Agatha Christie's most famous mystery is on Blu-ray and DVD
Posted April 28, 2016
Agatha Christie’s biggest-selling novel, the oft-filmed “And Then There Were None,” has been made into a British TV miniseries, which is now on Blu-ray and DVD.
“And Then There Were None” (Acorn, 2016, two discs, three episodes, featurettes, photo gallery). Ten strangers representing various social strata and harboring murderous secrets are lured to a mansion on a remote island. There, the man-and-wife butler and cook attend to them as they await the arrival of their hosts. But it isn’t long before the 12 people in the house find themselves being ritualistically killed off one by one.
Familiar story? You bet. Agatha Christie invented what has been purloined by horror movies as slasher tropes. And over the years her classic novel has been officially adapted and unofficially ripped off for just about every entertainment medium. This British production seems to be attempting nothing less than the definitive version, a three-hour TV miniseries set in the late 1930s.
But there are still significant changes from the novel, none of them necessary, and 21st-century exploitative elements, including sex, drugs and language. The rich cast does right by it, however, including Sam Neill, Charles Dance, Miranda Richardson and especially Maeve Dermody, who is excellent as a secretary who seems to be an innocent victim until flashbacks ultimately reveal her true nature.
“Little House On the Prairie: The Ninth and Final Season” (Lionsgate, 1982-83, six discs, 21 episodes, TV movie special: “Bless All the Dear Children”). This final season was actually retitled “Little House: A New Beginning,” a change that came after Michael Landon left, shifting the focus to Laura and Almanzo (Melissa Gilbert and Dean Butler). But it was canceled after this season.
“Haven: The Final Season” (eOne, 2015, six discs, 13 episodes, audio commentaries, featurettes). Things wrap up for the “Haven” gang, and it’s not all pleasant going in these last episodes of the Syfy supernatural series (loosely based on Stephen King’s “The Colorado Kid”) as Audrey (Emily Rose), Nathan (Lucas Bryant) and Duke (Eric Balfour) unravel the history of the town’s “Troubles.” William Shatner guest stars in the last four episodes.
“Veep: The Complete Fourth Season” (HBO, 2015, two discs, 10 episodes, deleted scenes). This witty political sitcom stars Julia Louis-Dreyfus as a senator tapped to be vice president who now finds herself sitting in the Oval Office. Everything you can think of is skewered this season, from foreign policy to the White House Easter Egg Roll. It's marred by the usual HBO R-rated language. (Season five began last weekend.)
“Silicon Valley: The Complete Second Season” (HBO, 2015, two discs, 10 episodes, deleted scenes, audio commentaries, featurettes). This half-hour comedy, also replete with foul language, is about a tech team that achieved huge success in season one, but this season it finds its company jeopardized by accelerating competition. (Season three began last weekend.)
“Pretty Little Liars: The Complete Sixth Season” (Warner, 2015-16, five discs, 21 episodes, deleted scenes, featurettes). Last season’s cliffhanger is resolved as the girls are rescued from the Dollhouse — but they aren’t convinced their tormentor has been taken out of the picture. Halfway through this season, the show jumps five years ahead. (Season seven begins June 21.)
“Dominion Creek” (Acorn, 2015, two discs, four episodes, deleted scenes, featurettes). This Irish Western miniseries follows the immigrant Connolly brothers as they hope to strike gold in the Yukon in 1897, landing in the gold-rush town of Dominion Creek. They quickly make friends but also find themselves at odds with the town boss. (Contains violence, coarse language, nudity and sex.)
“Love Is a Verb” (MPI, 2016, featurette). This hourlong documentary is about a social movement preaching tolerance that was inspired by Fethullah Gulen in Turkey in the 1960s and has become a global phenomenon. Social activism, free dialogue, education and peace are the heart of Gulen’s teachings.
“NOVA: Himalayan Megaquake” (PBS, 2015). This episode of the documentary series explores the April 2015 earthquake that rocked Nepal and wiped out villages across the Himalayas, looking at the tragedies suffered by the Nepalese and what science can learn from earthquakes and landslides.
“A Dog Named Gucci” (MVD, 2016, featurettes). This documentary tells of a 10-week-old puppy that was set on fire and how its story led to changes in Alabama law to make domestic animal abuse a felony. The puppy was rescued by a college professor, who nursed it back to health and took it in as his companion for the next 16 years.
“Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Story of the National Lampoon” (Magnolia, 2016, featurettes). This is a documentary about National Lampoon, the influential satirical magazine that led to a franchise of movies and was a springboard for comic actors that found stardom via “Saturday Night Live.” Interviewees include Chevy Chase, Kevin Bacon, Judd Apatow and many more. (Includes R-rated language.)
“Goldie & Bear: Best Fairytale Friends” (Disney Jr., 2015-16, seven episodes). In this reimagined animated series for kids, Goldie (as in Goldilocks) and Bear (as in one of the Three Bears) become pals after the porridge incident and have adventures in Fairy Tale Forest with Little Gold Riding Hood, Pinocchio and the Golden Kickball, among others.
“Albert — Up, Up and Away” (Shout! Kids, 2015, dubbed in English). A smart boy prone to mischievous pranks boards a hot air balloon to travel the world but is duped into helping a bandit steal a diamond. This Danish animated feature (81 minutes) bypassed theaters in the United States in favor of this video release.
“Me … Jane” (Scholastic, 2016, four stories). This is a collection of animated stories about “girl power,” which is to say accomplishments by women, including “Who Says Women Can’t Be Doctors,” “I Could Do that!: Esther Morris Gets Women the Vote,” “Players in Pigtails” and the title tale, which is about Jane Goodall. Narrators include Joan Allen and Zooey Deschanel.
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.