A new 'MST3K' collection highlights TV shows on DVD this week
Posted November 27
Four more episodes of “Mystery Science Theater 3000” are on DVD this week for your viewing pleasure.
“Mystery Science Theater 3000: XXXVII” (Shout!, 1992-97, four discs, color and b/w, four episodes, new introductions, featurettes, trailers, four mini-posters). The snarky “MST3K” gang verbally abuses four more vintage sci-fi/horror films that are among the worst ever made:
“The Human Duplicators” (1965), about aliens making android clones to infiltrate the government; “Escape 2000” (1983), with an evil corporation killing off Bronx residents so it can tear down the city and rebuild; “The Horror of Party Beach” (1964, b/w), in which monsters are climbing out of radioactive sludge in a small coastal town; and “Invasion of the Neptune Men” (1961, b/w), a Japanese fantasy that has a superhero recruiting young children to help him thwart the plans of the title aliens.
“Poldark: The Complete Second Season” (PBS, 2016, three discs, 10 episodes, featurettes). This season of the British series (which airs here on PBS’s “Masterpiece”), set in Cornwall during the 18th century, picks up the story from the first season’s cliffhanger as Poldark (Aidan Turner) is on trial for murder. Rich in character and lavishly produced, this is justifiably one of the most popular period pieces to cross the pond in recent years.
“Legend of Bruce Lee” (Well Go, 2008, three discs, 10 episodes). Chinese TV series (in English) chronicles the life of martial-arts icon Bruce Lee in 30 episodes, with Danny Chan (who bears a remarkable likeness to Lee) doing very well in the role. This DVD set features the first 10 episodes of the show, as Lee is depicted having trouble with racist British students at his Hong Kong high school and eventually traveling to America with hopes of finishing school and opening a martial arts academy of his own.
“Texas Rising”/“Sons of Liberty” (Lionsgate, 2015, 2015, eight episodes, featurettes). Two History Channel miniseries for the price of one: “Texas Rising,” about the formation of the Texas rangers, with Bill Paxton, Brendan Fraser, Ray Liotta, Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Kris Kristofferson; and “Sons of Liberty,” which re-creates the Boston Tea Party, Paul Revere’s ride and the Battle of Lexington, with Henry Thomas as John Adams, Jason O’Mara as George Washington and Dean Norris as Benjamin Franklin.
“Better Call Saul: Season Two” (Sony, 2016, three discs, 10 episodes, audio commentaries, featurettes, bloopers). Duplicitous lawyer Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk) rejects the offer from a Santa Fe law firm that came at the end of the first season, but then has second thoughts. Also, his romance with Kim (Rhea Seehorn) grows after he shares some dirty tricks. This crime comedy-drama is a somewhat less gritty prequel to “Breaking Bad,” focusing on criminal attorney Saul Goodman’s previous life as hustler Jimmy McGill.
“Game of Thrones: The Complete Sixth Season” (HBO, 2016, four-disc Blu-ray/five-disc DVD, 10 episodes, featurettes). The sixth season of the highly acclaimed, Emmy-winning and very R-rated mythological series, based on the George R.R. Martin novels, brings into more narrow focus the battle for power over the Seven Kingdoms. Peter Dinklage, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Lena Headey and Emila Clarke lead the ensemble cast. The seventh season will air next year, followed by an eighth season in 2018 that has been announced as the last.
“Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World” (Magnolia, 2016, PG-13, featurette, trailer). For his latest documentary, Werner Herzog uses humor and wit to take on nothing less than the internet, from its birth to its revolutionizing impact, and by extension, its far-reaching implications for human evolution.
“Sneakerheadz: Do it with Sole” (MVD, 2015). This is a documentary about sneakers as collectible art. Yes, there is a sneaker-collecting subculture and, as this film demonstrates, it ranges from people having a few shelves filled with various types of sneakers to homes so full they look like Air Jordan warehouses. The popularity of basketball, Michael Jordan and the hip-hop culture are credited (held responsible?) for the craze.
“Nature: Super Hummingbirds” (PBS, 2016). This hourlong documentary episode of “Nature” uses high-speed cameras and breakthrough science to explore hummingbirds, which are known for their speed and ability to fly backwards and upside-down, and to float in midair, all described as “super powers.”
“America By the Numbers: The New Deciders” (PBS, 2016). Maria Hinojosa looks at power and politics through the eyes of new voters in this hourlong election special, with an emphasis on ethnic minorities, becoming engaged in the political process and exerting local influence across the country.
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.