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Alex G

Alex G

Monday, 28 September 2015 23:00

Space 1999 Series 2 on Blu-ray

Space 1999 Series 2 out on Blu-ray nowSeason two of Space: 1999 creates a huge divide in Gerry Anderson fandom. An American story editor forced onto the production in the shape of Fred Freiberger, famous for his show-runner role on season three of classic Star Trek, and one which would prove to be that show’s last. He would also preside over the final run of Space: 1999 episodes. Executive Producer Gerry Anderson insisted that Freiberger took the Producer credit, mainly due to the huge changes the man from across the Atlantic brought to the format, characters and philosophy of the series.

Network have finally released the Blu-ray set of the entire second season. The word on the street is that, unlike the first season release on Blu-ray back in 2010, the rendering to High Definition was a lot more difficult for this follow-up set of stories. The first season release included the premiere episode “The Metamorph”, and last year we had the teaser Blu-ray release of “The Bringers of Wonder Parts 1 and 2” to whet the appetite of what was to come. Here we have, in these 24 episodes, some of the best – and worst – stories from the series as a whole.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015 23:00

CTV Awards 2015 - nominations closed

Win The Avengers Series 6 Blu-ray sets for nominating in the Cult TV AwardsThe Avengers – The Complete Series 6 on Blu-ray, with a RRP of £79.99, was the incentive prize for nominating your favourites in the Cult TV Awards 2015. Thanks to StudioCanal we had three sets to give away, with the winners chosen from all those who gave us their nominations, thus helping continue to make our Awards truly representative of UK television fandom.

This was the final season of the original series of stories featuring John Steed. It begins with the departure of Diana Rigg’s Emma Peel, who hands over to Linda Thorson’s Tara King. In retrospect, these episodes may be of varying quality, but when it gets it right we are presented with some of the best episodes of The Avengers EVER! The troubled beginning to this run of episodes, rescued by the return of producers Brian Clemens and Albert Fennell, followed Cathy-Gale-era producer John Bryce taking the helm for the best part of three episodes, which were little short of disastrous. These episodes were re-edited, where possible, to rescue the majority of work on them from the scrap heap.

Sunday, 13 September 2015 23:00

Baretta Season 1 on UK DVD

Baretta Season One - Out Now on UK DVDStephen J Cannell brought us many TV gems during his time, but one of his earliest creations, just on the cusp of memory, is one that ran for four seasons from 1975: Baretta. Famous for having a sulphur-crested cockatoo as a co-star, it had edginess to it, combined with the cute coating of a streetwise cop who loved his pet. And you could have won one of three copies of the first season on DVD which, thanks to Fabulous Films, we had up for grabs in our prize competition.

Beginning in a Friday night slot in the USA as a mid-season replacement, the first season consists of just a dozen episodes. Baretta had taken over ABC’s 10.00pm timeslot from Kolchak: The Night Stalker, and secured audiences that its predecessor could only dream of. For the following season (22 episodes) it moved to 9.00pm Wednesdays, and made the Top 30 for shows for that year. Season three (24 episodes) was rewarded with remaining in the same slot, and the show eased into being one of the Top Ten for that year. It then moved back to 10.00pm for its final fourth season (24 episodes), to make space for Charlie’s Angels, and ratings took a tumble, the last episode going out in May 1978. The Angels certainly did provide a similar audience lead-in for the show.

Sunday, 30 August 2015 23:00

Complete Alias Smith & Jones DVD

Alias Smith and Jones - The Compete Series comes to DVDAlias Smith and Jones was a series which made a great many friends in the UK, broadcasting on Mondays at 8.00pm on BBC2 in the early 1970s. The Beeb’s second channel used to have a reputation for securing American shows that were just a little offbeat for its schedules of the time, and this was no exception. And you had the chance to win one of three sets of the ENTIRE SERIES in our DVD competition.

Three series of the show were made, and Fabulous Films give you the option of buying these individually or in one collector-friendly complete set. Created and produced by Glen A Larson (he of Magnum PI, Knight Rider, and Buck Rogers fame), this was a Western series that originally aired Stateside on ABC from January 1971 to January 1973. Tragically, this was one of those series not just remembered for its excellent production values, but also for having to replace one of its two leads mid-season, due to suicide.

Wednesday, 05 August 2015 23:00

Nor The Moon By Night DVD

Nor the Moon by Night - out now on DVD“Nor the Moon by Night” is a three-handed tale, where two of the three stars will be well-known to Cult TV appreciators. However, it is the female lead of the trio who is an enigma, to die young and now almost forgotten, tragedy striking at a time when her acting career could have been going either way. Patrick McGoohan, creative force and star of The Prisoner plays Chief Warden Andrew Miller of a game reserve, with his less-constrained brother Rusty acting as Deputy Warden, given form by Michael Craig – Captain John Anderson of Triangle fame, who would eventually decamp to Australia and play Dr William Sharp in 262 episodes of GP from 1989 to 1995.

Known as “Elephant Gun” or “Rencontre au Kenya” in some territories, the starlet playing alongside our male duo is Belinda Lee. Her character, Alice Lang, stuck in England looking after her bedridden mother, has pen-friended Andrew for four years, and yearns to join him in Africa. Andrew treats the romance as more of a business transaction, marriage being something he is expected to do. When Alice’s mother dies overnight, it seems she is finally free to begin love’s great adventure, only for it to be almost immediately derailed. Duty means Andrew has to see to some elephants which are keen on escaping his reserve. And so, Rusty is sent to deputise, meeting Alice from her train at the local Duikers Drift station.

Monday, 10 August 2015 23:00

Ironside Seasons 1&2 on UK DVD

Ironside - Seasons 1 and 2 out on UK DVDRaymond Burr was a giant of the small screen in more ways than one. Following 271 episodes over nine years from 1957 as the lead in Perry Mason, few expected the actor to go immediately into another potentially long-running show. In fact, waylaid by just a cameo in the pilot episode for the Robert Wagner starrer It Takes A Thief, Burr went into what would be an eight year, 195 episode engagement on Ironside (which, for reasons only known to the hierarchy at the BBC, became A Man Called Ironside in the UK – perhaps Auntie thought folk might think it was a series about domestic science without making that type of qualification!).

This is a show where all four of the major characters are incredibly well-drawn, complement each other well, and make even the most mundane of scripts sparkle. This is NOT one of your run-of-the-mill police procedurals – it has style, gloss and pace. Thanks to Fabulous Films, you could have won one of three sets of the first two seasons of Ironside (a total of 54 one-hour episodes) in our prize competition.

Monday, 27 July 2015 23:00

Weird Al Yankovic’s UHF Blu-ray

Weird Al Yankovic movie UHF comes to Blu-rayWeird Al Yankovic was, for a time in the 1980s and 1990s, the go-to guy for the parody record. Inheriting the crown once worn so merrily by The Barron Knights in the UK, he would take hit songs and re-word them, making mirth from songs which in the main were originally a little too pompous for their own good. Michael Jackson’s “Beat it” and “Bad” became “Eat it” and “Fat” respectively, Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust” became “Another One Rides the Bus”, Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” became “Like a Surgeon”, Richard Harris and Donna Summer’s “MacArthur Park” became “Jurassic Park”, and so on.

Weird Al did attempt to conquer visual media too, and the finest of these efforts is without doubt the 1989 movie “UHF”. Featuring some song parodies in amongst the story of a local TV station in America taking on Channel 8, the corporate ‘big gun’ broadcaster just down the road from it, those of a certain age will get most of the references, making this very much a lost comedy gem. Thanks to Fabulous Films and Fremantle Media Enterprises you had the chance to win one of three copies of the brand new UK Blu-ray release in our prize competition!

Tuesday, 14 July 2015 23:00

No That's Me Over Here - DVD

No That's Me Over Here - Out no on DVDIf you are a fan of Ronnie Corbett, of his rambling monologues on The Two Ronnies in particular, then this discovery in the archives will no doubt be for you. Imagine that facet of Ronnie’s character placed in an office and home situation comedy environment, with a rival sparring neighbour who he also shares an office with, and a wife whose patience is tested at every turn. And here you have 13 half-hours made by London Weekend Television in 1970, courtesy of Network Distributing.

Created by Barry Cryer, Graham Chapman and Eric Idle, No That's Me Over Here features Ronnie as an office worker at City Life and Fire Insurance Company Ltd. Like so many office situations, we see him creeping up to the boss, being distracted by secretaries, and jostling for position with his rival who’s on the same position on the ladder as him. It’s the standard fare of facing life as a 40-something, with a little Monty Python surrealism thrown in there for good measure.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015 15:02

Thunderbirds Are Go (2015) on DVD

New Thunderbirds Are Go - Volume 1 out on DVD but not Blu-rayWhenever disaster strikes, International Rescue answers the call from their hidden island base, somewhere in the south Pacific. The five Tracy brothers pilot remarkable, cutting-edge vehicles - from the depths of the oceans to the highest reaches of space, all for one purpose: to help others in need. And that, just like its 50 year-old predecessor, is the premise of Thunderbirds Are Go, the first 13 episodes of which are out now on DVD, this being ITV’s reboot of a formula which SHOULD have everything any audience member could want – action, peril, drama, and loads of explosions.

Except… there aren’t many, if any, explosions. The action is so scattergun and machine-gun it’s difficult to build up any anxiety, creeping dread, or any empathy for the characters in peril. Of course, it’s at this stage that the three-line whip comes into action, deflecting any criticism with the stock phrase: “you are NOT the target audience”. I am beginning to feel like Captain Kirk in “Star Trek V” when he politely asked the deity-in-waiting: “Excuse me… what does God need with a starship?” Well, I regret to say, I’m here today to call the Emperor out. This dude is not wearing any clothes!

Monday, 29 June 2015 23:00

The Avengers (Series 5) on Blu-ray

The Avengers Series 5 comes to Blu-rayJohn Steed (played by the late, great Patrick Macnee) and Mrs Emma Peel (Diana Rigg) made a huge global impact in The Avengers. With the new release of Series 5 on Blu-ray, containing all but one of Rigg’s colour episodes, we see the duo bending slightly to cater for the American audience. The Stateside viewers had been able to seek out the previous Series 4, filmed in monochrome, which had been bought by American network ABC on the agreement that Series 5 would move into colour. And you had the chance to win one of three sets on Blu-ray that we had on offer in our prize competition.

Despite having to import some Americanisms (‘flats’ are now ‘apartments’, ‘lifts’ are ‘elevators’), this is still shot as a travelogue of the British urban climes and countryside, with empty roads and green and pleasant lands acting as backdrops on so much of the location shooting. No doubt some Americans of that era got their impression of Brits and our country from watching The Avengers – and in some respects we’ve never shaken those sensibilities. How many English villains in Hollywood movies come over as if they’ve just been exported from an episode of The Avengers?

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