Tune in for the hippest trip in America with Don Cornelius and the rest of the gang on this three-disc set commemorating the landmark television series. For over 35 years, Soul Train was the place to get your fix on the soulful sounds of black music. Featuring 50 classic performances by artists including the Jackson 5, Curtis Mayfield, Aretha Franklin and James Brown, this collection will be treasured.
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Conceived by formidable UK dramatist Lynda La Plante and positioned to play both with and against the archetypes within the standard dramatic police procedural, Prime Suspect succeeds for numerous reasons. It’s well scripted, expertly acted, plotted with one eye on the engaging elements of the mystery thriller and the other on a classy concurrent character study, and never once employs the false formulas of the typical TV cop show to win over the viewer. Instead, this is a show that settles in for the long haul, that has no problem taking one particular crime through several sensational episodes.
In fact, the best thing about Prime Suspect is the density of it all, how we get beneath Jane Tennison’s (Helen Mirren) skin to experience her desperation, her despair, and her desires. There is never a moment where the character goes unexplored, where the scribes or directors put her on autopilot to cruise through another whodunit. Mirren is exceptional, constantly finding ways to broaden the woman’s walking wounded view between various levels of malaise. Some cause her to be curt and abrupt. At other times, she’s as fragile as a pressed flower. Because of her own natural beauty and fetching physical attributes, Mirren can make Tennison into anything she wants: stern authority figure, bitter victim, stalwart survivor. Even better, the show know how to bring out the best in the actress. Even when cast in a wholly unflattering light, we never lose her innate strength.
Those of you who would consider buying this already know the recipient loves South Park and the fourth-grader Leopold Stotch, more commonly known as Butters, and there’s no question that he deserves his own collection. After all, his naïveté, paired with astounding optimism, always guarantees an enjoyable episode. So what you really want to know is if the extras make it worth your money.
I think so. You get fully realized case featuring drawings by – who else? – Butters. The back and sides are covered in drawings, including an especially humorous portrait of Butters and AWESOM-O with AWESOM-O scribbled out and “Best Friends” written above the duo. The interior of the case features even more inside jokes for fans.
You get a book written by Butters in “The Tale of Scrotie McBoogerballs”. You get a Butters badge, a fake check for $250 million (from “Stupid Spoiled Whore Video Playset”) and a Butters’ Bitch medallion and chain, a totally rad accessory for nightclubs. There’s also a plastic bracelet with “W.W.B.D?” written on it.
“It’s Butters! A Trivia Game” is included on disc one and features sing-a-long portions and questions based on clips from the show. You get a lot of Butters in this Little Box of Butters
Adapted by John Mortimer from his best-selling novels, and starring Leo McKern in an iconic performance, Rumpole of the Bailey set a new bar for all courtroom dramas to come. Airing on PBS between 1978 and 1992, this incredibly popular series balanced suspense and satire as deftly as the scales of justice. Spread across 14 discs, this box set includes all 42 episodes from all seven seasons.
The Golden Girls: 25th Anniversary Complete Collection chronicles the adventures of four older women living together in Miami. The memorable Rose, Blanche, Dorothy, and Sophia engage in all manner of silly, outrageous, and very funny antics in one of the best sitcoms, ever. The humor is what the show is best known for, and it holds up remarkably well in later years (much like they do), but its the friendship between these women that is at the heart of the series. We should all be so lucky in our golden years.
While this collection offers no new special features than those offered in the original DVD releases, the set makes for an appealing gift. The seven seasons of the series are enclosed within a replica of Sophia’s wicker purse, complete with a deck of playing cards featuring the four ladies. It’s sure to please the ladies, and those who love the ladies, on your list.