The Mill Creek Entertainment August 21, 2018 separate DVD and Blu-ray complete-series releases of the early 2010s series "Masters of Sex" and "Happy Endings" is wonderful news for current fans of those series and for folks who have yet to experience the good quality of both programs. In what seemingly is backwards on a couple of levels. "Endings' is a review topic before "Masters."
The enhanced video of Blu-ray is tailored made for the truly vibrant and detailed colors that extend well beyond the red feathers of Tyler the racist parrot, The crystal-clear rich sound is a bonus.
"Endings" producers Joe and Anthony Russo also are the best brains behind the even more subversive cultcom "Community, which Mill Creek is releasing in separate DVD and Blu-rays sets in September 2018. Fanboys know that the Russo brothers go on to bigger (but not necessarily better) things in the form of "Captain America" and "Avengers" films.
The Russos particularly show that they know their stuff in not adding laugh tracks to either "Community" or "Endings." This reflects the wisdom of Alan Spencer regarding his '80s cultcom "Sledgehammer," which is about a cop who makes Dirty Harry look like Sheriff Andy of Mayberry. Spencer notes that viewers do not need to be told when something is funny. A related note is that the somewhat subtle but hilarious "Endings" joke "Rivers Thicke Johnson" likely would not have triggered the laugh track.
"Endings" begins on a high note for the audience that is a low point for one of the friends around whom the series centers. Future food truckeuter Dave Rose (Zachary Knighton of "Flashforwrd") is standing at the altar with childhood friend/fiancee/failing boutique owner Alex Kerkovich (past literal cougar bait Elisha Cuthbert). The first of an almost "Community" level amount of pop culture references begin with a nod to both "Xanadu" and "The Graduate," A 20-something guy with an open shirt rollerblades down the aisle and turns Alex into a runaway bride.
The action aptly fastforwards a month to Dave living in the bedroom in the apartment in which gay "chubby" and slovenly college buddy Max Bloom (Adam Pally of "The Mindy Project") is couch surfing in his own shabby loft that has rats in the main living area and a belatedly discovered human squatter in a previously unknown attic space.
Penny Hartz (Casey Wilson of "SNL") is a childhood friend of Dave and Alex. Her dating Max in college seeming to be the highlight of her romantic history states quite a bit about this current fag hag. She and Max being the Jack and Karen of "Endings" makes having Megan Mullally play her mother apt.
The fifth member of the sextet is Eliza Coupe of "Scrubs" 2.0 playing Alex sibling/ruthless ice queen/successful executive with an initially undisclosed profession Jane Kerkovich-Williams; the obvious joke comes late in the run of the series.
Damon Wayans, Jr. proves the truth of like father like son in his portrayal of the object of the jungle fever of Jane. His Brad Williams is almost as successful as his wife but is much more silly. His many shining moments include his role in a "Get Out" plot years that has the third Kerkovich sister engaged to a black man years before "Out" is released.
The "Endings" characters themselves and the overall series successfully combine the best elements of "Friends" and of "Seinfeld." The likability of our gang falls right between that of the group that sets the standard for this genre of television comedy, and Team Jerry, Especially in the first two seasons, the "sits" that provide the "com" in "Endings" are closer to the "nothing" end of of the plot scale than silly shenanigans that include scouring Manhattan for a carelessly lost baby or getting trapped in an ATM vestibule with a super model. This is not to mention the old chestnut of accidentally seeing a character of the opposite sex naked.
However, "Endings" specifically mentions "Friends" on a few occasions; the most direct connection is the group once discussing which of them is which "friend." This involving an existential crisis is pure "Endings."
We also get an outing in which Max and Amy rebel against being the "poor" members of the group, A broader connection is the habit of flashbacks that highlight poorly thought out fashion and hairstyle choices.
The "Seinfeld" connection is stronger. Like Jerry and Elaine, Dave and Alex are exes; one difference is that our current couple are on=again-off-again far more than their predecessors. We further get Max engaging in Krameresque escapades that include using his vintage limousine to conduct comically inept tours of Chicago.
"Endings" goes further back in an episode that has Alex, Dave, and Max playing "Three's Company." Dave wondering why his landlord is so obsessed with the sexual orientation of his tenant is a highlight of that one.
Notable episodes that fall in between "Seinfeld" and "Friends" include selfish reasons being behind the rest of the group comically trying to provoke Brad and Jane to fight. That couple playing along contributes to the hilarity. We also get the gang full entering TV Land to help save a struggling toddler play center.
One highly relatable episode has Brad using a pretense to avoid annual visits by a sorority sister of Jane. Once again, the awesome twists are "must-see" TV.
This new set seems to have the same plentiful bonus features as the (much-more expensive) DVD sets from a few years ago. They go beyond deleted scenes and outtakes to include a hilarious parody song and a fun joint interview with Pally and Wilson.
'Crime Time TV: Hot Streets & Cool Cops' DVD: 'Miami Vice,' Knight Rider,' and Greatest Crime Stoppers' Oh My
Mill Creek Entertainment fully embraces the spirit of summer reruns with the June 5, 2018 DVD collection "Crime Time TV: Hot Streets & Cool Cops." This set includes the full first seasons of the iconic '80s series "Knight Rider" and "Miami Vice" and a DVD set titled "TV's Greatest Crime Stoppers." The latter consists of episodes of vintage series that range from "treasures from the vault" such as "Man With a Camera" and "Mr. and Mrs. North" to more heavily syndicated fare that includes "Mannix" and "Burke's Law."
The popularity of the scruff look and the proliferation of linen suits with pastel t-shirts alone attest to the phenomenal pop culture impact of "Vice." Further, the copious montages set to the greatest hits of the '80s arguably make this series about two young Turks out to collar pushers and porn kings the first "Cop Rock" series.
An amusing aspect of the feature-length "Vice" pilot is the extent to which the pilot of the "fast and furious" action-adventure series "Fastlane" mirrors it 15 years later. We meet undercover cop Sonny Crockett (Don Johnson) and his then partner actively working to take down a cocaine godfather when an incident occurs that indicates that the partner is due to retire that day.
New Yorker Ricardo Tubbs (Philip Michael Thomas) soon arrives and convinces Crockett and his superiors to let him in on the fun; of course, the extent to which the case is personal to Tubbs and to which he and Crockett are kindred spirits soon comes out. This leads to the unlikely partnership between a tough black survivor of the mean streets of New York and a good ole Southern boy who is a former football star.
The first regular season adventure pits our boys against a porn kingpin who preys on teen girls. Seeing "Modern Family" star Ed O'Neill play this video pioneer in his "Married With Children" era is fun. The "Fastlane" element is the team working with an undercover fed who may be on Team Darkside.
IMDb perfectly captures the spirit of the next episode with the following description. "Crockett and Tubbs must enlist the help of an unreliable petty thief to bust a drug operation run by a trio of bloodthirsty Jamaicans." The comic mayhem regarding the sting operation that leads to all that is an episode highlight.
"Vice" then moves onto a special two-parter that ties back to the pilot; it is business as usual from there.
"Knight Rider" is best known for making "The Hoff" a household name. The pilot finds undercover cop Michael Long (David Hasselhoff) investigating the '80slicioous crime of microchip theft. His case ending with very high prejudice leads to one-percenter Wilton Knight (Richard Basehart) giving Long the titular identity to go along with his new face and new crusade.
This new career involves Knight teaming up with K.I.T.T., which is a car that makes the Batmobile look like a Vega, to fight all of manner of injustice. Sadly, we do not get the evil twins this season.
Cliched early fun has Knight introducing K.I.T.T, to the concept of a vacation only to have the pair face off against a motorcycle gang that is terrorizing a small town; knowing how things will unfold doe not diminish the joy in watching the events.
The awesome nostalgia of "Crime Stoppers" fulfills the DVD purpose of getting to see classic series with limited syndication runs. The strong retro goodness of this collection makes it particular strong.
The first bit of fun of "Code 3" is that it reflects the successful formula of "Dragnet," which also makes the "Stoppers" cut, in that episodes are based on actual crimes. This one has a resentful redneck as the prime suspect regarding the murder of his wealthy father-in-law. The solving of the case provides equal amusement. More fun comes via seeing that the real-life sheriff of Los Angeles County of the day looks and acts like Floyd the barber from "The Andy Griffith Show."
The 1950-52 "Dick Tracy" TV series is notable for reflecting a media trend. This character and his universe begin life as a comic strip and evolve into a radio show before hitting the small screen. That series reflecting radio roots through extensive (but not annoying) exposition reflects a similar pattern regarding films. Early silents have the exaggerated gesturing as live-stage productions, and early "talkies" retain that technique.
"Mr. and Mrs. North" about amateur crime-solvers millionaire publisher Gerald and socialite wife Pam is the child of "The Thin Man" film series and the parent of the '80s "Hart to Hart" television series.
Other "lost" gems include "Sherlock Holmes," "Sea Hunt," and "I'm the Law."
Anyone with any questions about this sampler pack is encouraged either to email me or to connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.
Unreal TV 2.0 evolves from http://classictvdvdreviews.blogspot.com/ (which still is up.) Both sites are labors of love dedicated to preserving the golden and silver ages of television and film and celebrating new content that values art over commerce. The same principle applies regarding boutique hotels.