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ABC’s Emmy-Nominated ‘black-ish’ Season 2 Available for Free Exclusively on iTunes Now Through Wednesday

August 16, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

On the heels of its three Emmy nominations, including Outstanding Comedy Series, ABC Studios’ “black-ish” season two is available for free exclusively on iTunes (iTunes.com/black-ish) now through Wednesday night, August 17.  All 24 episodes are available, including the acclaimed “Hope,” about the family’s reaction to a verdict in a trial involving alleged police brutality.

During its just-completed sophomore season, “black-ish” was recognized by the American Film Institute as an AFI Television Program of the Year, and it received the coveted Peabody Award. In July, the show received three Emmy nominations, including a second consecutive nod for Anthony Anderson for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series, a first-time Outstanding Comedy Series nod, and a first nomination for Tracee Ellis Ross for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series.

“black-ish” stars Anthony Anderson as Andre “Dre” Johnson, Tracee Ellis Ross as Rainbow Johnson, Laurence Fishburne as Pops, Yara Shahidi as Zoey Johnson, Marcus Scribner as Andre Johnson Jr., Miles Brown as Jack Johnson, Marsai Martin as Diane Johnson, Jenifer Lewis as Ruby, Peter Mackenzie as Mr. Stevens.

“black-ish” was created by Kenya Barris and is executive produced by Barris, Jonathan Groff, Anthony Anderson, Laurence Fishburne, Helen Sugland, and E. Brian Dobbins. The series is produced by ABC Studios.

For more information about “black-ish,” visit abc.com/black-ish. For the iTunes Emmy room, visit itunes.com/emmys.

Castle – The Complete Eighth and Final Season (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

August 7, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

castle-s8

The eighth season brings back all that we have loved about “Castle” and completes the series with comedy, drama, action but most of all completing the series with its two lead characters and giving fans a finale that was well worth it! If you love “Castle” and have watched the series after all these years, then “Castle – The Complete Eight and Final Season” is  recommended!

Images courtesy of © 2016 ABC Studios. All Rights Reserved.


DVD TITLE: CASTLE – Castle – The Complete Eighth and Final Season

TELEVISION AIR DATE: 2015-2016

DURATION: Episodes 152-173 (946 minutes)

DVD INFORMATION: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound, French and Spanish Subtitles, Widescreen (1:78:1) – Enhanced for 16×9 Televisions

COMPANY: abc studios

RATED: TV PG DLSV

RELEASE DATE: August 23, 2016


Created by Andrew J. Marlowe

Directed by Rob Bowman, John Terlesky, Bill Roe, Thomas J. Wright, Kate Woods, Jessica Yu

Written by Andrew W. Marlowe, Adam Frost, Terence Paul Winter, Alexi Hawley, Robert Bella, Christine Roum, Chad Gomez Creasey, Jim Adler, Nancy Kiu, Barry O’Brien, Michal Zebede, Stephanie Hicks

Executive Producer: Armyan Bernstein, Rob Bowman, Rob Hanning

Co-Executive Producer: Jose Molina, Matt Pyken, Scott Williams

Producer: D. Howard Grigsby, Marc A. Kahn, David Grae

Co-Producer:  Alexi Hawley

Music by Robert Duncan

Cinematography by Bill Roe, Daryn Okada

Edited by David Latham, Orlando Machado Jr., Amy McGrath

Casting by Kendra Castleberry, Donna Rosenstein, Shawn Dawson

Production Design by Alfred Sole

Art Direction by Robert W. Joseph

Set Decoration by Claire Kaufman

Costume Design by Luke Reichie


Starring:

Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle

Stana Katic as Detective Kate Beckett

Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers

Molly C. Quinn as Alexis Castle

Jon Huertas as Detective Javier Esposito

Seamus Dever as Detective Kevin Ryan

Tamala Jones as Dr. Lanie Parish

Penny Johnson Jerald as Captain Victoria Gates

Toks Olagundoye as Haley Shipton

Arye Gross as M.E. Sidney Perlmutter

Sunkrish Bala as Vikram Singh

Juliana Dever as Jenny Ryan

Lisa Edelstein as Rachel McCord

Yancey Arias as Chief Carl Villante


Their fiery love affair has kept your pulse pounding week after week for the past eight seasons. Now, the heartfelt final chapter of Rick Castle and Kate Beckett comes to an end as one of the most beloved couples in television history match wits with their ultimate rival in a fight that will define their future. Experience every riveting moment and sizzling, emotional encounter with CASTLE: THE COMPLETE EIGHTH AND FINAL SEASON, including exclusive, never-before-seen bonus features! The season begins with a bang as a call from a mysterious stranger puts Beckett on the run and sets off an explosive chain of events. The action heats up when Castle’s daughter, Alexis, joins her father to solve the case of a lifetime. Fresh faces and unforgettable characters from the past join the precinct in a year full of devastating twists and turns. It all leads to the stunning series finale that will keep you on the edge of your seat and close the book on the incredible story of Castle and Beckett.


For eight seasons, we have watched the adventures of Richard Castle and Detective Kate Beckett.

From partners who were total opposites, to trying to solve the case of who was responsible for killing Beckett’s mother, to getting married and now concluding the final season with a story connected to former politician Bracken and learning of a deeper conspiracy involving LokSat.

Also, Castle’s daughter Alexis is now becoming more involved as an investigator and the series introduces us to British P.I., Hayley Shipton, who is also investigating the conspiracy.

And things are becoming much riskier and deadly for both Castle and Beckett.  What is in the future for both Castle and Beckett?

Find out in “Castle: The Complete Eighth and Final Season”!

What is “Castle”?

“CASTLE” debuted on ABC as a mid-season replacement and began airing on March 2009. Created by Andrew M. Marlowe (“Air Force One”, “End of Days” and “Hollywood Man”) and executive produced by Rob Bowman (“The A-Team”, “The X-Files”, “Day Break”) comes a new drama series on crime solving.

The first season which featured 10 episodes stars actor Nathan Fillion (“Firefly”, “Drive” and “Desperate Housewives”) as Richard Castle. The famous mystery novelist who is adored by many but behind-the-scenes, he is a playboy who has an on-and-off fling with his ex-wife (who is an actress), another ex-wife who is his publisher and lives with his bright teenage daughter Alexis (Molly Quinn, “My One and Only”) and his meddlesome mother and former Broadway actress, Martha Rodgers (Susan Sullivan, “The Nine”, “Dharma & Greg”).

There is a lot of pressure on Nathan to create another book and with him stuck, his luck starts to change when he meets by-the-book Detective Kate Beckett (Stana Katic, “Heroes”, “The Spirit”, “Quantum of Solace”) who is investigating several murders which have taken place and the way that they were done were like the murders featured in several of his novels. Because of his knowledge of how things end up with his books, he gets the opportunity to assist the detectives in their case.

Eventually, Richard Castle discovers that he can do several things in his life. Write his new book based on Detective Beckett, see if he can woo Detective Beckett and most of all to investigate other murders which he can incorporate ideas for his new book. At first, it seems implausible but with Castle being so well-known and friends with the mayor, Captain Montgomery (Ruben Santiago-Huds0n) will do what he can to make the mayor and his boss happy, so he allows Richard to tag along with Detective Beckett.

Needless to say, she’s not happy about it but with his skills of mystery writing and her skills as a detective, the two find out that together, they can be an effective duo in crime solving. Also, joining Beckett are Detective Javier Esposito (Jon Huertas), Detective Kevin Ryan (Seamus Dever) and forensics doctor Dr. Lanie Parish (Tamala Jones).

In the first season, Detective Beckett and Richard Castle have worked together in handling various cases. But one case that Richard would like to investigate is the death of Detective Beckett’s mother but Beckett doesn’t want him getting into her personal business.

In the second season, Richard continues to work with Detective Beckett and together they try to solve a variety of murder cases including one that deals with a serial killer going after Detective Beckett. This season also shows us how Castle and Beckett seem to start showing some affection towards each other but in the process, Beckett becomes closer with Detective Demming.

In this third season of “Castle”, we learn that the murder of Detective Beckett’s mother is much bigger than she can ever realize. As as the sexual tension began to heat up between Castle and Kate, Kate found herself a new boyfriend and as for Castle, well…perhaps it was a one-sided love afterall? But with Captain Montgomery being revealed as a person who knows who killed Kate’s mother and may have been involved himself, the first major character in the series was killed. And the season ended with those trying to put a stop to Kate in continuing her investigation, leading to a sniper shooting her at Montgomery’s funeral and with life slipping away, Castle revealing his true feelings for her.

The fourth season of “Castle” picks up after Kate Beckett is shot. It’s a given that there is no way Castle or Kate Beckett is going to die as they are the primary characters of the series, so what happens next is that Kate must deal with the trauma of being shot and killed and getting back on duty.

While she has told everyone that she does not remember anything after being shot, the truth is that she does remember everything, including what Castle told her. But to protect him and to focus on who killed her mother, not falling in love is her priority, even though she knows she has feelings for Castle as well.

But as Kate tries to find out more of who shot her and why and also finding out more details of her mother’s death, Castle is meeting a mystery man behind Kate’s back, a man who knows a great amount of information that deals with her mother’s death. But the mysterious man warns Castle that Kate should probably step back as she may get herself too far in her investigation and end up dead.

And the fifth season of “Castle”, both Detective Kate Beckett and Frank Castle are finally together. But with their relationship being kept private, how long will they be able to keep their relationship a secret and will it be too much for them?

Meanwhile, the discovery of who is responsible for the death of Kate’s mother is revealed and Castle’s worst nightmare comes true when his daughter is kidnapped.

In the sixth season of “Castle”, will Beckett accept Castle’s marriage proposal?  Meanwhile, someone tries to murder Castle.

In season seven, Castle has been abducted and his memories wiped, but who is responsible?  Meanwhile, the origin of Castle and why he became a writer.

Which leads us to the final eight season.

As the series has followed the storyline of the murder of Beckett’s mother, the person responsible (former presidential nominee Bracken) is in prison but now he is in danger.

And now with the eight season, a deeper conspiracy as Bracken is murdered by his partner known as LokSat.  And now Beckett, who is supposed to start as Captain at the precinct, decides to pursue LokSat without telling Castle or the police force.  And now she has become the hunted.


VIDEO:

“Castle – The Complete Eighth and Final Season” is presented in Widescreen (1:78:1) and is enhanced for 16×9 televisions. The drama series is quite slick as it gives you the feel of New York and like many abc studios related DVD releases, Disney has always done a good job with their TV show transfers. A show that balances outdoor and indoor shots with good lighting, the picture quality for “CASTLE” is pretty solid. I didn’t see any major artifacting issues or low level noise that was distracting.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

As for the audio, “Castle – The Complete Eighth and Final Season is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. The series is front and center channel driven with a few episodes (that involve gun fights) utilizing the surround channels. The series does utilize quite a bit of music and for the most, the series is clear and understandable.

Subtitles are in English SDH, French and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Castle – The Complete Eighth and Final Season” includes the following special features:

DISC 2:

  • Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary for “Cool Boys” with actor Nathan Fillion and Adam Baldwin.

DISC 3:

  • Deleted Scenes – Featuring two deleted scenes

Disc 4:

  • Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary for “Heartbreaker” with actors Jon Huertas and Seamus Dever and writer Barry O’Brien.
  • Deleted Scene– Featuring a deleted scene.

DISC 5:

  • The Great Escape – (10:36) The cast take part in a “Great Escape” game.
  • Bloopers – (6:27) Outtakes from “Castle” season eight.

EXTRAS:

“Castle – The Complete Eighth and Final Season” comes with a slipcover.


All good things come to an end and for the popular ABC series “Castle”, despite the series popularity, the series showed signs that it was in need of new synergy.

But ABC Studios found themselves in a catch 22 when it was announced that in April, series lead Stana Katic who plays Kate Beckett, would not be returning.  As with Tamala Jones who played coroner Lanie Parish.

Needless to say, while “Castle” is a series that focused around Rick Castle, a huge part of the series was focused on the relationship between Rick Castle and Kate Beckett.

The last time I recall a series being affected by removing the bond of two of it’s leads was back in the late ’80s with “Moonlighting” starring Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd.  Granted, the ending of that detective series was due to a number of reason and lack of screen time between its two leads leading to ratings decline.

For “Castle”, Castle/Beckett are the ultimate couple that many watched “Castle” for and to hear that the union would be broken, would be troublesome for fans of the series.

With that being said, “Castle” has also had its share of declining ratings over the past few seasons and the social media backlash would lead to ABC announcing that “Castle” would be ending with the finale of the eighth season.

And I have to admit that it’s sad to see the series end, having reviewed the series year after year, I found myself enjoying the series thanks to its character dynamics, well-written stories and the combination of humor and drama, the writers knew how to captivate the audience.

But I did feel that season seven was its weakest season, making me question if “Castle” should be ending it’s run, but the writers managed to create a storyline bringing back a storyline that relates to Beckett’s mother’s murder and murderer, but now seeing both Beckett and also Castle being the hunted, being targeted and in more danger than ever.  Even making Castle wonder if his nine lives are up.

The eighth season would kick off with a storyline featuring Beckett trying to protect a hacker, who discovered information in relations to major government corruption and sent it to the Attorney General’s special investigations division and those individuals were murdered.

The case is somehow tied to Bracken (who was responsible for murdering Beckett’s mother) and because Beckett went to help the hacker, she has become the hunted.

The series would introduce British P.I., Haley Shipton who would come to the U.S. to investigate a lead.  And all Beckett and others are able to discover is the name, LokStat.

And because the investigation to LokStat leads to a lot of trouble for Castle and Beckett, one can hope that they both survive the ordeal.

While I won’t discuss how the series ends, I do feel that throughout the season, the series tried to delve into the “what if?” segment, if one of the leads were to die.  Specifically Kate Beckett.

It would have made sense of why ABC Studios would not bring back Kate Beckett, if there was a ninth season but as a fan of the series, if they were to kill off Beckett, I don’t know how I would feel about the series.  I don’t know if I would have that interest anymore.

Sure, ABC has series such as “Grey’s Anatomy” where multiple lead characters have been killed off or simply moved away, but “Castle” is a series that has always been about Rick Castle and Kate Beckett.  These two characters complete each other and I’m glad that a ninth season that would break the two apart, did not happen.

I also liked how Castle’s daughter, Alexis was more involved in the investigations and like her father, manages to get involved with the precinct and also a British P.I. investigator.

The new characters were also pleasant to watch and it’s a shame they were not brought in earlier, as it would have led to really cool episodes if they were in it.   Vikram Singh (portrayed by Sunkrish Bala) is a hacker but “Castle” would have benefited from having this technical genius on the show earlier and British P.I., Hayley Shipton was also a cool, kick arse character who fights, is a sniper and was also a breath of fresh air to the series and helps give motivation to Alexis and her private investigator skills.

As for the DVD, “Castle – The Complete Eighth Season” is once again, another solid DVD release. I enjoyed the inclusion of more audio commentary into this DVD set but also the addition of several audio commentary, deleted scenes and outtakes.  I will say that I wish there was a final episode audio commentary and some featurette that would give fans closure, perhaps interviews with the cast.

Featuring solid writing, better production and solid performances and integration of new characters.  And the eighth season brings back all that we have loved about “Castle” and completes the series with comedy, drama, action but most of all completing the series with its two lead characters in a position that was foretold a few seasons back.

While the finale may or may not please everyone, there are multiple ways the series could have ended but the writers prepared just in case the series wouldn’t come back, so I enjoyed how the series ended.  Was it the best ending?  Or was it the right ending?  That’s subjective to the viewer.

In fact, one can interpret the final minute in different ways and already, quite a few have posted their theories of the ending online.

Overall, I did enjoy the eighth season much more than the last season.  The seventh season felt as if the writers were running out of ideas but by the eighth season, the stakes were higher, there was more action and so much more at stake for Castle and Beckett and at times, a bit farfetched as it was part of some sort of action film or against all odds action novel (Note: A hint for those who want to know how I interpreted the eighth season finale’s final minute).

If you love “Castle” and have watched the series after all these years, then “Castle – The Complete Eighth and Final Season” is recommended!

ELEVEN SHOWS ORDERED FROM ABC STUDIOS FOR THE 2016-17 SEASON

May 19, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

ABC Picks Up “Still Star-Crossed” and “American Housewife” From ABC Studios

CBS Renews ABC Studios Dramas “Code Black,” “Criminal Minds” and “Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders”

ABC Also Picks Up New Co-Productions “Conviction,” “Designated Survivor,” “Downward Dog,” “Imaginary Mary,” “Notorious” and “Speechless”

ABC Studios and ABC Signature Studios new season pick-ups resulted in 11 shows ordered to series, including co-productions. New drama “Still Star-Crossed” and new comedy “American Housewife” join returning ABC Studios shows “American Crime,” “black-ish,”

“The Catch,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “How to Get Away with Murder,” “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” “Mistresses,” “Once Upon a Time,” “The Real O’Neals,” “Scandal,” “Secrets and Lies” and “Quantico” for ABC. ABC Studios dramas “Code Black,” “Criminal Minds” and “Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders” were ordered at CBS. “Devious Maids” was renewed at Lifetime, and ABC Signature Studios drama “Dead of Summer” airs on Freeform this summer.

In addition, limited series event “When We Rise” is on the ABC schedule for early 2017.

“ABC Studios has become a destination for writers and producers to develop exceptional television series,” said Patrick Moran, executive vice president of ABC Studios. “We’re honored to work with such creative talent on some of the most exciting shows on television.”

In addition to the returning co-productions, “Dr. Ken” (co-production with Sony) and “Uncle Buck” (co-production with NBCUniversal), new co-productions ordered by ABC include “Conviction” and “Designated Survivor” (co-productions with The Mark Gordon Company), “Notorious” (co-production with Sony), “Downward Dog” (co-production with Legendary), “Speechless” (co-production with 20th Century Fox) and “Imaginary Mary” (co-production with Sony & Happy Madison).

 

Castle – The Complete Fifth Season (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

September 9, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

The fifth season of “Castle” is my favorite season yet!  Wonderful writing, better production and solid performances and integration of characters. If you love “Castle”, then “Castle – The Complete Fifth Season” is highly recommended!

Images courtesy of © ABC Studios. All Rights Reserved.

DVD TITLE: CASTLE – The Complete Fifth Season

TELEVISION AIR DATE: 2012-2013

DURATION: 24 episodes (1032 minutes)

DVD INFORMATION: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound, French and Spanish Subtitles, Widescreen (1:78:1) – Enhanced for 16×9 Televisions

COMPANY: abc studios

RATED: TV PG DLSV

RELEASE DATE: September 10, 2013

Created by Andrew J. Marlowe

Directed by Rob Bowman, Bryan Spicer, John Terlesky, Bill Roe, Thomas J. Wright, Jeff Bleckner, David Barrett, Paul Holahan, Jonathan Frakes, Ron Undrwood, Holly Dale, Larry Shaw, Kate Woods

Written by Andrew J. Marlow, Shalisha Francis, David Grae, Alexi Hawley, Elizabeth Davis, Moira Kirland, Terence Paul Winter, Will Beall, Terri Miller, Rene Echevarria, Jose Molina, David Amann, Matt Pyken, Scott Williams, Christine Roum, Jason Wilborn

Executive Producer: Armyan Bernstein, Rob Bowman, Andrew W. Marlowe, Laurie Zaks

Co-Executive Producer: Jose Molina, Matt Pyken, Scott Williams,

Producer: D. Howard Grigsby, David Grae

Co-Producer: Marc A. Kahn, Terri Miller, Alexi Hawley, Joan Van Horn

Music by Robert Duncan

Cinematography by Bill Roe, Daryn Okada, Roger Simonsz

Edited by Warren Bowman, Sue Blainey, Marta Evry

Casting by Kendra Castleberry, Donna Rosenstein

Production Design by Alfred Sole, Chris Farmer

Art Direction by Jim Wallis, Gershon Ginsburg, Michael E. Goldman, Page Buckner, Priscilla Elliott

Set Decoration by Claire Kaufman

Costume Design by Luke Reichie

Starring:

Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle

Stana Katic as Detective Kate Beckett

Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers

Molly C. Quinn as Alexis Castle

Jon Huertas as Detective Javier Esposito

Seamus Dever as Detective Kevin Ryan

Tamala Jones as Dr. Lanie Parish

Penny Johnson as Captain Victoria Gates

Jack Coleman as Senator William Bracken

Michael Dorn as Dr. Cater Burke

Together at last! After four seasons of sparring and heated banter, TV’s dynamic crime-solving team finds romance in ABC’s Castle: The Complete Fifth Season. Relive all 23 unforgettable episodes, complete with never-before-seen bonus features only available on DVD, in this spectacular five-disc set. Now that Castle and Beckett (“Caskett”) have finally given into their true feelings for each other, how will it affect their work together? As they try to keep their new relationship under wraps from their co-workers, the unlikely duo must track down the murderer of Beckett’s mother, find the perpetrator of a major conspiracy, and untangle a line of investigation that links Castle to a ritualistic killing. The action and passion heat up like never before in the brilliant fifth season of ABC’s Castle!

For four years, viewers have watched the sexual tension between Detective Kate Beckett and mystery novelist Frank Castle grow.  Almost inseparable, and by the end of season four, the two finally get together.

And here we are in season five, Kate and Castle must do all they can to keep their relationship secret or else, their partnership will be ended by the department.  Meanwhile, Kate discovers the true killer of her father and how powerful this man may be.

And what happens when Alexis is kidnapped?

Find out in the exciting fifth season of “Castle”!

What is “Castle”?

“CASTLE” debuted on ABC as a mid-season replacement and began airing on March 2009. Created by Andrew M. Marlowe (“Air Force One”, “End of Days” and “Hollyw Man”) and executive produced by Rob Bowman (“The A-Team”, “The X-Files”, “Day Break”) comes a new drama series on crime solving.

The first season which featured 10 episodes stars actor Nathan Fillion (“Firefly”, “Drive” and “Desperate Housewives”) as Richard Castle. The famous mystery novelist who is adored by many but behind-the-scenes, he is a playboy who has an on-and-off fling with his ex-wife (who is an actress), another ex-wife who is his publisher and lives with his bright teenage daughter Alexis (Molly Quinn, “My One and Only”) and his meddlesome mother and former Broadway actress, Martha Rodgers (Susan Sullivan, “The Nine”, “Dharma & Greg”).

There is a lot of pressure on Nathan to create another book and with him stuck, his luck starts to change when he meets by-the-book Detective Kate Beckett (Stana Katic, “Heroes”, “The Spirit”, “Quantum of Solace”) who is investigating several murders which have taken place and the way that they were done were like the murders featured in several of his novels. Because of his knowledge of how things end up with his books, he gets the opportunity to assist the detectives in their case.

Eventually, Richard Castle discovers that he can do several things in his life. Write his new book based on Detective Beckett, see if he can woo Detective Beckett and most of all to investigate other murders which he can incorporate ideas for his new book. At first, it seems implausible but with Castle being so well-known and friends with the mayor, Captain Montgomery (Ruben Santiago-Huds0n) will do what he can to make the mayor and his boss happy, so he allows Richard to tag along with Detective Beckett.

Needless to say, she’s not happy about it but with his skills of mystery writing and her skills as a detective, the two find out that together, they can be an effective duo in crime solving. Also, joining Beckett are Detective Javier Esposito (Jon Huertas), Detective Kevin Ryan (Seamus Dever) and forensics doctor Dr. Lanie Parish (Tamala Jones).

In the first season, Detective Beckett and Richard Castle have worked together in handling various cases. But one case that Richard would like to investigate is the death of Detective Beckett’s mother but Beckett doesn’t want him getting into her personal business.

In the second season, Richard continues to work with Detective Beckett and together they try to solve a variety of murder cases including one that deals with a serial killer going after Detective Beckett. This season also shows us how Castle and Beckett seem to start showing some affection towards each other but in the process, Beckett becomes closer with Detective Demming.

In this third season of “Castle”, we learn that the murder of Detective Beckett’s mother is much bigger than she can ever realize. As as the sexual tension began to heat up between Castle and Kate, Kate found herself a new boyfriend and as for Castle, well…perhaps it was a one-sided love afterall? But with Captain Montgomery being revealed as a person who knows who killed Kate’s mother and may have been involved himself, the first major character in the series was killed. And the season ended with those trying to put a stop to Kate in continuing her investigation, leading to a sniper shooting her at Montgomery’s funeral and with life slipping away, Castle revealing his true feelings for her.

The fourth season of “Castle” picks up after Kate Beckett is shot. It’s a given that there is no way Castle or Kate Beckett is going to die as they are the primary characters of the series, so what happens next is that Kate must deal with the trauma of being shot and killed and getting back on duty.

While she has told everyone that she does not remember anything after being shot, the truth is that she does remember everything, including what Castle told her. But to protect him and to focus on who killed her mother, not falling in love is her priority, even though she knows she has feelings for Castle as well.

But as Kate tries to find out more of who shot her and why and also finding out more details of her mother’s death, Castle is meeting a mystery man behind Kate’s back, a man who knows a great amount of information that deals with her mother’s death. But the mysterious man warns Castle that Kate should probably step back as she may get herself too far in her investigation and end up dead.

And the fifth season of “Castle”, both Detective Kate Beckett and Frank Castle are finally together.  But with their relationship being kept private, how long will they be able to keep their relationship a secret and will it be too much for them?

Meanwhile, the discovery of who is responsible for the death of Kate’s mother is revealed and Castle’s worst nightmare comes true when his daughter is kidnapped.

“Castle – The Complete Fifth Season” features 24 episodes on five discs. Included are (spoiler-less summaries):

DISC: 1

  • EPISODE 82 – After the Storm – Castle and Kate are now in a relationship, meanwhile Kate finds out who is responsible for her mother’s murder….Senator William Bracken.
  • EPISODE 83 – Cloudy with a Chance of Murder – Beckett and Castle investigate the murder of a television weather forecaster.
  • EPISODE 84 – Secret’s Safe with Me – Beckett and Castle investigate the death of a socialite.
  • EPISODE 85 – Murder, He Wrote – Beckett and Castle try to have a romantic weekend in the Hamptons, but what happens when a murder takes place at Castle’s vacation home.
  • EPISODE 86 – Probable Cause – Castle has been framed for murder.

DISC 2:

  • EPISODE 87 – The Final Frontier – Castle and Beckett investigate a death at a sci-fi convention.
  • EPISODE 88 – Swan Song – Martha and Castle investigate the death of a rockstar, but must investigate with a documentary crew following them.
  • EPISODE 89 – After Hours – Beckett and Castle are being pursued by the mob.
  • EPISODE 90 – Secret Santa – Who killed Santa?
  • EPISODE 91 – Significant Others – Beckett moves in with Castle while her home is being fumigated, but guess who arrives as well…Castle’s ex-wife Meredith who wants to stay at his home.

DISC 3:

  • EPISODE 92 – Under the Influence – Beckett and Castle investigate a young DJ who has been strangled to death.
  • EPISODE 93 – Death Gone Crazy– Who killed Beau Randolf, founder of the adult video franchise “College Girls Gone Crazy”.
  • EPISODE 94 – Recoil – Detective Beckett must protect Senator William Bracken, the man responsible for her mother’s death.
  • EPISODE 95 – Reality Star Struck– Detective Beckett and Castle investigate the murder of a reality TV star.
  • EPISODE 96 – Target -Alexis and the daughter of a powerful foreign dignitary have been kidnapped.

DISC 4:

  • EPISODE 97 – Hunt – (Part Two) Castle goes to London to find someone who can help him find Alexis.
  • EPISODE 98 – Scared to Death – Beckett and Castle try to capture a homicide involving a “haunted” film.
  • EPISODE 99 – The Wild Rover – Detective Kevin Ryan returns to an old undercover alias to solve a murder that leads back to the Irish mob he once infiltrated.
  • EPISODE 100 – The Lives of Others – Castle is stuck at home with a broken leg and while watching outside his building, spots a murder from a building across the street.
  • EPISODE 101 – The Fast and the Furriest– Castle and Beckett investigate a “Bigfoot” case.

DISC 5:

  • EPISODE 102 – The Squab and the Quail – Beckett tries to help billionaire Eric Vaughn, who is being threatened.  But he also has his eyes on Beckett which makes Castle feels uncomfortable.
  • EPISODE 103 – Still -Beckett accidentally trips a sensor on a bomb and the police have several hours to detonate it.
  • EPISODE 104 – The Human Factor – Who murdered a whistleblower?  Detective Beckett must work for a special investigator for the Attorney General.
  • EPISODE 105 – Watershed – The detectives investigate the death of a young woman posing as a prostitute.  Meanwhile, Beckett must make a decision to pursue a job in Washington, D.C.

VIDEO:

“Castle – The Complete Fifth Season” is presented in Widescreen (1:78:1) and is enhanced for 16×9 televisions. The drama series is quite slick as it gives you the feel of New York and like many abc studios related DVD releases, Disney has always done a good job with their TV show transfers. A show that balances outdoor and indoor shots with good lighting, the picture quality for “CASTLE” is pretty solid. I didn’t see any major artifacting issues or low level noise that was distracting.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

As for the audio, “Castle – The Complete Fifth Season” is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. The series is front and center channel driven with a few episodes (that involve gun fights) utilizing the surround channels. The series does utilize quite a bit of music and for the most, the series is clear and understandable.

Subtitles are in English SDH, French and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Castle – The Complete Fifth Season” includes the following special features:

DISC 1:

  • Deleted Scenes – Featuring four deleted scenes.

DISC 2:

  • Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary for “The Final Frontier” with director Jonathan Frakes, actor Nathan Fillion and costume designer Luke Reichle.
  • Deleted Scene – One deleted scene

DISC 3:

  • Audio Commentary – “Target” with audio commentary by executive producer/writer David Amann, director Bill Roe and actors Susan Sullivan and Molly Quinn
  • Deleted Scenes – Featuring three deleted scenes

Disc 4:

  • Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary for “Hunt” with creator/executive producer/writer Andrew W. Marlowe, executive producer/director Rob Bowman and actors Nathan Fillion and Molly Quinn.
  • Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary for “The Lives of Others” with creator/executive producer/writer Andrew W. Marlowe, writer/producer Terri Edda Miller, editor Marta Every and composer Robert Duncan.
  • Deleted Scenes– Featuring three deleted scenes.

DISC 5:

  • Martha’s Master Class – (7:51) Martha discussing how she staged the actors for Castle’s surprise birthday party.
  • Your Home is Your Castle – (22:28) Vern Yip hosting a show of “Your Home is Your Castle” of where “Castle” is shot and visiting Alfred Sole, “Castle” production designer and architect and the cast and crew.  And looking at the decoir of “Castle” and more.
  • Lot Cops – (12:15) Actors Jon Huertas and Seamus Dever meeting with military/tactical advisers for law enforcement training.
  • Deleted Scene – Featuring a deleted scene.
  • Bloopers – (6:16) Outtakes from “Castle” season five.

EXTRAS:

“Castle – The Complete Fifth Season” comes with a one “Castle” Trading Card/Promotional Card and one “Castle the Detective” Card game card.

One of the biggest worries that I have had with “Castle” was what would happen if Castle and Detective Kate Beckett were to finally get together.

While romance was inevitable as the series can only have so much sexual tension between the two, I worried because I have seen series similar to it and the writers were not very good at handling it.  In the ’80s, the Bruce Willis and Cybil Shepherd TV series “Moonlighting” explored it but the quality of writing began to suffer.  Granted, the play of relationships have gone on for many series with success or limited success, may it be Carrie and Mr. Big (“Sex and the City”), Ross and Rachel (“Friends”) and the list goes on.

With the cast of “Castle”, the fifth series had to deal with their romance, from being kept as a secret from Beckett’s co-workers in order to keep Beckett and Castle close together but fortunately, the writers found a way to make their relationship exciting, romantic, uncertain and it works.  The relationship was not poorly done or dumbed-down, it worked!

And for this fifth season, I have to say it was possibly one of my favorite, if not the best season of “Castle” that I have watched.  First, to bring “Star Trek: The Next Generation” actor Jonathan Frakes to directed a few episodes was great but the episode “The Final Frontier” was fantastic!  It had a “Galaxy Quest” type of vibe, homage to other sci-fi series (as well as a few people with guest starring roles in this episode) and the audio commentary was wonderful.

The two-parter involving Castle in his most emotional moment when his daughter Alexis is kidnapped and fearing that she may be dead. It was rather interesting to watch and see how the whole kidnapping plays out.

The return of Jerry Tyson (Triple Killer – 3XK) was also well-done and it’s evident that we will see this lunatic killer back in the near future.

But most importantly, finding out who is responsible for Kate Beckett’s death…the powerful Senator Bracken.  And the fact that he will show up in a future episode and Beckett is responsible in protecting him.

And of course, many other episodes that were just as exciting and most of all, the importance of utilizing the supporting talent.  More Javier and Ryan, more from Alexis and Martha, including Captain Gates… everyone has more involvement for season five.

It’s also obvious that the production value for the series is up and the fact that while other series are receiving a decrease in episodes, “Castle” received an extra episode with a total of 24 this season.

As for the DVD, “Castle – The Complete Fifth Season” is once again, another solid release. I enjoyed the inclusion of more audio commentary into this DVD set but also the addition of several audio commentary, featurettes especially one on the decoir of “Castle”, deleted scenes and outtakes.

Overall, the fifth season of “Castle” is my favorite season yet!  Wonderful writing, better production and solid performances and integration of characters.

If you love “Castle”, then “Castle – The Complete Fifth Season” is highly recommended!

Once Upon a Time: The Complete Second Season (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

August 21, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

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Captivating, addictive and in my opinion, one of the best drama series on television at this time, “Once Upon a Time” is a unique, well-acted, well-written drama series that will win you over instantly.   It’s that good! “Once Upon a Time: The Complete Second Season” is highly recommended!

Images courtesy of © 2013 ABC. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Once Upon a Time: The Complete Second Season

TV SEASON AIR DATE: 2012-2013

DURATION: 946 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, 1:78:1, English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and English 2.0 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English SDH, French and Spanish

COMPANY: abc studios

RATED: TV PG LSV

Release Date: August 13, 2013

Directed by Dean White, Ralph Hemecker, David Barrett, David Solomon, Milan Cheylov, Gwyneth Horder-Payton

Written by Adam Horowitz, Edward Kitsis, Jane Espenson, David H. Goodman, Andrew Chambliss, Ian B. Goldberg, Robert Hull, Christine Boylan, Daniel T. Thomsen, Kalinda Vazquez

Produced by Samantha Thomas, Kathy Gilroy, Christine Boyland, Robert Hull, Kalinda Vazquez

Co-Producer: Brian Wankum, Andrew Chambliss, Ian B. Goldberg, Daniel T. Thomsen

Executive Producer: Adam Horowitz, Edward Kitsis, Steve Pearlman

Co-Executive Producer: David H. Goodman, Liz Tigelaar

Associate Producer: Stephen Judge

Supervising Producer: Lauren Gussis

Music by Mark Isham

Cinematography by Stephen Jackson

Edited by Geofrey Hildrew, Mark Goldman, Scot J. Kelly, Richad Glazerman, Joe Talbot Hall

Casting by Veronica Collins

Production Design by Michael Joy

Art Direction by Cheryl Marion, Greg Venturi

Set Decoration by Mark Lane

Costume Design by Eduardo Castro

Starring:

Ginnifer Goodwin as Mary Margaret Blanchard

Jennifer Morrison as Emma Swan

Lana Parrilla as Regina Mills

Josh Dallas as David Nolan

Jared Gilmore as Henry Mills

Raphael Sbarge as Archie Hopper

Emilie de Ravin as Belle

Lee Arenberg as Grumpy

Robert Carlyle as Mr. Gold

Meghan Ory as Ruby

Eion Bailey as August W. Booth

Beverly Elliott as Granny

Giancarlo Esposito as Sidney Glass

Anastasia Griffith as Kathryn Nolan

Keegan Connor Tracy as Blue Fairy

Colin O’Donoghue as Hook

David-Paul Grove as Doc

Mike Coleman as Happy

Jeffrey Kaiser as Dopey

Barbara Hershey as Cora

Gabe Kouth as Sneezy

Michael Raymond-James as Neal Cassady

Jamie Chung as Mulan

Sarah Bolger as Princes Aurora

Greg Mendell as Ethan Embry

Sonequa Martin-Green as Tamara

Relive every thrilling moment of the fairy tale-inspired series when “Once Upon a Time: The Complete Second Season” casts its tantalizing spell onto Blu-ray/DVD. The curse is broken, magic has arrived, and there’s no telling what – or who – will be unleashed! Now the exiled fairy tale characters must grapple with a flood of awakened memories as they come to grips with their new “reality.” Old loyalties will be tested, new heroes will emerge, and vengeful villains will wreak havoc. Amidst the backdrop of previously unexplored lands and a newly magical Storybrooke, love and sacrifice will set the stage for the ultimate battle between good and evil.

From Storybrooke to Fairy Tale Land and beyond, experience all the mystery, romance, action and adventure of the second season of “Once Upon a Time.” Featuring all 22 remarkable episodes and exclusive bonus features, this must-own, five-disc boxed set is pure enchantment on an epic scale.

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“Once Upon a Time” season one left viewers on the edge of their seats with a season finale which gave everyone of Storybrooke memories of their past.  Season two kicks off where the last season left off, as many are angered that Regina (the wicked witch), has made their lives quite horrible.

But as Regina was the key antagonist of the first season to protagonists Emma Swan, Snow and Prince Charming, new antagonists join season two.  And if you thought Regina was bad, wait until you see someone much more evil than her, her mother…Cora.

Watch as Emma and Snow with the help of Mulan and Princess Aurora try to escape the Enchanted Forest as they are being pursued by Cora and Hook, what happens when Mr. Gold cashes in on the deal he made with Emma and new antagonist are in store, and they want nothing more than to destroy Storybrooke.

All this in “Once Upon a Time: The Complete Second Season”, now available on Blu-ray!

What is “Once Upon a Time” about?

From the creators of “Lost” and “Tron: Legacy” writers Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz comes a new fantasy-drama television series known as “Once Upon a Time”.

Originally conceived before Kitsis and Horowitz were involved with “Lost”, both men wanted to write a fairtytale and the exploration of other worlds. But with their work on “Lost”, the writers had the opportunity to learn from the process, and while having some allusions to “Lost”, the series also has allusions to well-known Disney films. But the goal for both writers was to take these characters that people are familiar with and to explore the character and get to learn more about them. But most importantly, not retelling the exact same story as what people may be familiar with from the original fairy tale.

With the 22-episode series debuting in October 2011 and a season finale in May of 2012, “Once Upon a Time” was the highest-rated TV drama for Adults 18-49 and was ABC’s biggest debut in five years. As well as being the highest rated non-sports program to air on Sunday nights.

With a third season set to air on ABC later this fall, “Once Upon a Time: The Complete Second Season” will be released on Blu-ray in August 2013.

“Once Upon a Time” is a series that takes place in the past via the fairy tale timeline and the present timeline.

In the present timeline, we are introduced to Emma Swan (portrayed by Jennifer Morrison, “House M.D., “Star Trek”), a tough woman who works in bail bonds and is often busy that she lives alone. Her life changes when a young boy named Henry (portrayed by Jared Gilmore, “Mad Men”, “The Back-Up Plan”) arrives at her home and tells him that he is her son, that she put up for adoption ten years ago.

Emma is shocked because the adoption was supposed to be private and the boy would not be able to find her location, but Emma goes to bring Henry back home in a town known as Storybrooke.

Meanwhile, in the fairy tale time line, Prince Charming arrives to find Snow White dead. When he goes to kiss her on the lips, she is revived and the two are now engaged to be married.

During the day of their wedding, a pregnant Snow White (portrayed by Ginnifer Goodwin, “Walk the Line”, “A Single Man”) and Prince Charming (portrayed by Josh Dallas, “Thor”, “The Descent, Part 2”) celebrate the wonderful occasion with their friends. But to put a damper on the wedding, Snow White’s evil stepmother, the Wicked Queen (portrayed by Lana Parrilla, “Spiders”, “Boomtown”) wants to make sure that her daughter never has a happy ending and warns everyone that she has placed a curse on everyone and their lives will change forever as there will never be a happy ending.

Worried about their impending doom, there is one man who knows about magic that can give them information to defeat the curse… the imprisoned and vile man, Rumplestiltskin (portrayed by Robert Carlyle, “Trainspotting”, “The Full Monty”).

A man who can grant anything through magic, but to use his magic, the person must pay the price of something they cherish the most. Rumplestiltskin tells Snow White and Prince Charming that the person who can break the curse is their child.

As the curse that the Wicked Queen has cast, has now come to hit the kingdom, with magic, a portal was created for one person to escape and hopefully destroy the curse. Snow White gives birth to a baby named Emma and Prince Charming manages to take the baby to the portal before he is killed by the Evil Queen’s dark army.

In the present time, Henry tells Emma that everyone in Storybrooke is an actual character of the fairy tale and the fairy tale are true stories. Of course, Emma doesn’t believe any of it but tries to play along with what she thinks is Henry’ active imagination. But Henry insists that she has the power to eliminate the curse and the people of Storybrooke will finally remember their true identity.

She wonders why none of these people can leave town but is told that anyone who tries to leave is met with an accident.

When Emma returns Henry back to his home, we learn that his adoptive mother is the mayor of Storybrooke, Regina Mills, who happens to be The Evil Queen.

And Regina does all she can to keep Emma away from her son, but each time Emma wants to leave, Henry escapes from his home to be with Emma. And requests for her to stay at least for one week in Storybrooke and she will see how she can make things change.

And in the town of Storybrooke, Emma meets Henry’s school teacher (and the person who gave him the fairy tale book), Mary Margaret Blanchard (a.k.a. Snow White). Mary occasionally volunteers at the hospital where she reads to a man named David Nolan (a.k.a. Prince Charming), who is in a coma.

Henry is being treated by a psychologist named Archibald “Archie” Hopper (portrayed by Raphael Sbarge, a.k.a. Jiminy Cricket), the Sheriff in town is Sheriff Graham (portrayed by Jamie Dornan, a.k.a. The Huntsman) and meets more of Storybrooke’s residents including Mr. Gold (a.k.a. Rumplestiltskin), the only person in Storybrooke who is aware of what is real and has not lost his memory.

So, Emma making a promise to Henry decides to temporarily stay in Storybrooke for his sake. But Regina, will do all it takes to get Emma to leave and get her away from Henry.

In season two, with the memories of the people of Storybrooke having returned, Mary Margaret (Snow) and Charming are reunited and find out that Emma is their daughter and Henry is their grandson.  But for Emma, it’s not a happy reunion as she doesn’t understand why her mother would abandon her.

But both Emma and Mary Margaret will have a lot of mother and daughter time as they are stuck in the Enchanted Forest thanks to Regina and must find a portal back home.  But also stuck in the Enchanted Forest is Cora, the evil mother of Regina who has the power to destroy but mimic anyone she wants via magic.  Both Emma and Mary Margaret with the help of Mulan and Princess Aurora must find a new portal, not knowing that Cora is pursuing them, with the help of the infamous pirate, Hook.

Meanwhile, Henry wants to see the good of his mother, Regina, can she really change and show that she really loves him or will she remain an evil person?  Also, the people of Storybrooke learn that if they leave the city, indicated by a red line near their home, they will lose all memories.  But what happens when Mr. Gold needs to search for his son…in Manhattan?

And as the people of Storybrooke must deal with the threat of Cora and Dr. Hook, new antagonists threaten the people of Storybrooke.

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VIDEO:

“Once Upon a Time” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:78:1 aspect ratio). The picture quality for this series is fantastic. With its high production value, one expects a lot for this series and for an ABC drama series, one of the few that has been given a Blu-ray release.

Closeups are very good, showing excellent detail from skin pores to the grime on people’s faces. The location shots are breathtaking, especially during the fairytale sequences and costume design also showcase excellent detail. Skin tones are natural, black levels are nice and deep and I didn’t see any problems with banding, especially during the scenes which featured a lot of orange or red.

Overall, picture quality for “Once Upon a Time: The Complete Season” was fantastic!

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Once Upon a Time” is presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and English 2.0 Dolby Digital. The series is crystal clear when it comes to dialogue and music. While the series is center and front-channel driven, I did like how surround channels were used at times during the action sequences but primarily you hear the musical score through the surround channels. I wished it was bit more immersive when it comes to its lossless soundtrack but the dialogue and music is crystal clear.

Subtitles are in English, English SDH and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES

“Once Upon a Time: The Complete Second Season” comes with the following special features:

DISC 1:

  • Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary for “Broken” by  actress Ginnifer Goodwin and Josh Dallas.

DISC 2:

  • Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary for “Queen of Hearts” by co-creators/executive producers Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz and actress Lana Parrilla.

DISC 3:

  • Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary for “Manhattan” by co-creators/executive producers Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz and actor Robert Carlyle.

DISC 4:

  • Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary for “The Miller’s Daughter” with writer Jane Espenson.
  • Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary for “Welcome to Storybrooke” with writers Ian Goldberg and Andrew Chambliss.

DISC 5:

  • Good Morning Storybrooke – (12:10) Featuring a comedy, faux news show about Storybrooke.
  • A Fractured Family Tree – (7:08) Narrated by Sarah Hyland of ABC’s “Modern Family”, the cast are interviewed about their character’s family tree.
  • Sincerely, Hook – (5:24) Actor Colin O’Donoghue talks about playing the character of Hook.
  • Girl Power – (13:05) Creating independent, strong female characters and interview with the female cast.
  • Fairest Bloopers of Them All – (3:13) Outtakes from “Once Upon a Time” season two.
  • Deleted Scenes – (10:33) A total of eight deleted scenes.
  • Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary for “And Straight On Til morning” with co-executive producer David H, Goodman and actor Colin O’Donoghue.

EXTRAS:

“Once Upon a Time: The Complete Second Season” comes with a lenticular slipcover case.

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Unique, captivating and wonderful… ABC’s “Once Upon a Time” continues to be a groundbreaking drama series on primetime television.

High production value, featuring talented writers that come from hit shows such as “LOST” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and utilizing fairy tale characters, the potential is pretty much unlimited of how far the writers can go.

And what adds to the efficacy of season two of “Once Upon a Time” is its talented ensemble cast, cinematography, set and costume design and overall direction.

With so many fairytale stories that have been created, the characters and the potential of new lands are quite endless.

And for season two, the series begins with the Enchanted Forest and introduces characters such as Prince Phillip, Princess Aurora and Mulan.  An interesting love triangle between the two until they are confronted by a wraith which consumes Prince Phillip’s soul.  As Mulan promised to protect Princess Aurora, in the modern world, both Emma and her mother Mary Margaret (Snow White) are sent to the Enchanted Forest thanks to Regina who used the Mad Hatter’s Hat.

The first few episodes are quite intriguing as they introduce Cora, the evil mother of Regina and how her mother will do whatever it takes to leave the Enchanted Forest.  Meanwhile, we learn of how Snow and Charming were married and how Snow White was cursed.

The first half features the adventures of Emma and Mary Margaret going through various adventures in trying to find a portal in going back home, while Cora tries to find a magical compass in order to find a way to reunited with her daughter Regina.  And she teams up with the mischievous Captain Hook, with a goal to kill Mr. Gold (Rumplestiltskin).

As for the wicked witch, Regina, she is torn because she never wanted to be evil like her mother but we see through her flashback how she was driven to her current life.  But with her adopted son Henry wanting to see how she has changed and see the good within her, does Regina have any positive in her heart?  But what happens when she comes face-to-face with her mother?

Meanwhile, Mr. Gold cashes in on his deal with Emma and that is to find his son Baelfire who is living in New York.  Unfortunately, for most fairytale characters of Storybrooke, stepping outside of city limits will lead them to losing their memory.  But hopefully Mr. Gold has found a way to prevent that from happening.  But what happens when Emma finds out that Baelfire, is a person that she knows quite well.

And the final episodes feature two new antagonists that intend to cause problems for Storybrooke and destroy the town.

So, the second season never wanes in quality.  Production and set design, especially costume design are fantastic.  The writing for the characters continues to be magnificent and while “Once Upon a Time” has been compared to “LOST” because of its two timelines, “LOST” had its limitations as everyone was stuck on an island and writers could go only go so far with its ensemble cast. With “Once Upon a Time”, you’re dealing with the small town of Storybrooke, many characters that can be introduced with each episode, characters that can have an impact on another character’s modern and fairytale storyline.

As a viewer, you root for the underdogs, which are Emma, the main protagonist and young Henry. You are captivated by these two characters because Emma is strong, intelligent but she is also alone. And to have her son that she gave up for adoption wanting her, needing her and accompanying her, it’s rather touching. But then you have this sci-fi side to the story through the multiple adventures featuring Emma and family/friends.

The acting is magnificent. Ginnifer Goodwin and Josh Dallas as Snow White and Prince Charming have wonderful chemistry and their scenes are quite demanding as they require a lot of action sequences, having them in many costumes and fighting evil anywhere in the forest or via green screen (or not) near rocky cliffs. The series also brings a new dynamic to these characters beyond what many of us have read or seen in a Disney film. Snow White is more authoritative, a go-getter not this character that loves to sing and play with birds. Her depiction in “Once Upon a Time” is fantastic, while Prince Charming is your banal swashbuckling hero.

But Ginnefer shows her emotional side as a woman who is reunited with her daughter and also having to deal with a daughter who is distant because she feel that she was abandoned.  But also how her birthday is a difficult day for her.  We also see the more emotional side for actress Jennifer Morrison.  Emma is still in action/adventure mode but there are more emotional scenes for season two.

Then you have Lana Parrilla as Regina Mills/Evil Queen. The actress is able to play the evil character wonderfully, with this scheming look on her face and evil grin. Casting was on the mark for this character and instead of being an older woman queen, the Evil Queen is given sex appeal and becomes one of the more interesting characters in the series.  But if you thought that Regina was bad, wait until you see Barbara Hershey as her mother, Cora.  Definitely a much more evil woman and fascinating antagonist for season two.

And Robert Carlyle, a man who is evil but also a mystery if he can be good or just a person that marches in the beat of his own drum and you don’t know whether or not you can trust him. His character of Rumpelstiltskin may seem a bit weak towards the beginning of the series but you begin to realize that this grimy imp is far from being weak, in fact, he may be the most powerful antagonist of the series but also an antagonist that can either aid the side of good and evil. Or neither, but himself. A character that you just don’t know what he will do and constantly surprises the viewer by his actions. Carlyle does an amazing job in playing this character, may it be the psychotic Rumpelstiltskin or the cool and calm Mr. Gold.

The latest character to make an impact in season two is Colin O’Donoghue as Hook.  A man who also goes by the beat of his own drum….antagonist/protagonist, suffice to say, he does cause significant problems for Emma and others.

And last, the supporting talent are well-done as well!

Another big plus is the cinematography and location shots. From the beautiful location of shooting in the forest for action sequences to shooting in Vancouver for Storybrooke, you get a combination of beautiful location shots along with small town America. The fairytale storyline is what is most appealing because of its high production value, action sequences and costume design.

And last but not least, the writing of this show is phenomenal. I’m a big fan of Jane Espenson’s work but to also have a few of the writers, especially series creators Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz of “LOST”, another series that I enjoyed immensely is a major plus. Both men had this vision prior to “Lost” and it’s great to see this type of series on ABC.

The writing is captivating, amazingly well-done and definitely a lot of potential for exploration of other characters which can be utilized whenever. But with the way that season 1 has ended, it will be interesting to see how things go for season 2.

As for the Blu-ray release, picture quality is amazing while lossless soundtrack was crystal clear when it came to dialogue and music, I was hoping for it to be a bit more immersive in utilizing the surround channels and LFE a bit more during the more action-driven scenes. As for special features, you do get several audio commentary included with season two.

Overall, “Once Upon a Time” has turned out to be a fantastic sci-fi drama series. So many positives can be said of the show and I can’t really think of any negatives. I loved season two as much as I loved season one and I’m looking forward to another thrilling season three.

Captivating, addictive and in my opinion, one of the best drama series on television at this time, “Once Upon a Time” is a unique, well-acted, well-written drama series that will win you over instantly.   It’s that good!

“Once Upon a Time: The Complete Second Season” is highly recommended!

Body of Proof: The Complete Third Season (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

June 14, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

If you thought season two was awesome, for season three, the crew and the cast went all out and delivering an exciting and enjoyable final third season! A new edgier, action-packed direction for the series with new cast members and for the most part, 13 riveting episodes… For fans of the series, “Body of Proof: The Complete Third Season” is recommended!

Images courtesy of © 2013 abc studios. All Rights Reserved.

DVD TITLE: Body of Proof: The Complete Third Season

SERIES DATE: 2013

DURATION: 13 Episodes (559 Minutes)

DVD INFORMATION: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound, Widescreen (1:78:1) – Enhanced for 16×9 Televisions, Subtitles: English SDH, French and Spanish

COMPANY: abc studios

RATED: TV 14 DSLV

RELEASE DATE: June 18, 2013

Directed by Nelson McCormick, Christine Moore, Eric Laneuville, John Terlesky, Michael Grossman, Paul Holahan, Alex Zakrzewski, John Terlesky

Written by Christopher Murphey, Matthew V. Lewis, Diane Ademu-John, Corey D. Miller, Allen MacDonald

Produced by Jim Klever-Weis, Bryan Oh

Co-Producer: Paul Gadd

Supervising Producer: Diane Ademu-John, Sam Humphrey

Executive Producer: Corey D. Miller, Matthew Gross, Christopher Murphey, Sunil Nayar, Evan Katz

Co-Executive Producer: Corey D. Miller, Richard Heus, Andrew Dettmann, Krystal Houghton

Supervising Producer: Diane Ademu-John, Alexi Hawley, Allen MacDonald

Associate Producer: Andrwe Balek

Music by Daniel Licht, Trevor Morris

Cinematography by Patrick Cady

Edited by Lynn Willingham, Paul Trejo, Louise Innes, Chris G. Willingham

Casting by Natalie Hart, Jason La Padura, Patrick Rush

Production Design by Kenneth Hardy

Art Direction by Gina B. Cranham

Set Decoration by Ellen Totleben

Costume Design by Susanna Puisto

Starring:

Dana Delany as Megan Hunt

Jeri Ryan as Kate Murphy

Geoffrey Arend as Ethan Gross

Windell Middlebrooks as Curtis Brumfield

Mary Mouser as Lacey Fleming

Joanna Cassidy as Joan Hunt

Mark Valley as Det. Tommy Sullivan

Elyes Gabel as Det. Adam Lucas

Luke Perry as Charlie Stafford

Lorraine Toussaint as Chief Angela Martin

Marisa Ramirez as Officer Riley Dunn

 In the exciting final season of “Body of Proof” things are hotter than ever as new characters are introduced and relationships are tested when Medical Examiner Megan Hunt uncovers a new murder mystery every week!  The three-disc DVD set brings fans deeper into the series with exclusive bonus features including exclusive featurettes, bloopers and more!

As writers worked to save “Body of Proof” from cancellation and race to improve ratings, by the end of season two, characters were killed off and characters went on to follow career or family plans.  So, with the murder of Detective Dunlop and departing characters in the season finale, a new chapter begins for “Body of Proof” for its final third season.

Featuring new characters and deeper plot featuring more action and more edgier storylines featuring the character of Dr. Megan Hunt becoming much more closer to the cases than ever before.

And now the three-disc DVD set of “Body of Proof: The Complete Third Season” will be released in June 2013 courtesy of abc studios.

What is “Body of Proof”?

From writer and producer Christopher Murphey comes a new ABC medical drama titled “Body of Proof” which made its debut on March 2011 replacing a canceled drama series. With a short nine episode first season, the drama series was renewed for a second season and garnered positive reviews around the world where it has aired.

“Body of Proof” is a series that centers on Dr. Megan Hunt, a brilliant neurosurgeon who was a workaholic but was also away from her family which led to a divorce and losing custody of her daughter Mary.

One day, while trying to talk on her cell phone, she got into a car accident and now she doesn’t have full control of her hands to do surgery and thus ended her career as a neurosurgeon.

So, now Dr. Hunt works as a medical examiner and is trying to establish a relationship with her daughter but also assists the detectives on various homicide cases.

As Megan Hunt is dealing with the death of Detective Dunlop, a former boyfriend of Megan, Tommy Sullivan has moved to Philadelphia working in the Homicide Division and Dr. Megan Hunt is shocked to see him back.  Tommy would like to rekindle things with Megan and felt that they were too young back in the past but now as grown up adults, perhaps Megan may be interested.

But with Megan now having her daughter Lacey living with her (for this season), she must put up with her mother Joan (portrayed by Joanna Cassidy), who is a bit overbearing.

Meanwhile, Chief Medical Examiner, Kate Murphy is encouraged to pursue public office by District Attorney Dan Russell and so, life becomes much more hectic and much busier as she plans to get into politics.

But this time around, Dr. Megan Hunt must deal with major personal/family issues but also multiple homicides which include a downing of a major airliner, a prison escape, her daughter being kidnapped and a person possessed by something evil?

The characters of “Body of Proof: The Complete Third Season” include:

Dr. Megan Hunt (Dana Delany, “Desperate Housewives”, “Castle”, “Kidnapped”) – A former neurosurgeon now medical examiner who was a dedicated, brilliant neurosurgeon but broke her marriage and prevented a true relationship with her daughter which was followed by a life-changing car accident which ended her career. Now, a medical examiner, she uses her knowledge and investigative instincts to help police solve cases. She’s not very sociable, doesn’t have any friends due to being a workaholic.

Tommy Sullivan (Mark Valley, “Boston Legal”, “The Siege”, “Human Target”) – A former NYPD officer and former flame of Dr. Megan Hunt, who has moved to Philadelphia to work at the homicide division.

Dr. Kate Murphy (Jerry Ryan, “Star Trek: Voyager”, “Down with Love”, “Shark”, “Boston Public”) The chief medical examiner and forensic anthropologist. Always concerned with the work budget, as Megan’s superior and the first female chief medical examiner in Philadelphia, she is sometimes at odds with Dr. Megan Hunt. She is also dating Megan’s ex-husband.

Detective Adam Lucas (Elyes Gabel, “Casualty”, “World War Z”, “Boogeyman 3”) – A partner of Detective Tommy Sullivan.

Dr. Ethan Gross (Geoffrey Arend, “(500) Days of Summer”, “Garden State”) – The young and enthusiastic fellow medical examiner.

Dr. Curtis Brumfield (Windell Middlebrooks, “Miss March”, “Enlightened”) – A former chief resident at Seattle Grace Hospital and an orthopedic surgeon. Was married with Dr. George O’Malley. Later, she has a sexual relationship with Dr. Mark Sloan (in order to prove to herself that she is heterosexual) but is now starting to understand her feelings that she is a lesbian and exploring her relationship with Dr. Arizona Robbins.

Todd Fleming (Jeffrey Nordling, “Flight 93”, “Tron: Legacy”, “Once and Again”) – The estranged husband of Dr. Megan Hunt, who is dating Megan’s boss, Dr. Kate Murphy.

Lacey Fleming (Mary Matilyn Mouser, “Bride Wars”, “Son of the Mask”) – The estranged daughter of Dr. Megan Hunt.

Joan Hunt (Joanna Cassidy, “Blade Runner”, “Who Framed Roger Rabbit”) – Megan’s overbearing mother and a former judge.

Charlie Stafford (Luke Perry, “Beverly Hills 90210”, “The Fifth Element”, “Jeremiah”) – A former CDC officer who has become Philadelphia’s Health Commissioner and wants to get closer to Dr. Megan Hunt.

“Body of Proof: The Complete Third Season” features 13 episodes on three DVD’s. Here is a basic summary of each episode (Spoilerless summaries):

  • EPISODE 30 – Abducted (Part 1) – Megan returns to work after the death of Peter and a serial killer is terrorizing the city.  Meanwhile, an old boyfriend of Megan returns to Philadelphia and works at the Philadelphia Homicide Department.
  • EPISODE 31 – Abducted (Part 2) – Megan’s daughter is being kidnapped and the race is on to find her.  But can she trust people who are close to her?
  • EPISODE 32 – Lost Souls – Megan must work on a case in which a young girl appears to be possessed.  Is she?
  • EPISODE 33 – Mob Mentality – Megan and Tommy must work together to investigate who killed a mob leader’s son.
  • EPISODE 34 – Eye for an Eye – Megan and Tommy investigate two murders that may have been killed by a vigilante.
  • EPISODE 35 – Fallen Angel – Kate falls for a man named Sergei, but he may be involved in a Russian human trafficking ring.
  • EPISODE 36 – Skin & Bones – Strange rabies are happening around the city and Tommy gets bit by a man.
  • EPISODE 37 – Doubting Tommy – Megan sees Tommy talking to a young woman, who ends up dead the following day.  Did Tommy kill her?
  • EPISODE 38 – Disappearing Act – A wealthy fund manager on trial is kidnapped and murdered.
  • EPISODE 39 – Committed – Megan wants to know how her father died and wants her father’s body exhumed which her mother refuses.
  • EPISODE 40 – Dark City – A plane crashes in Philadelphia and everyone must go in disaster mode.
  • EPISODE 41 – Breakout – A convicted inmate  escapes from a prison transport van and he comes to Megan for help to prove that he wasn’t responsible for killing the woman he loved.
  • EPISODE 42 – Daddy Issues – THE FINAL EPISODE – When Megan’s father’s body is exhumed, the coffin is empty.  Who killed Megan’s father?

VIDEO & AUDIO:

“Body of Proof: The Complete Third Season” is presented in Widescreen (1:78:1) – Enhanced for 16×9 televisions. This is one of the few drama series on television where a lot of the scenes are shot outdoors, to there is good natural lighting and the series does look good on DVD. I didn’t see any major noise or compression artifacts. For the most part, the seventh season does look very good on DVD.

As for audio, the series is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound and the series is primarily dialogue and music driven. Dialogue is clear and understandable, while the music has always played a major part for the series and definitely enhances certain scenes. Did notice the surround used in scenes with cutting of flesh (during surgery) which was quite clear. There are a few mild action sequences but for the most part, this is a dialogue-driven drama series.

The show is presented in English SDH, Spanish and French subtitles.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Body of Proof: The Complete Third Season” includes the following special features:

  • Getting the Shot – (4:17) The cast talk about Patrick Cady, DP Director of Photography and Patrick talks about his job and what he wants to accomplish with each episode.
  • VFX The Ultimate Makeover – (3:11) The VFX crew discuss the post-effects used for “Body of Proof” and how they used visual effects to make the city look like Philadelphia and removing any trace of Los Angeles (ie. palm trees) from the series.  Also adding blood and guts for season three and more.
  • All Kinds of Props – (5:32) Because there are more investigative scenes for season three, more props are used and this featurette goes into the props used for season three.
  • Creating the World – (5:30) The crew that creates the world for “Body of Proof” and creating Philadelphia in Los Angeles and went into creating the episodes for season three.
  • Body of Goofs  – (3:29) Featuring the burning down a house for an episode and what was involved in the creation of that scene.

EXTRAS:

“Body of Proof: The Complete Third Season” comes with a slipcover case.

The final third season of “Body of Proof” was a season that would describe as action-packed, edgy and writers and cast putting it all on the line to see if this new direction will receive the green light for a fourth season.

Unfortunately, Dana Delany has confirmed on Twitter that the show has been canceled, as fans who have supported the series have hoped that a new home on cable would be found.

With that being said, my feeling of the third season is quite positive.  I felt the new direction was a good way to reboot the series featuring a more colder Megan Hunt, new characters and to focus on more action-driven, edgier storylines.  But the problem is whether or not people would accept it.

Similar to “Castle” which features a novelist hanging around and helping out an investigator/law enforcement, “Body of Proof” went that same direction by featuring Megan Hunt now being involved in a variety of situations that most medical examiners never have to worry about.  From her daughter being kidnapped, from assisting an investigator and taking part in subduing a criminal, to having an escaped convicted felon breaking into her car with a gun to her head, a possibly possessed woman and an airplane going down near the city.  Meanwhile worrying about how her father really died and wanting to pursue it, as she doesn’t believe her father died of suicide.

In a nutshell, this describes the adventures of Megan Hunt for season three.

You just don’t really find medical examiners getting themselves into this much trouble and constantly around investigators during their investigations.

But of course, this is television, where things don’t have to equate necessarily to actual reality.  Action-packed and dark storylines tend to be the norm and what people want to see, along with very good acting and a solid storyline.

The changes made for the third season was necessary.  I felt there had to be a change with characters and I really liked the chemistry between Megan Hunt and Det. Tommy Sullivan was there and Dana Delany and actor Mark Valley clicked on camera,

I felt how they included Ethan Gross and Curtis Brumfield to the storyline was much better as they stayed behind-the-scenes and unlike Megan, got involved in action-scenes, it just didn’t feel right to see these people trying to hide from criminals as their jobs are pretty much restricted to lab or on the field of duty.

And as for Kate Murphy, the character pursuing a political career is actually conceivable and the conflict between her interested in the field and pursuing politics worked well for her character.  A much better storyline than last year’s story of Kate dating Megan’s ex-husband.

Another positive aspect of season three along with the addition of Det. Tommy Sullivan is the addition of Det. Adam Lucas.  These two partners seemed right on television versus Detective Bud Morris and Detective Samantha Baker.  Past seasons, I felt the two characters were not integrated well into the series. Season one felt like comedy, season two they started to make these characters quite right for doing their job and for season three, integrating these characters for every homicide and have them take part in the action/drama was important. It took three seasons for the writers to get it right and I was pleased with how the detectives were utilized!

And one final positive aspect to add to Megan Hunt’s personality is by showing a vulnerable side to her.  And this is by featuring more of her mother Joan Hunt and her daughter Lacey.  The storyline about mother and daughter but also her past of losing her father and looking into his murder.

Once again, something that is similar to “Castle” but with the “Castle” storyline being much bigger and corrupt, with this situation, at least it ties itself up by the final episode.

As for the DVD release, picture quality for “Body of Proof” is very good, dialogue is clear and understandable and there are several special features included with the third season DVD set.

I’m not sure if the creators or writers anticipated a possibility that “Body of Proof” would not be coming back for a fourth season, but since this is a final season, the good news is that the series does answer a lot of questions in regards to how Megan Hunt’s father had died and the series ends with an outcome that fans of the series can be content with.

I felt the cast and the writers did everything possible within their limits to making an exciting and enjoyable third season but the fact is that television is changing and there are more options of entertainment that people can tune into.  “Body of Proof” didn’t do poorly in the ratings, it actually does better than other series that are still on television but for ABC, whatever reason they chose not to continue it, may it be due to the cost per episode or their ratings barometer is too high, this was the best season of “Body of Proof” and I enjoyed it.

I’m grateful to Dana Delany, Jeri Ryan, Geoffrey Arend, Windell Middlebrooks, Mary Mouser and many others from the cast and crew for three enjoyable seasons. They battled hard to keep the series on air but in the end, they delivered when it came to giving one hell of an exciting season for the audience.

So for those who have followed and purchased each of the first two seasons of “Body of Proof”, this final third season is a worthy purchase to close out the series.

“Body of Proof: The Complete Third Season” is recommended!

Perception: The Complete First Season (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

May 17, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

The strength of “Perception” is in the writing.  From the way Dr. Pierce is able to solve various crimes and the complexity of how he approaches these situations but I also enjoy watching both Eric McCormack and Rachael Leigh Cook together, it makes up for a fascinating and enjoyable series that makes me interested in watching season two!  For fans of television crime drama with a little twist, “Perception: The Complete Series” is recommended!

Images courtesy of © 2013 ABC Studios. All Rights Reserved.

DVD TITLE: Perception: The Complete First Season

YEAR AIRED: 2012

DURATION: 11 Episodes (425 Minutes)

DVD INFORMATION: Widescreen (1:78:1) – Enhanced for 16×9 Televisions, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound, Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish and French Subtitles,

COMPANY: abc studios

RATED: TV 14 DLV

RELEASE DATE: May 21, 2013

Directed by Greg Beeman, Kenneth Biller, Christopher Misiano, Deran Sarafian

Written by Kenneth Biller, Michael Sussman, Amanda Green, Jason Ning, Stephen Tolkin

Production by Eric McCormack, Mark H. Ovitz

Co-Executive Producer: Michael Sussman, Amanda Green, Stephen Tolkin

Co-Producer: Jason Ning

Associate Producer: Nicole Carrasco

Music by Tree Adams

Cinematography by Jeff Jur

Edited by Anthony Miller, Andi Armaganian, Gib Jaffe

Casting by Mary Jo Slater

Production Design by Stephen Storer

Art Direction by Dennis Davenport

Set Decoration by Wanda “Beau” Peterson

Costume Design by Julia Schklair

Starring:

Eric McCormack as Daniel Pierce

Rachael Leigh Cook as Kate Moretti

Arjay Smith as Max Lewicki

Kelly Rowan as Natalie Vincent

Jonathan Scarfe as Roger Probert

LeVar Burton as Paul Haley

Jamie Bamber as Michael Hathaway

Freddy Rodriguez as Wesley Sumter

Jayne Atkinson as Helen Paulson

Lisa banes as Irene Reardon

Jimmy Bennett as Alex Willingham

Bridget Regan as Victoria Ryland

Matthew Glave as Senator Scott Ryland

Enter the brilliant mind of Dr. Daniel Pierce and relive every thrilling case of Perception: The Complete First Season. Experience an original twist on the classic crime drama as Emmy Award® winner Eric McCormack (Best Lead Actor in a Comedy Series, 2001, Will & Grace), stars as an eccentric neuroscience professor whose revealing visions help him uncover what lies beneath conscious emotion.

Though recruited by the FBI for his masterful understanding of the human mind, Daniel’s odd and offbeat view makes it difficult for him to get close to anyone. His former student, Agent Kate Moretti (Rachael Leigh Cook), is one of the few people willing to accept Daniel’s peculiarities in exchange for his imaginative solutions. Two very different personalities join forces as they try to tackle the Bureau’s most complex cases.

Perception is “Crime Scene Differently.” Own every thrilling moment of Season One in this sensational DVD Collection!

From Kenneth Biller (“Smallville”, “Star Trek: Voyager”, “Legend of the Seeker”) and Mike Sussman (“Star Trek: Voyager”, “Star Trek: Enterprise”, “Threshold”) comes a new crime drama TV series titled “Perception”.

The series would star Eric McCormack (“Will & Grace”, “The New Adventures of Old Christine”), Rachael Leigh Cook (“She’s All That”, “Josie and the Pussycats”, “Antitrust”, “Get Carter”), Arjay Smith (“Be Kind Rewind”, “The Day After Tomorrow”, “To Save a Life”), Kelly Rowan (“The O.C.”, “Assassns”, “One Eight Seven”), Jonathan Scarfe (“Above and Beyond”, “White Lies”) and LeVar Burton (“Star Trek: The Next Generation”, “Roots”, “Reading Rainbow”).

With the first season consisting of eleven episodes airing in July 2012 on TNT, a second season is set to premiere in June 2013.  And what better than to release the complete first season on DVD in May 2013!

“Perception” revolves around a neuropsychiatrist named Dr. Daniel Pierce who teaches at Chicago Lake Michigan University.  While a well-known professor who is lauded for his work on forensic psychology and neuroscience, he’s also a man who is dealing with increased hallucinations due to his schizophrenia.

While he has a live-in teaching assistant named Mex Lewicki who knows of his hallucinations and tries to help Dr. Pierce know what is real or not real, the fact is that he  is losing grasp of telling the difference between factual people and hallucinations.  Even his best friend, adviser Natalie Vincent, who he tells all his problems to, is actually an imaginary person that is derived from a person he used to like a long time ago.

But life changes for Dr. Daniel Pierce as his former student, Special Agent Kate Moretti from the FBI comes to him for help on a murder case.  And for Dr. Pierce, assisting Kate may be what he needs to deal with hallucinations as they are also trying to help him solve the case.

Join Dr. Daniel Pierce and Special Agent Kate Moretti as the try to solve the most complex homicide cases in “Perception: The Complete First Season”!

“Perception: The Complete First Season” focuses on the following main characters:

Dr. Daniel Pierce (Eric McCormack) – A neuropsychiatrist and professor at Chicago Lake Michigan University (CLMU).  As a respected writer on forensic psychology and neuroscience, Dr. Pierce has a history of paranoid schizophrenia and often has hallucinations of people trying to help him solve crimes.  He is enlisted by the FBI by an expert consultant to solve complex cases.

Special Agent Kate Moretti (Rachael Leigh Cook) – A former student of Dr. Pierce and an FBI agent, she recruits Dr. Pierce to help solve complex crimes.  She was recently demoted for her tendency of going beyond the scope of the assignments.

Max Lewicki (Arjay Smith) – A live-in teaching assistant who helps Dr. Pierce differentiate between real people and hallucinations. Max was an orderly who helped Dr. Pierce when he was confined at a psychiatric hospital for his mental illness.  Dr. Pierce is helping Max finish graduate school.

Natalie Vincent (Kelly Rowan) – An imaginary adviser and Dr. Pierce’s best friend.  She helps him piece together his hallucinations.

Paul Haley (LeVar Burton) – A professor of philosophical theology and Dr. Pierce’s dean at CLMU.  Both are good friends and were roommates back in college.

FBI Agent Robert Probert (Jonathan Scarfe) – Kate Moretti’s partner, but doesn’t believe in Dr. Pierce’s judgements.

Dr. Michael Hathaway (Jamie Bamber) – A professor recruited at a university that Dr. Pierce has little respect for.  He likes Kate Moretti.

“Perception: The Complete First Season” features 11 episodes on three DVD discs. Here are spoilerless summaries for each episode:

DISC: 1

  • EPISODE 1 – FBI Agent Kate Moretti recruits Dr. Pierce to help her solve a case involving the death of a pharmaceutical executive.
  • EPISODE 2 – The FBI is investigating a case of a death of a mail order bride who has a medical condition.  Meanwhile, the new professor, Dr. Michael Hathaway has eyes for Kte.
  • EPISODE 3  – Kate and Dr. Pierce try to help a woman named Lacey who escaped from a serial killer back in 1986.  Max doesn’t like how Kate constantly goes to Dr. Pierce for help.
  • EPISODE 4 – Daniel comes across a cipher left in a letter to the editor which alludes to future crimes.
  • EPISODE 5 – Kate and Dr. Pierce investigate the death of a junkie.

DISC 2:

  • EPISODE 6 – Dr. Pierce helps Kate investigate the death of a therapist who tries to cure his patients of homosexuality.
  • EPISODE 7 – Kate and Dr. Pierce investigate the death of a judge who may have been murdered by a schizophrenic.
  • EPISODE 8 – Kate and Daniel investigate the death of a young girl who was killed in her dorm room.
  • EPISODE 9 – Daniel witnesses the murder of a young man, but was it real or a hallucination?
  • EPISODE 10 – Dr. Pierce commits himself to a psychiatric ward but what happens when he comes across a familiar face?

VIDEO:

“Perception: The Complete First Season” is presented in Widescreen (1:78:1) – Enhanced for 16×9 televisions. A lot of the shots are shot indoor and thosescenes are well-lit and during the low-light scenes, you do see a bit of noise but compared to other drama series on television, the series is above average in terms of picture quality on DVD.

AUDIO:

As for audio, “Perception: The Complete First Season” is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. Dialogue and music is crystal clear, while surround channels are not too active and is a dialogue/music driven soundtrack coming from the center and front channels. The show is presented with English SDH, Spanish and French subtitles.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Perception: The Complete First Season” comes with no following special features.

EXTRAS:

“Perception: The Complete First Season” comes with a slip cover.

On television, there have been quite a few crime dramas in which police or federal organization teams up with a civilians.

You have “Castle” in which a police investigator teams up with a famous crime novelist, a young crime consultant and his reluctant police officer partner in “Psych” and in 2012, TBS introduced their series “Perception” pairing a schizophrenic neuropsychiatrist assisting an FBI agent.

So, the crime dramas of civilian and law enforcement is still popular on television but it all comes down to how these series separate itself from being banal but also coming up with some new and fresh for the audience.

With “Perception”, the show is entertaining, a good twist on the crime drama about individuals solving homicides but at the same time, reminiscent of shows such as “Castle” (civilian and officer) and even the law drama “Eli Stone” (how lawyer is able to represent his client but has hallucinations due to the protagonist with a brain aneurism.

In the case of lead protagonist Dr. Daniel Pierce, he is a man who has a brilliant mind but has been dealing with schizophrenia which has gotten so bad that he is not sure who is real or not real and with the help of his roommate and friend Max and an imaginary adviser, along with hallucinations that show up whenever there is a case that needs to be solved, it does make up for interesting drama.

Actor Eric McCormack has moved on since his “Will & Grace” days to play a more serious character with a lot of depth and paired with Rachael Leigh Cook, who has grown up a lot since her teen films of the ’90s such as “She’s all That” and “Josie and the Pussycats”.  As Special Agent Kate Moretti, both she and Dr. Pierce are an interesting duo…teacher and former student (who tends to get into a bit of trouble, but maybe there is a little attraction from her towards her former teacher).

While both work together to solve problems, she’s not aware of how extent his schizophrenia is but she often goes to Dr. Pierce to help the FBI solve various murders.

So, while the series does make itself stand out compared to other series with a similar style, there are a few things that often drive me nuts and that is the interference of a civilian during a police interrogation or in this case, a federal interrogation.  I just don’t see how Dr. Pierce can go inside and interrupt the special agent during her interrogation whenever he wants, but I would assume that Moretti is used to Dr. Pierce’s eccentric and complex personality.

But still, I enjoyed this crime drama as it does have potential to be something bigger and also tap into episodes with a more serious tone.

While the first season does a great job in establishing the primary characters and the main goal is for both Moretti and Dr. Pierece to solve the most complex cases, it will be interesting to see if both of these individuals fall for each other.  But not sure if I would like that as it would be too banal for my taste!

But the strength of “Perception” is in the writing.  From the way Dr. Pierce is able to solve various crimes and the complexity of how he approaches these situations but I also enjoy watching both Eric McCormack and Rachael Leigh Cook together, it makes up for a fascinating and enjoyable series that makes me interested in watching season two!

For fans of television crime drama with a little twist, “Perception: The Complete Series” is recommended!

Body of Proof: The Complete Second Season (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

October 8, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

The producers and writers for “Body of Proof” went all out this second season with more action, heavy hitting episodes but also shocking storylines and deaths of major characters that I never saw coming!  “Body of Proof: The Complete Second Season” is highly recommended!

Images courtesy of © 2012 abc studios. All Rights Reserved.

DVD TITLE: Body of Proof: The Complete Second Season

SERIES DATE: 2012

DURATION: 20 Episodes (854 Minutes)

DVD INFORMATION: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound, Widescreen (1:78:1) – Enhanced for 16×9 Televisions, Subtitles: English SDH, French and Spanish

COMPANY: abc studios

RATED: TV 14 DSLV

RELEASE DATE: September 18, 2012

Directed by Nelson McCormick, Christine Moore, Matthew Gross, John Terlesky

Written by Christopher Murphey, Matthew V. Lewis, Diane Ademu-John, Andrew Dettmann, Corey D. Miller, Sunil Nayar, Sam Humphrey, Matthew Gross, Lawrence Kaplow, Allen MacDonald

Produced by Jim Klever-Weis, Bryan Oh

Co-Producer: Paul Gadd

Supervising Producer: Diane Ademu-John, Sam Humphrey

Executive Producer: Matthew Gross, Christopher Murphey, Sunil Nayar

Co-Executive Producer: Corey D. Miller, Richard Heus, Andrew Dettmann

Music by Daniel Licht

Cinematography by Patrick Cady

Edited by Jennifer Pulver, Lynn Willingham, Randy Jon Morgan, Tirsa Hackshaw, Eric Litman

Casting by Rosalie Joseph, Gayle Pillsbury

Production Design by Steven Wolff, Kenneth Hardy

Art Direction by Jeremy Woodward, E. David Cosier, Gina B. Cranham

Costume Design by Roberta Haze, Roberta Haze

Starring:

Dana Delany as Megan Hunt

Jeri Ryan as Kate Murphy

John Carroll Lynch as Bud Morris

Nicholas Bishop as Petr Dunlop

Sonja John as Samantha Baker

Geoffrey Arend as Ethan Gross

Windell Middlebrooks as Curtis Brumfield

Mary Mouser as Lacey Fleming

Nathalie Kelley as Dani Alvarez

Jeffrey Nordling as Todd Fleming

Joanna Cassidy as Joan Hunt

Dr. Megan Hunt (Dana Delany) may have a prickly personality, but she’s a brilliant medical examiner with unique techniques for solving even the most complex crime. Relive every unique medical mystery as Megan seeks justice for each victim, while also putting her life back together and repairing her personal relationships with the living. Dissect each distinctive case with ABC’s “Body of Proof: The Complete Second Season” on DVD, plus exciting bonus features!

From writer and producer Christopher Murphey comes a new ABC medical drama titled “Body of Proof” which made its debut on March 2011 replacing a canceled drama series. With a short nine episode first season, the drama series was renewed for a second season and garnered positive reviews around the world where it has aired.

“Body of Proof” is a series that centers on Dr. Megan Hunt, a brilliant neurosurgeon who was a workaholic but was also away from her family which led to a divorce and losing custody of her daughter Mary.

One day, while trying to talk on her cell phone, she got into a car accident and now she doesn’t have full control of her hands to do surgery and thus ended her career as a neurosurgeon.

So, now Dr. Hunt works as a medical examiner and is trying to establish a relationship with her daughter but also assists Detectives Bud Morris and Samantha Becker on their criminal cases along with her partner Nicholas Bishop, a former police officer now medico-legal investigator.

The characters of “Body of Proof: The Complete Second Season” include:

Dr. Megan Hunt (Dana Delany, “Desperate Housewives”, “Castle”, “Kidnapped”) – A former neurosurgeon now medical examiner who was a dedicated, brilliant neurosurgeon but broke her marriage and prevented a true relationship with her daughter which was followed by a life-changing car accident which ended her career. Now, a medical examiner, she uses her knowledge and investigative instincts to help police solve cases. She’s not very sociable, doesn’t have any friends due to being a workaholic.

Peter Dunlop (Nicholas Bishop, “Home and Away, “Walking on Water”) – A former police officer and now a medico-legal investigator. A partner to Dr. Megan Hunt assisting her on medical cases.

Dr. Kate Murphy (Jerry Ryan, “Star Trek: Voyager”, “Down with Love”, “Shark”, “Boston Public”) The chief medical examiner and forensic anthropologist. Always concerned with the work budget, as Megan’s superior and the first female chief medical examiner in Philadelphia, she is sometimes at odds with Dr. Megan Hunt.  She is also dating Megan’s ex-husband.

Detective Bud Morris (John Carroll Lynch, “Zodiac”, “Gran Torino”, “Shutter Island”) – A hardheaded homicide detective. Despite having personal problems due to a failing marriage, he does his best to solve his cases but often he and Dr. Megan Hunt are at odds when she oversteps her boundaries.

Detective Samantha Baker (Sonja John, “The Wire”, “Bringing out the Dead”, “Shaft”) – A partner of Detective Bud Morris and a person who respects Dr. Megan Hunt for being straightforward.

Dr. Ethan Gross (Geoffrey Arend, “(500) Days of Summer”, “Garden State”) – The young and enthusiastic fellow medical examiner.

Dr. Curtis Brumfield (Windell Middlebrooks, “Miss March”, “Enlightened”) – A former chief resident at Seattle Grace Hospital and an orthopedic surgeon. Was married with Dr. George O’Malley. Later, she has a sexual relationship with Dr. Mark Sloan (in order to prove to herself that she is heterosexual) but is now starting to understand her feelings that she is a lesbian and exploring her relationship with Dr. Arizona Robbins.

Todd Fleming (Jeffrey Nordling, “Flight 93”, “Tron: Legacy”, “Once and Again”) – The estranged husband of Dr. Megan Hunt, who is dating Megan’s boss, Dr. Kate Murphy.

Lacey Fleming (Mary Matilyn Mouser, “Bride Wars”, “Son of the Mask”) – The estranged daughter of Dr. Megan Hunt.

Dani Alvarez (Nathalie Kelley, “Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift”, “Loaded”) – Delivers the deceased to the medical examiner’s office and becomes the love interest for Peter in Season Two.

“Body of Proof: The Complete Second Season” features 20 episodes on four discs. Here is a basic summary of each episode (Spoilerless summaries):

  • EPISODE 10 – Love Thy Neighbor – A car goes over an embankment and a man is found dead.  Who is responsible?
  • EPISODE 11 – Hunting Party – A young new wife is shot at the family deer-hunt outing, who is responsible for killing her?
  • EPISODE 12 – Missing – A young nanny is run over and the 5-year-old charge has been kidnapped and he desperately needs his medication.
  • EPISODE 13 – Lazarus Man – A man who is on the examination table who is presumed dead, walks out off the table.
  • EPISODE 14 – Point of Origin – Peter saves a young woman in a house fire but is upset that he didn’t know a person died in the fire.
  • EPISODE 15 – Second Chances – A horse-riding champion is found dead in the woods, who is responsible for the murder?
  • EPISODE 16 – Hard Knocks – A teenager dies at a party and someone made the 911 call.  Who may be responsible for the teen’s death?
  • EPISODE 17 – Love Bites – A pharmaceutical rep is found murdered and the team must find out who is responsible.
  • EPISODE 18 – Gross Anatomy – How did a murdered woman’s body end up as a medical school cadaver?
  • EPISODE 19 – Your Number’s Up – A lottery winner is found stabbed to death.  Who is responsible for the murder?
  • EPISODE 20 – Falling For You – Who killed the bride on her wedding day?
  • EPISODE 21 – Shades of Blue – A cop is executed at a truck stop, but another cop is a suspect.  Is he responsible?
  • EPISODE 22 – Sympathy for the Devil – A woman found innocent for murder is killed. Who was responsible for the murder?
  • EPISODE 23 – Cold Blooded – An Italian restaurant owner is found dead in a freezer.  Who is responsible?
  • EPISODE 24 – Occupational Hazards – Two cards with bodies found inside the trunk, now the team must solve two cases.
  • EPISODE 25 – Home Invasion – Parents of a perfect family are killed.  Did the surviving son do it?
  • EPISODE 26 – Identity – Two young girls are involved in a tragic car accident but the wrong girl is pronounced dead and the car accident may not be responsible for the death of the girl.
  • EPISODE 27 – Going Viral, Part 1 – The team must solve a city-wide virus outbreak.
  • EPISODE 28 – Going Viral, Part 2 – Death tolls continue to rise in the city, the team must find a way to treat the virus!
  • EPISODE 29 – Mind Games – A serial killer is back and wants his revenge on Megan.

VIDEO & AUDIO:

“Body of Proof: The Complete Second Season” is presented in Widescreen (1:78:1) – Enhanced for 16×9 televisions. This is one of the few drama series on television where a lot of the scenes are shot outdoors, to there is good natural lighting and the series does look good on DVD. I didn’t see any major noise or compression artifacts. For the most part, the seventh season does look very good on DVD.

As for audio, the series is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound and the series is primarily dialogue and music driven. Dialogue is clear and understandable, while the music has always played a major part for the series and definitely enhances certain scenes. Did notice the surround used in scenes with cutting of flesh (during surgery) which was quite clear. There are a few mild action sequences but for the most part, this is a dialogue-driven drama series.

The show is presented in English SDH, Spanish and French subtitles.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Body of Proof: The Complete Second Season” includes the following special features:

  • Design of Body of Proof: Living Spaces – (2:27) A short featurette on the production design of the series.
  • Bodies of Body of Proof – (2:35) A short featurette about the dead bodies featured in the series.  Technical Advisor Gary Kellerman talks about the research that goes into the auditions and using pig parts and having Dana Delany practicing the incisions on them and make-up design for the deceased.
  • The Stunt Work of Body of Proof: Taking the Plunge – (4:58) A featurette on the stunt work featured in the series and how executive producers wanted to see much more action in the seconds season.
  • The Stunt Work of Body of Proof: Prepping the Stunt (Part 1)  – (2:57) The creation of the high speed stunt.
  • The Effects of Body of Proof: Playing with Fire – (3:29) Featuring the burning down a house for an episode and what was involved in the creation of that scene.
  • The Fashion of Body of Proof – (2:36) A featurette on the fashion for “Body of the Proof” from Susanna Puisto (Costume Designer).
  • The Stunt Work of Body of Proof: Collision Course (Part 2) – (3:46) Anya Adams (1st Assistant Director) talks about scheduling the stunts for the series.  Lisa Wesels (Stunt Coordinator) talks about the coordination of the stunts for the series and more!
  • Body of Goofs – (3:37) Outtakes from the second season of “Body of Proof”.
  • Outbreak: Webisodes – Featuring five webisodes (about two minutes long) showcasing a newscaster about a terrorist virus outbreak.

EXTRAS:

“Body of Proof: The Complete Second Season” comes with a slip cover case.

With “Body of Proof” receiving a 20-episode order (compared to last season’s nine-episodes), this gave writers to explore more cases for the second season.

That also meant more action but also taking more risks in hopes that people will continue to watch the series for the third season.

“Body of Proof” is an interesting series because it deals with both the medical side but also the police detective side.

It’s a mix of a medical and police drama series…not to say it’s “Grey’s Anatomy” meets “Castle” kind of hybrid series but you have the medical side and then a medical examiner who tends to overstep the boundaries during a police investigation once in awhile.

But the series does make things different in the fact that the main character, Dr. Megan Hunt, while a talented medical examiner and former neurosurgeon, she’s flawed when it comes to things outside of her career.   She realizes what she lost when she lost and that is a failed marriage and a teenage daughter and a husband who are estranged.  And to make things worse for Megan, her boss, is dating her ex-husband and also there for her teenage daughter, which causes resentment and also jealousy within Megan.

You can tell that she buries herself in work to avoid social interaction or to avoid the pain of losing her family but whether or not she likes it, her co-workers are her support, trying to get her out of this funk and make her more sociable but also giving her that extra push for her to have that relationship with her daughter.

Dana Delaney does a spectacular job of playing the character who has confidence when it comes to her job but also her personality flaws when it comes to the more emotional and social aspects of her life.  And speaking of Delaney, I definitely love this character role since she played Nurse Colleen McMurphy on “China Beach” back in 1988-1991.  A strong character role, intelligent but yet not perfect…just a human being who works hard at her job but also has her own personal issues that she has to deal with.

What I like about this is that many professionals I know are like that.  They put in a lot of hours in the office and deep inside, they know they should be with family but because of their dedication for the greater good of saving lives… it’s a difficult choice and lifestyle which is rarely focused in a drama series.

I have to admit that at first, I thought this was going to be a reversed-”Castle” type series where Dr. Hunt would be overstepping the boundaries of her job during the police questioning of a potential suspect but I’m glad that it’s not that type of drama series and that the writers are trying to do something difference.  Also, I like the fact that the other supporting cast were being utilized much more earlier in the series.

While the series has gained critical praise, one thing that I do find the series a bit problematic is its criminal cases are predictable.  If anything, we are a bit spoiled in this day and age with many police or investigative series that really make you wonder “who did it?”, “Body of Proof” is not exactly challenging the viewer as much.

Also, with more episodes, the series goes further into the character development of Peter, Kate, Ethan, Curtis but also exploring the lives of Detectives Bud Morris and Samantha Baker.

The second season also featured a lot of sexual tension.  You never knew if Megan or Peter will get together but eventually, both managed to explore other people (as well as other characters exploring romance).

But what made the second season so awesome was that the writers took amazing risks.

The biggest risk was by creating the virus outbreak episodes for “Going Viral” and killing off a pretty important character of the series, followed by the season finale which killed off a major character of the series.  And to make things worse, although a third season was green-lit, the budget for the series has been slashed and even more characters are going to be gone for season three.

While I appreciate the fact that ABC is bringing the series back, what made “Body of Proof” so compelling was the balance between medical/police drama.  By eliminating so many characters of one side of the series, I really don’t know what direction the series is headed for season three.

As for the DVD release, you get 20-episodes, quite a few special features and overall picture and audio quality is very good on DVD.

With a series like “Body of Proof”, there was no doubt that the writers did so much to make this season exciting.  More action, more stunt work and calculated stories which include a major outbreak and a serial killer which leaves two characters dead and also a season finale which would feature the last appearances of important characters.

The writers did a lot to improve the second season and did all they can to give “Body of Proof” its own identity and to distinguish itself from other ABC drama shows like “Grey’s Anatomy”, “Private Practice”, “Castle”, etc.

But with how things have ended with season two and what has transpired since the third season received an order of more episodes and a drastic cut to its budget, needless to say, the third season will be a new chapter in the life of Dr. Megan Hunt and may possibly be a different kind of series that we have been accustomed to, in these past two seasons.  It’s a shame because this season really went all out into developing storylines for viewers to learn more about these characters and now, quite a few of them are now gone.  It’s like taking “Grey’s Anatomy” and eliminating everyone but a handful of characters.

So, I don’t really know what is in store for season three.  But for season two alone, if you enjoyed the first season, you definitely want to watch the second.  The writers really went all out with this second season and by the final episodes of the season, you can’t believe where the writers are taking you.  I was impressed they saved the best episodes of season two for last!

If you are looking for a fun, well-written, clever and entertaining medical/investigative drama series, “Body of Proof: The Complete Second Season” is highly recommended!

Castle – The Complete Fourth Season (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

September 4, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Sexual tension and crime drama aside, the humor, well-written episodes and great performances from the cast of “Castle” have made this fourth season exciting and entertaining!  It’s one of my favorite series on television and if you enjoyed the previous three seasons and purchased the previous DVD sets, then it’s a no-brainer that this fourth season on DVD is a must-buy.

Images courtesy of © ABC Studios. All Rights Reserved.

DVD TITLE: CASTLE – The Complete Fourth Season

TELEVISION AIR DATE: 2011-2012

DURATION: 23 episodes (985 minutes)

DVD INFORMATION: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound, French and Spanish Subtitles, Widescreen (1:78:1) – Enhanced for 16×9 Televisions

COMPANY: abc studios

RATED: TV 14 DLSV

RELEASE DATE: September 11, 2012

Created by Andrew J. Marlowe

Directed by Rob Bowman, Bryan Spicer, John Terlesky, Bill Roe, Thomas J. Wright, Jeff Bleckner, David Barrett

Written by Andrew J. Marlow, Shalisha Francis, David Grae, Alexi Hawley, Elizabeth Davis, Moira Kirland, Terence Paul Winter, Will Beall, Terri Miller, Rene Echevarria, Jose Molina, David Amann, Matt Pyken, Scott Williams

Executive Producer: Armyan Bernstein, Rob Bowman, Andrew W. Marlowe, Laurie Zaks

Co-Executive Producer: Jose Molina, Matt Pyken, Scott Williams,

Producer: D. Howard Grigsby, David Grae

Co-Producer: Marc A. Kahn, Terri Miller, Alexi Hawley, Joan Van Horn

Music by Robert Duncan

Cinematography by Bill Roe

Edited by Warren Bowman, Sue Blainey, Marta Evry

Casting by Kendra Castleberry, Donna Rosenstein

Production Design by Alfred Sole

Art Direction by Jim Wallis, Gershon Ginsburg

Set Decoration by Claire Kaufman

Costume Design by Luke Reichie

Starring:

Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle

Stana Katic as Detective Kate Beckett

Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers

Molly C. Quinn as Alexis Castle

Jon Huertas as Detective Javier Esposito

Seamus Dever as Detective Kevin Ryan

Tamala Jones as Dr. Lanie Parish

Penny Johnson as Captain Victoria Gates

Michael Dorn as Dr. Cater Burke

Television’s most unlikely crime-fighting team is back and their relationship is stronger than ever! Prepare for a season full of suspense where lines are drawn, sides are chosen and careers are put on the line as Castle tries to protect Beckett following her near death encounter. Castle’s relationship with Beckett radically changes during the season, leading to a final confrontation with a mysterious man who holds all the answers that Beckett has been searching for since the night her mother was murdered. Features all 23 episodes plus exclusive bonus material including “Nathan & Friends: Castle Goes Radio;” “Anatomy of A Stunt;” audio commentaries, deleted scenes, and bloopers.

Sexual tension and crime drama aside, the humor, well-written episodes and great performances from the cast of “Castle” have made this fourth season exciting and entertaining!

When we last left “Castle” in season three, there were new developments in Detective Kate Beckett’s pursuit of finding out who murdered her mother.  It was revealed that Captain Montgomery (Ruben Santiago-Huds0n), who was a good father figure for Kate was involved in her father’s death but that the conspiracy is much larger than she thinks.  For what reason, not much is known but in the end, to protect Kate, Captain Montgomery paid with his life.

And with Montgomery’s last words to “Castle” was to protect her, at the funeral for Montgomery, the season final ended with a sniper shooting Kate during the funeral and Castle, holding her in his arms, telling her that he loves her.

And here ware now, with the fourth season of the hit drama series “Castle”.  If you thought the third season was explosive and fun, wait until you watch the 23 episodes featured in “Castle – The Complete Fourth Season” which will be released in Sept. 2012, before the airing of the fifth season season premiere.

What is “Castle”?

“CASTLE” debuted on ABC as a mid-season replacement and began airing on March 2009. Created by Andrew M. Marlowe (“Air Force One”, “End of Days” and “Hollyw Man”) and executive produced by Rob Bowman (“The A-Team”, “The X-Files”, “Day Break”) comes a new drama series on crime solving.

The first season which featured 10 episodes stars actor Nathan Fillion (“Firefly”, “Drive” and “Desperate Housewives”) as Richard Castle. The famous mystery novelist who is adored by many but behind-the-scenes, he is a playboy who has an on-and-off fling with his ex-wife (who is an actress), another ex-wife who is his publisher and lives with his bright teenage daughter Alexis (Molly Quinn, “My One and Only”) and his meddlesome mother and former Broadway actress, Martha Rodgers (Susan Sullivan, “The Nine”, “Dharma & Greg”).

There is a lot of pressure on Nathan to create another book and with him stuck, his luck starts to change when he meets by-the-book Detective Kate Beckett (Stana Katic, “Heroes”, “The Spirit”, “Quantum of Solace”) who is investigating several murders which have taken place and the way that they were done were like the murders featured in several of his novels. Because of his knowledge of how things end up with his books, he gets the opportunity to assist the detectives in their case.

Eventually, Richard Castle discovers that he can do several things in his life. Write his new book based on Detective Beckett, see if he can woo Detective Beckett and most of all to investigate other murders which he can incorporate ideas for his new book. At first, it seems implausible but with Castle being so well-known and friends with the mayor, Captain Montgomery (Ruben Santiago-Huds0n) will do what he can to make the mayor and his boss happy, so he allows Richard to tag along with Detective Beckett.

Needless to say, she’s not happy about it but with his skills of mystery writing and her skills as a detective, the two find out that together, they can be an effective duo in crime solving. Also, joining Beckett are Detective Javier Esposito (Jon Huertas), Detective Kevin Ryan (Seamus Dever) and forensics doctor Dr. Lanie Parish (Tamala Jones).

In the first season, Detective Beckett and Richard Castle have worked together in handling various cases. But one case that Richard would like to investigate is the death of Detective Beckett’s mother but Beckett doesn’t want him getting into her personal business.

In the second season, Richard continues to work with Detective Beckett and together they try to solve a variety of murder cases including one that deals with a serial killer going after Detective Beckett. This season also shows us how Castle and Beckett seem to start showing some affection towards each other but in the process, Beckett becomes closer with Detective Demming.

In this third season of “Castle”, with Castle having ended his research with Detective Beckett, Beckett and her team are reunited with Beckett who has not communicated with them for several months. But now Beckett wants to be involved with the research and team up with Beckett once again.

Meanwhile, Castle is trying to get used to being a father when his daughter is dating and Castle’s publisher and second ex-wife Gina is back into Castle’s life and with Beckett dating another man, Castle finds himself reuniting with his ex-wife, despite starting to have more feelings towards Beckett.

As for Detective Beckett, when she finds out that a police officer investigating her mother’s murder has new information for her, something tragic happens. But also, when an assassin who may know information of what happened to her mother, manages to escape while on trial. As Beckett has been trying to find out who killed her mother, what new information do these individuals have? And what happens when Beckett’s mother’s case becomes so big that may lead to her own death. Castle and everyone knows the danger that Beckett is getting involved with but how much more explosive can things get.

And by the third season, we learn that the murder of Detective Beckett’s mother is much bigger than she can ever realize. As as the sexual tension began to heat up between Castle and Kate, Kate found herself a new boyfriend and as for Castle, well…perhaps it was a one-sided love afterall?    But with Captain Montgomery being revealed as a person who knows who killed Kate’s mother and may have been involved himself, the first major character in the series was killed.  And the season ended with those trying to put a stop to Kate in continuing her investigation, leading to a sniper shooting her at Montgomery’s funeral and with life slipping away, Castle revealing his true feelings for her.

The fourth season of “Castle” picks up after Kate Beckett is shot.  It’s a given that there is no way Castle or Kate Beckett is going to die as they are the primary characters of the series, so what happens next is that Kate must deal with the trauma of being shot and killed and getting back on duty.

While she has told everyone that she does not remember anything after being shot, the truth is that she does remember everything, including what Castle told her.  But to protect him and to focus on who killed her mother, not falling in love is her priority, even though she knows she has feelings for Castle as well.

The series also takes a big step forward in giving more storylines involving the supporting characters.  Introduced to the series is Captain Victoria Gates (portrayed by Penny Johnson), who is nothing like Montgomery and would rather Beckett focus on her cases without Castle involved, because she sees him as a distraction.

Javier Esposito is dating Lanie Parish, Kevin has now inherited Castle’s style of reasoning is getting married and as for Alexis Castle, she has to deal with having a boyfriend and trying to get into college.

But as Kate tries to find out more of who shot her and why and also finding out more details of her mother’s death, Castle is meeting a mystery man behind Kate’s back, a man who knows a great amount of information that deals with her mother’s death.  But the mysterious man warns Castle that Kate should probably step back as she may get herself too far in her investigation and end up dead.

“Castle – The Complete Fourth Season” is another humorous, exciting and explosive season with a good balance of plot twists, sexual tension and drama.

“Castle – The Complete Fourth Season” features 23 episodes on five discs. Included are (spoiler-less summaries):

DISC: 1

  • EPISODE 59 – Rise – After being shot, Beckett recuperates for three months before going back to work.  Meanwhile, a new Captain is in place, and she does not like Castle’s presence with her detectives.
  • EPISODE 60 – Heroes & Villains – Castle and Beckett investigate a superhero vigilante.
  • EPISODE 61 – Head Case – Becket and Castle investigate a crime scene with a lot of blood but no victims.  Meanwhile, Alexis finds out if she will be attending Stanford.
  • EPISODE 62 – Kick the Ballistics – Becket and Castle investigate a murder of a young woman, who died by someone using Detective Ryan’s old service weapon.
  • EPISODE 63 – Eye of the Beholder – Castle and Beckett investigate a murder committed during the theft of a valuable sculpture.

DISC 2:

  • EPISODE 64 – Demons – Castle and Beckett investigate the murder of a ghost hunter.
  • EPISODE 65 – Cops & Robbers – Martha and Castle are among the hostages of a bank robbery.  Can Beckett save him?
  • EPISODE 66 – Heartbreak Hotel – Beckett and Captain Gates investigate a murder of an Atlantic City casino owner.
  • EPISODE 67 – Kill Shot – A sniper is killing people in NYC and Bekett’s post-traumatic stress worsens because of it.
  • EPISODE 68 – Cuffed – Castle and Beckett awaken in a dark, sealed room handcuffed together.

DISC 3:

  • EPISODE 69 – ‘Til Death Do Us Part – Beckett and Castle investigate the death of a player, who may have had some sexual relations with Detective Ryan’s fiancee.
  • EPISODE 70 – Dial M for Mayor– A woman is found dead in a car on loan from city hall by the Mayor.  When the Mayor is suspected for the woman’s death, because Castle defends his good friend, it causes complications for Beckett who feels that Castle has become biased.
  • EPISODE 71 – An Embarrassment of Bitches – Beckett and Castle investigate the death of a famous dog trainer and reality TV star Kay Cappuccio (special guest star: Hilarie Burton) may be responsible.  Or is she?
  • EPISODE 72 – The Blue Butterfly – Detective Beckett and Castle investigate a crime using a diary that was written back in the 1940’s
  • EPISODE 73 – Pandora – (Part One) Castle and Beckett investigate a killer who is part of an international conspiracy, meanwhile Alexis starts a new internship assisting Lanie at the Medical Examiner’s Office.

DISC 4:

  • EPISODE 74 – Linchpin – (Part Two) Detective Beckett and Castle are betrayed by someone they thought they could trust.  Meanwhile, Castle begins to learn more about his father.
  • EPISODE 75 – Once Upon a Crime – Beckett and Castle investigate two murdered women who were dressed as fairytale characters by the killer, now they must quickly find him before he kills again.
  • EPISODE 76 – A Dance with Death – Beckett and Castle investigate the death of a troubled celebrity.
  • EPISODE 77 – 47 Seconds – Someone has bombed the “Takeover Wall Street” protest and Castle and Beckett try to find the perpetrator.
  • EPISODE 78 – The Limey– Castle and Beckett are approached by Scotland Yard detective inspector Colin Hunt in help with solving the murder of a family friend.

DISC 5:

  • EPISODE 79 – Headhunters – Castle and Beckett’s working relationship continues to worsen and it leads to Castle working with Detective Ethan Slaughter (special guest: Adam Baldwin) who has violent methods in dealing with crime.
  • EPISODE 80 – Undead Again -Will this be a new beginning between Castle and Beckett’s relationship?
  • EPISODE 81 – Always – Castle and Beckett investigate the murder of a reformed gang member, they find evidence that links him to Beckett’s shooting and also stolen documents that came from Captain Montgomery’s home.  Meanwhile, Cole Maddox, the assassin vows to kill Kate if he can recover Montgomery’s files on his employer.

VIDEO:

“Castle – The Complete Fourth Season” is presented in Widescreen (1:78:1) and is enhanced for 16×9 televisions. The drama series is quite slick as it gives you the feel of New York and like many abc studios related DVD releases, Disney has always done a good job with their TV show transfers. A show that balances outdoor and indoor shots with good lighting, the picture quality for “CASTLE” is pretty solid. I didn’t see any major artifacting issues or low level noise that was distracting.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

As for the audio, “Castle – The Complete Fourth Season” is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. The series is front and center channel driven with a few episodes (that involve gun fights) utilizing the surround channels. The series does utilize quite a bit of music and for the most, the series is clear and understandable.

Subtitles are in English SDH, French and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Castle – The Complete Fourth Season” includes the following special features:

DISC 1:

  • Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary for “Rise” by director/executive producer Rob Bowman and actors Jon Huertas, Seamus Dever and Tamala Jones.

DISC 2:

  • Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by creator/executive producer/writer Andrew W. Marlow, Writer Terri Miller and Actors Terri Miller and Actors Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic.

DISC 3:

  • Deleted Scene – (:59) “Dial M for Mayor “deleted scene.
  • Audio Commentary – “The Blue Butterfly” with audio commentary by writer Terence Paul Winter, Costume Designer Luke Reichle and actors Susan Sullivan, Tamala Jones and Molly Quinn.

Disc 4:

  • Deleted Scenes– (2:24) Featuring two deleted scenes: “Our Linchpin” and “New Identity”.

DISC 5:

  • Filion and Friends: Castle Goes Radio – Making the Show (11:14) Molly C. Quinn hosts the making of the podcast, Sparks Nevada: Marshall on Mars (21:15) – A live stage performance, “Cactoid Jim: King of the Martian Frontier”(21:40) A live stage performance.
  • Submerged: An In-Depth Look at Stunts – (17:31) The stunts of “Castle” and a look behind-the scenes of how these stunts are made for this season’s two-parter.
  • Bowman, Bowman & Castle – (10:24) How the cast and crew of “Castle” are like a big family and interview with a few of the crew members.
  • Deleted Scenes – (3:08) Featuring five deleted scenes: “Way Over the Line”, “Are You There”, “Unprofessional”, “Outside Montgomery’s House”, “Sound Like an Alcoholic”.
  • Bloopers – (4:22) Outtakes from “Castle” season four.

EXTRAS:

“Castle – The Complete Fourth Season” comes with a slip cover case.

One of the difficulties drama series have often is to follow-up an explosive season finale.  Because the expectations are high and people are hoping to see more of that excitement to kick off the next season.

For season four, it was probably good for the writers to take a step back and focus on character dynamics but also this sexual tension that has gone on between Castle and Beckett.

But we know by the first episode, it’s not going to be that easy.  Having been shot and nearly killed, Detective Beckett knows that she wants to pursue those who killed her mother and moreso, for those who tried to kill her in order to stop investigating her mother’s death.  For actress Stana Katic, this series asks for her to bring another side to Beckett, one that is fragile and experiencing post-traumatic stress, but also be a woman who can be a kick ass investigator but also one that is trying to temper her growing love for Castle, for his protection but also because she is known to put up a defensive wall around her.

So, I enjoyed how the writers focused on that in season four.  Getting past all the flirtation, we now are about to see hopefully progress between both Kate and Castle.

The episodes are well-written.  Good amount of drama and humor, I found myself laughing quite a bit.  But also enjoyed seeing episodes such as “The Blue Butterfly” and taking the series to a 1940’s storyline.  I love the fact that the writers are able to create some freedom and doing something different once in awhile and to see everyone in ’40s costume design, I thought that was very cool!

What I also enjoyed about season four is that the writers are integrating the supporting characters such as Javier Esposito, Kevin Ryan, Lanie Parish and Alexis Castle.  For the characters of Javier and Kevin, we see more teamwork and them being utilized on cases instead of being research hounds for Detective Beckett.  They get involved in the action and I love the growth of their characters.  Also, Lanie Parish is utilized more in the story and I enjoy that.

It’ll be interesting to see how Captain Victoria Gates fits into this series.  I enjoyed watching Penny Johnson in “24” and she could prove to be an intriguing character as the series continues in its fifth season.

So, for the most part, I really did enjoy the fourth season of “Castle”.  While the season finale was not as shocking as last season, it does give fans what they have wanted for so long.  Also, more developments in regards to Beckett’s shooting and her investigation into her mother’s death.  So, no doubt that season 5 will be quite interesting and see if people enjoy the new chapter in the lives of Castle and Detective Beckett.

As for the DVD, “Castle – The Complete Fourth Season” is once again, another solid release. I enjoyed the inclusion of more audio commentary into this DVD set but also the addition of the live stage performances, deleted scenes, outtakes and also two features on the crew and cast being one big family and the stunts of the two-parter episodes.

Overall, sexual tension and crime drama aside, the humor, well-written episodes and great performances from the cast of “Castle” have made this fourth season exciting and entertaining!  It’s one of my favorite series on television and if you enjoyed the previous three seasons and purchased the previous DVD sets, then it’s a no-brainer that this fourth season on DVD is a must-buy.

If you love “Castle”, then “Castle – The Complete Fourth Season” is definitely recommended!

ABC Studios’ THE RIVER, MISSING, SCANDAL & GCB on DVD!!!

April 6, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

ON DVD JUST WEEKS AFTER FINALES

ABC STUDIOS DEBUTS
FOUR EXCITING ‘SEASON ONE’ TV SERIES

The Complete First Seasons of Acclaimed Drama Series
 “The River,” “Missing” & “Scandal” and the
Hilarious Hit “GCB”

Available On DVD This Spring – Loaded with Never-Before-Seen Bonus Materials

BURBANK, Calif. – March 23, 2012 – ABC Studios is proud to announce the May/June DVD debut of four new TV series on DVD, just weeks after their season one finales on ABC-TV.  Exciting spring releases begin May 22 with the DVDdebut of the paranormal thriller “The River.”  The network’s hilarious “GCB” struts its stuff to DVD on June 12, and both the explosive thriller “Scandal” and the mystery-suspense sensation “Missing” head home to DVD, also on June 12.   These outstanding ‘Season One’ DVD collections will dig deeper into these new series with never-before-seen material such as exclusive bonus features, deleted scenes, blooper reels and featurettes from favoritecharacters.  Each allows fans the chance to relive all their favorite moments uninterrupted, catch up on missed episodes and share theirlove for some of the best new series on TV with friends and family.

MAY 22, 2012

THE RIVER: The Complete First Season
From Executive Producer Steven Spielberg, and the director of “Paranormal Activity” Oren Peli, a truly harrowing and hair-raising series comes to DVD. “The River: The Complete First Season” tells the tale of famed wildlife explorer and TV personality Dr. Emmet Cole who went looking for magic deep in the uncharted Amazon and never returned.

Now, six months after he vanished, a brave crew of family, old friends and new acquaintances embark on a mysterious and deadly journey to find him in the deepest and darkest depths of South America. The DVD is filled with exclusive bonus features, including deleted scenes that draw audiences further into this heart-pounding adventure.

Release Date: May 22, 2012                              Distributor Prebook: April 10, 2012
Rating: TV14 LV                                                        Suggested Retail Price: $29.99 US; $35.99 Canada
Direct Prebook: March 27, 2012                       Running Time: 344 minutes (8 episodes)

JUNE 12, 2012

GCB: The Complete First Season
From Darren Star, creator of ‘Sex And The City,’ and Robert Harling, writer of ‘Steel Magnolias,’ comes a deliciously fun, wicked new drama that shows you can go home again…but only if you’re ready to face the sins of your past.

Back in high school, original mean girl Amanda Vaughn (Leslie Bibb) mercilessly tormented her less attractive classmates. Twenty years later, after her hubby is busted for a Ponzi scheme – and meets his
maker in a particularly scandalous way – a disgraced Amanda is back in Dallas to start life anew under her mother’s (Annie Potts) palatial roof.

But will the good women of her hometown welcome her with open arms or dole out some kick-ass karmic payback? Let’s just say, hell hath no fury like the cosmetically enhanced!
“GCB” stars Leslie Bibb, Kristin Chenoweth, Annie Potts, Jennifer Aspen, Miriam Shor, Marisol Nichols, David James Elliott, Mark Deklin and Brad Beyer.  Released in a three-disc DVD set.

Release Date: June 12, 2012                              Distributor Prebook: May 1, 2012
Rating: TVPG D L S                                                    Suggested Retail Price: $39.99 US; $44.99 Canada
Direct Prebook: April 17, 2012                           Running Time: 430 minutes (10 episodes)

JUNE 12, 2012

SCANDAL: The Complete First Season
From the creator and executive producers of “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Private Practice” comes a drama revolving around the life and work of a professional crisis manager and her dysfunctional staff. A formermedia relations consultant to the President, Olivia Pope dedicates her life to protecting and defending the public images of America’s elite.

After leaving the White House, the power consultant opened her own firm, hoping to start a new chapter — both professionally and personally — but she can’t seem to completely cut ties with her past.

Slowly it becomes apparent that her staff, who specialize in fixing the lives of other people, can’t quite fix the ones closest at hand — their own.

Kerry Washington and Henry Ian Cusick lead a stellar ensemble cast in this two-disc DVD set, complete with bonus features and deleted scenes.

Release Date: June 12, 2012                              Distributor Prebook: May 1, 2012
Rating: TV14 DLSV                                                   Suggested Retail Price: $29.99 US; $35.99 Canada
Direct Prebook: April 17, 2012                          Running Time: 301 minutes (7 episodes)

JUNE 12, 2012

MISSING: The Complete First Season
How far would you go to save the one you love most?  Emmy® Award Nominee Ashley Judd stars in Missing, ABC’s thrilling new series, bursting with international intrigue and a full season of brilliant twists and turns.

After Becca Winstone’s son disappears while overseas for a summer internship, she takes it upon herself to travel to Europe to track him down.  It soon becomes clear that Becca is no ordinary woman, but a former CIA agent deactivated after the devastatingdeath of her husband.  If she wants to find her son alive, Becca will have to rely on old friends…and old enemies…thus reopening old wounds.  Her resourcefulness, skill and determination will be put to the test – but a mother’s love knows no limits.

ABC’s inspiring, action-packed drama grabs you from the very first minute and never lets go.  This DVD set includes exclusive bonus features, plus interviews with star Ashley Judd and the show’s creators, in a three-disc DVD set.

Release Date: June 12, 2012                              Distributor Prebook: May 1, 2012
Rating: TV14 LV                                                        Suggested Retail Price: $39.99 US; $44.99 Canada
Direct Prebook: April 17, 2012                          Running Time: 430 minutes (10 episodes)

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For more than 85 years, The Walt Disney Studios has been the foundation on which The Walt Disney Company was built. Today, the Studio brings quality movies, music and stage plays to consumers throughout the world. Feature films are released under the following banners: Disney, including Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar Animation Studios; Disneynature; Marvel Studios; and Touchstone Pictures, the banner under which live-action films from DreamWorks Studios are distributed. The Disney Music Group encompasses the Walt Disney Records and Hollywood Records labels, as well as Disney Music Publishing. The Disney Theatrical Group produces and licenses live events, including Disney on Broadway, Disney On Ice and Disney Live!

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