Ken Burns's The Civil War, Marty

DC's Legends of Tomorrow: The Complete Fourth Season Blu-ray Review: Legendary Fun

This series keeps getting better and better.
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Disclaimer: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided Cinema Sentries with a free copy of the Blu-ray reviewed in this post. The opinions shared are those solely of the writer. I recently spent a lot of time zipping through the fourth season of Supergirl. I like that show but it has a tendency to stop the action dead in order to preach at the audience. It is a series that gets so focused on its righteousness that it forgets to entertain at the same time. When it remembers it is a lot of fun, but it can be exhausting when it forgets.

TV Review: Country Music: Episode Six 'Will the Circle Be Unbroken?' (1968 - 1972)

During this era, the country found itself in a turmoil that affected everything, including country music. But as some were facing division within the business, others were coming together and uniting.
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Ken Burns's latest examination of the fabric of the United States sees him focus on another musical genre, Country Music, in an 8-episode, 16-hour documentary airing on and streaming through PBS. The story is narrated by Peter Coyote and supplemented by a wealth of interviews ranging from country artists, giants in the business like Dolly Parton and Kris Kristofferson to lesser-known artists; from those who lived through it like session musicians and radio DJ Ralph Emery to the children and grandchildren of beloved musicians. Much like Shelby Foote served as a frequent contributor to Ken Burns's The Civil War, Marty

TV Review: Country Music: Episode Five 'The Sons and Daughters of America' (1964 - 1968)

In this episode, Burns shows that the country's societal upheaval made its way into the music.
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Ken Burns's latest examination of the fabric of the United States sees him focus on another musical genre, Country Music, in an 8-episode, 16-hour documentary airing on and streaming through PBS. The story is narrated by Peter Coyote and supplemented by a wealth of interviews by country artists like Loretta Lynn and Charlie Pride; from those who lived through it like session musicians and radio DJ Ralph Emery to the children and grandchildren of beloved musicians. Much like Shelby Foote served as a frequent contributor to Ken Burns's The Civil War, Marty Stuart performs the same role, sharing stories, offering

Supergirl: The Complete Fourth Season Blu-ray Review: Too Much Preaching

A little less self-righteousness, a little more superhero action would help this show a lot.
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Disclaimer: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided Cinema Sentries with a free copy of the Blu-ray reviewed in this post. The opinions shared are those solely of the writer. Supergirl has got to be the most woke show on television. Sure its titular character is an attractive, young, white girl, but there are numerous people of color in major roles, the LGBTQ+ community is well represented (Supergirl’s sister is not only gay, but a major character and a strong female one at that), and now it has introduced to televisions first trans superhero. All of this is a good thing. I

Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame: In Concert DVD Boxed Set Review: Tell Tchaikovsky the News

It makes a very convincing argument that those pesky rumors of rock's imminent demise have been greatly exaggerated. Tell Tchaikovsky the news, indeed.
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With the passings of Eddie Money and Ric Ocasek this past week, aging music fans received not only the latest reminder of their own mortality, but that of their beloved rock and roll as well. Which is why it is so comforting to know that another closely related, aging institution - The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame - contnues to preach the word that although rock's commercial viability may be on life support these days, its continued artistic and creative vitality is anything but. Musical historian and E Street Band guitarist Steven Van Zandt makes specific reference to this

TV Review: Country Music: Episodes Three and Four

An intriguing concept presented is that in addition to talent, chance encounters can be just as important to an artist's career.
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Ken Burns's latest examination of the fabric of the United States sees him focus on another musical genre, Country Music, in an 8-episode, 16-hour documentary airing on and streaming through PBS. The story is narrated by Peter Coyote and supplemented by a wealth of interviews ranging from country artists, giants in the business like Dolly Parton and Kris Kristofferson to lesser-known artists keeping the spirit alive like Ketch Secor from Old Crow Medicine Show and Rhiannon Giddens; from those who lived through it like session musicians and radio DJ Ralph Emery to the children and grandchildren of beloved musicians. Much

TV Review: Country Music: Episodes One and Two

Harlan Howard declared, “Country music is three chords and the truth.”
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Ken Burns's latest examination of the fabric of the United States sees him focus on another musical genre, Country Music, in an 8-episode, 16-hour documentary that airs on and streams through PBS, beginning tonight. The story is narrated by Peter Coyote and supplemented by a wealth of interviews ranging from country artists, giants in the business like Dolly Parton and Kris Kristofferson to lesser-known artists keeping the spirit alive like Ketch Secor from Old Crow Medicine Show and Rhiannon Giddens; from those who lived through it like session musicians and radio DJ Ralph Emery to the children and grandchildren of

Supernatural: The Complete Fourteenth Season Blu-ray Review: An Emotional Season with the Show's Most Shocking Cliffhanger

Season 14 delivers what is expected with solid stories, a mix of comical moments, and familiar characters that are real and believable.
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Disclaimer: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided Cinema Sentries with a free copy of the Blu-ray reviewed in this post. The opinions shared are those solely of the writer. When we last left our wayward Winchesters in Season 13, they had managed to vanquish Lucifer (Mark Pellegrino) once and for all. With Lucifer stealing Jack’s (Alexander Calvert) grace in order to regain his full power, Dean (Jensen Ackles) had no choice but to let the apocalyptic Earth’s archangel Michael (Christian Keyes) inhabit his body in order to stop him. The deal was that Dean would be in control, but after the

Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! Limited Edition 50th Anniversary Mystery Mansion Review

A fabulous package arrives to celebrate 50 years of Scooby-Doo.
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Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided Cinema Sentries with a free copy of the Blu-ray giftset reviewed in this Blog Post. The opinions I shared are the writer's own. When Warner Bros announced a year of Scooby-Doo celebrations for the 50th Anniversary of the show, this is the release (along with The New Scooby-Doo Movies) that I had most wanted to see. The September 3, 2019 release is just short of the September 13, 1969 Saturday morning debut of the series on CBS. The complete first series is finally available on Blu-ray. The 41 episodes over four discs represent the first

Doctor Who: Planet of the Spiders DVD Review

Although the end of Jon Pertwee's run, this serial is a good introduction to the character, the mythology, and the actor in the role
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Doctor Who is a long-running British science-fiction television series featuring the Doctor, a Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey whose adventures see him travel through time and space. Over the years, different actors have starred in the role, and to compensate for the realities of the television business, Time Lords were given the ingenious ability to regenerate their bodies when they die. Planet of the Spiders is the 74th story of the Doctor and concludes with the Third Doctor (Jon Pertwee) regenerating into the Fourth (Tom Baker). It debuted in six weekly parts beginning May 4, 1974 on BBC 1

Straight Forward: Series 1 DVD Review: Should Have Taken a Curve

This Danish/New Zealand co-production is full of bad storytelling, but it still hooked me enough to keep watching.
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One of the worst parts of being a semi-professional reviewer is that you sometimes have to watch and talk about terrible movies and television shows. One of the nicer things about only being semi-professional is that I actually have some choice in what I review. At least I get a moment to watch a trailer or listen to the word of mouth before I throw my hand up and make a request to review something. Of course, trailers can be deceiving and word of mouth is sometimes wrong so I still wind up with my fair share of not very

Arrow: The Complete Seventh Season Blu-ray Review: Nothing Can Keep Down the Green Arrow and His Team

While the show has remained true to its original vision and quality, it’s not too difficult to see the end coming.
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Disclaimer: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided Cinema Sentries with a free copy of the Blu-ray reviewed in this post. The opinions shared are those solely of the writer. When we last saw Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) and his team, the FBI was breathing down their necks, and they had managed to stop, but not capture Ricardo Diaz (Kirk Acevedo) who is a psychopathic crime boss intent on taking over Star City and destroying the Green Arrow. But in order to stop him, Oliver had to do the unimaginable. He had to confess to not only being the vigilante but also

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