Saturday, September 17, 2011
Digital Digest: Castle - The Complete Third Season DVD Review; Body of Proof - The Complete First Season DVD Review
Fans of The Office have been very satisfied ("that's what she said"... sorry!) with the DVD releases of the series in the United States, and we've even been able to see the UK version of the series on DVD in the US. The Office (UK) - Special 10th Anniversary Edition comes to DVD November 22 and collects all twelve (hey, it is a British series!) and plenty of special features on a four disc set. While all of the episodes have already been released on DVD, this new package is an even nicer version that what we saw before.
BLOG FEATURE REVIEW
When a mystery novelist kills off the main character in his book series and a copycat murder occurs, the novelist is sure to be questioned. That is how the ABC series Castle starts off, but when it is realized that Richard Castle (Nathan Fillion) can also be a valuable asset during the interrogation process, the questioning turns into a relationship that proves to be very useful. Here is our review of Castle - The Complete Third Season.
DVD Review: Castle - The Complete Third Season
Castle - The Complete Third Season (ABC Studios, $45.99) brings the thrilling third season of the witty crime series starring Nathan Fillion on DVD with all 24 episodes! Famous mystery novelist Richard Castle and NYPD Detective Kate Beckett return for the suspenseful third season of ABC's brilliantly funny series, Castle. Enjoy every inspired idea and flirtatious moment as this fiery duo solve the strangest homicides New York has to offer. It's the most entertaining season yet as Castle's wildly funny storytelling skills work their way into every case. Between his mixed-up partnership with Beckett and his relationships with his diva mother and his clever daughter, Alexis, Castle is always on his toes. Crime fighting has never been this much fun! Get on the beat and relive every wild and witty moment in this 5-disc DVD set.
The series will return to its Mondays at 10PM timeslot on ABC this coming season following Dancing with the Stars once again. The series stars Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, Stana Katic as Detective Kate Beckett, Jon Huertas as Detective Javier Esposito, Seamus Dever as Detective Kevin Ryan, Tamala Jones as Medical Examiner Dr. Lanie Parish, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as Captain Roy Montgomery, Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle, and Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers. Among the recurring stars are Michael Connelly and James Patterson as themselves, Arye Gross as Medical Examiner Dr. Sidney Perlmutter, Ken Baumann as Ashley, and Victor Webster as Dr. Josh Davidson. Among the guests this year are Bre Blair, Lee Tergesen, Michael Mosley, Mary Page Keller, John Pyper-Ferguson, Ever Carradine, Lyle Lovett, Lance Henriksen, Sam Page, Juliana Dever, Laura Prepon, Brett Cullen, Gilles Marini, Max Martini, Adrian Pasdar, Corbin Bernsen, Rebecca Budig, Cameron Mathison, Tina Majorino, Jane Seymour, Bruce Davison, Jay Paulson, Peter Onorati, D.B. Sweeney, Jason George, Michael McKean, Teri Polo, and Jason Beghe as Royce.
This third season is just as thrilling as the second season. I don't like most crime shows of today, but this one is a throwback to the ones of the past and focuses on characters than more about the case. I like that! And the back and forth banter between Castle and Beckett is sexy and is heating! Will they or won't they? As far as memorable episodes, we have the season premiere "A Deadly Affair," where Beckett hasn't heard from Castle since he left for the Hamptons months ago to finish writing his second Nikki Heat novel, "Naked Heat," but Beckett and her team burst into an apartment on a murderer's trail, only to be surprised when they find Castle standing over a dead woman's body holding a gun. In "Under the Gun," while investigating the murder of a bail bondsman, Beckett and Castle run into Beckett's first Training Officer, Mike Royce, now working as a bounty hunter and chasing their murder suspect on a warrant for missing his court appearance. In "Anatomy of a Murder," when a County Hospital doctor's body is discovered in someone else's casket, Castle and Beckett dive into the complex relationships in the hospital and the doctor's life to uncover the killer. On the edge of your seat episode, "3XK," when a woman's dead body shows signs of an old killer's handy work, Castle and Beckett discover that the Triple Killer, a murderer who vanished four years prior, may have returned.
In "Nikki Heat," Natalie Rhodes (Laura Prepon), playing Nikki Heat in the film adaptation of Heat Wave, joins Castle and Beckett in their next investigation of a high class match-maker, Stacy Collins, but Natalie goes to extremes during her "character research," making herself into the exact image of Beckett, much to Castle's delight and Beckett's dismay, while Ryan tries to find the best way to propose to Jenny. On the thrilling episode "Knockdown," when the detective who investigated Beckett's mother's murder is shot before Beckett's eyes before he can give her new evidence in the case, Beckett's old wounds are reopened and the investigation of the detective's death leads the team to an old scheme which may provide the answer to why Beckett's mother was murdered and who ordered it. In the first part of a two-part episode, "Set Up," Castle and Beckett Investigate the murder of a New York taxi driver who was shot to death, and his taxi stripped of its parts, but as they search for his killer, they are led to a storage with trace amounts of radioactive material and evidence that there may be a terrorist group building a dirty bomb so Beckett and the squad must cooperate with a ruthless Homeland Security agent Mark Fallon (Adrian Pasdar), but Castle senses that they have been set up. On the conclusion, "Countdown," Castle and Beckett remain trapped in the frozen storage container while the NYPD and the Department of Homeland Security continue to search for the dirty bomb, but can they find the bomb, and defuse it in time? In the episode "To Love and Die in L.A.," against orders, Beckett travels to Los Angeles while investigating the murder of her training officer Michael Royce, and Castle questions Beckett's motives. On one of the best season finales in memory, "Knockout," an assassin, with knowledge of the details behind Beckett's mother's murder, escapes from custody during his trial leaving Castle and Beckett to track him down and a secret is revealed about Captain Montgomery's past and the identity of the third cop leading into a stunning conclusion to the season.
The episodes run usually 42-43 minutes...unedited of course with all the great music intact. See the runtimes below:
1. "A Deadly Affair" 42:39
2. "He's Dead, She's Dead" 42:58
3. "Under the Gun" 43:00
4. "Punked" 42:39
5. "Anatomy of Murder" 42:44
6. "3XK" 43:02
7. "Almost Famous" 41:30
8. "Murder Must Fowl" 42:41
9. "Close Encounters of the Murderous Kind" 42:23
10. "Last Call" 42:40
11. "Nikki Heat" 42:03
12. "Poof! You're Dead" 42:56
13. "Knockdown" 43:04
14. "Lucky Stiff" 42:55
15. "The Final Nail" 42:55
16. "Set Up, Part 1" 42:58
17. "Countdown, Part 2" 42:59
18. "One Life to Lose" 42:39
19. "Law & Murder" 42:41
20. "Slice of Death" 42:52
21. "The Dead Pool" 42:58
22. "To Love and Die in L.A." 42:50
23. "Pretty Dead" 42:13
24. "Knockout" 43:01
Packaging has a thin outer box that you can remove from the top or bottom to get to the case inside, just like the previous sets. Both the thin outer box and case have the same artwork for both the front and back. The cover has a nice full body photos of Castle and Beckett at night in New York City as they are each sitting on a chair...handcuffed. The show logo is present in white lettering towards the bottom. The tagline "Solving murder has never been so much fun," appears below that. The back has a dark blue background with information on the set, three episodic screen shots from episodes and also a nice gallery photo of Castle & Beckett. There is also a red box section detailing the bonus features box with technical specifications also.
Opening the case, on the left side we see some inserts which includes an ad for the ABC Store with items like a black Castle t-shirt. On both the left and right panels we have nice artwork of episodic photos along with a disc-by-disc breakdown of episode titles. I wish there were shots of Beckett's sexy dressed from the episodes "Almost Famous" and "Lucky Stiff," along with the swimsuit bikini shot from "To Love and Die in L.A." OK, I'll continue now. The discs are on plastic holders, like the previous set, that you can flip a page in a book. Plastic holder one holds disc one on the front side and disc two on the back side. Plastic holder two holds disc three on the front side and disc four on the back side. Disc five is on the right panel itself. Disc artwork is very nice and has that dark blue background, matching the set's color scheme. Disc one has episodes 1-5 with artwork of Richard Castle. Disc two has episodes 6-10 and has artwork of Kate Beckett. Disc three has episodes 11-15 and has artwork of Alexis & Martha. Disc four has episodes 16-20 and has artwork of Ryan, Esposito, Captain Montgomery, and Lanie. And disc five has episodes 21-24 plus bonus features and has artwork of both Castle and Beckett. This is similar to the previous set.
The menu screen starts with the opening credits from the series with the theme music, then we get to the main menu where we see moving video images with the closing theme playing in the background, similar to the previous sets. The options on the main menu are Play All, Episode Selection, Set Up, Bonus Features, and Sneak Peeks. But before the main menu screen comes on disc one, we get some auto sneak peeks: ABC on DVD, The Lion King, and AfricanCats. Sneak Peeks option is only found on disc five on the main menu and has previews of The Chew, ABC Fall 2011, Body of Proof, Prep & Landing, Real Steel, and Pirates of the Caribbean. These also auto play before the main menu on disc five. Set Up section has the option of subtitles in English, French or Spanish and how you can register your DVD. The Episodes option gives us the episode number, title and a screenshot. Bonus Features option has all the extras listed and this is on every disc, rather than just disc five. All of the sub-menus have different background music from the show. Catchy!
The video is digitally mastered and is in widescreen and looks very good! The audio is great and sounds very good, as it is in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. Both the audio and video is similar to the previous sets. This is from 2010-2011, so it had better be good. There is nothing to complain at all here...it is perfect! Perfection here. There are about 7 or 8 chapter stops per episode. We also get the 30 second series opening preview that was used for about the first half of this season. We get to hear the closing theme as well, whistles and all! All of Stana Katic's "previously on Castle" teasers that were used in a few episodes are intact.
Moving on the bonus features. We get audio commentaries this time, as on the last set we didn't get any. But first, on disc one in the episodes menu we have a "Starter Kit" for the series as you can catch up in 4:30. Moving on to the actual extras, we have deleted scenes and audio commentary on disc one. We have a deleted scene for the season premiere "A Deadly Affair" (0:52), where we are shown the actual scene that aired followed by the director's cut. I wish they kept that director's cut, you'll have to see why! We also have audio commentary for "Deadly Affair" from showrunner Andrew W. Marlow, executive producer Rob Bowman, and star Nathan Fillion. This is very informative and they also talk about the director's cut of that "reduced" scene. On to disc two, we have actual deleted scenes on this disc: "3XK" (0:44), "Almost Famous" (1:37 and 0:47), and "Murder Must Fowl" (0:43). We also have an audio commentary on the thrilling episode "3XK" from director Bill Roe, writer David Amann, and stars Seamus Dever and Jon Huertas! These guys are just as fun as the guys from the other audio commentary! For disc three, we have more deleted scenes: "Nikki Heat" (0:16 and 0:48) and "Knockdown ("0:43 and 2:10). Disc four has two more deleted scenes: ""Set Up" (0:43) and an extended sexy intro for the scene featuring Rebecca Budig and Corbin Bernsen from the soap-themed episode "One Life to Lose" (0:35).
On to disc five, where the bulk of the extras are, we have a cool featurette titled "Murder They Wrote" (22:03). It is a roundtable discussion between different types of writers: TV writers Andrew Marlowe & Rob Bowman, novelist Michael Connelly, and graphic artist novelist Brian Michael Bendis. Nathan Fillion makes a special guest appearance as well to talk about what it is like playing a writer on TV. Next we have "Castle Goes Hollywood" (7:58). Find out what it was like doing an episode set in L.A. when the series actually tapes in L.A. but is set in NY. Interviewed are Andrew Marlowe, Nathan Fillion, Rich Sickler (first AD), George Shockley (location manager), John Terlesky (director), Stana Katic, Luke Reichle (costume designer), Rob Bowman, Gene Simmons, Laurie Zaks (executive producer), Alexi Hawley (co-producer/writer), Alfred Sole (production designer), Edward Morrison (hair), and Sarah Vaughn (make-up for Stana Katic). Next, we have some "Misdemeanors: Bloopers & Outtakes" (4:13)...yes, bloopers! See all the goofs and play on the set, as get more bloopers this time! We also have deleted scenes from the episodes "To Love & Die in L.A." (0:35) and "Knockout" (0:39 and 0:17). Up next, we have "Murder Boards" (3:23), as we learn who writes the murder boards up on the show. They are so detailed! Kurt DeFilipps is the man behind the murder board! And finally we have a music video from the episode "Lucky Stiff" where we see Castle and Becket (in that sexy dress) go inside a night club to make an arrest. The music video is called "Get On the Floor" (2:14).
What a season! Nearly every episode is memorable! I recommend this series and set once again...it is an ABC Studios DVD, so it is good and filled with special features. This series really got cooking last season, from start to finish. Season two was when it started to break out, and it continues and gets better in season three! This DVD is awesome as we get of course all 24 great episodes from the third season, great packaging, and great extras. I don't understand why the DVD is coming out on Sept. 20, when the third season launches a day before on Sept. 19. They have done this for the third time. ABC did re-air the show this summer on Sundays briefly before moving back to Mondays in August. So I hope you saw them all, if not, for sure get this DVD. Everyone needs to be watching this show and I think it will get even better this season as we will see the conclusion to what happened on the third season finale. That was the best season finale on TV last season. You don't have to 'move that ass and get on the floor' to buy this set, just click below and say "I really am running the hits, aren't I", like Rick Castle!
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BLOG FEATURE REVIEW
When a person dies, sometimes the greatest mystery of life has yet to begin. There are often questions as to how they died or why they died, and in the ABC series Body of Proof, Dr. Megan Hunt (Dana Delany) uses her medical expertise to try to answer these mysteries every single day. Here is our review of Body of Proof - The Complete First Season.
DVD Review: Body of Proof - The Complete First Season
Body of Proof - The Complete First Season (ABC Studios, $29.99) brings the first 9 episodes of the new medical examiner crime drama on a 2-disc DVD set! The series produced 13 episodes, but ABC is holding the remaining four episodes for the second season, so if the series is picked-up for a full 22-episode season, it will have at least 26 all-new episodes this season. The series stars Dana Delany as Dr. Megan Hunt, a medical examiner. The series debuted last spring to critical acclaim for Dana Delany and the rest of its talented cast, as well as for the show's taut writing, and it finished the season as TV's most-watched new series of 2010-11. In fact, it is ABC's most-watched series in the time slot in 10 years (NYPD Blue). Brilliant and driven neurosurgeon Dr. Megan Hunt had it all, or so she thought. As the first female Head of Neurosurgery at a prominent Philadelphia university hospital, she never appreciated how the demands of her profession were taking a toll on her personal life until her husband divorced her and she lost custody of their then seven-year-old daughter. Still reeling from this emotional trauma, Megan soon suffered a physical one, a car accident that left her with a condition called paresthesia -- random attacks of numbness and cramping of her hands. Tragically, this condition failed to manifest itself until Megan's first trip back to the operating room. She lost control of her instruments and her patient died on the table. Megan's life as a neurosurgeon was over.
The series airs Tuesdays at 10PM on ABC and stars Dana Delany stars as Dr. Megan Hunt, Jeri Ryan as Dr. Kate Murphey, John Carroll Lynch as Detective Bud Morris, Nicholas Bishop as Peter Dunlop, Sonja Sohn as Detective Samantha Baker, Geoffrey Arend as Dr. Ethan Gross, Windell D. Middlebrooks as Dr. Curtis Brumfield and Mary Mouser as Lacey Fleming. Recurring is Jeffrey Nordling as Todd Fleming.
Guest stars include Tony Plana, Christina Hendricks, Marc Blucas, Joanna Cassidy, and Jill Eikenberry.
The series is off to a good start. It still needs to find its footing, I think, but I see loads of potential with this show, like I did with Castle's first season. It doesn't have the younger cast of that series, but Dana Delany, Jeri Ryan and Nicholas Bishop will draw viewers after Dancing with the Stars: The Results. The series could potentially win its timeslot this fall in total viewers, with CBS's The Good Wife moving to Sundays. Anyway, as for the first season, it starts off with the "Pilot" where we are introduced to Dr. Megan Hunt, a former neurosurgeon and now a medical examiner and she and her partner investigate the death of Angela Swanson, a young woman found dead while jogging. In "Talking Heads," after a homeless man comes across the dismembered remains of a body in a field, Dr. Megan Hunt must use the available limbs to find her killer, while Lacey has chosen her mother's job to do a video project on for school, much to her mother's dismay. In "Dead Man Walking," the mysterious death of a beautiful woman keeps Ethan and Curtis guessing and when Ethan gets fixated on the woman's twin sister (Christina Hendricks), so Curtis starts to question Ethan's motives, while Megan must find out if a patient at the hospital where she used to work as a neurosurgeon died of murder or malpractice. In "All in the Family," a perfect neighborhood in the Philadelphia suburbs is shaken when a stay-at-home dad is found stabbed to death in his home, as Megan unravels the mystery of his death and who killed him, she recalls how she learned of her own father's death, while Peter helps Megan juggle her biggest challenge yet, taking charge of the Saturday carpool with her hard-to-impress daughter, Lacey, and her girlfriends and in a shocker Kate takes on a consulting role in a pro bono case with Megan's ex-husband, Todd Fleming. On the season finale, "Broken Home," when a young philanthropic socialite dies, Megan suspects that foul play is involved and the investigation is then interrupted by Kate's personal life.
The episodes run usually around 43 minutes, all unedited of course. They are very consistent. There are about 6 or 7 chapter stops per episode. See the runtimes for each episode below:
1. "Pilot" 43:00
2. "Letting Go" 43:01
3. "Helping Hand" 43:00
4. "Talking Heads" 44:01
5. "Dead Man Walking" 43:02
6. "Society Hill" 43:00
7. "All in the Family" 42:38
8. "Buried Secrets" 42:59
9. "Broken Home" 43:00
Packaging has a nice thing cover holding a case and has shot of Dr. Megan Hunt looking over a dead body on the front cover...the back cover has information on the series & set and has five episodic photos featuring nearly everyone from the cast. There is also a section detailing the special features in a darker colored box with technical specifications also. Inside the box is the case. The front of the case has the same artwork as the outer box, and the same goes true for the back of the case. Opening the case, we get a few inserts on the left side and also a disc-by-disc breakdown and a nice cast photo that are on both panels. We don't get an episode booklet since the episodes are listed on the panels. Disc one is in a little plastic holder that you can flip like a page on a book, but oddly disc two is on the right panel itself. It should have been on the backside of the little plastic holder, I think. Not a big deal, I guess. Both discs are in a red/peach style color and has artwork of a few characters per disc. Disc one has episodes 1-5 with artwork of Megan and the two detectives. Disc two has episodes 6-9 + bonus features and has artwork of the hospital staff (Kate, Peter, Curtis and Ethan). After you remove the second disc, you see the nice cast photo on the panels itself like I mentioned...very cool.
The menu screen starts by showing us with a white background and a shot of r. Megan Hunt before video clips are playing in the background. It is nicely designed. Background music from the show is playing in the background. On disc one before the main menu we have auto trailers for DVDs of ABC on DVD, Lion King and African Cats. The options on the main menu are Play All, Episode Selection, Bonus Features, Set Up, and Sneak Peeks. Sneak Peeks is just on two and has trailers for the new ABC 2011 series Castle, The Chew, Prep & Landing, Real Steel and Pirates of the Caribbean. Set Up section has the option of subtitles in English, French, Spanish, or Portuguese and how to register your DVD. The Bonus Features option is on disc two only. The Episodes option gives us the episode number and title to choose along with a screenshot from the episode.
The video is digitally mastered and is in widescreen and looks very good! It's HD-like, even though it isn't Blu-ray. I have a DVD player that upconverts to HD, so who needs a Blu-ray player? Ha. The audio is great and sounds very good, as it is in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. This is from the 2010-11 season and aired from March-May, so it has to be good. We also get to hear the nice closing theme, as on ABC there are promos at the end of the episode. And as mentioned, we get 7 chapter stops, though some only have six (like the pilot).
Moving on to the bonus features. Only disc two has features. We have two featurettes! The first one is "Examining the Proof" (10:20) and we get an inside look on how the medical cases are delivered. There is a lot of background information and consulting done! They try hard! Interviewed are executive producers Matthew Gross, Sunil Nayar, star Dana Delany, Dr. Kristen Van DeWalker (medical advisor), Christopher Murphey (executive producer), Dr. Elizabeth LaPosata (medical advisor), Jeri Ryan, Audra Avery (set designer), Steven Wolff (production designer), Windell D. Middlebrooks, John Ruggieri (SPFX coordinator), Joseph Rossi (department head, SPFX make-up), John Carroll Lynch, Geoffrey Arend, Nic Bishop and Sonja Sohn. Next we have a lighter featurette titled "If Looks Could Kill" (5:32), as this discusses the wardrobe on the series from costume designer Roberta Haze. She is interviewed along with Matthew Gross, Dana Delany, Sunil Nayar, Jeri Ryan, Marcel Chevalier (assistant costume designer), Christopher Murphey, Nic Bishop, Windell D. Middlebrooks, and Geoffrey Arend. The final real extra is "Body of Goofs" (3:39), as we are treated to bloopers and outtakes from the first season. John Carroll Lynch is funny. And finally we have a promo for season two: "New Evidence: A Sneak Peek at Season 2" (0:47).
I highly recommend this series and set to start your collection. I have a feeling it will break out this season in quality and ratings. Dana Delay is always great and the cast around her already has good chemistry, especially Windell D. Middlebrooks and Geoffrey Arend. While the first season's quality of episodes is decent, it could be better. The special features are good for a series with just 9 episodes aired so far. I wish we had some deleted scenes and audio commentaries, though, but other than that, there is nothing to gripe about. It's a good show that will just get better. We hope to see this show and Dana Delany on TV for years to come! Tune in for the season premiere on Tuesday at 10/9c on ABC (the same day this DVD comes out). Super duper!
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CLICK OF THE WEEK
TVparty (www.tvparty.com) - Some of the greatest TV websites out there are true classics, and TVparty is one of them. When the website began, an astonishing 16 years ago (who even used the internet back then???), it was one of the premiere websites in classic TV. These days, as we have become more reliant on a handful of blogs, YouTube, and social networking for all of our internet needs, people don't seem to talk as much about the website as much as they used to. But if you go to the site, you'll see why they definitely should.
That's all for this week. Until next time, keep it digital!
New on DVD/Blu-ray (October/November)
10/04 - The Andy Griffith Show - The Christmas Special (Colorized)
10/04 - I Love Lucy - Superstar Special #1 (Colorized)
10/11 - Dr. Ken - Season One
10/11 - Mike & Molly - The Complete Sixth and Final Season
10/11 - Mike & Molly - The Complete Series
10/11 - Nurse Jackie - Seasons One and Two
10/11 - Weeds - Seasons One and Two
11/01 - Schitt's Creek - Seasons One and Two
11/08 - Family Matters - The Complete Ninth Season
11/08 - Your Family or Mine - Season One
11/15 - Community - The Complete Series
11/15 - The Lucy Show - The Complete Series
11/15 - The Mindy Project - Season Four
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Friday, December 9
- Olivia Munn (Perfect Couples) - Watch Olivia on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS. She will also be on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
- Tom Papa (Come to Papa) - Tom is a guest on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
- Kevin Nealon (Man with a Plan/Weeds/Hiller and Diller/Champs) - Kevin appears on LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
- Bella Thorne (Shake It Up) - Bella is a guest on a repeat of Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
- Sarah Michelle Gellar (The Crazy Ones) - Sarah whips up a delicious treat on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
- Richard Kind (Spin City/Mad About You) - Richard is a guest on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 12:30pm ET.
- Jennifer Aniston (Friends) - Jennifer appears on Chelsea on Netflix.