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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

Bob Hope: Hope for the Holidays DVD Review: Pop-culture Relics from a Bygone Era

This disc should be enjoyed by fans of Hope and the era as well as those curious about both.
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As the DVD menu reveals, Hope for the Holidays is actually the fourth disc from the 11-DVD set titled Thanks for the Memories: The Bob Hope Specials, which is not to be confused with the previously reviewed 6-DVD set of the same name. This single disc presents two Xmas specials: Bob Hope's Bag Full of Christmas, which first aired on December 15, 1993, and The Comedy Hour, which first aired on December 15, 1950. Using an Xmas party at Bob and Dolores' home as a framing device, Bob Hope's Bag Full of Christmas is a compilation special presenting old sketches

Book Review: The Blacklist: Elizabeth Keen's Dossier by Tara Bennett and Paul Terry: A Reminder of the Show's Original Vision

One of the finest and most detailed companion books that I have ever seen.
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"If you are reading this, then something has gone wrong" are the first words we encounter in the new book The Blacklist: Elizabeth Keen's Dossier (2016) by Tara Bennett and Paul Terry. Those handwritten words appear on a piece of notebook paper which seems to have been hastily added to a collection of FBI files, which document the first two seasons of The Blacklist. There is a motherlode of information in these files, including aspects of cases that were never even revealed in the program.. The attention to detail is so thorough that you can practically smell the coffee stains

Book Review: The Art and Making of The Flash by Abbie Bernstein

It feels like a special feature found on a Blu-ray or DVD.
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Over the last couple of years, the CW has built up a number of television series based on the DC comics universe. While their first show featured the hero known as the Green Arrow, their second series needed to have a much lighter tone that had the feel of a comic book. Co-creator and executive producer Greg Bernlanti, who grew up reading comic books, said that The Flash was the hero who exemplified all the traits needed for this new series because he was the heart and soul of the Justice League and would make a perfect companion to the

Strange and Unusual Christmas Films DVD Review: I Am in Hell, Help Me

Alpha Video compiles a selection of creepy shorts guaranteed to leave your mattress well soiled.
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A longstanding idiom states "'Tis better to give than to receive" ‒ and that theory definitely holds true with Alpha Video's nightmarish gathering of vintage Christmas shorts, newly compiled and released to DVD-R. From live-action horror to unsettling animation and even bed-wetting puppet play, Strange and Unusual Christmas Films is quite possibly the greatest gift you could give to someone this season, whether they're into the whole holiday thing or not. The assortment of oddities begins with a condensed Castle Films version of the 1945 Czech treat, A Christmas Dream, which actually won an award once upon a time. The

Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: 'Hearts Still Beating'

"Jesus and Daryl were on the screen at the same time...was, quite possibly, the best 15 seconds in The Walking Dead's history." - Kim
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In which there is a sense of redemption of the season to this point and a reason for hope. Kim: Mid-season finales are supposed to make you antsy for the break from your show to be over from the moment you finish watching. In past years, the show would end for the winter break, and I’d instantly look up the return date and start counting down the days until I could get another fix. This year, I’m more interested in my birthday at the end of February and how many people I can fit into an Uber. Aside from the

Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: 'Sing Me A Song'

"'It's going to be hard to watch.' - Negan warning us a little too late into the episode." - Shawn
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In which Kim and Shawn are 50% more bored after being slapped in the face by this episode. Shawn: "Keep Going. Only thing here 4 you is boredom." - me paraphrasing one of the few things I still remember about this episode. "You know what's going to happen. It's going to be hard to watch." - Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) warning us a little too late into the episode. At some point our zombie show became The Negan Show. The network was kind enough to extend the episodes this season so we can figure out key plot points such as

TV Review: Legends of Tomorrow: 'Invasion'

The Sentries' responses are mixed.
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The Cinema Sentries are having their own crossover event to cover the DC Superheroes four-part crossover event entitled "Invasion," running this week on the CW. It began (briefly) on Supergirl, formally began on The Flash and continued on Arrow (sorta) and concluded on Legends of Tomorrow. Todd Karella: The final chapter of the CW’s crossover event ended with the Legends of Tomorrow episode and started with the band of superheroes meeting up at STAR Laboratories in Central City to plan their next move. Having been abducted by aliens, Oliver (Green Arrow) is more rattled than he realizes and his first

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