Category Archives: Television

The Entertainment Forecast

Nov. 18 – 24

Top picks for TV, streaming, music, home entertainment & more!

An Allison Janney wedding, a Mickey Mouse tale & Elton John’s Dodger Stadium reunion

FRIDAY, Nov. 18
The People We Hate at the Wedding
Skeletons some tumbling out of the comedy closet (above) when two American siblings (Kristen Bell and Ben Platt) agree to accompany their mother (Allison Janney) to attend the wedding of their estranged, wealthy half-sister (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) in the English countryside (Prime).

Slumberland
Jason (Aquaman) Momoa, Kyle Chandler and Chris O’Dowd star in this surreal new network movie, about a little girl (Marlow Barkley) who follows a secret map into a world of dreams…and nightmares (Netflix).

Mickey: The Story of a Mouse
The entertainment world’s most famous rodent is having a birthday (his 100th!) and this new documentary examine the creation and ongoing cultural relevance of Walt Disney’s most iconic and enduring creation (Disney+).

SATURDAY, Nov. 19
Santa Bootcamp
The legendary Rita Moreno (West Side Story) stars in this fanciful tale as the drill sergeant in charge of a young event planner’s search for the perfect Santa. With Emily Kinney and Ed Mancini (8 p.m., Lifetime).

SUNDAY, Nov. 20
2022 American Music Awards
The world’s biggest fan-voted awards event returns to honor the top achievements in rap, rock, R&B, country music and more in this live, star-studded event from Los Angeles and hosted by comedian Wayne Brady (8 p.m., ABC).



Elton John: Farewell From Dodger Stadium
Get your crocodile rockin’ for this hit-packed concert film, about the British rock superstar’s triumphant return to the venue that launched his career almost half a century ago (Disney+).

MONDAY, Nov. 21
Celebration of Angela Lansbury
Programming tribute to the late, great, beloved actress includes a full day and night of her films, including National Velvet, The Three Musketeers, The Manchurian Candidate, Sweeney Todd and Gaslight (TCM).

TUESDAY, Nov. 22
Welcome to Chippendale’s
Kamal Nanjinai stars in this new true-tale series as an Indian immigrant who becomes the unlikely founder of the world’s most famous male-stripping empire—and who let nothing stand in his way of success (Hulu).

Buffy Sainte-Marie: Carry It On
Documentary chronicles the remarkable story of indigenous singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie, who rose to prominence in the folk scene of New York’s Greenwich Village in the 1960s, blazing her path to becoming an Oscar-winning performer, social activist and artist (9 p.m., PBS).

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 23
Good Night Oppy
Watch this and look to the skies: This inspirational true story follows Opportunity, a rover nicknamed “Oppy” that was sent to Mars for a 90-day mission but ended up surviving for 15 years, forging a remarkable bond with its human “team” millions of miles away (Prime Video).

King Tut: Allies and Enemies
Timed with the 100th anniversary of the opening of King Tut’s tomb, this new doc explores the many mysteries that swirled in its wake of the discovery mania about Egypt’s “Boy King” (8 p.m., PBS).

Baking All the Way
An accomplished Chicago pastry chef (Cory Lee) heads to a small town’s famous bakery to complete her Christmas cookbook. But the bakery’s charming owner (Yannick Bisson) isn’t so welcoming when it comes to sharing his recipe secrets (8 p.m., Lifetime).



Justin Hartley stars in ‘The Noel Diary.’

THURSDAY, Nov. 24
The Noel Diary
Justin Hartley (of This is Us fame) stars in this heart-tugging holiday film as an author who takes a Christmas trip home to settle his deceased mother’s estate, discovering in the process a diary that may hold secrets to his past (Netflix).

Criminal Minds: Evolution
An elite team of profilers is back on the case tracking twisted psychopaths in this new spinoff of the popular procedural, starring franchise all-stars Joe Mantagna, Kirsten Vangsness, Aisha Tyler and Paget Brewster (Paramount+).

READ ALL ABOUT IT


Everybody loves Betty White…even kids! But White’s grownup fans especially will dig Betty White: Collector’s Edition, the new Little Golden Book bio memorializing the late Mary Tyler Moore and Golden Girls actress, animal-advocacy crusader and TV pioneer, who passed away Dec. 31, 2021.

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The enduring pop career of the late, great Olivia Newton-John is celebrated in a deluxe remastered re-release of her double-platinum album Olivia Newton John’s Greatest Hits. The new two-color vinyl collectors’ edition, available exclusively at Target, features 20 tracks, including her smashes “Let Me Be There,” “I Honestly Love You,” “Please Mister Please” and “Come On Over.”

The career-spanning, 23-track Dolly Parton—Diamonds and Rhinestones: The Greatest Hits Collection draws from the decades, as well as various record labels for which Parton recorded. Songs include performances with Kenny Rogers, Loretta Lynn and Tammy Wynette, soundtrack tunes from her films 9 to 5, Rhinestone and Dumplin’, and “When Life is Good Again,” her 2020 musical message of hope during the dark days of COVID.

Get your “Purple Haze” on with Jimi Hendrix Experience: Los Angeles Forum April 26, 1969, a recently released album featuring live remastered recordings that capture the guitar legend and his band at the height of their fame (and their flame) during a tour stop in Los Angeles. The release is timed just ahead of what would have been Hendrix’s 80th birthday on Nov. 27.

The Entertainment Forecast

Nov. 11 – Nov. 17

Top picks for TV, home entertainment releases & more!

James Cordon is a ‘Mammal,’ Sly Stallone’s a mobster & Martha’s in the kitchen

James Corden stars in Mammals

FRIDAY, Nov. 11
Mammals
James Cordon, Sally Hawkins, Henry Lloyd-Hughes and Melia Kreiling star in this six-episode relationship comedy with a whodunnit twist (Prime Video).

Circuit Breakers
Futuristic family-friendly anthology series tackles kid-relatable issues through a sci-fi lens, which reveals that things are not always as they seem, often leading the characters into chaos (Apple TV+).

Play-Doh Squished
Modern Family’s Sarah Hyland hosts this new competition based the hit holiday special of last year, in which celebrity judges oversee inventive creations made with the iconic kids’ crafting compound (Amazon Freevee).

SEEING STARS
Wanna see some real-life TV actors up close? Then head to the annual Days of Our Lives fan event at Xbox Plaza in Los Angeles, where on Nov. 12 dozens of stars from the long-running daytime soap will be on hand to meet their admirers.

SATURDAY, Nov. 12
Reindeer Games Homecoming
The sparks fly at an annual Vermont fundraising event when a bookish biology teacher (Sarah Drew) meets a fading Hollywood star (Justin Bruening) who happens to be her old crush! (8 p.m., Lifetime).

Sylvester Stallone plays a Midwest mobster in Tulsa King.

SUNDAY, Nov. 13
Tulsa King
Sylvester Stallone—yes, of Rocky and Rambo fame—comes to the “smaller screen” as a New York mobster sent to run Midwest operations in this new streaming series premiering tonight following an all-new episode of Yellowstone (Paramount+).


Real Life Nightmare
Former Cold Case investigator Paul Holes joins season four of this series about longstanding unsolved mysteries, including airplane disappearances, murders and kidnappings (9 p.m., HLN).


Celebrity Wheel of Fortune
Comedians Paul Scheer and Luenell join actress Mary Lynn Rajskub taking spins for charity with host Pat Sajak (9 p.m., ABC).


MTV EVAs
Get ready to rock, on a big scale. Actress Rita Ora and actor-director Taika Waititi host this global music awards event live from Dusseldoft, Germany (MTV).

Monday, Nov. 14
Martha Cooks
Join Martha Stewart in this new series from her farmhouse kitchen in Bedford, N.Y., as she shares and prepares recipes (and reveals her three favorite cookies of all time). (Roku Channel).

TUESDAY, Nov. 15
Once Upon a Time in Londongrad
Craving a deep-dish dive into the dark international cloak-and-dagger world? This documentary series explores a series of mysterious deaths in the U.K., with alleged connections to Russia, stretching across two decades (Peacock).

Happy Birthday, Martin Scorsese
What does the famed director (Raging Bull, Casino, Goodfellas), one of the world’s most acclaimed filmmakers, want for his 80th, on Nov. 17? How about for you to see four of his favorite films, and hear how they influenced him? You got it, Marty! (begins 8 p.m., TCM).

Beat Bobby Flay: Holiday Throwdown
Get in the food mood for the most wonderful time of the year with this new series in which the celebrity chef competes against other Food Network personalities (9 p.m., Food Network).

Florence Pugh (with Kila Cassidy) stars in The Wonder.

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 16
The Wonder
Florence Pugh stars in this psychological thriller, set in 1800s Ireland, about a nurse called in to observe a little girl who may be the living manifestation of miracle…or perhaps something more ominous (Netflix).

Master of Light
Compelling documentary about a classical painter who learned his craft while incarcerated in federal prison on narcotics charges, now hoping to break into the ranks of non-white artists and heal wounds from his past (8:30 p.m., HBO).

THURSDAY, Nov. 17
Fleishman is in Trouble
Jesse Eisenberg and Claire Danes star in this miniseries, based on a 2019 novel, about the downfall of a couple’s marriage, as narrated by his college friend (Lizzy Caplan) (Hulu).


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2jyBu4xGeH4

NEW ON DVD

The trippy Three Thousand Years of Longing (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment) stars Idris Elba as a genie-like Djinn who grants three wishes to a skeptical academic (Tilda Swinton) in exchange for his freedom. But one of her wishes surprises them both!


The legendary, shape-shifting glam rocker David Bowie is the subject of Moonage Daydream (Neon Home Entertainment), a cinematic documentary that explores his life, career and spiritual evolution—and features rare performances of “The Jean Jeanie,” “Heroes,” “Changes,” “Modern Love,” “Let’s Dance” and more.

Horror fans will freak (in a good way!) for Pearl (Lionsgate Home Entertainment), the bloody backstory to a killer character who made her debut in the acclaimed slasher film X. Starring Mia Goth.

Hallelujah! The praise-worthy 10-CD collection Amazing Grace: Country Stars Sing Songs of Faith and Hope (Time Life) includes hits and deep tracks from Loretta Lynn, Alan Jackson, Reba McEntire, Vince Gill, Dolly Parton and many, many more…plus a 36-page booklet with photos and liner notes, two bonus DVDs of Opry Gospel Classics, interviews with performers and other bonus content.

The Entertainment Forecast

Nov. 4 – Nov. 10

Top picks for TV, new books & just-released music & more!

Harry Styles is cop, George Lopez returns & Say Hey, It’s Willie Mays!

Harry Styles and Emma Corman star in a tale of forbidden love.

FRIDAY, Nov. 4
My Policeman
Singer-actor Harry Styles stars as a cop who undertakes an emotional journey in this story of forbidden love and changing social norms set in 1950s Britain. With Emma Corrin and David Dawson (Prime Video).

Lopez Vs. Lopez
George Lopez returns to TV in this new working-class inter-generational comedy costarring his daughter, Mayan Lopez (NBC).

SATURDAY, Nov. 5
Merry Swissmas
Jodi Sweetin (from TV’s Fuller House and its sequel) stars in this romance about romance at an inn in Switzerland, which kicks off the Lifetime’s network of Christmas-themed flicks (8 p.m., Lifetime).

SUNDAY, Nov. 6
Dangerous Liasons
New “prelude” to the 18th century literary classic focuses on the origins of the iconic characters, the Marquise de Merteuil (Nicholas Denton) and the Vicomte de Valmont (Alice Englert) meeting as passionate lovers in Paris on the eve of the French Revolution (Starz streaming service).

MONDAY, Nov. 7
One Delicious Christmas
Real-life celebrity chef Bobby Flay stars in this streaming holiday movie about a stressed Vermont restaurant and inn owner (Vanessa Marano) preparing for a big Christmas Eve dinner (Discover+).

TUESDAY, Nov. 8
Hey, Willie Mays!
Sports doc examines the career and the legacy of the Baseball Hall of Famer, whose achievements on the diamond during the era of Civil Rights helped break through the game’s longstanding color barriers (9 p.m., HBO).

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 9
CMA Awards
Country hitmaker Luke Bryan—a two-time CMA Entertainer of the Year—and football superstar Peyton Manning host this 59th annual awarding of the year’s top tunes, performers and collaborations (8 p.m., ABC).

THURSDAY, Nov. 10
The English
Emily Blunt stars in this new drama series as an aristocratic British woman on the American frontier, whose life intertwines with a Pawnee ex-U.S. Calvary scout (Chaske Spencer) on a violent landscape built of dreams, destiny and blood (Prime Video).

NOW HEAR THIS

Actor Luke Evans has appeared in a slate of films, including Clash of the Titans, Dracula Unchained, The Hobbit and Beauty and the Beast. But did you know he was a singer? Check out his impressive debut album, A Song for You, with a slate of classics, easy listening tunes and Christmas chestnuts that features a duet with Nicole Kidman, his costar when they costarred in the hit Hulu series Nine Perfect Strangers.

READ ALL ABOUT IT

Attention, Royals fans. Put together a meal fit for a king with Christmas at the Palace (Wheldon Owen), a crown-worthy cookbook for 50 festive recipes, gorgeously posed in charming Christmas settings. Author Carolyn Robb certainly knows her stuff: She spent over a decade in Kensington Palace as a royal chef, where the dining room was peopled by Prince Charles, Princess Diana, Prince William and Prince Harry.

Say ‘U.N.C.L.E.’

Fresh young cast revives Cold War themes of ’60s TV show

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The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

Starring Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer and Alicia Vikander

Directed by Guy Ritchie

PG-13

He wasn’t James Bond, but he was close.

Napoleon Solo was a suave, cosmopolitan American secret agent played by actor Robert Vaughn on the hit NBC TV series The Man From U.N.C.L.E. from 1964 to 1968. Solo was in fact fashioned by writer consultant Ian Fleming, Bond’s creator, to be a small-screen version of his more famous British super-spy.

You don’t have to know that to enjoy this refreshingly retro-fied revival, which takes the name, characters and Cold War setting of the TV show and enhances them to modern-day Hollywood proportions.

THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E.

Armie Hammer (left) and Henry Cavill

Henry Cavill (who’ll reprise his 2013 role of Superman in next year’s Batman v Superman) plays Solo, and Armie Hammer (The Lone Ranger, The Social Network) is his Russian partner Illya Kuryakin. Rather than just picking up and running with TV characters established half a century ago, the movie wisely starts fresh and anew. (We don’t even hear the code word “U.N.C.L.E” and learn how it spun off from the CIA, the KGB and other international organizations as a separate super-spook division on its own, until the end of the movie.)

We learn backstories and see how Solo and Kuryakin first meet—not as teammates but as enemies, with cloak-and-dagger orders to eliminate each other if necessary, on opposing sides of the ’60s high-stakes political and military standoff between the United States and the Soviet Union.

Their fateful collaboration makes for the fun in writer/director Guy Ritchie’s witty, snappy, stylish yarn spiced and sprinkled with Nazi fascists, Italian playboys, atom bombs, speedboats, femme fatales, fast cars, double crosses, triple crosses, some snazzy old-school spy do-daddery, and gorgeous, eye-popping fashions. It sometimes looks like the cast of Mad Men left their Madison Avenue ad agency and went into dangerous, daring Euro undercover work.

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Alicia Vikander

Alicia Vikander (who drew raves as a sexy robot earlier this year in Ex Machina) portrays the daughter of a brilliant German rocket scientist who’s been abducted and forced to apply his skills toward nefarious ends. She joins Solo and Kuryakin in a race—an “arms race,” to use the Cold War term—to find him.

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Elizabeth Debicki

Elizabeth Debicki is wickedly smooth as Victoria, a svelte, blond “lethal combination of beauty, brains and ambition” whose soft, seductive purr and pouty smile mask a deadly bite. Veteran British actor Hugh Grant makes a welcome impression as Waverly, a character whose motives become clear later in the film.

But the movie belongs to Cavill and Hammer, who seem to really enjoy playing off each other in two very different roles: Solo, the ultra-cool, unflappable ladies’ man who can steal almost anything, and Kuryakin, a towering Slavic hunk whose twitchy temper makes his bare hands lethal weapons—and who has trouble stealing even a single kiss. Their banter, comic bickering and constant bouts of spy-vs-spy one-upmanship keep the movie moving along crisply.

There are certainly louder, flashier, bigger spy flicks. If you’re dying for Bond, you’ll get your fix in November with Spectre. But for a classy, sassy bit of cool, Kennedy-era espionage hijinks, this new, revived Man From U.N.C.L.E. certainly delivers plenty of fresh, fun spy kicks—and hints at more to come.

—Neil Pond, Parade Magazine

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Boys’ Town

Big, bloated, bro-fest-ic movie picks up where TV series left off

ENTOURAGE

Entourage

Starring Adrian Grenier, Kevin Connolly, Kevin Dillon, Jerry Ferrara & Jeremy Piven

Directed by Doug Ellin

R

Based on the 2005-2011 HBO TV series about a young actor and his posse of best friends in Hollywood, this feature-film treatment is targeted primarily—and blatantly—to the same kind of hedonistic horn dogs who make up the movie’s base of bro-main characters.

Tinseltown satire, super-rich success fantasy and chauvinistic sex comedy rolled into one, the Entourage movie takes up where the TV series left off—and doesn’t go much anywhere else. A-list movie stud Vince (Adrian Grenier), newly freed from a nine-day whirlwind marriage, is ready to return to work and now wants to direct as well as act. As usual, his longtime nitwit buddies are all-aboard: Eric, his manager and best friend from childhood (Kevin Connolly); Johnny Drama (Kevin Dillon), his dim-bulb, struggling-actor half-brother; and Turtle (Jerry Ferrara), his driver turned tequila mogul.

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Haley Joel Osment, Emily Ratajkowski & Adrien Grenier

High-strung agent Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven), now running a movie studio, green-lights Vince’s film, a ridiculous, futuristic twist on Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, which quickly balloons over its $100 budget. The movie’s investor, a rich Texas oilman (Billy Bob Thornton), sends his starstruck son (Hailey Joel Osment) to ride shotgun over the troubled production.

The pencil-thin plot: Will Vince and his crew cash in once again, or will Hollywood finally break the bros?

The Entourage TV show was loosely based, at least originally, on the some of the experiences of actor Mark Wahlberg, who served as executive producer and is now one of the producers of the movie (and has a cameo, with his own tagalong “entourage”). But the movie version plays like such an overblown, oafish wet-dream stream of sexy (often topless) women, caustic one-liners and obscene wealth, it seems adrift in its own alt-universe, like an R-rated, 100-minute Viagra commercial shot inside a VIP strip club operated by light-depraved leprechauns. If you liked Entourage and its freewheeling, high-living characters on TV, you may think they’re even cooler enlarged to cinema-size. Otherwise, you might wonder what anyone ever saw in this pack of boors, mooches, rakes and cads with so few discernable, redeemable skills, talents or virtues or values.

The movie’s attempt at addressing something “deeper”—as Eric confronts his paternity with his pregnant ex-girlfriend (Emmanuelle Chriqui), or Ari seeks peace through spirituality—seems pathetically out of sync with its true, crude flow.

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“Turtle” (Jerry Ferrara) prepares to spar with Ronda Rousey.

To add to the movie’s sense of disorientation from the world in which most people live, an almost endless parade of real actors, sports figures and other personalities breeze through, blurring the lines by interacting with the fictional characters. There’s a lecherous Bob Saget, a grumpy Kelsey Grammer, a ticked-off Jessica Alba, an incredulous Martin Landau, a loopy Gary Busey, plus rapper T.I., director Jon Favreau, actors Liam Neeson and Armie Hammer, comedian Andrew Dice Clay, Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Emily Ratajkowski, NFL quarterback Tom Brady, TV personality Piers Morgan, zillionaire Warren Buffett, mixed-martial arts fighting champ Ronda Rousey and many, many more. Blink and you’ll miss someone.

It’s almost like everyone inside Hollywood wanted a piece of the action. The bigger question: How many people outside of Hollywood will want a ticket to this smug, bloated, big-screen, bro-fest-ic boy party?

—Neil Pond, Parade Magazine

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‘Toon Classics

Vintage antics of Bugs, Daffy, Porky and pals & more from the vaults

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Looney Tunes Platinum Collection Vol. 3

Blu-ray $44.98 (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment)

 

Animation connoisseurs and anyone who fondly remember yesteryear’s yuks will appreciate this latest roundup of classic ’toons, all brushed up for the first time up for Blu-ray. In addition to 50 mini-masterpieces featuring Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Tweety & Sylvester, Wile E. Coyote, Foghorn Leghorn, Elmer Fudd, Yosemite Sam and many more supporting players, the 11-hour, double-disc set also includes a bevy of bonus content, including a booklet and 14 mini-documentaries—I particularly enjoyed “Mel Blanc: The Man of a Thousand Voices,” and “Drawn For Glory,” a look at how the humble pre-movie “theatrical shorts” went on to become pieces of craftwork worthy of Academy Awards.

 

—Neil Pond, American Profile Magazine

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Crime Spree

CSI’ had a busy 14th season—now on DVD

CSI_The 14th Season

CSI: The Fourteenth Season

DVD $64.99 (Paramount Home Video)

The 2013-2014 season of the long-running CBS crime procedural series featured stars Ted Danson and Elisabeth Shue tracking down all kinds of trouble, celebrating their 300th episode with a “flashback” to the beginning, reuniting with a former team member (Marg Helgenberger), saying farewell to another (Paul Guilfoyle), and spinning off a special agent (Patricia Arquette) for her own new upcoming series, CBS: Cyber. Bonus content on this six-disc packaging of all 22 episodes includes cast interviews, commentaries, and spotlights on some of the season’s guest stars (Gene Simmons, Lea Thompson, Jordin Sparks, Robert Davi and Treat Williams).

 

—Neil Pond, American Profile Magazine

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Dead Set

TV’s top zombie show 4th-season Blu-ray has tasty bonus tidbits

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The Walking Dead: The Complete Fourth Season

Blu-ray $79.99 / “Tree Walker” Limited Edition $129.99 (Anchor Bay)

Get your gore on with all 16 terror-ific episodes of the award-winning AMC cable-TV series about a post-apocalyptic world dominated by ravenous, flesh-eating zombies, and the human survivors competing to get back on top of the food chain. Bonus features include commentary from actors, producers and makeup supervisors, and several behind-the-scenes featurettes for the faithful. If you’re really a diehard fan, splurge for the Limited Edition, which comes encased in a molded “Tree Walker” zombie for an additional scary-good nightmare or two.

 

—Neil Pond, American Profile Magazine

 

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It’s Miller Time

Will Arnett & JB Smoove star in hit dysfunctional-family sitcom

The Millers: The First Season

DVD $49.99 (CBS Home Entertainment)

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Divorced reporter Nathan Miller (Will Arnett) was looking forward to the single life with his co-worker/wingman (JB Smoove)—until his parents (Margo Martindale and Beau Bridges) totally botched up his plans. One of the hottest, funniest new comedies of last fall’s TV season—which also featured guest appearances from Roseanne Barr, Andy Richter, Jeffrey Tambor, Jerry Van Dyke and others—comes packaged with several bonus features, including a behind-the-scenes look at the production and a mock-serious interview with Arnett.

 

—Neil Pond, American Profile Magazine

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‘Sho’ Nuff

Epic ‘80s TV miniseries comes to Blu-ray loaded with bonus features

Shogun

Shogun

DVD $85 (CBS Home Entertainment & Paramount Home Media Distribution)

 

Now re-mastered in hi-def and released for the first time on Blu-ray, this award-winning TV three-part mini-series, based on the bestselling James Clavell novel, captivated viewers over five nights in 1980 with the exploits of a 17th century British navigator (Richard Chamberlain) shipwrecked off the coast of Japan and caught up in a deadly, epic struggle of love and war in the land of the rising sun. Almost two hours of bonus features include a 13-part making-of documentary, which detail the intricacies, controversies and complications of filming the entire production in Japan, and commentary by the director.

 

—Neil Pond, American Profile Magazine

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