Heart of Steel

16-Dec-07 10:12 AM by
Filed under Films, Television; Comments Off on Heart of Steel

Tin ManTVShowsonDVD.com has the news that the Sci-Fi Channel's recent original mini-series, Tin Man, will come to home video in a two-DVD set on March 11th. This modern adaptation of The Wizard of Oz stars Zooey Deschanel, who I've not yet seen enough of to offer judgment. She played Lady Larken in 2005's direct-to-DVD release of Once Upon a Mattress, a musical comedy version of the fairy tale The Princess and the Pea — though I was so fascinated by the performance of Tom Smothers that no one else left an impression. I do remember not being overwhelmed by Ms. Deschanel's performance in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, though, and a friend's review of her acting in Tin Man was equally unfavorable.

The greater draw for me is the show's plot. Tin Man premiered on the closing night of a local community theater group's production of The Wizard of Oz, which I was not drawn to see; it and Annie are probably my two least favorite musicals. (In either, take away the kids and the dogs, and what's left?) Compared to that saccharine origin, the Sci-Fi Channel's darker retelling holds stronger appeal, and the review on Showbits reader GeneD's blog has me eager for the home video release.

Star Trek Boxing

09-Jun-07 3:59 PM by
Filed under Star Trek; 3 comments.

Star Trek episodes can be had in so many digital formats, it's overwhelming. On DVD alone, should you buy a season set, series set, or selected "best of" set? Whatever you decide, it's nice to have options, and Paramount is more than happy to line their coffers by offering you those choices.

Now at StarTrek.com is a survey to determine the contents of the next two box sets. This survey was originally offered last year, and whether it's been opened again intentionally or accidentally is unknown — but it's still a fascinating look at the themes and figures of Star Trek.

The survey proposes that The Captains Collective Edition and The Alternate Realities Collective Edition will join those earlier sets that focused on Borg, Kirk, Q, and Klingons. (Apparently the Jean-Luc Collection has been retconned?) The questionnaire presents a predetermined list of Archer, Kirk, Picard, Sisko, Janeway, and "other captains" (or first officers acting as captains) episodes and asks you to select your favorite five in each of the six categories, or suggest your own. The survey also accepts suggestions of alternative reality episodes to include with the eight Mirror Universe episodes.

Finally, the survey offers the open-ended opportunity to suggest themes for other new box sets. Here are mine:

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What Makes Heroes Tick?

06-May-07 5:48 PM by
Filed under Television; 12 comments.

Two great superhero shows are coming to DVD in August: on August 28th, Season 1 of Heroes; and on August 7th, Season 2 of The Tick.

I love The Tick (the cartoon, not the live series — ugh), finding its dry wit comparable to Earthworm Jim or Freakazoid, and thought the Season 1 DVD set was one of my best video purchases of 2006. Heroes I've seen only the pilot of on NBC's Web site (per an earlier comment on this blog) and was intrigued enough to warrant interest in the DVD's release.

It should be a great way to end the summer and segue into a new season of superhero television!


See also:

The red wire! Cut the red one!

22-Feb-07 8:22 AM by
Filed under Potpourri; 6 comments.

I'm an audio/video snob; among my minimum standards are that movies be widescreen and in at least 5.1 surround sound. I insist on having the theatrical experience the directors intended for me.

But I'm also a tightwad who doesn't believe effective presentation should be the exclusive domain of monstrous cables. I'm satisfied with my six-year-old CRT television's one set of component inputs and no HDMI, 480i, or other fancy features that are supposedly making or breaking the next generation of home game consoles.

So I recently tried to squeeze more out of my aging-yet-satisfactory system. I'd historically reserved the component inputs for my DVD player: movies are my television's #1 application, and I hesitated to experience signal degradation via a switchbox. But with the Nintendo Wii packaged with mere A/V cables, making an additional purchase necessary, I decided to make a quantum leap.
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End of line.

11-Jan-07 8:27 AM by
Filed under Celebrities, Films; 3 comments.

TRON comic book cover

A TRON comic book! It's an original story set six months after the events of the TRON 2.0 computer game. I almost missed this book, and chances are I'm not the only one. Be sure to visit your local comic book shop to pick up the third issue, hitting stands on January 17th.

The original TRON is a must-have in any geek's library, such that I included it in the curriculum of the film class I taught, to ensure its legacy is not lost upon the next generation of geeks. I shan't waste time preaching to the choir, waxing its clearly evident values — but I will share my two favorite tangential memories it inspired.

I once got to see this classic film presented on the silver screen, "enhanced" by a pre-scripted, MST3K-style commentary written and performed by the crew of The Truly Dangerous Company, makers of fine Star Wars spoofs. I've asked many times if the script is available for public presentation, but no dice thus far.

Better still was when I attended the (now-defunct) Electronic Entertainment Expo in 2003. I knew Bruce Boxleitner would be on hand to promote TRON 2.0, so I brought my 20th anniversary TRON DVD set for him, Cindy Morgan, and Steve Lisberger to autograph. (As I waited in line, even at this nerd Mecca would passersby would ask me what TRON was. Isn't that grounds for expulsion?) Though I never watch television, my hotel suitemate had the news on as we got ready for the show that morning, and the marquee at the bottom of the screen displayed among that day's top headlines: "Bruce Boxleitner's birthday!" Why the continued existence of a relatively obscure actor was deemed noteworthy, I'll never know. But after Mr. Boxleitner signed my DVD, I shook his hand and sincerely wished him, "Happy Birthday!"

Upon hearing this, Ms. Morgan, sitting next to him, stopped signing my disc, turned to her former castmate, and punched him in the arm: "It's your birthday?! You didn't tell me that!" To Mr. Lisberger: "Hey, it's Bruce's birthday!"

I embarrassed an icon. How cool is that?

Mazes & Monsters – A Requiem

05-Jan-07 12:10 PM by
Filed under Television; 1 comment.

Late last night, I added the complete Dungeons & Dragons animated series to my shelf of TV shows I've watched. The DVD extras were nice, but I was a bit surprised by how much I enjoyed the episodes themselves. Though the first season rambled a bit, there was a definite progression of character development and storyline, and even the occasional moral. The episodes I remembered were nostalgically appreciated, and the handful I'd never seen before (mostly the third season) were undiscovered treasures.

But that wasn't the best part. (more…)

Coming Soon to a Quadrant Near You

16-Dec-06 11:07 AM by
Filed under Star Trek; Comments Off on Coming Soon to a Quadrant Near You

StarTrek.com posts a reminder of all the places you can find all the Treks:

  • Star Trek starting 17-Nov-06 on TV Land. Also on G4 in uncut versions and in the unique Trek 2.0 format. The all-new Remastered versions are also in syndication around the country.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation is currently on both G4 and Spike TV. (Look for TNG 2.0 on G4 starting 15-Jan-07.)
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is currently on Spike TV.
  • Star Trek: Voyager is moving to Spike TV starting 18-Dec-06 but can also be seen on a handful of stations that still air it in syndication.
  • Star Trek: Enterprise is on HDNet (where it started back on 18-Sep-06). Also coming to the SciFi Channel on 08-Jan-07.

Not having any TV service, it is not a decision of channels that has me torn. Besides the Time Travel Collective, I don't have any of the series on DVD. Do I spend $20 to get seven great Picard episodes (The Big Goodbye, Sarek, Family, The Drumhead, Darmok, The Inner Light, and Tapestry) – or do I wait and get the 176-episode complete box set for $300?

Decisions, decisions… Recommendations?

But Superman Can See Through Tin

13-Dec-06 1:35 AM by
Filed under Films; Comments Off on But Superman Can See Through Tin

Released late last month was The Superman Ultimate Collector's Edition, containing 14 discs that detail every microsecond of the Man of Steel's existence, from his appearance in Action Comics #1 in 1938 to his silver screen revival in 2006 (which I don't understand how some people thought was a remake – duh).

Clearly not thinking, I eschewed this bounty, instead opting to buy Superman Returns (2-Disc Special Edition) and Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut separately. I already have the Fleischer cartoons and the four-disc Superman box set released, what, six years ago now? as well as the Look! Up in the Sky (fantastic) documentary, released back in June. Why pay to get all that stuff again?

For the two items I bought last month, I paid the lowest I could: $35 total from Amazon.com. IOW, I got three discs for $35 when I could've gotten the ultimate tin of 14 discs for twice that ($70, for those of you reaching for your calculators). And if I already had seven of the discs, that's still seven more – $10/disc – I could've gotten.

Super-hindsight super-sucks.

Here's someone else's review of the new Superman II.

Did anyone else pick up any of Superman's multiple returns to home video?