Saturday, June 28, 2008

tv on dvd: review round-up

We know we've been MIA for the past week, but that doesn't mean we haven't been keeping an eye out for the good stuff. Today we bring you a round-up review of several new releases of TV series on DVD:

Early Edition: The First Season (released June 24, 2008)
Kyle Chandler stars as Chicago stockbroker Gary Hobson in this CBS series from 1996. Hobson’s life is turned upside down when his wife suddenly throws him out and asks for a divorce. When he moves into a hotel, Gary discovers that a divorce is just the beginning. He starts to receive the morning paper… a day early. It means more than just having sports scores and stock info early; Gary discovers that he has the opportunity, and perhaps the responsibility, to stop bad things before they happen. He doesn’t know how or why he receives the paper, but Gary quits his job and tries to make a difference.

His former co-workers and friends, Chuck (Fisher Stevens) and Marissa (Shanesia Davis) are the only other people who know Gary’s secret and are in on quite a few of his adventures. Chuck isn’t above trying to sneak a peak at the stock pages for a tip, but Marissa encourages Gary to look beyond the headlines to see why and how he is really needed.

This was a great, smart show that lasted only 4 seasons and was cancelled way too early (how many times have you heard that before). Chandler was a great leading man for the show, and the supporting cast was fantastic. Even though it seems to have a supernatural premise, it is all too human, and it’s easy to get drawn in. In fact, once we popped the set in the player last weekend, slowly but surely we had watched every episode, and the kids had joined us on the couch. It is a great family show. I had almost forgotten how good it was.

The only extras included are episode promos, but the video and audio are excellent and the whole first season is included, rather than the regrettable practice of splitting up seasons across two or more sets.
5 stars (Groucho Glasses)







Evening Shade: Season One (releases July 15, 2008-available for pre-order)
Former Pro football player Wood Newton (Burt Reynolds) has returned to his hometown of Evening Shade, Arkansas to coach the High School football team and raise his family. His wife Ava (Marilu Henner) also grew up in Evening Shade and that means Wood’s life is suddenly full of kids, in-laws, his mom, friends and a very eccentric cast of characters in this quiet southern town. His team may not be winning football games, and he’s besieged by intrusions, advice and opinions from just about everyone, but Wood is doing what he can to keep it altogether.

This series from the early 90’s (also lasting about 4 seasons) came from the same Linda Bloodsworth-Thompson of Designing Women. Having grown up in the south, I must say the show (and Designing Women) had a great feel to it, an authentic ear, if you will. But then again, how could you go wrong with a fantastic cast- Burt Reynolds, Marilu Henner, Ossie Davis, Hal Holbrook, Michael Jeter, Charles Durning- I still can’t really believe some shows were just able to pull so much experience and reliable talent on one screen. You don’t see too much of that today.

We got an early review copy of Evening Shade, and I couldn’t resist popping in quickly to see if it was as good as I remember- and it was. The show was very well written and directed (Reynolds also served as producer of the show), and had some very memorable characters- especially Michael Jeter’s Herman Stiles. There are no extras to speak of on the set, but all 24 episodes of the first season are here. The audio and video are great, although there was some noticeable sound dampening on the first disc- not a big deal. Very much worth picking up, especially when you see the dearth of great, smart and grown-up comedies on television today.
4 stars (Groucho glasses)







Mannix: The First Season (released 6-3-2008)
One of the most popular crime shows ever to hit television, Mannix starred Mike Connors as tough as nails and smart Detective Joe Mannix. A bit of a loner on the Detective agency, and something of a maverick, Mannix seems to be just as much at odds with his boss (Joseph Campanella) as he is with the bad guys. You’ve seen the police show clich├ęs- this is the show that started some of them. And yet it’s almost refreshing to see Conner’s tough and smart character- something again that seems to be lacking in some of today’s police procedurals. The Rockerford Files, Mannix, Law and Order, Miami Vice, Nash Bridges, Streets of San Francisco- they all seem to be able to bring the entertainment with grittiness and yet not afraid to show right and wrong- and that it takes an equally tough cop to bring the bad guys down.

Unlike the other sets mention in this round-up review- Mannix is packed with some great extras. Included are clips of Connors on The Mike Douglas Show and a guest shot on Diagnosis Murder, interview with Connors and Campanella, and several introductions and episode commentaries. Classic television as it should be.
Great stuff – 5 stars (Groucho Glasses)





Stay tuned for more reviews and more stuff- I promise. Even Mrs. Baravelli is working on a review and Wolf is cooking up something special you're gonna like- so don't touch that dial. Same Shelf Time, Same Shelf Channel.

Oh, I know it's a penny here and a penny there, but look at me. I worked myself up from nothing to a state of extreme poverty.

You go with what you got, and when what you got is tomorrow's news, well it's gotta be one of two things: either you're a day ahead, or everyone else is a day behind.


Friday, June 27, 2008

new contest- early edition


Congrats to our Jeff Corwin, Season 2 winners! We had a great response and a lot of entries. We've begun shipping out the prizes to the lucky winners, but that hasn't stopped us from beginning a new contest.

Several winners who will each receive a copy of the recently released Early Edition: The First Season. You might remember this show from the late 90s about a guy who got the newspaper a day early. All of you Friday Night Lights and Kyle Chandler fans definitely want to jump on this one. All you have to do send an email to randomshelf@hotmail.com (note the rules below) with a subject of Early Edition Giveaway in the subject line by July 3rd at 11:59 pm est.

The rules are simple:

Email us your entry at randomshelf@hotmail.com
1.You MUST include: Your name and full address in the body of the email, and "Early Edition Giveaway" must be in the subject line.
2. The contest is only open to US residents
3. Only one entry per email address (and household, please!)
4. Contest ends on Thursday, July 3rd at 11:59pm. We will draw the winner by July 5th.

Please note that your information will be held confidential and will not be published and only used solely for identifying the winner and shipping the prize. Also, we will mail the prize to you, but cannot guarantee that the post office will treat it with the same respect as we will when we send it out. We will only guarantee that we will mail it to the address you provide to us.
So get those emails in and good luck!

Let the contest begin!

Oh, I know it's a penny here and a penny there, but look at me. I worked myself up from nothing to a state of extreme poverty.

I thought we were gonna get television. The truth is... television is gonna get us.


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

cyd charisse: 1921-2008

I'm sorry- there just aren't any words today...
Cyd Charisse has passed away.
She was one of my absolute favorites.


From my first time seeing her in Singin' in the Rain all through Brigadoon, Silk Stockings, and so much more- and then absolute perfection in The Band Wagon- I've had a mad crush on Cyd. She was not only so lovely, but so talented and a marvel to watch on screen.
The world is a little bit dimmer today, but we are lucky to have her performances preserved.


Please read the tributes at Laura's Miscellaneous Musings and Libertas.
I'll be back with more later. For now- I'm going to go watch The Band Wagon.

Oh, I know it's a penny here and a penny there, but look at me. I worked myself up from nothing to a state of extreme poverty.

The show's a big hit, Tony... It's going to run for a long time.As far as I'm concerned, it's going to run forever.


Thursday, June 05, 2008

d-day revisited

Here is a repost from last year. Being the 64th Anniversary of that moment when the whole world held it's breath, we wanted to bring this well received piece from last year's recognition of D-Day. We never tire of thanking the vets- and all whose sacrifices were made during that time. So if you will indulge us- Please feel free to comment below.



Today marks the 63rd anniversary (editor's very obvious note: 64th this year!) of the launch of the Allied force's invasion of continental Europe, starting with German-occupied Normandy. The invasion of Normandy was dubbed Operation Overlord, but it is remembered as D-Day. On that single day there were more casualties than we have suffered in the entire War on Terror. Then, as now, heroes gave their all for all of us, and for people across an ocean they did not know. Let us not forget.
Last year, I wrote an article about D-Day. I link to it here, but I also want to quote a part of that post:

Then that fateful day of June 5th (that's right, June 5th) the day that was designated for the invasion, weather caused great concern. The leaders, and ultimately Gen. Eisenhower decided to hold off for a day, in hopes of more favorable weather. June 6th came and while the weather was not perfect, a window of opportunity arose and Gen. Eisenhower gave the order- "Ok, we go." On those words an invasion involving over 150,000 men and 5000 naval craft, numerous aircraft began. Some landing boats were blown out of the water. Thousands died just trying to make it to the beach, and then those cliffs. Many more died trying to take those cliffs and quiet those guns. It was a day of sacrifice for the allies, and the people who gave their all did not die in vain. The invasion succeeded. The allies were able to take Normandy, establish supply points and a naval base of operations. Valuable reinforcements came, landing strips for Allied aircraft were secure. Over the next year the Allies pushed ahead to Germany, with the Russians pushing from the East. The hope and the fears of the free world went with them every step of the way.

These boys...these men who gave their all were previously neighbors. Sons. Brothers Husbands. Students. Teachers. Ball players. Butchers. Milkmen. Farmers. Accountants. Shop clerks. Builders. Trash men. They were, in short, the people we knew. And they were the best of us. They were Americans; raised in a country of freedom, hardened during a time a depression, and conditioned to defeat a terrible foe with terrible means. They knew what had to be done. The people back home knew what had to be done. Everyone knew that it came with a price. These men of D-Day paid that price.
Think about that. They knew the cost, and they paid it. Don't we need to remember that and cherish it? Don't we need to thank them for that? What strikes me today is that every time I talk to a friend, a soldier who is just home from Iraq and Afghanistan is that fact that they also know what is at stake and that the freedom for our futures and for the future of others exacts a price. As the cliche goes, and is true as most cliches are, freedom is not free. The sooner we remember that... the sooner we remember the true value of it, the better off we will be.

I want to also share a couple of videos. One is a segment from a documentary entitled Voices of the Veterans. The men being interviewed were from a town in Virginia that lost more men per capita that day than any other town in America.They were in the very first wave.



The second video is an episode from a History Channel documentary entitled: D-Day June 6th, 1944: The Total Story. The documentary was narrated by Gerald McRaney and debuted in June of 1994, on the 50th Anniversary.



I offer a thank you to all of the families who lost someone that day. Thank you for your sacrifice. It is not forgotten. A prayer of gratitude to those men who went into that day, scared and unsure, but going into the breech nonetheless. And a thank you to any veterans of D-Day and World War II. We are lucky and grateful that you are with us. May we learn from you and always treasure the freedom you fought for. I know it may not seem like many do if you watch the news, but so many untold millions are grateful. And lastly, thank you to my Grandfather. Your example will always be a guiding force in my life.

Oh, I know it's a penny here and a penny there, but look at me. I worked myself up from nothing to a state of extreme poverty.

Let us beseech the blessing of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.

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