Transformers Cybertron: The Complete Series (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

July 26, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 


“Transformers Cybertron” was my favorite series in the “Cybertron” trilogy.  With many characters featured and an exciting storyline, children and the young at heart will no doubt enjoy “Transformers Cybertron The Complete Series”.  Recommended!

DVD TITLE: Transformers Cyberton: The Complete Series


DURATION: 52 Episodes (19 3/4 hours)

DVD INFORMATION: Animated, Box set, Color, DVD-Video, Full Screen, NTSC

COMPANY: Shout! Factory


DIRECTOR: Manabu Ono, Hiroyuki Kakudo

Written by Charlotte Fullerton, Aaron Archer, James W. Bates, Marc Handler, Manabu Ishikawa, Hiro Masaki, David McDermott, Kazuhisa Sakaguchi, Kazuhiko Soma, Seth Walther, Akatsuki Yamatoya, Genki Yoshimura

Executive Producer as Steve Drucker, Joshua Izzo

Animation Producer: Fumi Saitoh

Line Producer: Jyunichi Takagi

Consulting Producer: Shiiki Ryuta, Azuma Tani

Featuring the voices of:

Garry Chalk as Optimus Prime

Sarah Edmondson as Lori

Sam Vincent as Coby

Richard Newman as Vector Prime

Kirby Morrow as Hot Shot

Brian Dobson as Red Alert

Lisa Ann Beley as Override

Michael Daingerfield as Quickmix

Scott McNeil as Snarl

Brian Drummond as Jetfire

Paul Dobson as Landmine

Richard Ian Cox as Scattorshot

Mark Acheson as Crumplezone

Louis Chirillo as Ransack

Michael Dobson as Brakedown

Mark Oliver as Thundercracker

Trevor Devall as Scourge

Maryke Hendrikse as Thunderblast

David Kaye as Galvatron

Ryan Hirakida as Bud

Ted Cole as Sideways

Colin Murdock as Wing Saber

Dale Wilson as Mudflap

Tabitha St. Germain as Professor Lucy Suzuki

The Conclusion Of The Unicron Trilogy!

Unicron has been defeated, but his destruction has created a black hole, which is threatening the Autobots’ home world of Cybertron. It’s up to Optimus Prime, his team of heroic Autobots and their new human friends (Coby, Lori and Bud) to secure the four mystical Cyber Planet Keys, in order to destroy the black hole. Unfortunately, Megatron and the Decepticons are always lurking. And if the Cyber Planet Keys fall into their hands, it could mean the end of life as we know it. The race is on!

I’ve noticed a lot of reviews on other sites that are calling “Transformers Cybertron” the worst. A lot of these reviewers haven’t really watched a “Transformers” animation since the first series back in the 80′s or “Beast Wars” in the 90′s.

But of all series, “Transformers Cybertron” (aka Transformers: Galaxy Force in Japan) is one of my favorite “Transformers” animation series since the original G1 series.

Like most “Transformers” series, the target are children and hopes for children to buy the toys. But of course, among the older and hardcore collectors, this anime was so cool because it would introduce so many characters and also feature a large amount of Transformers merchandise.

The series focus on three young humans Coby (the teenager gifted at mechanics), his younger brother Bud (your typical young child) and Lori (a teenage friend of Coby and obviously she likes him. And a person that can easily get frustrated).

To make a long story short, the autobots have evacuated to the Planet Earth after the destruction of Unicron has left a black hole. With the black hole threatening their planet, the Autobots must find a way to stop the black hole from devouring their planet and the whole universe.

The three humans discover the Autobots and after developing trust and friendship, the humans assist the Optimus Prime and the other Autobots who are trying to find the legendary Cyber Planet Keys and Omega Lock thanks to the help of an ancient Autobot named Vector Prime. Of course, the Decepticons are after the same thing.

The four Cyber Planet keys are scattered in four worlds. Planet Earth, the Speed Planet (Velocitron), the Jungle Planet and Gigantion, the Giant Planet.

And the race is on as the Autobots along with Coby, Bud and Lori must get to the Cyber Planet keys and the Omega Lock before the Decepticons.  But can they do it?  And can they trust the fellow mecha who remain neutral?

Find out in the final series in the “Cybertron” trilogy, “Transformers Cybertron: The Complete Series”!


“Transformers Cybertron” is presented in 4:3 and the animation is one of the most detailed of the “Transformers” series from the 2000-era.  Great character design and use of CG and lighting effects.  For the most part, the series looks good on DVD!


“Transformers Cybertron” is a series featured more dialog and music, so don’t expect any major audio channels. I didn’t expect any inclusion of the Japanese audio on this DVD, especially since the US and Japanese names of the robots are all different.


“Transformers Cybertron: The Complete Series” does not come with any special features.

It has been nearly a decade since I watched “Transformers Cybertron”.  At the time, I was a father raising a two-year-old who absolutely loved “Transformers Cybertron” and as a new father, literally purchased the whole “Transformers Cybertron” toy line and together, we would watch “Transformers Cybertron” and feel how awesome this series was, especially how they included so many characters.  The largest lineup I have ever seen since the original G1 series.

The series is quite long and in Japan, typically the anime with longer series are typically good for merchandise sales. May it be “Gundam”, “Pokemon” or “Naruto”, the same here in the US as a lot of “Transformers Cybertron” merchandise came out and if you were a collector of the line, to have so many Transformers (Autobots and Decepticons) from the various planets, small, tall or humongous was just satisfying.

There are many battles and there were some Transformer deaths as well. But overall, the series was enjoyable if you stayed in it for the long haul and for the most part, the series is quite safe for children.

There are some differences between the Japanese and American animations aside from character names and opening and ending themes but one difference is the leader of Velocitron (Speed Planet) in the US version is Override (a female Autobot) but in the Japanese version Override aka Nitro Convoy is a male character.

But I did like the nod to the past, with a little bit of inclusion of things from the past such as combining Transformers that would combine with Optimus Prime or Megatron, the addition of minicons and much more.

While “Transformers Cybertron” was a series conceived for children, the series was no doubt appealing to people of all ages. For me, the whole 52-episodes was fun to watch so many characters be introduced and then to see the many various battles, especially as the episodes starts to near its end. This was the only Transformers series that actually made me buy nearly every merchandise at that time because I enjoyed it that much and it was definitely a great series for me and my son can enjoy together.

As for the new release of “Transformers Cybertron: The Complete Series” and how it compares to the original, there is no true difference between the two.  You still get 52 episodes, no special features but with the series now in Shout! Factory’s hands, you can expect them to take better care of the series and for the most part, not worry about this set going out of print.

While picture quality was as good as one can expect on DVD, too bad there aren’t any special features but considering fans are getting all 52-episodes for a good price, it’s hard to complain.

Granted, those who are coming into this series thinking of the old school Transformers may or may not get into it and I can understand why some reviewers may dislike it. But for those who are “Transformers” fans and also a collector of the merchandise, the series was one of the better ones to come in a long time in my opinion.

Overall, “Transformers Cybertron” was my favorite series in the “Cybertron” trilogy.  With many characters featured and an exciting storyline, children and the young at heart will no doubt enjoy “Transformers Cybertron The Complete Series”.  Recommended!


The Pretty One (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

July 24, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 


“The Pretty One” is a romantic comedy which features strong performances from Zoe Kazan and Jake Johnson. It has its interesting and enjoyable moments but I felt it didn’t have the movie magic that romantic comedies are known for. Still, “The Pretty One” is an entertaining popcorn romantic comedy worth checking out!

Image courtesy of © 2014 The Pretty One LLC. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: The Pretty One


DURATION: 95 Minutes

DVD INFORMATION: 1:85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English 5.1 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English SDH

COMPANY: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

RATED: R (Language and some Sexual Content)

RELEASED: June 3, 2014

Directed by Jenee LaMarque

Written by Jenee LaMarque

Produced by Steven J. Berger, Robin Schorr

Co-Producer: David Szamet

Co-Executive Producer: Alan Pao

Music by Julian Wass

Cinematography by Polly Morgan

Edited by Kiran Pallegadda

Casting by Lindsay Graham, Mary Vernieu

Production Design by Anne Costa

Art Directon by Brittany Bradford

Costume Design by Emily Batson


Zoe Kazan as Laurel/Audrey

Jake Johnson as Basel

Ron Livingston as Charles

Frances Shaw as Claudia

Jeremy Howard as James

Sterling Beaumon as Hunter

Danny Pudi as Dr. Rao

Sabrina Lloyd as Edith

John Carroll Lynch as Frank

Laurel (Kazan) has always been the odd wallflower, choosing to live at home with her father, while her glamorous identical twin, Audrey (Kazan), possesses the confidence and appeal to succeed in the big city. When tragedy strikes and Laurel is mistaken for her twin sister, she makes the impulsive decision to assume her sister’s identity and become The Pretty One. As she eases into her new, independent existence, Laurel discovers that she’s capable of accomplishments she had never before had dreamed of: excelling in a career, maintaining friendships and even finding love. Zoe Kazan (Ruby Sparks), Jake Johnson (TV’s “New Girl”) and Ron Livingston (Drinking Buddies) star in this quirky, comedic drama about family ties and second chances.

For filmmaker Jenee LaMarque, having created two shorts “Happy Deathday” and “Spoonful”, Jenee takes on her first feature film, the comedy “The Pretty One”, which she wrote and directed.

Starring Zoe Kazan (“What if”, “Fracture”, “Ruby Sparks”), Jake Johnson (“New Girl”, “21 Jump Street”, “Safety Not Guaranteed”) and Ron Livingston (“Office Space”, “Swingers”, “The Conjuring”).

The film revolves around Laurel (portrayed by Zoe Kazan), a wallflower who lives with her father and is a young woman who is an average girl but dating the boy that she once babysitted.

When her glamorous identical twin Audrey (also portrayed by Zoe Kazan) comes to visit, Audrey is surprised about Laurel’s life and that she needs to take her out to the big city.

As Laurel gets a haircut and dye job similar to Audrey, as the two are having fun and leaving to the big city, tragedy overshadows the family as a head-on accident kills Audrey and as for Laurel, she wakes up and realizes everyone thinks she is her glamorous sister.

While Laurel wants to tell her father (portrayed by John Carrol Lynch) what happened, upon appearing at the funeral, she realizes that no one has anything good to say about her, so she decides to assume Audrey’s identity and let everyone believe that Laurel had died.

Because Audrey had the better life, Laurel assumes her sister’s identity and moves to the big city and finds out that Audrey has been having an affair with a married man (portrayed by Ron Livingston) and has a male roommate named Basel (portrayed by Jake Johnson).

And while the real Audrey didn’t care for Basel and was going to kick him out and have Laurel live with her, with Laurel assuming Audrey’s life, she starts to realize that there are opportunities in life and to become a different person.

But what happens when Laurel wants everyone to know the truth that she has been assuming Audrey’s identity?


“The Pretty One” is presented in 1:85:1 anamorphic widescreen with an English 5.1 Dolby Digital soundtrack with subtitles in English SDH.  Picture quality is as good as one can expect on DVD.  Audio is primarily dialogue-driven and understandable.


“The Pretty One” comes with one special feature:

  • The Pretty One: Visual Effects - (1:58) A short featurette on how the visual effects were creatd.

The independent film “The Pretty One” is witty and features a wonderful performance from actress Zoe Kazan.

That’s the good news.

But for the actual film, there are enjoyable moments of the film but its subject matter of a simple girl named Laurel and wanting to step into the shoes of her more outgoing sister after an accident and assuming her identity could have been better.

While “The Pretty One” is not the first film nor the last about one assuming a fantasy life that is not truly their own, others such as “Pretty Woman”, allow one to fall for the challenges and the transformation that the character goes through from beginning to end.

For “The Pretty One”, There is not much sympathy going towards Laurel’s way because she assumes her dead sister’s identity and the film focuses less on the transformation of the character and focuses on her adjustment of pretending to be Audrey and eventually falling for her roommate.

The film, while enjoyable, is lacking the charm and the magic that makes these films so captivating and wonderful.  You want to see Laurel trying to live her life and eventually growing with the city that she is now living and falling in love.

Too much of the film falls on the shoulders of Zoe Kazan, assuming two roles but fortunately, she is able to pull both characters off with efficacy.  It’s just the screenplay and overall setting, which could have made things much more believable.

The DVD features very good picture quality, audio is primarily dialogue-driven and there is one special feature showing how Kazan was able to play two roles on screen.

Overall, “The Pretty One” is a romantic comedy which features strong performances from Zoe Kazan and Jake Johnson.   It has its interesting and enjoyable moments but I felt it didn’t have the movie magic that romantic comedies are known for.

Still, “The Pretty One” is an entertaining popcorn romantic comedy worth checking out!



Naruto Shippuden DVD Set 19 – Original & Uncut (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)

July 14, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 


The origin of Eight Tails and preparation for the Great Ninja War!  If you are a fan of the anime series and are staying in for the long haul, “Naruto Shippuden DVD Set 19 – Original & Uncut” is a fun and enjoyable filler volume worth watching!

Image courtesy of © 2002 Masashi Kishimoto/2007 Shippuden. All Rights Reserved.

DVD TITLE: Naruto Shippuden DVD Set 19 – Original & Uncut

DURATION: Episodes 232-244 (300 Minutes)

DVD INFORMATION: 2.0 Stereo Surround Sound, Bilingual (Japanese & English), English Subtitles

COMPANY: Shonen Jump/Viz Media

RATED: Rated T for Older Teen

Release Date: July 8, 2014

Originally created by Masashi Kishimoto

Series Directed by Hayato Date

Produced by Tomoko Gushima, Ken Hagino

Series Coordinator by Junki Takegami, Satoru Nishizono

Character Design by Tetsuya Nishio, Hirofumi Suzuki

Music by Yasuharu Takanishi, Yaiba

Music Production by Aniplex

Anime Production by TV Tokyo, Pierrot

Featuring the following voice talent:

Junko Takeuchi/Maile Flanagan as Naruto Uzumaki

Chie Nakamura/Kate Higgins as Sakura Haruno

Noriaki Sugiyama/Yuri Lowenthal as Sasuke Uchiha

Akira Ishida/Liam O’Brien as Sabaku no Gaara (Gaara of the Desert)

Hideo Ishikawa/Crispin Freeman as Itachi Uchiha

Houchu Ohtsuka/David Lodge as Jiraiya

Kazuhiko Inoue/Dave Wittenberg as Hatake Kakashi

Kentarou Itou/Robbie Rist as Chouji Akimichi

Kenyuu Horiuchi/Troy Baker as Pain

Kouichi Toochika/Steve Staley as Neji Hyuuga

Kousuke Toriumi/Kyle Hebert as Kiba Inuzuka

Kujira/Steven Blum as Orochimaru

Masako Katsuki/Debi Mae West as Tsunade/Fifth Hokage

Nana Mizuki/Stephanie Sheh as Hinata Hyuuga

Nobutoshi Canna/Henry Dittman as Kabuto Yakushi

Rikiya Koyama/Troy Baker as Yamato

Romi Paku/Tara Platt as Temari

Ryoka Yuzuki/Colleen O’Shaughnessey as Ino Yamanaka

Satoshi Hino/Ben Diskin as Sai

Shinji Kawada/Derek Stephen Prince as Shino Aburame

Yasuyuki Kase/Michael Lindsay as Kankurou

Yoichi Masukawa/Brian Donovan as Rock Lee

As the Leaf Village prepares for war, each shinobi and clan must contemplate the role they will play in the battles to come. While Naruto’s peers seek training from surprising sources, Naruto himself must confront both his biggest weakness and greatest strength: the Nine-Tailed Fox.

To reach optimum power, Naruto must learn to control the beast within him, so he seeks help from the one person who has mastered just that, Killer Bee! But the Jinchuriki of Eight Tails wants nothing to do with training Naruto!

As the allied ninja forces prepare for the Great Ninja War, at Konoha, ninja’s prepare for their role in the battlefield.

For the Hyuga clan, Neji is assigned to lead the clan to war.  Naruto is on his way for his special mission but finds out an imposter is ruining his reputation.

Back at the village Konohamaru, Udon and Moegi want to get into action but for Konohamaru, he wants to pick a fight…but with the Sand Village’s Temari?

Shino looks back at the past, Tenten remembers how she wanted to be like Tsunade, Sai remembers his time spent with Naruto and Sakura, Kiba wants to prove himself and Guy remembers how he became Kakashi’s rival.

All this and more in “Naruto Shippuden DVD Set 19 – Original & Uncut”.

What is “Naruto”?

Since 1999, “Naruto” created by Masashi Kishimoto (“Karakuri”) has been one of the most popular anime and manga series in Japan and has easily become a favorite best selling anime/manga series among fans all over the world.

For the anime series, since 2002, “Naruto” lasted until 2007 with a total of 220 episodes. The series would follow the adventures of a boy named Naruto Uzamaki, who may not be the brightest ninja from the Konoha Village but he makes it up with heart and also tremendous power as the killer beast known as the nine-tailed fox has been sealed within him.

Earlier in the series, the anime series focused on Naruto and his team members Sasuke Uchida and Sakura Haruno as they would go on adventures and learn to become a team and also honing their ninja abilities. The series would then begin to introduce other young ninjas from the village who Naruto would be paired up with and the young ninjas would take on rival clans to helping people in need. But somehow as the series continued, Sasuke Uchida would then go off on his own personal mission to stop his brother Itaki Uchida, who murdered the whole Uchida clan and his family, only leaving Sasuke alive.

Within those six years, we have seen Naruto and his friends grow as friends and also in their abilities. For Naruto, all he has wanted is to become the next Hokage (the leader of the village) when he grows older and to help his friends accomplish missions. He knows that to be a good leader, he will need to get stronger so he can protect the village once he grows older. Of course, there is so much involved in the “Naruto” anime series and what makes its special is its humor, its action but also how well the series integrates so many characters but yet features a good number of character driven episodes that makes the viewer appreciate many of the characters in the series.

“Naruto”, the first series ended with the young ninja leaving to train with Jiraiya for two-and-a-half years.

What is “Naruto Shippuden”?

In “Naruto Shippuden”, the storyline now features everyone a little grown up but the stakes are much higher. We learn that the Akatsuki including Orochimaru are looking for those who possess a jinchuriki. With this power, this will give too much power to evil and this can lead to the death of many people and the destruction of many villages.

In the past few volumes, the Leaf Village along with other villages have managed to defeat the Akatsuki, unfortunately the price paid was the death of Asuma and a few other members of the Leaf and Sand Ninja.

Now, Orochimaru using Kabuto, have their sites set on capturing the other jinchuriki, as do the Akatsuki who have been after Naruto.

In vol. 18 of “Naruto Shippuden – Original & Uncut”, after the epic battle with Pain, Lady Tsunade’s injuries causes concern in the leaf village and a discussion to select a new Hokage comes into play. Who will be the next choice of leading the village?

Meanwhile, the five Kage’s must plan and discuss the fourth Great Ninja War against the Akatsuki. Meanwhile, Naruto takes part in an S-ranked mission with Aoba, Guy and Yamato.

Which leads to vol. 19, a filler season (Season 11)  which features various storylines on various leaf ninja preparing for the war and reminiscing of their earlier years but also how Naruto has inspired them.


“Naruto Shippuden” is an anime series that was never known for having spectacular background art, but it’s know for its action and its characters and how it captures emotion and its intense battles. While in this episode, a lot of episodes are contained in areas near lush green trees, water or dirt, it’s not so much of the background but how the characters are design and how well the battles are portrayed. And I can easily say that with “Naruto Shippuden DVD Set 19- Original Uncut”, the fast-paced action in this volume is great for a TV series and good for what one can expect on DVD.

It’s important to note that in 2014, Viz has went from releasing episodes on three DVD discs to two DVD discs per volume.

As for the audio, the audio for “Naruto Shippuden DVD Set 19″ is pretty much Dolby Digital Stereo 2.0 Bilingual (Japanese and English). Similar to a series like “Dragon Ball Z”, with “Naruto”, I have always enjoyed the voice acting of the English dub series. It’s well done and the voices fit the characters very well.

Especially Maile Flanagan’s Naruto Uzumaki. Personally, I didn’t think there would be a voice actor that could capture Junko Takeuchi’s Naruto vocals and sure enough, Flanagan does a great job. But I have watched the series in Japanese and English and for the most part, voice acting for both soundtracks are well-done.

Since the series is front channel driven, for those with a modern home theater receiver probably will enjoy a more immersive soundscape by selecting stereo on all channels.

Subtitles are in English.


“Naruto Shippuden DVD Set 19 – Original & Uncut” comes with the following special features on disc 2:

  • Storyboards – View through the storyboards of episodes featured in volume 15 of “Naruto Shippuden”.
  • Clean Openings
  • Clean Endings
  • English Credits
  • More from Viz Media – Viz Media trailers


As the Fourth Great Ninja War was taking place in Japan for the manga series, the anime series was catching up to quickly and thus, in order to stretch out the storyline and give mangaka Masashi Kishimoto time to write many more chapters, for the anime series, in order to give him that space, it was going to be another season of filler episodes.

And with season 11 (episodes 222-242) which aired from July through December 2011, writers made sure to focus on the planning of the Fourth Great Ninja War while having Naruto and others from the Leaf Village on special missions.

So, for  “Naruto Shippuden DVD Set 19″ which covers episodes 232-244, the writers of the anime series knew they needed to extend the season before returning to any storyline that is from the original manga.

The series brings things home by focusing on a character that we have grown up watching from the original series.  Neji, Shino, Shikamaru, Tenten, Guy, Kiba, etc.  Pretty much you get an episode of a lot of reflection of why these ninja want to protect Naruto and what Naruto did for them as individuals.

And in someway, these filler episodes are very enjoyable for the fact that in the manga series, as one expects, the focus is primarily on Naruto and his close circle of teammates, while the anime series gave fans more exploration of these characters and have developed them over time.

So, in some ways, it’s great to see these episodes focused on these characters.

This volume also features the first two episodes of season 12 (episodes 243-244) which features Naruto meeting Killer Bee and wants KB to train him and we get to see the origin of Eight Tails.

And this will focus on the Naruto/Killer Bee storyline that was featured in the original manga series from Masashi Kishimoto.

As for the DVD set, you get a total of 13 episodes and a the typical special features such as storyboard, clean opening and endings for each episode.

Overall, “Naruto Shippuden DVD Set 19 – Original & Uncut” is rather fun, but for those who have read the manga series, will notice that the majority of all episodes in this latest volume are mostly filler episodes. Fortunately, the filler episodes are fun, fascinating and enjoyable and feature storylines that include characters that we have grown to appreciate in the Naruto world.

If you are staying in for the long haul, “Naruto Shippuden DVD Set 19 – Original & Uncut” is a fun and enjoyable filler volume worth watching!


Prisoners of War: Season One (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

July 10, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 


“Prisoner of War: Season One” has turned out to be a magnificent and riveting series that makes viewers wanting more and more! And I have to admit, I enjoyed “Prisoners of War” much more than “Homeland”, so if you enjoyed the American political thriller, definitely give this award-winning Israeli series a chance. Especially now that it is available on DVD in America courtesy of Shout! Factory! Highly recommended!

Image courtesy of © 2014 Keshet Media Group. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Prisoners of War: Season One


DURATION: 13 Episodes (530 Minutes)

DVD INFORMATION: Anamorphic Widescreen, Hebrew with English Subtitles

COMPANY: Shout Factory!

RATED: Not Rated

RELEASED: July 8, 2014

Directed by Gideon Raff

Written by Gideon Raff

Produced by Liat Benasuly

Cinematography by Itai Ne’eman

Edited by Simon Herman

Casting by Hila Yuval


Gal Zaid as Haim

Yael Eitan as Dana

Salim Dau as Jamal

Sendi Bar as Iris

Hadar Ratzon Rotem as Leila Qasab

Mili Avital as Nurit Halevi-Zach

Assi Cohen as Amiel Ben-Horin

Adi Ezroni as Yael Ben-Horin

Ishai Golan as Uri Zach

Yoram Toledano as Nimrod Klein

Guy Selnik as Hatzav

After 17 years in captivity, three Israeli soldiers are finally returned to their families: one of them in a coffin. The first season of this award-winning and controversial series follows the former captives and their families as they try to reconnect with each other. But the adjustment is painful, and when secrets of the years gone by begin coming to light, betrayal, resentment and suspicion threaten to destroy their lives all over again.

This deeply moving, intense and thrilling series was adapted into the acclaimed drama Homeland.

Before “Homeland” became a popular American political thriller, there was “Hatufim” (Prisoners of War), the Israeli drama series created by Gideno Raff, which “Homeland” was based on.

But while the series have similarities, because the difference in culture and what is going on in the Middle East, especially with Israel, “Prisoners of War” differs from its American counterpart as the focus is less on political thriller but more on a POW’s acclamation into society and their relationships with their family upon returning home.

A winner of “Best Drama Series of 2010″ by the Israeli Academy of Film and Television and multiple awards, the controversial series would become Israel’s highest rated TV drama of all time.

And with a third season of “Prisoner of War” greenlighted, the first season was released in North America on DVD courtesy of Shout! Factory.

“Prisoners of War” revolves around three families.

For 17 years, these families have hoped for Israeli soldiers: Uri Zach (portrayed by Ishai Golan), Nimrod Klein (portrayed by Yoram Toledano) and Amiel Ben-Horin (portrayed by Assi Cohen) to be returned back home.

For a long period of time, both men were held in Lebanon and tortured but after negotiations for their freedom (in return of the release of prisoners), the families receive news that their love ones will be returning.

For Nimrod’s wife, Talia Klein (portrayed by Yael Abecassis), she has worked hard for her husband’s release.  But in return, her family has had it’s major trouble.

Dana (portrayed by Yael Eitan) is a rebellious daughter who has dealt with not having her father around by having sexual relations with older men.  While Hatzav is the teenage son that Nimrod had never met and was born after Nimrod was captured.

For the Zach family, Uri’s return is not as easily accepted as Uri’s longtime girlfriend, Nurit (portrayed by Mili Avital) went on to marry his older brother Yaakov (portrayed by Mickey Leon) and both have a son named Asaf (portrayed by Adam Kent).  While Nurit and Yaakov are not as thrilled and are not sure on how to handle this situation, his father Joseph (portrayed by Shmuel Shilo) is happy for his son’s return.

For the Ben-Horin family, Adi Ezroni has been waiting to find out that her brother Amiel (portrayed by Assi Cohen) would return back home but learns that he was killed during captivity.

While the families deal with the difficulties of learning that their loved ones have changed severely due to captivity, Dana has a hard time dealing with Nimrod’s attitude, as Nimrod feels he could get back to normal life immediately but quickly learns that his wounds from torture is much deeper than expected.

And possibly, Nimrod is keeping a secret of what happened during his captivity.

Meanwhile for Uri, he has been reduced to a shy individual due to the beatings he had suffered.  As for Nurit, life is not easy for her because unlike Talia who remained single and waited for her husband’s return, she chose to marry his older brother and public opinion towards her has been nothing but negative.  Meanwhile, Yaakov is not comfortable that Nurit has been told to pretend she was waiting for him and she is willing to keep from Uri the truth that she had married his older brother.

As for Yael, she is dealing with Amiel’s death very hard and keeps seeing visions of Amiel alive and trying to communicate with her.

But as Nimrod and Uri are being studied by IDF psychologist Haim Cohen (portrayed by Gal Zaid), who suspects something may be amiss between the stories of captivity that both men are giving, what happened to both men during captivity and what secret(s) are they hiding?


“Prisoners of War: Season One” is presented in 1:78:1 anamorphic widescreen and Hebrew Dolby Digital with English subtitles. Overall, picture quality is good for what one can expect on DVD.  It helps that Shout! Factory has kept a minimum of 3-4 episodes per DVD.  While I didn’t notice any major artifacts or problematic video, I do wish that “Prisoners of War: Season One” was released on Blu-ray.

But dialogue is clear and English subtitles are easy to read.


“Prisoners of War: Season One” comes with the following special features:

  • Audio Commentary  – Featuring audio commentary for episodes 1-3 by show creator  Gareth Evans and Director of Photographer Itai Neeman.
  • An Open Wound: Making Prisoners of War – (38:176) Featuring the making of “Prisoners of War” with interviews with creator Gideo Raff, cast and crew.

Having watched “Homeland”, I have been wanting to watch “Hatufim” (Prisoners of War) after reading so much about the series and how it inspired the American political thriller but also reading on forums of how the original was much better.

With “Homeland” being the focus of a POW who is deemed a hero by America, a CIA operative believes this hero may have been turned by terrorist group,  al-Qaeda.

“Prisoners of War” takes a different approach to its storyline.

As Israel is constantly always preparing for war with a few of its neighboring countries, the discussion of POW’s continues to be a hotly debated topic in the country and “Prisoners of War” tries to depict the torture that these POW’s must face especially with a lower budget made the crew focus on the families affected.

And for the most part, the writers were able to pull off the emotional return but also the difficult of the POW’s and families adjusting as so many years have passed.

For series creator,  Gareth Evans did his research in trying to learn from POW’s and their families of how they felt before and after their loved one’s release and how life is not that easy and that life and the normalcy of life will never be the same.

The character of Nimrod is rather fascinating.  A man with so many plans, he comes back to find out that his young daughter is a troubled young woman and he has a teenage son that he never knew.  He notices that times have changed with cell phones, fashion styles and the Israel which he knew, is not the same.  And the wife he loved, has gotten older but also insistent that he gets help and is worried about his well-being.

And then there is Uri, once a young man who was looking forward to marrying his longtime girlfriend Nurit.  But to be emotionally destroyed in captivity and now, a very shy man, he returns back home to find out his love has married his older brother and to find out that his loving mother had passed away while he was in captivity.  Similar to Nimrod, both men have faced daily and severe torture while in captivity and both feel that despite their freedom, the world they once knew and the people they loved, have all changed.

But to add intrigue to the storyline is the storyline of what happened to these men during captivity and each glimpse that we get, the more we learn that something ominous has happened to both of them and the two are keeping a secret which they do not want anyone to know about.

What happened while these men were imprisoned?  Suffice to say, each episode is riveting and captivating that you can’t help but watch episode after episode.

The writing for the series is well-done and I can only hope that the second season (which did even better in the ratings) is even better, which is hard to do when the first season was critically acclaimed.

As for the DVD, you get three audio commentary tracks and a making-of featurette.  Picture quality is good, as what one can expect on DVD and I didn’t notice any major severe artifacts during my viewing.  The audio is clear and English subtitles were easy to read

Overall, “Prisoner of War: Season One” has turned out to be a magnificent and riveting series that makes viewers wanting more and more!  And I have to admit, I enjoyed “Prisoners of War” much more than “Homeland”, so if you enjoyed the American political thriller, definitely give this award-winning Israeli series a chance.  Especially now that it is available on DVD in America courtesy of Shout! Factory!

Highly recommended!



Helix: Season 1 (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

July 5, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 


“Helix” is a fascinating, violent and entertaining sci-fi series. It’s also a series that one should not try to pigeonhole as a banal virus outbreak series because as the series develops, because overtime, it becomes another different beast entirely which includes a story about survival, mutated people, killer mercenaries, action (bloody) scenes galore and literally many people (including key characters) dying. But as much as this first season of “Helix” was meant to develop the main characters, it sets up for an exciting second season that I definitely look forward to watching!

Image courtesy of © 2014 Sony Pictures Television, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Helix: Season 1


DURATION: 13 Episodes (531 Minutes)

DVD INFORMATION: 1:78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English 5.1 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English, English SDH, Chinese, French, Korean, Spanish, Thai

COMPANY: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

RATED: Not Rated

RELEASED: July 1, 2014

Directed by Brad Turner, Jeremiah S. Chechik, Duane Clark, Mike Rohl, Bradley Walsh, Steven A. Adelson, Jeffrey Reiner

Written by Cameron Porsandeh (Creator), Misha Green, Sean Crouch, Javier Grillo-Marxuach, Adam Lash, Cori Uchida, Ed Decter, Tiffany Greshler, Mark Haslett, Keith Huff

Executive Producer: Steven Maeda, Ronald D. Moore, Brad Turner

Co-Executive Producer: Maril Davis, Javier Grillo-Marxuach, Cameron Porsandeh

Produced by Sandrine Gros d’Aillon

Co-Producer: Misha Green

Associate Producer: Stephen Welke

Music by Reinhold Heil

Cinematography by Stephen McNutt

Edited by Randy Bricker, Elena Maganini, Blake Maniquis, Marta Evry, Todd Desrosiers

Production Design by Guy Lalande

Art Direction by Louis-Rene Landry, David Gaucher, Charlotte Rouleau

Set Decoration by Suzanne Cloutier, Ginette Robitaille

Costume Design by Mariane Carter


Billy Campbell as Dr. Alan Farragut

Hiroyuki Sanada as Dr. Hiroshi Hatake

Kyra Zagorsky as Dr. Julia Walker

Mark Ghanime as Major Sergio Balleseros

Jordan Hayes as Dr. Sarah Jordan

Meegwun Fairbrother as Daniel Aerov

Neil Napier as Dr. Peter Farragut

Luciana Carro as Anana

Chimwemwe Miller as Dr. Haven

Catherine Lemieux as Dr. Doreen Boyle

Amber Goldfarb as Jaye

Patrick Baby as Dr. Philippe Duchampe

Robert Naylor as the Scythe

Christian Jadah as Dr. Victor Adrian

Alain Goulem as Bryce

Alexander Ordolis as Blake

Jeri Ryan as Constance Sutton

Masters of Sex stars Golden Globe® and BAFTA Award nominee Michael Sheen and acclaimed actress Lizzy Caplan, who portray the real-life pioneers of the science of human sexuality, Dr. William Masters and Virginia Johnson. The series chronicles the unusual lives, romance and pop culture trajectory of Masters and Johnson and the effect their research had on the family and colleagues around them. Their study ignited a sexual revolution and took them from a Midwestern teaching hospital in St. Louis to the cover of Time magazine. Also starring Caitlin FitzGerald, Teddy Sears and Nicholas D’Agosto. Guest Starring two-time Golden Globe® winner Beau Bridges.

In 2014, the American sci-fi series “Helix” premiered on SyFy.  Created by Cameron Porsandeh and executive produced by Ron Moore (“Star Trek: The Next Generation”, “Battlestar Galactica”, “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine”, “Roswell”), the first season of “Helix” will be released on Blu-ray and DVD in July 2014 courtesy of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

The series would star Billy Campbell (“The Rocketeer”, “Dracula”), Hiroyuki Sanada (“The Wolverine”, “47 Ronin”, “Sunshine”), Kyra Zagorsky (“Toxin”, “Green Season”), Neil Napier (“300″, “Immortals”) and Jordan Hayes (“House at the End of the Street”, “10 Speed”).

Far out at an arctic bioresearch station, a few employees were infected by an unknown virus.

Because of the sensitivity of what is taking place at the bioresearch station and worry of a potential outbreak, top CDC scientist Dr. Alan Farragut (portrayed by Billy Campbell), Dr. Julia Walker (portrayed by Kyra Zagorsky) and Dr. Sarah Jordan (portrayed by Jordan Hayes) are assigned to the lab do their research on the infected individuals.

One of those infected is Dr. Peter Farragut (portrayed by Neil Napier), brother of Dr. Alan Farragut but as they try to learn more about the virus and hunt down those who may have been exposed to the virus, panic starts to grow in the station and to make things worse, Julia is attacked by Peter and becomes infected.

But as Dr. Alan Farragut and his team start to learn more about the virus, he starts to uncover secrets that Dr. Hiroshi Hatake (portrayed by Hiroyuki Sanada) is hiding and why has the Ilea Corporation led by Constance Sutton (portrayed by Jeri Ryan) bringing mercenaries aboard the research station?


“Helix: Season 1″ is presented in 1:78:1 anamorphic widescreen and English Dolby Digital. It’s important to note that if you want the best picture quality and lossless audio, “Helix” is available on Blu-ray.

As for the DVD, the series looks good on DVD and spread out on three DVD’s.

Subtitles are in English, English SDH, Chinese, French, Korean, Spanish and Thai.


“Helix: Season 1″ comes with the following special features:

  • Pilot Episode – Audio Commentary on the Pilot – Featuring audio commentary by actor Billy Campbell and creator Cameron Porsandeh.
  • Final Episode – Audio Commentary on the Pilot – Featuring audio commentary by actor Billy Campbell and executive producer Steven Maeda.
  • Ronald D. Moore: The Outlier of Science Fiction – (7:13) Creator Cameron Porsandey, Executive Producer Lynda Obst discuss working with executive producer Ronald D. Moore and making things extreme and taking on questions of “what if?”.
  • The Future of Disease – (5:28) Taking on plausible viruses for science fiction and coming up with storylines based on viruses and how it behaves differently with people and how creator Cameron Porsandeh had a real life virus in him and how it inspired him to learn more about viruses.
  • Dissecting the Characters – (10:32) A featurette about the casting of the series.
  • The Art of Isolation – (5:52) A featurette about the series setting.
  • Outtakes – (3:22) Outtakes from season 1 of “Helix”.
  • Deleted Scenes – 13 deleted scenes.

What if man tried to create a new virus in order to eliminate all viruses in the planet?

What if that created virus could end up destroying humanity?

The “What If” is what the sci-fi series “Helix” explores throughout its first season.

In many ways, this series has surprised me because in some ways, each time I think I figured out what this series is about, the series tends to evolve into something different entirely.

Is this virus outbreak a way to show how zombies were created?  That’s what I started to think at first but it has become a series about virus outbreaks to the hunters going after civilians.  Not only is the body count high in this series, no character is safe at all.

Characters that you start to root and support, next thing you know, they are killed off and you wonder who will be the next to die and how far will the writers go with this series?

But the plot is rather intriguing as the story is about a bioresearch lab in the arctic that does its research on viruses but through its head scientist, Dr. Hiroshi Hatake, illegally experiments on a virus to end all viruses (or does it do that exactly?).

We learn of how far this bioresearch lab has gone in trying to find guinea pigs, part of the storyline revolves around children kidnapped from their families to be experimented on.  We see a lot of freaky situations that happen throughout the series that revolve around the virus and how far the Ilea Corporation would go in trying to find a person who can be the antidote in fighting the virus.

Throw in mercenaries and assassins and you get one hell of a wild and bloody series!

As I enjoyed the first season, there are some things that I was hoping to not see but it does happen.  The last thing I wanted to see is the “Gray’s Anatomy” romantic element (ie. male doctor sleeps with all female doctors) but fortunately, the unusual situations, the trippy and surreal happenings throughout the series and the amount of violence has kept my interest in each episode and the series definitely ends with a crazy cliffhanger to help setup season 2!

As for the DVD, the DVD does look and sound good but if you really want the best picture and audio quality, the Blu-ray version of the series is the way to go!  As for special features, you get two audio commentaries and several featurettes and many deleted scenes.

Overall, “Helix” is a fascinating, violent and entertaining sci-fi series.  It’s also a series that one should not try to pigeonhole as a banal virus outbreak series because as the series develops, because overtime, it becomes another different beast entirely which includes a story about survival, mutated people, killer mercenaries, action (bloody) scenes galore and literally many people (including key characters) dying.

But as much as this first season of “Helix” was meant to develop the main characters, it sets up for an exciting second season that I definitely look forward to watching!



Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – The Good, the Bad and Casey Jones (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

July 5, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 


A lot of humor, fun and action-packed battles as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Slash, Casey Jones and the revelation of April O’Neil’s past! “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – The Good, the Bad and Casey Jones” features seven episodes from season 2! Recommended for the older fans and the young at heart! Recommended!

Images courtesy of © 2013 Viacom International Inc. All Rights Reserved.

DVD TITLE: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – The Good, the Bad and Casey Jones


DURATION: (7 episodes) 133 Minutes

DVD INFORMATION: Full Screen, Dolby Digital English Stereo, Closed Caption

COMPANY: Nickelodeon/Paramount



Directed by Michael Chang

Written by Joshua Sternin, Jr. Ventimila

Originally created by Kevin Eastman

Produced by MacGregor Middleton

Executive Producer: Peter Hatings, Ciro Nieli, Joshua Sternin, J.R. Ventimilia

Supervising Producer: Ant Ward

Music by Sebastian Evans

Casting by Sarah Noonan

Production Management: Vladimir Radev

Featuring the voices of:

Sean Astin as Raphael

Jason Biggs as Leonardo

Greg Cipes as Michelangelo

Rob Paulsen as Donatello

Mae Whitman as April O’Neil

Hoon Lee as Splinter

Nolan North as The Kraang

Kelly Hu as Karai

Phil LaMarr as Baxter Stockman

Casey Jones Steps Up and takes on pure evil.  Meanwhile, the Turtles learn a shocking secret about April’s past, and they come face-to-face with another mutant turtle called Slash, a rewired metalhead, a fungus mutant spreading throughout the sewers and the Rat King!

What happens when Raphael’s pet turtle drinks mutagen?  What happens when neighborhood hero, Casey Jones, looks at the turtles as enemies?  And April O’Neil’s past revealed!

And which enemy of the Turtles makes his return?

Find out in the latest seven episodes from the second season of “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”!

What is “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”?

In 1984, Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird began working on a comic book series titled “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” for Mirage Studios. Featuring a darker, action-driven storyline, the comics became major collectors items due to its short print run. And because of the popularity of the comics, Playmates Toys Inc. was approached to create an action figure toyline and before they began working on the risky project, the toy company would only agree to do so, if an animated TV series was created.

Geared for children and featuring characters with color coded masks, spoke with stereotypical surfer dialogue and a love for pizza, the series was a major hit. Created in 1987, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” would air on television through 1996, and along with the TV series, the toyline was also a big success and would continue on with a live action series, multiple video games and also several live action films.

By 1997, the series has a live action series titled “Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation” which lasted for a single season and in 2003, the series was resurrected by FOX and with 4Kids Entertainment, the remake would be produced by Mirage Studios (the original series had no ownership by Mirage) and would be more edgier like the original comic books and much more darker than its 1987 counterpart and once again, the series and its toyline would become a major success.

And now “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” is back! In 2012, Nickelodeon acquired the rights to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles from Mirage Group and 4Kids Entertainment and this time around, wanted to go with a CG-animated series and that there would be slight changes for this 2012 version from the original series and previous series that fans may have been accustomed to.

The new series would feature voice acting from Jason Biggs as Leonardo, Rob Paulsen as Donatello, Sean Astin as Raphael, Greg Cipes as Michelangelo, Mae Whitman as April O’Neil and Hoon Lee as Splinter. In this newer series, each of the Ninja Turtles try to get accustomed to being heroes as they are taught by their sensei Splinter. A former human that was changed into a rat.

The leader of the group is Leonardo (blue mask) who fights with two katana swords and is the level-headed member of the four; Donatello is the hacker and computer/science expert (purple mask) and fights with a rokushakubo. He also has a crush on the video gamer girl, April O’Neil; Raphael is the hot head of the group who acts on impulse and tend to be a problem with the group, as he tends to not think before acting. He fights with two sais and has a pet turtle named Spike and Michelangelo is the person who loves video games, skateboarding and pizza but he is also seen as the jokester and idiot of the group. He fights with two nunchaku and is the immature member of the.

And the group gets help from a human named April O’Neill who loves video games and pizza but also has a special spiritual sensitivity and is being trained by Splinter to be a ninja.

Together, they take on a mysterious group known as the Kraang that is led by Shredder.

A total of 48-episodes were made and the second season is currently airing on Nickelodeon. And now episodes 33-38 will be released on DVD courtesy of Nickelodeon.

Included in “Mutagen Mayhem” are episodes 27-32. The following are spoilerless summaries:

  • EPISODE 33: Slash and Destroy - What happens when Raphael’s pet turtle Spike drinks some mutagen?
  • EPISODE 34: The Good, the Bad, and Casey Jones – Casey Jones wants to protect the neighborhood from all ninjas, including the Turtles.
  • EPISODE 35: The Kraang Conspiracy – The past of April O’Neil revealed!
  • EPISODE 36: Fungus Humungous – What happens when mutated sentient mushrooms start to spread throughout the sewers?
  • EPISODE 37: Metalhead Rewired - What happens when Donatello upgrades Metalhead’s A.I.?
  • EPISODE 38: Of Rats and Men - The Rat King returns and Splinter fears of what will happen if he is controlled by the Rat King once again.


“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – The Good, the Bad and Casey Jones” is presented in full screen format. The CG animation and the character designs is quite different from its previous series predecessors but for the most part, the animation is pretty cool. I love how the series mixes CG but also cool artwork at times. The overall look of the city and the integration of the characters to the environments is cool and detail of the CG animation is a plus for the series. I also like how they gave each ninja turtle a distinct look. From Donatello have a gap to Raphael having a chipped shell.

But for the most part, the series does look good as one can expect on DVD.

As for audio, the series is presented in Dolby Digital and dialogue and music is clear and understandable.

There are no subtitles but closed captions are included.


“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – The Good, the Bad and Casey Jones” comes with the following special features:

  • The Mutation of a Scene – (36:57) A look between the storyboard animatic, primary animation and final render of a scene from the following seven episodes.
  • Meet Casey Jones – (2:50) A short featurette with producers discussing the character of Casey Jones.

With the latest volume of “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” (the 2012, third animated series), we get to see characters that were featured in the original series.

The storylines have changed but we get to see Raphael’s turtle named Spike turn into the mutated enemy known as Slash.  While the original was more of a “Hulk Smash” type character, for the 2012 series, the character of Slash makes sense as he was there to often hear Raphael complain and rant about his brothers and also learn how to fight by watching the Turtles spar with each other.  But it helped develop his hatred towards the Turtles.

What’s interesting about the Slash character is that his voice is provided by Corey Feldman, who played Donatello in the live action films.

The series also features the return of Metalhead.  In this series, Metalhead was created by Donatello from a salvaged Kraang droid, while in the original series, he is a robot with an identity disorder.  But it’s interesting to see the change of Metalhead for this latest series, as he is more of a Droid that becomes an asset to the Turtles.

But the biggest difference that people will find in this series is the character of April O’Neil.  From the reporter of the original series, she is now the teenage daughter of scientist Dr. Kirby O’Neil and like the Turtles, she loves video games, pizza and learning on how to become a ninja.  But we learn more about this special spirituality sensitivity she has and why.

And to conclude this volume is the return of one of the Turtles toughest enemies, the Rat King.  So, suffice to say, this sets up another dose of Rat King episodes in the future.

And as mentioned in previous DVD volumes, I like the fact that this latest animated release of “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” allows April O’Neil to play a much bigger part, not only as a protective daughter but also seeing her in action, having been trained by Shredder. So, it’s a different type of April O’Neil that many of us who are familiar with past “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” are used to.

And also, I enjoy how this series utilizes notable celebrities to do the voicework for the series. From Sean Astin, Jason Biggs and Kelly Hu, the voice work for this series is pretty cool and not too annoying.

And I feel for older fans or the newer generation, these Ninja Turtles are still fun to watch and yet different from previous series but still retaining the positive aspects of previous series.

I very fortunate to be around when the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic book came out and since then, like many other adults who grew up with the franchise, it’s been part of our lives. May it be when were a child watching the animated series or playing the video game at the arcade or at home on a video game console. “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” has been a big part of American pop culture for 25 years.

I have grown up watching the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and seeing every incarnation of the series. And so far, each has brought something new and different to keep the series fresh and new for the new generation of viewers watching it.

With this new series that began in 2012, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” somewhat gets a new reboot. The characters are the same four ninja turtles but they now have their distinct style, their own look and some characters are much different than how they were presented in past series.

This time around, I watched the series with my eleven-year-old. He was just born when the 2003 series was featured on television but at three or four, I began introducing him to the original series and also the 2003 version. And he also had a chance to watch the 1997 live action version as well.

I have to admit that while I was raised on the original series, I’m glad the “Cowabunga” days of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are gone and while I thought the 2003 series was fantastic as it featured a more darker tone, I think for today’s younger fans, especially the Nickelodeon audience, children will enjoy this series. Yes, there is fighting violence, but nothing too violent that parents need to worry.

The series has always been about Splinter and his four teenage mutant ninja turtles taking on Shredder and his ninja and other bad guys and that still exists in this latest CG series. While April, Karai and Casey Jones have changed a bit, this alternate version of these characters are very cool and the new generation of fans will surely enjoy this series.

Picture and audio quality are good on DVD and you get animated comic books plus more “Mutation of a Scene” shorts for each of the seven episodes featured on this DVD.

Overall, if you are have grown up with this series and still appreciate it, a fan that is young at heart or want to introduce your own child to the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – The Good, the Bad and Casey Jones” is a fun, action-packed series for today’s generation of young viewers.


The Boondocks: The Complete Fourth Season – Uncut & Uncensored (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

June 29, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 


“The Boondocks: The Complete Fourth Season – Uncut & Uncensored” features the final season of the animated series.  Obviously missing series creator Aaron McGruder and focusing on Granddad primarily for this season, it seemed like a different type of show than what we have been used to, for the last three seasons.  But the season does get provocative and crazy and for that, I can recommend this series for hardcore fans of “The Boondocks”.

Image courtesy of: © 2014 Adelaide Productions, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

DVD TITLE: The Boondocks: The Complete Fourth Season – Uncut & Uncensored

DURATION: 10 Episodes (225 Minutes)

DVD INFORMATION: Anamorphic, 1:78:1, English 5.1 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English SDH

COMPANY: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

RATED: Not Rated

RELEASE DATE: June 10, 2014

Created by Aaron McGruder

Written by Rodney Barnes

Co-Executive Producer: Rodney Barnes, Brian J. Cowan

Consulting Producer: Meghann Collins

Music by Jonathan Jackson and Jabril Battle

Featuring the voices of:

Regina King as Huey and Riley Freeman

John Witherspoon as Robert “Grandad” Freeman

Cedric Yarbrough as Tom Dubois

Gary Anthony Williams as Uncle Ruckus

Gabby Soleil as Jazmine Dubois

Jill Talley as Sarah Dubois

At long last, “The Boondocks” is back in the uncut, uncensored, unpredictable final season of the controversial award-winning animated series.  Grandad, Huey and Rile find themselves neck deep in all new kinds of trouble as money woes lead to desperate measures.  From breaking bad in an RV chem-lab to senior citizen streetfights, times have never been wilder in the sleepy suburbs of woodcrest.

Since 1996, Aaron MacGruder’s syndicated comic strip “The Boondocks” has entertained readers.

From its first days at the University of Maryland, College Park, to receiving an animated adaptation in 2005 for Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim, the characters of Huey, Riley and Robert Jebediah “Granddad” Freeman has been a controversial series in print and animated format for its observance of racial and socio-economic issues and it’s in your face nature with its humor.

With Aaron MacGruder’s participation with the animated series since it’s beginning, “The Boondocks” was an animated series that would air every two years, but after the third season which ended in 2010, rumors ran rampant online of whether or not “The Boondocks” animated series would continue.

In 2014, the Cartoon Network would give “The Boondocks” its final season but series creator, Aaron MacGruder would not be involved with the fourth season.

The season would air from April through June 2014 and now, “The Boondocks: The Complete Fourth Season – Uncut & Uncensored” was released on DVD courtesy of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

“The Boondocks” revolves around the Freeman family which consists of:

  • Huey Freeman – The intelligent member of the family.  Has his values and goals set high and is often promoting social causes and critical of African-American pop culture.  He also can fight.
  • Riley Freeman – Unlike his brother, Riley is not intelligent and a follower of contemporary African-American pop culture.  He loves gangsta rap and is often in trouble or says something critical about Riley.
  • Robert Jebediah “Granddad” Freeman – The grandfather and legal guardian of Huey and Riley.  He is always interested in finding ways to be with crazy, sexy women.
  • Tom DuBois – A District Attorney who the Freeman’s see as someone who is weak and sensitive.  He is a stereotype of a Black man who behaves like a white-collar Caucasian man and is married to a white woman named Sarah and has a daughter named Jazmine.
  • Uncle Ruckus – Often the main antagonist to Granddad.  He supports the old black-slave culture and believes Black people should have the views of white racists.

The final season consists of the following 10 episodes (with spoiler-less summary):

  • EPISODE 46 – “Pretty Boy Flizzy” – R&B artist Pretty Boy Flizzy is arrested in an armed robbery and DA Tom DuBois must be his lawyer.
  • EPISODE 47 – “Good Times” – What happens when Granddad has to break it to his grandsons that they are broke.
  • EPISODE 48 – “Breaking Granddad” – A homage to “Breaking Bad”, the Freemans are on the run from salon owner, Boss Willona.
  • EPISODE 49 – “Early Bird Special” – Granddad becomes a prostitute for lonely women at a nursing home.
  • EPISODE 50 – “Freedom Ride or Die” – A flashback episode of a younger Robert who is a freedom rider.
  • EPISODE 51 – “Granddad Dates a Kardashian” – Granddad dates the long-lost Kardashian sister, Kardashia.
  • EPISODE 52 – “Freedomland” – In order to help Granddad with finances, the Freeman’s work at Ed Euncler Jr.’s slavery amusement park.
  • EPISODE 53 -  “I Dream of Siri” – What happens when Granddad buys an iphone and Siri becomes obsessed with him.
  • EPISODE 54 – “Stinkmeaner: Begun the Clone War Has” – A video of Colonel H. Stinkmeaner fighting with Grandad goes viral.
  • EPISODE 55 – “The New Black” – Riley gets in trouble for using the words “gay” and “retarded” at school.



“The Boondocks: The Complete Fourth Season – Uncut & Uncensored” is presented in 1:78:1 anamorphic widescreen.  Colors are vibrant for teh animation.  Characters are well-drawn, well-shaded and for the most part, looks very good on DVD.  I didn’t notice any major banding or artifact issues.

Audio is presented in English 5.1 Dolby Digital.  Dialogue is crystal clear and for the most part, the dialogue is front-channel driven.

Subtitles are in English SDH.


The special features on this “The Boondocks: The Complete Fourth Season – Uncut & Uncensored” are:

  • Boondocks Beats - (10:56) Interview with composers Jonathan Jackson and Metaphor the Great about the music for “The Boondocks”.
  • A Writer’s Perspective - (5:58) Rodney Barnes talks about working with Aaron McGruder, working on an animated series in which one could be free with their writing.

The final season of “The Boondocks” was a mix bag.  Without series creator Aaron McGruder involved, a lot was left on the plate for writer and producer Rodney Barnes (who had previously worked with Aaron McGruder) to carry on and end the series.

While there were crazy and controversial episodes, part of the problem with this final sendoff of the Freeman’s was that unlike the first three seasons, the majority of the episodes focused on Granddad vs. Uncle Ruckus.  Where the series and comic strip focused on Riley and Huey, it seemed as if the direction was to appease or show respect to series creator Aaron McGruder by not focusing on the children.

So, it’s a different type of series than seasons 1-3.  With that said, all is not lost because the fourth season had its moments of fun and no doubt, a few provocative episodes.

From a T.I. looking, “Pretty Boy Flizzy” which Tom DuBois has to take in as a client to Granddad dating Kardashia Kardashian or having conflicts with his iPhone’s Siri, these are crazy episodes.

While controversial episodes include “Good Times” in which the Freemans beccoming part of a slavery program, “Freedomland” in which they work at a slavery amusement park or Huey using the words “gay” and “Retarded” at school and seeing how Granddad tries to pass Huey off as mentally disabled.

Of course, the series ended with a standard episode.  No resolution to the Freeman’s financial issues nor any closure.

While I don’t want to say this fourth season was disappointing but it was not the same without Aaron McGruder’s involvement and thus, the fourth season was more average than anything.

As for the DVD, animation looks great as one can expect on DVD.  With a lot of dialogue, the majority of the series is primarily front-channel driven.  As for special features, you get two featurettes that focus on the music and writing.

Overall, “The Boondocks: The Complete Fourth Season – Uncut & Uncensored” features the final season of the animated series.  Obviously missing series creator Aaron McGruder and focusing on Granddad primarily for this season, it seemed like a different type of show than what we have been used to, for the last three seasons.  But the season does get provocative and crazy and for that, I can recommend this series for hardcore fans of “The Boondocks”.



Pleasure or Pain (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

June 28, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 


The late Zalman King was know for his use of sex in film and television. He pushed the boundaries of what can be seen on film without it becoming pornographic. Zalman King’s sexually charged “Pleasure or Pain” is his most daring film yet! If you loved “The Red Shoe Diaries”, you will no doubt enjoy “Pleasure or Pain”.

Images courtesy of © 2014 The Zalman King Company. All rights reserved.

DVD TITLE: Pleasure or Pain


DURATION: 103 Minutes

DVD INFORMATION: 16×9, 1:78:1, Stereo

COMPANY: Kino Lorber


RELEASE DATE: July 8, 2014

Written and Directed by Zalman King

Executive Producer: Franklin Abbott, Libby Atkins, Alvin Baum, Jok R. Church, Michael Hemes, Ian Hinkle, Stephen Silha, Joel Singer, Max St. Romain, Martha Troiin, Phillip Willkie

Consulting Producer: Laura Hammer

Associate Producer: Aimee Cartier

Music by Evan Schiller, Jami Sieber

Cinematography by Ian Hinkle

Edited by Dawn Logsdon


Malena Morgan as Victoria

Christos Vasilopoulos as Jack

Kayla Jane as Isabel

Elle Alexander as Rita

Daniel Sovieray as Antonio

Hayden Hawkins as Eve

This erotic tale, about a beautiful young jewelry designer and her romance with a wealthy and powerful entrepreneur, will make its DVD debut on July 8, with a SRP of $26.95 featuring the trailer and a special tribute to the late writer-director Zalman King, who brought audiences his unique brand of stylish and sexy dramas that set the standard for erotic filmmaking and influenced countless others, right up through the wildly successfulFifty Shades of Grey phenomenon of today.

When it comes to films or TV series based on sex, Zalman King (“Two Moon Junction”, “Wild Orchid” and “Nine 1/2 Weeks”, “Red Shoe Diaries”) is best known for pushing the boundaries of sexual exploration.

And prior to his death due to cancer in 2012, of all the soft core films he had created, Zalman King would write and direct one final film titled “Pleasure and Pain” that is sexually charged and going farther than he has ever had before.

And now, Zalman King’s “Pleasure or Pain” will be released on DVD courtesy of Kino Lorber in July 2014.

“Pleasure or Pain” revolves around two individuals who love sex, Victoria (portrayed by Malena Morgan) and Jack (portrayed by Christos Vasilopoulos).

But right after their first sexual experience, Jack who likes to request and narrate a story of what he wants sexually and expects Victoria to give it to him.

But what starts out as playful to extreme sex between both Victoria and Jack after the two are married, Jack pushes Victoria to engage into hardcore sex to please him, in his own twisted ways.


“Pleasure or Pain” was Zalman King’s final film and because of it being recent and shot digitally, this is possibly his best looking film on DVD.  It’s important to note that this is a film on DVD and not on Blu-ray, so don’t expect great picture quality.  But lighting and overall picture quality is very good and as best as one can expect on DVD.


“Pleasure or Pain” comes with the following special features:

  • Zalman King Tribute- (5:34) A tribute to Zalman King with a look at his previous films.
  • Photo Gallery – A collection of images from “Pleasure or Pain”.
  • Theatrical Trailer – The theatrical trailer for “Pleasure or Pain”.

Zalman King has been a man who tried to push the boundaries of sexuality through his films and TV series.

“Nine 1/2 Weeks” to his film and TV series “Red Shoe Diaries”, they were talked about because of the sexual fantasy or the acts of sex that were featured.  Granted, there was only so much that Zalman King was able to feature until “Pleasure or Pain”.

After watching his final film, the thoughts I had was that old teenage thought of what if a porno had an actual story, where the stars had to act.

And sure enough, “Pleasure or Pain” is just that.

With porn star Malena Morgan in her first major starring role, as a woman named Victoria hooked by a man for sex but then find out more about her husband’s dark sexual desires.

From being put into the position of having sex with other women and other men, while she having to tolerate her husband having sex with others, suffice to say that “Pleasure or Pain” was a film about dark side of sexual desire.

While this has been featured in previous Zalman King films and the “Red Shoe Diaries” TV series, because of Malena Morgan’s ties to porn, King was able to go further in showcasing sex.  From the act of oral sex, to going farther than King’s usual full frontal nudity, the character of Victoria is often put into various types of sex and seeing her taking part in the excitement, the thrill of doing something naughty but then it going beyond just a man and woman, but dangerous love that would incorporate multiple partners.

While the object of the darkness of sex was possibly best captured in Oshima Nagase’s 1976 “In the Realm of the Senses”, Zalman King’s “Pleasure or Pain” may not be wonderfully acted, nor is it a great film.  But in the manner of how Zalman King wanted to portray sex and push it to the limit of soft core films, “Pleasure or Pain”, his final film, accomplished just that.

While Malena Morgan is known for her porn videos, for a Zalman King film, there is no doubt that the character of Veronica imbued sexiness and it helped that she was not scared to allow herself to be featured in these sexual scenes, so the sex in this film was integral and she sold it well.

While Christos Vasilopoulos’s Jack was the main character, he was more of a voyeur or narrator for Morgan’s character.  If anything, King’s film rode entirely on the shoulder of Malena Morgan and while acting was not the greatest, in someways it was consistent when compared to “The Red Shoe Diaries”.

As for the DVD, picture quality is good, considering this is a recent film and shot digitally.  Picture quality is as good as what one can expect on DVD.  Audio is clear and as for special features, you get a good tribute on Zalman King’s previous films and his work.

Overall, the late Zalman King was know for his use of sex in film and television.  He pushed the boundaries of what can be seen on film without it becoming pornographic.  Zalman King’s sexually charged “Pleasure or Pain” is his most daring film yet!  If you loved “The Red Shoe Diaries”, you will no doubt enjoy “Pleasure or Pain”.



Servant x Service: Complete DVD Set (A J!-ENT Anime on DVD Review)

June 26, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 


“Servant x Service” is a delightful anime series for anime fans that want something that is unlike anything they have seen before. An anime series that is easily accessible, a whole lot of fun and most of all, addictive. “Servant x Service: Complete DVD Set” is recommended!

Image courtesy of © KArino Takatsu/SQUARE ENIX, SERVANT x SERVICE PROJECT. All Rights Reserved.

DVD TITLE: Servant x Service: Complete DVD Set


DURATION: Episodes 1-13 (325 Minutes)

DVD INFORMATION: 16:9 Widescreen, Japanese Linear PCM Stereo, Subtitles: English

COMPANY: Aniplex Inc.

RATED: 13 and Up

Release Date: May 27, 2014

Originally created by Karino Takatsu

Directed by Yasutaka Yamamoto

Series Composition by Kento Shimoyama

Music by Monaca

Character Design by Terumi Nishii

Art Director: Shinji Honda, Yukihiro Shibutani

Anime Production by A-1 Pictures

Featuring the following voice talent:

Ai Kayano as Lucy Yamagami

Mai Nakahara as Saya Miyoshi

Tatsuhisa Suzuki as Yutaka Hasebe

Aki Toyosaki as Megumi Chihaya

Mikako Takahashi as Tanaka-san

Rikiya Koyama as Kenzō Momoi

Rina Hidaka as Kanon Momoi

Rumi Ookubo as Tōko Ichimiya

Takahiro Sakurai as Taishi Ichimiya

Tetsuya Kakihara as Jōji Tanaka

Lucy (abbrev.) Yamagami is a newly-hired civil servant who has been assigned to work in a certain government ward office in a certain city in Hokkaido Prefecture. Not only does Lucy have so many things to learn at her new job, she needs to do all of that in the company of her colleagues, who are all more than a little eccentric. If you thought a job as a government employee was dull, you better think again! Lucy and her colleagues, actively and covertly (?!) serve their community every day!

Welcome to the life of civil service at the Health and Welfare Dept. where employees such as the naive Lucy (abbrev.) Yamagami, the shy Saya Miyoshi, the carefree Yutaka Hasebe and the tsundere cosplayer Megumi Chihaya work.

Where the four work for their boss Toko Ichimiya (Megumi’s boyfriend, although he doesn’t know it) and Kenzo Momoi, the Section Chief  that is for some reason, a stuffed rabbit.

The life of these civil servants are the basis of mangaka, Karino Takatsu’s manga series “Servant x Service” which was created in 2009 and is still published in the Square Enix magazine “Big Gangan”.

With three tankobon volumes of the manga series printed, in 2013, the series would receive a 13-episode adaptation courtesy of A-1 Pictures.

“Servant x Service” revolves around the lives of those who work at the Health and Welfare Dept.

We are introduced to new employees such as Lucy Yamagami, a naive worker who always wears a black turtleneck sweater.  While kindhearted, she wants nothing but revenge on the public servant who approved her full name “Lucy Kimiko Akie Airi Shiori Rinne Yoshiho Ayano Tomika Chitose Sanae Mikiko Ichika… Yamagami”, which she feels has led to her being joked on and giving her a low self esteem.

Yutaka Hasebe is your ultimate slacker.  While he is a very smart individual who can and has excel on things, because he wants to live life the way he wants, people accept his unusual style.  He is also a guy who finds himself teasing Lucy but eventually starting to learn that he is falling in love with her.

Meanwhile, the quiet new employee, Saya Miyoshi is terrified at her new job and finds herself talking to the elderly Mrs. Tanaka a lot for her work and often having thoughts on the people around her but tends to keep things inside.

The three new employees work with temp social worker Megumi Chihaya, a cosplay fanatic who loves the series “Magical Flowers” but can exhibit Tsundere tendencies, especially to her boyfriend, that she wishes is more worrisome towards her than his sister all the time.

But throw in a boss with the appearance of a stuffed animal and a stalkerish banker and you have an interesting combination of shenanigans for each episode of “Servant x Service”.

The main characters of “Servant x Service” are:

  • Lucy Kimiko Akie Airi Shiori Rinne Yoshiho Ayano Tomika Chitose Sanae Mikiko Ichika… Yamagami – A new public servant who wants nothing but to take revenge on the man, a public servant who approved the long name given to her parents.  She blames a lot of things in her life due to her long name.  She is well-endowed and has a cowlick that tends to stick up or react in different situations.  She is very naive and often wears a black turtleneck sweater (because she can’t find clothes that fit her).
  • Yutaka Hasebe – A slacker at work who tends to tease Lucy but finds himself falling for her.  Despite his slacker style, he’s actually very intelligent and has talent, but his care free lifestyle is what he tends to lean to.  He desperately wants to go on a date with Lucy.
  • Saya Miyoshi – A 24-year-old college graduate and is soft-spoken.  She often keeps opinions to herself and is always listening to people talk, especially the elderly Mrs. Tanaka who wants Saya to marry her grandson.
  • Megumi Chihaya – A social service employee who is a temporary employee.  She has a tsundere attitude and is a huge fan of the anime series “Magical Flowers” and often thinks of her female co-workers as cosplayers and often wanting to dress them up as a character.  She is dating Taishi Ichimiya, who is very scared of her.
  • Taishi Ichimiya - The supervisor of the health and welfare office and is in charge of Lucy, Yutaka, Saya and Megumi.  He is very kind and is known for putting his sister Toko on top of his priority and raising her.  Although he is dating Megumi, he is often scared of her ever-changing emotions and how she may feel because he puts his sister as priority over her.
  • Toko Ichimiya – Taishi’s tsundere younger sister who has a short temper and often criticizes his employees.  She often visits his workplaces and wants to become a public servant.
  • Kenzo Momoi – The Section Chief of the Health and Welfare Department.  For unexplained reasons, he’s in the body of a stuffed animal.
  • Joji Tanaka – A banker who is the ultimate rival of Hasebe and stalks him because he’s determined to beat him on anything.
  • Kanon Momoi – Daughter of Kenzo and tries to keep it a secret from her friend Toko that the bunny rabbit section chief is her father.
  • Kaoru Hasebe – Yutaka’s older sister.


“Servant x Service: Complete DVD Set” is presented in 16:9 widescreen and in Japanese linear PCM Stereo.

A-1 Pictures has done a great job with the animation and the backgrounds are nicely done.  I enjoy the fact that backgrounds feature the characters in a variety of locations and are detailed instead of the plain office backgrounds.

As for the acting, the voice acting is well-done, especially for slacker Yutaka Hasebe (voiced by Tatsuhisa Suzuki) and Section Chief Kenzo Momoi (voiced by Rikiya Koyama).  But the series is dialogue and musically driven and for the most part, the soundtrack works well for this type of anime series.

Subtitles are in English.


“Servant x Service: Complete DVD Set” comes with textless opening and endings.


“Servant x Service: Complete DVD Set” comes with a 24-page Special Public Documents booklet with episode synopsis + short manga and photos.  Also, included is a 2-sided reversible cover and slipcover.

Every now and then, with each passing year, there is always one anime that takes me by surprise.  And for 2014, “Servant x Service” was an anime series that did just that.

To be truthful, I didn’t know what to expect because a series about public servants is not something you will see in an anime series.  Yes, I have seen it many times for Japanese dramas but never for an anime series.

So, having completed the entire 13-episode series, I have to say that “Servant x Service” was pretty awesome!

No, it’s not a overly dramatic anime series, there is no one with special abilities nor does this take place in the far future, this is a straightup anime series that is built around the comedy of its fascinating characters.

From Lucy, the naive young woman who is unaware that people watch her because she always wears a black sweater (and happens to be well-endowed) but also how she responds to her true first name (which is a long combination of many other first names) and thus, she has held nothing but dislike towards the public servant who allowed her parents to name her with that long name and let her be the butt of jokes growing up.

Then you have the slacker Yutaka Hasebe.  It’s his demeanor that makes you laugh because although he is a slacker, he is also a talented individual and smarter than he behaves.  He has a photographic memory, he excels at sports but all he wants is to go on a date with the girl he has fallen for… Lucy.  Throw in a stalker-ish old childhood friend named Joji, who always tries to best Hasebe in everything and needless to say, shenanigans develop.

The anime series also has interesting characters as the quiet college student Saya, the tsundere cosplayer named Megumi, the overcaring boss who is scared of how his girlfriend Megumi treats him and a stuffed rabbit who happens to be the Section Chief.

The series is no doubt crazy but its witty characters and its constant casualness and playfulness makes this series a whole lot of fun that anyone who loves anime can watch and enjoy.

What happens when Megumi Chihaya wants to dress up Lucy in a skirt?  What happens when Lucy loses the Section Chief at an event?  What happens when Yutaka finds out how Lucy got her real name?

So, many crazy situations but how everything plays out, nothing gets boring and I found myself watching episode after episode, because I enjoyed the series so much.

While “Servant x Service: Complete DVD Set” is only available on DVD and there is no English dub, I do hope that Aniplex of America considers this for a Blu-ray release with an English dub because it’s so much fun and a series that casual anime fans will get into!

You also get the anime swag that Aniplex is known for.  Maybe not a whole lot but you get a short booklet and a 2-sided reversible cover.

Overall, “Servant x Service” is a delightful anime series for anime fans that want something that is unlike anything they have seen before.  An anime series that is easily accessible, a whole lot of fun and most of all, addictive.

“Servant x Service: Complete DVD Set” is recommended!


Masters of Sex: Season One (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

June 22, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 


“Masters of Sex: Season One” is one of my favorite series on television which curious viewers can expect great writing, wonderful acting in each of the 12 sexually-charged episodes that are absolutely captivating! I’m addicted to the series and I can’t wait for season 2! “Masters of Sex: Season One” is highly recommended!

Image courtesy of © 2013 Sony Pictures Television, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Masters of Sex: Season One


DURATION: 12 Episodes (676 Minutes)

DVD INFORMATION: 1:78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Portuguese, Spanish

COMPANY: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

RATED: Not Rated

RELEASED: June 24, 2014

Directed by Michael Apted, Michael Dinner, Jennifer Getzinger, Jeremy Webb, Phil Abraham, Adam Davidson, Tim Fywell, Lesli Linka Glatter, John Madden, Lawrence Trilling, Michael Engler

Written by Michelle Ashford, Tyler Bensinger, Michael Cunningham, Bathsheba Doran, Lynnie Greene, Richard Levine, Amy Lippman, Thomas Maeier, Sam Shaw, Noelle Valdivia

Executive Producer: Michelle Ashford, Amy Lippman, John Madden, Sarah Timberman, Judith Verno

Produced by Thomas Maier, Michael Sheen, Gregory Prange

Co-Producer: Christopher Goode, Valerie Joseph

Associate Producer: Aaron Klemanski, Chris Leanza

Music by Michael Penn

Cinematography by Michael Weaver, Tim Bellen, Ben Davis

Edited by Fabien Bouville, Jordan Goldman, Blake Maniquis, Robert Frrazen

Casting by Bernard Telsey, Risa Bramon Garcia, Tiffany Little Canfield, Libby Goldstein, Junie Lowry-Johnson

Production Design by Michael Wylie, Andrew Jackness

Art Direction by Elizabeth Hershberger Gray, Kevin Rupnik

Set Decoration by Halina Siwolop, Ellen Christiansen

Costume Design by Ane Crabtree, Caroline Duncan


Michael Sheen  as Dr. William Masters

Lizzy Caplan as Virginia Johnson

Caitlin FitzGerald as Libby Masters

Teddy Sears as Dr. Austin Langham

Nicholas D’Agosto as Dr. Ethan Haas

Helene Yorke as Jane Martin

Beau Bridges as Barton Scully

Cole Sand as Henry Johnson

Julianne Nicholson as Dr. Lillian DePaul

Rose McIver as Vivian Scully

Allison Janney as Margaret Scully

Kayla Madison as Tessa Johnson

Annaeleigh Ashford as Betty DiMello

Masters of Sex stars Golden Globe® and BAFTA Award nominee Michael Sheen and acclaimed actress Lizzy Caplan, who portray the real-life pioneers of the science of human sexuality, Dr. William Masters and Virginia Johnson. The series chronicles the unusual lives, romance and pop culture trajectory of Masters and Johnson and the effect their research had on the family and colleagues around them. Their study ignited a sexual revolution and took them from a Midwestern teaching hospital in St. Louis to the cover of Time magazine. Also starring Caitlin FitzGerald, Teddy Sears and Nicholas D’Agosto. Guest Starring two-time Golden Globe® winner Beau Bridges.

Based on Thomas Maier’s biography “Masters of Sex: The Life and Times of William Masters and Virginia Johnson, the Couple Who Taught America How to Love”, Showtime’s “Masters of Sex”, an American television drama series based on the real studies of Dr. William Masters and Virginia Johnson, has received positive reviews from critics and also viewers.

With a second season about to air, the first season featuring all 12 episodes, will be released on DVD in June 2014 courtesy of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

For those not familiar with Masters and Johnson, Masters is an American gynecologist who wrote pioneering research alongside Virginia E. Johnson about the nature of human sexual response and the diagnose and treatment of sexual dysfunction.

Studies back in the 1950′s about orgasms, studies about the differences of penis sizes and how it affects a woman in sex, how the vaginal muscles contract during sex, vaginal lubrication and more.

As one could imagine, Masters and Johnson’s studies were ahead of its time because such studies were seen as pornographic and lewd but since then, these studies were seen as groundbreaking and what the two were able to accomplish would not be approved by any hospital or funded by any hospital today, so these studies were significant in the fact that William Masters was able to view hundreds of sessions of people having sex for the sake of science.

But of course, there is more to the story about Masters and Johnson, considering the two worked closely together, had sex together for scientific research, the two would eventually marry each other until their divorce decades later.

And the lives of William Masters and Virginia E. Johnson became the focus on the Showtime drama series “Masters of Sex” which stars Michael Sheen (“Midnight in Paris”, “Kingdom of Heaven”, “Underworld”), Lizzy Caplan (“Mean Girls”, “Cloverfield”, “127 Hours”), Caitlin Fitzgerald (“It’s Complicated”, “Damsels in Distress”, “Mutual Friends”), Nicholas D’Agosto (“Final Destination 5″, “Election”), Teddy Sears (“A Single Man”, “The Client List”), Beau Bridges (“The Descendants,”, “Max Payne”, “The Fabulous Baker Boys”) and Allison Janney (“The West Wing”, “American Beauty”, “Juno”).

“Masters of Sex” revolves around Dr. William H. Masters (portrayed by Michael Sheen), a successful gynecologist who has been conducting research on sex.  Knowing that his boss, Provost Barton Scully (potrayed by Beau Bridges) may not agree to fund his research if he found out that it had to do with sex, Masters continues his study but because he’s not a sexual person, he needs someone to give him a female perspective but also someone social enough to bring more participants for his study.

Dr. Masters is married to Libby Masters (portrayed by Caitlin Fitzgerald), a woman who is unable to get pregnant.  He often is the mentor to a young Dr. Ethan Haas (portrayed by Nicholas D’Agosto) who has fallen for an employee named Virginia E. Johnson (portrayed by Lizzy Caplan).

Dr. Masters hires Virginia E. Johnson, a single mother of two children who feels that working as the assistant to Dr. Masters will lead to something bigger for her.

And eventually, Dr. Masters feels that Virginia is the woman he needs in order to comprehend his research.  Virginia is able to find more women (prostitutes) to become part of the study, having her best friend also participate in the studies and quickly, the two are able to uncover data and disprove a lot of sexual theories.

But they need to continue their research by taking chances.  One is creating a transparent dildo with a camera built inside, research includes observing homosexuals but also working with Dr. Austin Langham (portrayed by Teddy Sears) to have sex with many women to get more data but also to get funding by the hospital, but will Dr. Masters and Johnson be able to convince Provost Scully to fund Dr. Masters latest study?

And when Dr. Masters needs more data, that are not from prostitutes, what happens when he and Johnson start getting involved in the sexual studies?


“Masters of Sex: Season One” is presented in 1:78:1 anamorphic widescreen and English and French 5.1 Dolby Digital.  It’s important to note that if you want the best picture quality and lossless audio, “Masters of Sex” is available on Blu-ray.

As for the DVD, the series looks good on DVD and fortunately only three episodes are featured per disc (four DVD’s total).  There are no problems with excessive noise or artifacts.  Audio is primarily dialogue and is crystal clear via the front channels.

Subtitles are in English, English SDH, French, Portuguese and Spanish.


“Masters of Sex: Season One” comes with the following special features:

  • Audio Commentary on the Pilot – Featuring audio commentary by Michael Sheen, Lizzy CAplan, Caitlin Fitzgerald, Teddy Sears, Michelle Ashford and Sarah Timberman.
  • Making of Masters of Sex – (12:29) Discussion of the making of the TV Series, discussion of the original novel to making a show based on real people and more.
  • Deleted Scenes – Featuring a total of 18 deleted scenes featured throughout all four DVD’s.
  • A Masterful Potrayal: Michael Sheen as Dr. Masters – (6:49) The discussion of Dr. William Masters and Michael Sheen discussing his character.
  • Ahead of Her Time: Lizzy Caplan as Virginia Johnson – (5:13) Lizzy Caplan discusses her character role and having to play a role which requires to take off her clothes and be nude.

Captivating, smart and sexually-charged, “Masters of Sex” is an addictive series that makes you want more and more!

Who would of thought that a series based on the two researchers who observed sexual pattens and recorded every intricate detail would be so entertaining and titillating.

From the very first episode, watching as the stale Dr. William Masters being teamed up with the very sexually and independent Virginia E. Johnson was intriguing thanks to the commanding performances by Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan.  While googling an image of the real life researchers shows a much older Dr. Masters compared to his young assistant at the time, “Masters of Sex” is much more stylish and how each character is integrated in the series is rather fun as the chemistry between Masters and Johnson literally emits sexual tension to the nth degree.

But you add in characters such as Provost Barton Scully, the married man and Dr. Masters’ boss who is a closet homosexual and because the setting is in the 1950′s, the interesting perspective that people had towards homosexuality but also eliminating it as if it was so easy.

Then you have Dr. Ethan Haas, a young doctor who is trying to make a name of himself and jealous that the girl he loves, is spending way too much time assisting Dr. Masters.  But also trying to find out in life of what he loves and what he wants in a woman.

You have Dr. Master’s wife who blames herself for not having a child, when it probably is Dr. Masters who is impotent.

Then you have Dr. Austin Langham who loves his sexual exploits with other women but finds himself participating in Dr. Masters’ studies by having sex in the name of science.

You also have intriguing characters such as Dr. Masters’ mother who he has a tense relationship with, Dr. Lillian DePaul as a cold doctor who has a tense relationship with her student…Virginia.

And aside from the character-driven storylines, the actual research is also showcased as viewers can only be amused of how Masters and Johnson are able to record their data and how far both individuals would go.

How far their colleagues and co-workers will allow these two to go but also seeing how this intense work will slowly change both Dr. William Masters and Virginia Johnson.  Which eventually sets viewers up for a second season, which I am looking forward to.

As for the DVD, as mentioned earlier, if one wanted the best picture/audio quality, the Blu-ray version is the way to go.  Otherwise, the episodes look as best they can on DVD and fortunately there are three episodes featured per disc.  As for special features, you get an intriguing audio commentary, making of, deleted scenes and other featurettes.

Overall, “Masters of Sex: Season One” is one of my favorite series on television which curious viewers can expect great writing, wonderful acting in each of the 12 sexually-charged episodes that are absolutely captivating!  I’m addicted to the series and I can’t wait for season 2!

“Masters of Sex: Season One” is highly recommended!



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