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Thursday, Dec 17, 2009
Walt Disney Treasures: Zorro The Complete First and Second Season - Disney [$59.99 each]

Disney is offering an opportunity for post-modern munchkins to dig on what the older members of the clan clamored for back five decades ago. As part of the company’s exclusive metal box Walt Disney Treasures collection, Zorro: The Complete First Season (1957-58) and Complete Second Season (1958 - 59) arrive completely remastered, restored, and presented over 12 separate DVDs. In addition, the set also includes the four one hour specials created when rights issues halted production during the height of the series’ popularity. As nostalgia, it’s a knock-out, a wholesome slice of pre-cynic spectacle where the House of Mouse’s patented production value is draped onto a collection of continuing story arcs involving cautionary tale tenets like greed, disloyalty, and underhandedness.


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Walt Disney Treasures: Zorro The Complete First and Second Season

Thanks to Disney’s attention to detail, the desire to preserve their heritage for future generations to enjoy, these limited edition box sets are like stepping back in time and witnessing the series premiere as it originally aired. Film critic and company expert Leonard Maltin is on hand to guide us through the experience (does this man ever age?) and the hour long specials, while padded in places, are solid attempts to keep the Zorro franchise moving forward. Williams would go on to yet another iconic series when Irwin Allen hired him to play John Robinson in his sensational sci-fi schlock-fest Lost in Space. But this is where the actor first found major mainstream success - and for a couple of years, America was indeed mesmerized by his character’s combination of swashbuckling and savoir-faire. Slice a “Z” into a piece of paper (or some other object) nowadays and you’re bound to get more than a few dumbfounded looks. In 1957, however, everyone knew the mark of Zorro. Thankfully, the House of Mouse is giving us a chance to experience this hero’s magic all over again.


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Wednesday, Dec 16, 2009
Mystery Science Theater 3000: XV - Shout! Factory [$59.99]

Shout! Factory has released Volume XV of their bravura box sets with Mystery Science Theatre 3000: XV. This time around we are treated to surefire classics like The Girl in Lovers Lane (two drifters land in a small town and stir up some powerful hormones), Zombie Nightmare (voodoo and body building meet the living dead) and the immortal Racket Girls (spinsters put on unflattering togs and grapple like your grandma). Also included is one of the best episodes from the first season of the series, The Robot vs. the Aztec Mummy. As Mexican macabre goes, it’s all flashbacks and K. Gordon Murray mandated exposition. But as an example of what Weinstein contributed to the mix, it’s eye-opening, especially when you toss in the Scrapbook bonus features which trace the show’s seminal UHF roots. An inspired addition to the DVD library of any Mystery Science Theater fan.


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Tuesday, Dec 15, 2009
Blackadder Remastered: The Ultimate Edition - BBC Video [$79.98]

BlackAdder is comedy done right. Nearly 30 years after its creation, the beloved British series continues to be watched and worshiped, recited and referenced, lauded and, of course, laughed at. Blackadder Remastered: The Ultimate Edition DVD set collects each of the four series and all of the specials in new, digitally restored from the original program masters form on six discs. The set also features new episode commentaries with Rowan Atkinson, Stephen Fry, Ben Elton, Richard Curtis, Tony Robinson, and Tim McInnerny; several new interviews with Rowan Atkinson, Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie, Richard Curtis, Ben Elton, and Tony Robinson; Footnotes to History, a guide to the real historical figures and events depicted in Black Adder hosted by Tony Robinson; a behind-the-scenes of Black adder Back and Forth featurette entitled Baldrick’s Video Diary and the wonderful 25th Anniversary documentary Black Adder Rides Again. It’s an embarrassment of riches even the Black Adder himself would want to share. Even the packaging is perfect, opening like a beautifully bound and well-worn history book (look closely at the illustration of Baldrick’s family tree on the front leaf; it may explain a few things!). Essentially, if Blackadder is the prime example of how to create and produce a near-perfect comedy—and, that it be—then Blackadder Remastered: The Ultimate Edition is exemplary of the way to make a near-perfect DVD set.


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Tuesday, Dec 15, 2009
Torchwood: Children of Earth Blu-ray [$28]

For sci-fi fans who prefer their adventures on-demand in high-def comes this latest installment from the BBC’s Dr. Who spinoff. The show about a team of alien investigators who battle a constant threat of invasion, Torchwood is a mature and dark series within the genre. This five-part miniseries, which aired in America last July, puts the battered team on the wrong side of the law with the government pursuing them while the children of Earth are attacked by extraterrestrials. This is a mythology-heavy set, but still easily digestible by new and established fans of the show.


Tagged as: dr. who, torchwood
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Monday, Dec 14, 2009
SpongeBob SquarePants: The First 100 Episodes - Nickelodeon [$117]

Who lives in a pineapple under the sea, and has done so for a decade? One Mr. SquarePants, that’s who, and he is celebrating his tenth anniversary with this 14-disc mega set that includes every episode through Season Five. In addition to collecting the episodes with guest stars like Johnny Depp and Gene Simmons, the set includes the documentary Square Roots: The Story of SpongeBob SquarePants. Spongey is a pop-culture icon for all ages, and this set proves it. If the $117 price tag at www.barnesandnoble.com is too much, there is also the $11 SpongeBob’s Greatest Hits CD featuring 16 of the squishy one’s best songs.


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