Unlike the MPAA we do not assign one inscrutable rating based on age, but 3 objective ratings for SEX/NUDITY, VIOLENCE/GORE and PROFANITY on a scale of 0 to 10, from lowest to highest, depending on quantity and context.
The holidays are almost upon us
and we plan to help you do your shopping with our
guide to gifts and stocking stuffers which we
consider worthwhile and useful. This is a work in progress, so check it out
often, as we compile our recommendations, based on
personal, and often esoteric choices by our own staff and critics.
This is the only time of the year we allow ourselves
to express opinions, in this guide to stuff we
actually use and like.
The global telecom industry may not come to mind immediately when one considers
conspiracy, betrayal and revenge. Yet, in this modern mystery with the always
dependable Michael Kitchen (of
Foyle's War, another excellent British mystery series) someone who
apparently hates cell phones is blowing up mobile-phone towers across Britain.
Is it a father, tired of paying for his teens' non-stop text messaging? It seems
more devilish than that -- messages scrawled in blood-red paint proclaim that
cell phones are the instruments of the devil, and someone is shooting cell phone
users in mid-conversation. The threat of public panic and complex motives make
for a compelling contemporary modern thriller.
The Greek island of Crete gave birth to Europe’s first civilization nearly 5,000
years ago, well before Athens and Alexander's Macedonia came to symbolize Greek
Antiquity. It was even older than Mycenae and Troy, more than two millennia
before Homer composed The Iliad. Suddenly it collapsed violently -- was it
invasion or a natural disaster? Perhaps a tsunami from the explosion at
neighboring Thera (the modern island of Santorini)? Historian Bettany Hughes
follows the footsteps of Arthur Evans, Harriet Boyd, and other famed
archaeologists to find startling new insights into the tragedy of Minoan
House, M.D. and in the tradition of
Python’s Flying Circus, Hugh Laurie was a member in an up-and-coming British
comedy troupe that created
Alfresco in the 1980s. the other members? Why, Emma Thompson, Robbie
Coltrane, Ben Elton, Stephen Fry, all of whom have gone on to individual success on
TV and film. Alfresco serves social satire and delightfully wacky and
off-the-wall sketches that still seem somehow fresh and topical. The DVD special
features include the three-episode pilot series, the story of the
alternative comedy boom in 1980s Britain, and cast biographies and
From Lynda La Plante, the creator of the grown-up and gritty mystery series
Suspect, comes the first installment of another serial about a tough but
flawed female cop: After 20 years with London’s Metropolitan Police, Clare Blake
(Amanda Burton) has reached the top of her profession and she’s New Scotland
Yard’s highest-ranking female officer. But she's as ambitious as she's reckless, and she allows her personal life to interfere in her career, to the
delight of her a vengeful colleague. The DVD special features include an
interview with Burton, character retrospective with La Plante, supporting cast
featurette, and bios.
Based on the long-running series of novels by Alan Hunter, the feature-length
mysteries take place in 1960s Britain. An untouchable, uncompromising and
incorruptible detective (Martin Shaw) is transplanted from London’s Scotland
Yard to England’s North Country where he finds an unlikely ally in a young
sergeant (Lee Ingleby) who's not exactly scrupulous about following police
procedures. The odd couple goes after murderers, drug dealers and gun runners.
Midsomer Murders series, the idyllic backdrop of rural Britain creates a
John Nettles's DCI Barnaby has had three assistants, while he's kept the same
actresses for his wife and daughter throughout this long-running British series.
But despite the talented cast, the star, of course, is the seemingly tranquil
county of Midsomer. The contrast between the beautiful locale (where it's
almost always sunny, despite the fact that this is England) and violent murders
is the main attraction of the series. It's a winning formula, and the 11 seasons
of the ongoing series live up to it splendidly. The gentle DCI Barnaby, with his
uncomplicated personal life, is always welcome in our home. Interview with
Nettles, a Midsomer map, a Caroline Graham biography and cast filmographies
round out the extra features in many of the sets.
Time is the Doctor's enemy in the Children in Need special "Time Crash" where
the 10th Doctor (David Tennat) meets himself in his Fifth incarnation (Peter
Davison) as the TARDIS from their respective eras collide. That's just the tip
of the iceberg so to speak as we also get to voyage on the Titanic a spacecraft
named after Earth's luxury liner (although the designers of the spacecraft
clearly had no clue as to what really happened to the real Titanic) and
the Doctor has to stop the ship from being destroyed in the 2007 Christmas
Special featuring Kylie Minogue. The Doctor also gets a new companion is an old
one -- Donna (Catherine Tate) returns after her brief tenure with the Doctor
from the previous year.
anyone who grew up in the '60s "Get Smart," was as much of a must-see for those
with a developed sense of humor as "The Daily Show" is today. Disguised as a sitcom, it
was also a penetrating satire on the Cold War. It is undoubtedly a TV classic,
but it also seems relevant -- and funny -- today. And now the whole collection
is available from Time Life. All 138 original episodes of the Emmy®
Award-winning series, each remastered and restored for flawless clarity on 25
DVDs. There are also 9 hours of bonus materials, including never-before-seen
bloopers, interviews and commentaries and rare TV footage. It all comes in a
special phone booth collector's box with photos and booklets for each season. It
is therefore one of our top picks of the year.
do eight works of art from different eras have in common? Why choose these eight
as, ostensibly, the most significant? Does art (or rather "Art") still have
anything to tell us about human nature and civilization? Is visual imagination
still relevant? Well, Simon Schama aims to tell you. Traversing time from the
world of baroque Rome to revolutionary Paris via the civil-war massacres of 20th
century Spain and the excitement of avant-garde 1950s New York, Schama uses a
combination of dramatic reconstruction, spectacular photography and his
idiosyncratic personal style to tell stories that provide necessary context to
these masterpieces. Extra features include revealing and funny commentary
tracks by Schama and his co-producer.
comedies are hard to do, let alone sci-fi sitcoms. American TV may have tried
with Mork and Mindy, but the result was lackluster, and I'd be hard-pressed to
even call it sci-fi. On the other hand, the BBC has done a fantastic job at this
hybrid genre, first with Red Dwarf and now with My Hero. The beauty of the show
is in not bothering with FX -- which stateside defines sci-fi -- and instead
concentrating on character-based comedy.
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