'Motown 25' and Michael Jackson's moonwalk lead TV shows on DVD
Posted October 4, 2016
“Motown 25” leads this week’s DVD releases of television programs.
“Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever” (Time Life, 1983, six discs, featurettes, 48-page book). Richard Pryor hosts this TV special (extended 20 minutes beyond the original 130 minutes), a concert that featured just about every Motown act you can name to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the record label back in ’83.
The show is most famous for Michael Jackson doing his moonwalk for the first time during his performance of “Billie Jean,” but there’s also Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, the Temptations, Diana Ross (with a brief reunion with the Supremes), the Four Tops and more, plus 14 hours of bonus performances, rehearsals and interviews.
“Modern Family: The Complete Seventh Season” (Fox, 2015-16, three discs, 22 episodes, extended episode, deleted/alternate scenes, featurettes). Financial stress, the dating scene, preschools and adopted ducklings all figure in this season of the popular, Emmy-winning “mockumentary” sitcom, with Ed O’Neill, Sofia Vergara, Julie Bowen, Ty Burell, Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Eric Stonestreet heading the ensemble cast. (Season 8 is now showing on ABC.)
“Indian Summers: The Complete Second Season” (PBS, 2016, four discs, 10 episodes, featurettes). The second and final season of this British melodrama begins in 1935, three years after Season 1, as Simla, known as the “Little England” of India, sees political tensions rise. Julie Walters, Rachel Griffiths and Art Malik head the cast of this British series, shown domestically on PBS.
“The Catch: The Complete First Season” (ABC, 2016, two discs, 10 episodes, deleted scenes, featurettes). Mireille Enos (“The Killing”) is the head of a private-investigations firm who falls for and is swindled by a con artist (Peter Krause), so she plots revenge even as she takes various cases in each episode. (A second season has been confirmed for 2017 on ABC.)
“The Disappearance” (Acorn, 2015, two discs, eight episodes, in French with English subtitles, photo gallery). This French police-procedural miniseries follows the search for a 17-year-old girl who goes missing after a night out celebrating her birthday. Her parents navigate this nightmare while caring for their other children and cooperating with police, though the father begins his own investigation. Naturally, secrets and lies abound.
“Jericho” (Acorn, 2016, three discs, eight episodes, featurette, photo gallery). This British “Western” miniseries set in 1870s Yorkshire, England, stars Jessica Raines as a widowed mother of two, struggling to pay her husband’s debts as she begins a new life in the town of Jericho, home to rowdy, itinerant railroad workers. Hans Matheson and Clarke Peters co-star.
“Reign: The Complete Third Season” (Warner, 2015-16, four discs, 18 episodes). Fantasy and fiction mingle with history in this series set against 16th century Europe, with stories revolving around Mary, Queen of Scots. This season Mary is widowed and no longer bound to France as its queen, but the English court of Queen Elizabeth plots against her. Adelaide Kane and Megan Follows star. Amy Brenneman has a recurring role. (Season 4, reportedly the last, will be shown in early 2017 on The CW.)
“Barbarians Rising” (History/Lionsgate, 2016, two discs, four episodes). This History Channel docudrama revisits epic stories of Hannibal, Spartacus, Arminius, Boudica and Attila, as well as the 700-year fight for freedom waged against the Roman Empire by those whom Romans dubbed “barbarians.”
“Defying the Nazis: The Sharps’ War” (PBS, 2016). This 80-minute documentary from Ken Burns and Artemis Joukowsky tells the story of Waitstill Sharp, an American Unitarian minister, and his wife Martha, who left their children in the care of their Massachusetts parish and spent two years during World War II helping refugees flee Nazi occupation in Europe. Tom Hanks reads Sharp’s letters.
“Saban’s Power Rangers: Dino Charge: Rise” (Lionsgate, 2015, four episodes, bonus episode). Episodes here are “Sync or Swim,” “True Black,” “Rise of a Ranger” and “No Matter How You Slice It,” with a Halloween-themed bonus, “The Ghostest With the Mostest.”
Chris Hicks is the author of "Has Hollywood Lost Its Mind? A Parent’s Guide to Movie Ratings." He also writes at www.hicksflicks.com and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.