Dark Skies on DVD at last!

When Dark Skies was first broadcast on Channel 4 in the UK, it was seen as riding the wave created by the incredibly successful The X-Files. Granted it had aliens and conspiracies, but what gave it the edge was that it began by being set in the past, and it was our true history that it was engaged in.  For those who knew the timeline of the 1960s, it took us through the era of President John F Kennedy, on past flower power and right to the end of that decade.

The series deals with one of the biggest cover-ups ever known – the ‘investigation’ of the JFK assassination by the Warren Commission.  Famed UFO incident folk, including Barney and Betty Hill, make an appearance. We even get The Beatles and The Doors becoming embroiled in the dastardly goings-on, Carl Sagan makes a couple of cameos, and Bobby Kennedy’s one of the biggest allies of our chief protagonists.  So, despite its ultra-serious story arc, this is a fun series worthy of your attention.

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Keep It In The Family DVD 1

I remember this series from its original transmission at the dawn of the 1980s. It has that silly style of farcical humour that comes from vaudeville routes, and with situations that spiral out of control due to a lack of communication and people trying to hide secrets or hoping to shepherd people into a certain course of actions that are not necessarily for their own benefit.  It’s one of those rarities – a funny ITV sitcom that will have you smiling if not hooting right out loud.

Robert Gillespie stars as Dudley, the father of the family – a struggling comic artist, famed for ‘Barney - The Bionic Bulldog’.  He is known for dramatic roles such as Naylor in Freewheelers, and Sam Mead in Survivors, but this is probably his finest character.  ‘Dudley’ channels the spirit of Groucho Marx in his approach to life, fused with some of the type of clowning you’d associate with Peter Sellers, and the occasional hopelessness of Tony Hancock.  It’s no wonder that he was the pivotal reason for this series running for five seasons.

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FlashForward comes to DVD

‘High concept’ series these days normally have an element of mystery within their format. With FlashForward, out now on DVD, the premise was simple: what if the whole planet blacked out for 2 minutes and 17 seconds, and everyone had a vision of what they would be doing six months from now? Amongst our number were also people who had no visions, which suggested they weren’t going to be around at that point.

Extraordinary fiction always has the problem that people try to pigeonhole a show – with no natural predecessors for comparison, the critics labelled it the new Lost – a bit daft as apart from jumps around in time there’s very little comparable DNA within the two series. The problem the show had was that this was a big mystery, requiring a huge canvas, and needed the audience to pay attention. Unfortunately, as no doubt Channel 4’s new import The Event will also discover, patience is not something the viewing public has these days.

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Doctor Who: Revisitations 1

This new series of “Revisitations” releases – there are anticipated to be two more to make a trio of boxes – seems to have become a very divisive exercise amongst fans. The titles selected for volume one aren’t united by any over-arching theme, other than having the ability to generate a host of new extras as they have been previously released on DVD, and two of the three stories are widely known to be some of the best of the original version of Doctor Who.

Some fans are complaining about the ‘double dip’ into their wallets that these enhanced releases represent, while others have stated categorically that they aren’t interested in the added extras and won’t be buying. Rest assured that DVD label 2Entertain know what they are doing – these releases will be snapped up by the truly devoted fans of classic Who, simply because these new extras make these new boxed sets worth the purchase price alone.

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Bouquet of Barbed Wire 1976

With a new version of the story having just been broadcast by ITV1, it was inevitable that Andrea Newman’s original controversial series, and its sequel Another Bouquet, would find themselves available again on DVD. Previous versions had been selling for upwards of £150.00, even for ‘previously owned’ copies, so there has remained a huge interest in the series, even before having a reimagining produced.

The first series took seven one hour episodes to tell its tale – the new version chose to compress everything into just three. It would be easy to conclude that this means the original was far slower, but if truth be told the web it weaves is far more intricate and a greater examination of all the characters involved. It is a perfect example of how the people who populate a story can move it on as much as any plot.

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