Wednesday, February 19, 2014

This Week in DVD and Instant Watching

This is one of the slowest DVD weeks in recent memory. I'm tempted to go see if the dollar store got a new shipment of budget discs just so I can have something to write about. I did notice the box of ultra-cheap dollar DVDs on the bottom shelf of the sucker aisle at the Wal-Mart checkout had a Mr. and Mrs. North DVD, but it "only" had 3 episodes, so I wasn't even tempted. It's still cool to think that even though they're so tucked away, you can still find copies of "The Basketball Fix" for a dollar apiece on retail shelves.

Fantastic Mr. Fox: It may sound like an odd choice for Criterion, but if Wes Anderson left his phone camera on and recorded the inside of his coat pocket for 90 minutes, they'd put that on DVD.

Foreign Correspondent: Why do all these Alfred Hitchock movies get fancy Criterion re-releases? Who does this guy think he is, Wes Anderson?

6 Million Dollar Man Season 5: I think literally every other episode this season is a two-parter, which is surely an indication of how intricate the show's sophisticated plots had become by the fifth season. Also, this is the season when Steve Austin literally goes to the moon.

Game of Thrones Season 3: Yep, sometimes I sure wish I had HBO.

Nurse Jackie Season 5: Yet I'm OK with not having Showtime.

Thankfully, Warner Archive gives us some excitement this week with Vitaphone Comedy Collection Volume 2: Shemp Howard. YES! Volume 1, which features Shemp and Fatty Arbuckle (along with Lionel Stander, Ben Blue, and others) is an outstanding set. This one is even more Shemptastic! Also new from the Archive: What Price Hollywood? (1932) and Beware the Batman season 1.

And in streaming, let's look at Netflix first:

House of Cards Season 2: I haven't gotten there yet, but just tell me that the guy who runs the rib joint is back. He's the one decent character in the whole bunch.

Passion: I don't know much about this Brian DePalma movie, but I think it's safe to assume it involves sexual tension, blonde women, and homages to Hitchcock.

Marvel's Iron Man and Hulk: Heroes United: This is terribly unfair to Marvel, but this just makes me wish the recent DC Dark Knight animated films were available.

On Hulu, I don't think these Carsey-Warner shows were available before: Cybill, A Different World, and Grace Under Fire. I notice it's only the first few seasons of  "World." Come on, Hulu, what is this crap? We're still waiting for more than the first couple seasons of all those MTM shows. I guess they're never coming. I'll be really disappointed if those new CBS library  shows that are coming aren't complete series runs.

And speaking of that, where ARE those new CBS library shows?

Warner Archive Instant did not add any movies, as far as I can tell, but it didn't remove another couple dozen, either. Good news is two interesting Western TV series were added to the lineup: 

A Man Called Shenandoah, which sounds excellent (I've never seen it but sure intend to give it a watch) though it only lasted one season; and The Rounders: A cowboy sitcom based on the 1965 Glenn Ford/Henry Fonda movie, but in the series you get Ron Hayes and Patrick (John's son) Wayne. It lasted only 17 episodes, but all are here.

It's great to see WAI load up on the old movies, of course, but I'm almost more delighted by the obscure television that shows up. It seems like it's been a while since anything new appeared in that section, so that's an interesting update. I expect another good movie add this Friday, though.

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