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TV on DVD: This week’s releases

No Comments 23 August 2011

This week’s round-up of DVD and Blu-ray releases featuring TV shows past and present, featuring a couple of must-haves and more than a few must-never-soil-my-DVD-player-withs.


The Vampire Diaries – Season 2 [DVD] – buy it from Amazon.co.uk
The Vampire Diaries – Season 2 [Blu-ray] – buy it from Amazon.co.uk

The second season of The CW‘s smash hit supernatural drama hits both DVD and Blu-ray this week. One of the creative forces behind the show is Kevin Williamson, who has extensive experience in bringing teen horror to the small and big screens with the likes of Scream, I know What You Did Last Summer and Dawson’s Creek. The latter was a different type of teen horror, granted — but I still have nightmares.


The Vampire Diaries – Seasons 1-2 Complete [DVD] – buy it from Amazon.co.uk
The Vampire Diaries – Seasons 1-2 Complete [Blu-ray] – buy it from Amazon.co.uk

If you’re new to The Vampire Diaries and fancy giving it a whirl, your best value option is to buy the newly-released Season 1 & 2 collection, which bundles all 44 episodes together in one neat package — along with a bunch of extras. It’s significantly cheaper than buying the two separately, so if you’re up for taking the plunge, this is the one to go for.


Lee Nelson’s Well Good Show [DVD] – buy it from Amazon.co.uk

Lowest common denominator ‘humour’ written and performed by — and tailored to — single-digit braincell morons. It’s a BBC Three comedy; what more did you expect?


NCIS: Los Angeles – Season 2 [DVD] – buy it from Amazon.co.uk

We’ve spoken recently of our desire for some new spin-off shows but NCIS: Los Angeles is noteworthy for taking it one step further; it’s a spin-off of a spin-off. The LA strain is an offshoot from the original NCIS series, which itself was spawned from legal drama JAG. If you’ve never come across the NCIS franchise, the words behind the acronym — Naval Criminal Investigative Service — should give you an idea what to expect.


Lewis – Series 1-5 Complete [DVD] – buy it from Amazon.co.uk

ITV hit upon the winning murder mystery formula with Inspector Morse, to the extent that sidekick Lewis, played by Kevin Wheatley, was deemed strong enough to sustain a spin-off show of his own following the killing off of the Morse character. The gamble paid off, with five successful series completed to date, all of which are collected in this box set.


Who Do You Think You Are? Complete Series 1-7 [DVD] – buy it from Amazon.co.uk

A string of celebrities trace their family history with frequently moving results. The first seven series of the popular BBC geneaology show are collected here, along with the first season of the US version of the show. The show’s producers generally carry out initial research of around double the number of subjects they plan to film for each series, meaning that only the most interesting cases make it into the show.

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and Smiley’s People Double Pack [DVD] – buy it from Amazon.co.uk

Classic BBC adaptations of  John le Carré’s celebrated spy novels, featuring an outstanding turn from Sir Alec Guiness as George Smiley, a retired intelligence expert drawn back into service in order to weed out a Soviet mole. That’s a mole as in an undercover agent rather than, you know, an actual mole. That would have been a very different story.


Ben 10: Ultimate Alien – Vol. 2 [DVD] – buy it from Amazon.co.uk

Listen and understand. The Ben 10 franchise is out there. It can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you’ve emptied your wallet or purse for merchandising just to shut your brat kid up for 10 minutes.


Andrew Marr’s Megacities [DVD] – buy it from Amazon.co.uk

Andrew Marr may look like the older, thinner brother of Vincent D’Onofrio’s character in Men in Black but he knows how to front a decent documentary, as this BBC series shows. Marr visits London, Tokyo, Mexico City, Shanghai and Dhaka, interviewing some of the people who work hard to help those cities tick.


99-1 – The Complete Second Series [DVD] – buy it from Amazon.co.uk

Confession time: as much as we like to give the impression that we here at New TV Shows watch every programme available, there are only so many hours in the day — we have to draw the line somewhere. Our line is drawn well before ITV drama vehicles for Leslie Grantham.


Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes Volume 2 [DVD] – buy it from Amazon.co.uk

An animated take on Marvel’s superhero superteam, featuring the likes of The Hulk, Thor, Captain America and Ant-Man. Spot the weak link in that lot. Draw up a list of your dream superpowers; being able to shrink to the size of a particularly small insect probably isn’t too near the top.


Batman – The Brave And The Bold Vol. 6 [DVD] – buy it from Amazon.co.uk

More animated action, this time an adaptation of the DC Comics series that sees different superhero pairings (or sometimes teams) join forces to fight evil. The best thing about this is that Diedrich Baber supplies the voice of The Dark Knight — and as anybody who has seen Office Space or Napoleon Dynamite will attest to, Diedrich Baber is excellent.


The Cuckoo Waltz – The Complete Fourth Series [DVD] – buy it from Amazon.co.uk

The fourth and final series of the ITV sitcom revolving around a hard-up couple who decide toopen their Manchester home to a lodger in order to earn a little extra cash. Lewis Collins, who played the original long-term house guest in the first three series, was replaced here by Ian Saynor.


Ax Men Season 1 and Season 2 Collector’s Edition [DVD] – buy it from Amazon.co.uk

The latest documentary series from ‘men with pretty dangerous jobs’ specialist Original Productions, Ax Men follows a number of different American logging crews and the issues they’re faced with on a day-to-day basis. Originally aired on The History Channel, the show follows in the footsteps of the likes of Deadliest Catch and Ice Road Truckers.


Michael Bentine’s Potty Time – The Complete Third Series [DVD] – buy it from Amazon.co.uk

Potty Time was a long-running 1970s  children’s show which featured bearded puppets acting out scenes from history. It was once voted as the 71st best kids’ TV show of all time by Channel 4 viewers — high praise indeed.


Underworld At War: The Complete ITV Series [DVD] – buy it from Amazon.co.uk

ITV documentary series looking back at the unique opportunity given to nefarious sorts during the Second World War; while bomb sites were a tragedy for those who once lived there, they offered murderers the perfect place to hide dead bodies. ‘Mad’ Frankie Fraser offers an insight into some of the goings on he witnessed — and took part in — between 1939 and 1945.


The Upchat Collection – The Complete Series [DVD] – buy it from Amazon.co.uk

Playful ITV sitcom with a twist — homless protagonist Mike Upchat is played by two different actors depending on the scenario. This double DVD collection covers original series The Upchat Line and follow-up show The Upchat Connection.


Dennis & Gnasher: Special Agent Dennis & 25 More Crazy Adventures [DVD] – buy it from Amazon.co.uk

Bumper DVD pack collecting the first two series of the animated CBBC series featuring Beano cover star Dennis the Menace and  his trusty dog Gnasher. The set also features plenty of extras including a number of other Beano characters, including Minnie the Minx and The Bash Street Kids.


Complete Victorian Farm Collection






The Complete Victorian Farm Collection Boxed Set [DVD] – buy it from Amazon.co.uk

This set collects the original BBC documentary series Victorian Farm and all of its subsequent spin-offs, including Victorian Farm Christmas, Tales From The Green Valley, Victorian Pharmacy and Edwardian Farm. Just the thing for history buffs.

Gossip Girl


TV on DVD: new releases

No Comments 18 August 2011

It’s always good to pad out the old DVD shelf with some classic television where possible, so if you’ve run out of new TV shows to watch why not pick up some of this week’s new TV on DVD releases? Read on for a rundown of the latest discs. It’s not the best week for TV DVDs but there is the odd diamond in the rough so you’re bound to find something to your tastes.


A Touch of Frost – Series 1-15 Complete [DVD] – Buy it from Amazon.co.uk

What Del Boy did next: ITV’s superior police drama starring David Jason as Detective Inspector William Edward ‘Jack’ Frost, who became a beloved fixture of the Sunday evening schedules. This set contains all 42 episodes, allowing you to get the snacks in and sit down to watch every episode back-to-back. Actually, don’t do that; it’d take nearly three days.


Agatha Christie’s Marple – Series 1-5 Complete [DVD] – Buy it from Amazon.co.uk

Bumper collection of the modern TV adaptation of the classic Agatha Christie novels. Initially starring Geraldine McEwan as the titular Miss Marple, the role was passed on to Julia McKenzie from the fourth series onwards following McEwan’s retirement. Plenty of guest appearances from household names add to an already enticing package.


Agatha Christie’s Poirot – Complete Collection [DVD] – Buy it from Amazon.co.uk

More classic Christie, this time tracking the adventures of everybody’s favourite Belgian detective, as played by David Suchet. His brother’s a newsreader, you know. No wonder ITV news are so quick on the scene when a major crime goes down — he’s probably feeding John all his inside info.


Gossip Girl – Complete Season 4 [DVD] – Buy it from Amazon.co.uk

All the latest knocks and shocks from the fourth season of the drama that confirms that hot, posh girls are also sometimes bitchy. Who knew? Season 4 kicks off in Paris but soon returns to Manhattan’s Upper East Side, where loads of stuff that never happens to normal people takes place as a matter of course.


Louis Theroux – The Odd, the Bad and the Godly [DVD] – Buy it from Amazon.co.uk

Never anything less than fantastic, Louis Theroux is the softly-spoken master of invetigative journalism. This collection brings together a number of his recent BBC films, including Law and Disorder in Lagos, America’s Medicated Kids, The Ultra Zionists, Miami Mega-Jail and Return to the Most Hated Family.


My Family – Series 11 [DVD] – Buy it from Amazon.co.uk

Talking of hated families (LOL!), how about this offensively bad safe-com that somehow commanded primetime billing on BBC One for more than ten years. Thankfully, the 11th series was the last. Well, until the inevitable My Family Reunion revival in 2017.


The Strange World of Gurney Slade [DVD] – Buy it from Amazon.co.uk

This incredibly appealing absurdist comedy starred Anthony Newley as the star of a run-of-the-mill sitcom who quits his day job and enters a fantastical alternate reality filled with talking inanimate objects. The groundbreaking show was written by Sid Green and Dick Hills, who both went on to write for Morecambe and Wise.


Angry Boys [DVD] – Buy it from Amazon.co.uk

Mildly amusing mockumentary  from Chris Lilley, the man behind the superior Summer Heights High and We Can Be Heroes. As ever, Lilley plays a variety of characters including identical twin teenage boys, a middle-aged woman who works at a juvenile detention centre and a gansta rapper.


90210 – Season 3 [DVD] – Buy it from Amazon.co.uk

Beverly Hills-based reboot enters its third season with an Earthquake quite literally shaking things up for the residents (sorry). 22 episodes of prom dates, final exams, drug addiction and blackmail. You know, just like at any other school.


Heartbeat – The Complete Sixth Series [DVD] – Buy it from Amazon.co.uk

Slightly bland but entirely watchable ITV police drama series revolving around a local bobby in 1960s Yorkshire. From when Nick Berry was still a big pull on Sunday nights. That’s the ’90s, not the 1960s. Oh, you know what I meant.


Black Butler – Series 1 Part 1 [DVD] – Buy it from Amazon.co.uk

Anime adaptation of the original manga series revolving around a 12-year-old orphan Lord and the demonic butler he enlists to fight evil and ultimately track down his parents’ murderer.


Murdoch Mysteries – Series 3 [DVD] – Buy it from Amazon.co.uk

Fun Canadian drama following William Murdoch, a Toronto police detective from the 1890s who uses many modern-day techniques to crack cases. The stories often see the eccentric Murdoch interact with famous people from history such as Nikola Tesla, H. G. Wells and Buffalo Bill.


Sekirei – The Complete Series [DVD] – Buy it from Amazon.co.uk

The box features a young girl with massive breasts and a tight white top/short skirt combo, while the Amazon description says “Otaku wish fulfilment in the extreme; may feature occasional nudity and Japanese oddness!” One for all the nerd perverts out there, then. That said subculture counts me as their leader is neither here nor there.


Dramarama: Spooky – The Complete Series – Buy it from Amazon.co.uk

Supernatural kids’ drama originally shown on ITV in the 1980s. Featuring stories written by the likes of Paula Milne, Jane Hollowood, Leon Garfield and Alan Garner — and starring Nicholas Ball, Wilfrid Brambell and Colin Jeavons.


Boon – The Complete Fifth Series [DVD] – Buy it from Amazon.co.uk

Former ITV ratings winner featuring the late Michael Elphick as a self-styled modern day Lone Ranger. The show also launched the TV career of Neil Morrissey, so that’s a shame. This fifth series features guest turns from big names such as the wonderful Pete Postelthwaite, Jane Horrocks and John Hannah.


September Song – The Complete Third Series [DVD] – Buy it from Amazon.co.uk

Fluffy Russ Abbot vehicle following the story of a schoolteacher who reunites with a close friend following the death of his wife. This third series sees Abbot’s stand-up comic companion, played by Michael Williams, land a gig at the local pier. Barnstorming stuff.


The Second Coming [DVD] – Buy it from Amazon.co.uk

Starring Christopher Ecclestone as a modern-day Mancunian who believes he’s the son of God, this two-part 2003 drama represented an incredibly bold departure for ITV, which usually prefers to play it safe with somewhat less controversial subject matter. Written by Russell T Davies, the story sees Ecclestone’s would-be Messiah struggling to find the human race’s Third Testament in order to prevent the coming Apocalypse. Well worth a watch.

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