The Ultimate Sci-Fi DVD Boxed Set collection, part I

This is of course, my own idea on what is the ‘ultimate collection,” but I think I’ve covered most of the best here. This is a dream list – there are less expensive sets, and or copies of some of these movies and TV series, but this IS the ultimate collection! Much of it is TV, although there is a nice smattering of movies collected together or as add-ons to series. Since I already covered most of the regular movies in my Sci-Fi Movie Night posts, I will refrain from repeating those, unless they “add” to a collection, or are very special editions – Like the Blade Runner one – of course, Mark Harris said it best in his Future Schlock article on whether Sci-Fi is dead (EW – 1/11/08) – “Personally I’m holding out for a Super Platinum Deluxe Psychotic Edition, which will arrive in a crate containing 47 discs and Ridley Scott himself, who will hang out with you and then rewire your home sound system.” Sometimes, it seems all to true, as the editions get bigger and glossier, and contain more and more bonus material and different versions, etc. One of them listed in this three part piece contains, I believe, 5 editions of the same movie! Unless noted, all comments are from Amazon, and thus I will not use Quote marks, or attribute each piece to them. I have added a few comments of my own below, but this is about the DVDs, not my opinions! Some of these I hadn’t heard of, others I have watched all my life, over and over.

So sit back, get your Visa ready, and dream…

Alien Quadrilogy (Alien/ Aliens /Alien 3 /Alien Resurrection)

Alien Quadrilogy (Alien/ Aliens /Alien 3 /Alien Resurrection)

Product Details

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com essential video
“The Alien Quadrilogy is a nine-disc boxed set devoted to the four Alien films. Although previously available on DVD as the Alien Legacy, here they have been repackaged with vastly more extras and with upgraded sound and picture. For anyone who hasn’t been in hypersleep for the last 25 years, this series needs no introduction, though for the first time each film now comes in both original and “special edition” form.

Alien (1979) was so perfect it didn’t need fixing, and Ridley Scott’s 2003 director’s cut is fiddling for the sake of fiddling. Watch it once, then return to the majestic, perfectly paced original. Conversely, the special edition of James Cameron’s Aliens (1986) is the definitive version, though it’s nice to finally have the theatrical cut on DVD for comparison. Most interesting is the alternative Alien 3 (1992). This isn’t a “director’s cut”–David Fincher refused to have any involvement with this release–but a 1991 work-print that runs 29 minutes longer than the theatrical version, and has now been restored, remastered, and finished off with (unfortunately) cheap new CGI. Still, it’s truly fascinating, offering a different insight into a flawed masterpiece. The expanded opening is visually breathtaking, the central firestorm is much longer, and a subplot involving Paul McGann’s character adds considerable depth to story. The ending is also subtly but significantly different. Alien: Resurrection (1997) always was a mess with a handful of brilliant scenes, and the special edition just makes it eight minutes longer.

The Alien Quadrilogy offers the first and fourth films with DTS soundtracks, the others having still fine Dolby Digital 5.1 presentation. All four films sound fantastic, with much low-level detail revealed for the first time. Each is anamorphically enhanced at the correct original aspect ratio, and the prints and transfers are superlative. Every film offers a commentary track that lends insight into the creative process–though the Scott-only commentary and isolated music score from the first Alien DVD release are missing here.

Each movie is complemented by a separate disc packed with hours of seriously detailed documentaries (all presented in full-screen with clips letterboxed), thousands of photos, production stills, and storyboards, giving a level of inside information for the dedicated buff only surpassed by the Lord of the Rings extended DVD sets. A ninth DVD compiles miscellaneous material, including an hourlong documentary and even all the extras from the old Alien laserdisc. “Exhaustive” hardly beings to describe the Alien Quadrilogy, a set that establishes the new DVD benchmark for retrospective releases and looks unlikely to be surpassed for some time.”

Blade Runner (Five-Disc Ultimate Collector's Edition)

Blade Runner (Five-Disc Ultimate Collector’s Edition)

Product Details

  • Actors: Harrison Ford, Sean Young, Rutger Hauer
  • Directors: Ridley Scott
  • Format: Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: English, French
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 5
  • Rating:
  • Studio: Warner Bros.
  • DVD Release Date: December 18, 2007
  • Run Time: 578 minutes

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com essential video
When Ridley Scott’s cut of Blade Runner was finally released in 1993, one had to wonder why the studio hadn’t done it right the first time–11 years earlier. This version is so much better, mostly because of what’s been eliminated (the ludicrous and redundant voice-over narration and the phony happy ending) rather than what’s been added (a bit more character development and a brief unicorn dream). Star Harrison Ford originally recorded the narration under duress at the insistence of Warner Bros. executives who thought the story needed further “explanation”; he later confessed that he thought if he did it badly they wouldn’t use it. (Moral: Never overestimate the taste of movie executives.) The movie’s spectacular futuristic vision of Los Angeles–a perpetually dark and rainy metropolis that’s the nightmare antithesis of “Sunny Southern California”–is still its most seductive feature, an otherworldly atmosphere in which you can immerse yourself. The movie’s shadowy visual style, along with its classic private-detective/murder-mystery plot line (with Ford on the trail of a murderous android, or “replicant”), makes Blade Runner one of the few science fiction pictures to legitimately claim a place in the film noir tradition. And, as in the best noir, the sleuth discovers a whole lot more (about himself and the people he encounters) than he anticipates…. With Sean Young, Edward James Olmos, Daryl Hannah, Rutger Hauer, and M. Emmet Walsh. –Jim Emerson

Product Description
“Visually spectacular, intensely action-packed and powerfully prophetic since its debut, Blade Runner returns in Ridley Scott’s definitive Final Cut, including extended scenes and never-before-seen special effects. In a signature role as 21st-century detective Rick Deckard, Harrison Ford brings his masculine-yet-vulnerable presence to this stylish noir thriller. In a future of high-tech possibility soured by urban and social decay, Deckard hunts for fugitive, murderous replicants – and is drawn to a mystery woman whose secrets may undermine his soul. This spectacular 5-Disc Set includes all five version of the legendary Sci-Fi film from Director Ridley Scott – the definitive Final Cut with all new 5.1 audio, three additional versions of the film, and the rare Work Print version – in addition to the in-depth feature length documentary “Dangerous Days”, and one complete disc of bonus content including over 80-minutes of never-before-seen deleted scenes. The Ultimate Collector’s Edition is packaged in a limited edition, numbered “Deckard” briefcase and features rare and collectable memorabilia such as a Spinner car replica, Unicorn figurine, Illustration and Photo cards, and a lenticular Motion Film Clip in lucite. This is the ultimate collection that no fan should be without! Also available in HD-DVD and Blu-Ray Disc.”

The Lord of the Rings - The Motion Picture Trilogy (Platinum Series Special Extended Edition)

The Lord of the Rings – The Motion Picture Trilogy (Platinum Series Special Extended Edition)

Product Details

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com
“The extended editions of Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings present the greatest trilogy in film history in the most ambitious sets in DVD history. In bringing J.R.R. Tolkien’s nearly unfilmable work to the screen, Jackson benefited from extraordinary special effects, evocative New Zealand locales, and an exceptionally well-chosen cast, but most of all from his own adaptation with co-writers Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens, preserving Tolkien’s vision and often his very words, but also making logical changes to accommodate the medium of film. While purists complained about these changes and about characters and scenes left out of the films, the almost two additional hours of material in the extended editions (about 11 hours total) help appease them by delving more deeply into Tolkien’s music, the characters, and loose ends that enrich the story, such as an explanation of the Faramir-Denethor relationship, and the appearance of the Mouth of Sauron at the gates of Mordor. In addition, the extended editions offer more bridge material between the films, further confirming that the trilogy is really one long film presented in three pieces (which is why it’s the greatest trilogy ever–there’s no weak link). The scene of Galadriel’s gifts to the Fellowship added to the first film proves significant over the course of the story, while the new Faramir scene at the end of the second film helps set up the third and the new Saruman scene at the beginning of the third film helps conclude the plot of the second.

To top it all off, the extended editions offer four discs per film: two for the longer movie, plus four commentary tracks and stupendous DTS 6.1 ES sound; and two for the bonus material, which covers just about everything from script creation to special effects. The argument was that fans would need both versions because the bonus material is completely different, but the features on the theatrical releases are so vastly inferior that the only reason a fan would need them would be if they wanted to watch the shorter versions they saw in theaters (the last of which, The Return of the King, merely won 11 Oscars). The LOTR extended editions without exception have set the DVD standard by providing a richer film experience that pulls the three films together and further embraces Tolkien’s world, a reference-quality home theater experience, and generous, intelligent, and engrossing bonus features.”

Product Description
“This critically acclaimed epic trilogy follows the quest undertaken by the hobbit, Frodo Baggins, and his fellowship of companions to save Middle-earth by destroying the One Ring and defeating the evil forces of the Dark Lord Sauron. With new and extended scenes carefully added back into the film, the 12-disc set also includes hours of bonus features. ”

The Complete Definitive Collection

Twilight Zone: The Complete Definitive Collection

Product Details

  • Actors: Twilight Zone
  • Format: NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 28
  • Rating:
  • Studio: Image Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: October 3, 2006
  • Run Time: 4524 minutes

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com [from Season One]
Submitted for your approval: The Twilight Zone‘s inaugural season, all 36 episodes complete with Rod Serling’s original promos for the following week’s episode, not seen since their original broadcast. To discuss television’s greatest anthology series whose title has become pop culture shorthand for the bizarre and supernatural is to immediately become like Albert Brooks and Dan Aykroyd in Twilight Zone: The Movie; a can-you-top-this recall of famous shocks and favorite twists. Several essential episodes hail from this season, among them, “Time Enough at Last” starring Burgess Meredith as a bespectacled bookworm who is the lone survivor of an atomic blast; “The After-Hours” starring Anne Francis as a department store shopper haunted by mannequins; and the profoundly disturbing “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street,” in which fear and prejudice turns neighbor against neighbor (and, by the by, whose alien observers inspired Kang and Kodos on The Simpsons).

From an unsettlingly persistent hitchhiker to a malevolent slot machine, The Twilight Zone‘s first season did plumb “the pit of man’s fears.” One forgets how moving the series could be. Three of this season’s most memorable and enduring episodes are the poignant and primal “stop-the-world-I-want-to-get-off fantasies, “Walking Distance,” “A Stop at Willougby” and “The Sixteen-Millimeter Shrine,” in which desperate characters seek refuge in a simpler past. Serling’s few stabs at comedy (“Mr. Bevis,” “The Mighty Casey”) have not aged well, but the series finale, “A World of His Own,” starring Keenan Wynn as a playwright whose fictional characters come to life, has a brilliant capper. The episodes are more deliberately paced than one might remember. Less patient younger viewers might be anxious to get to the payoffs, but once they settle into the rhythm, they will savor the literate writing and the performances by such veteran actors as Ed Wynn, Everett Sloan, and Ida Lupino, and newcomers such as Jack Klugman. The extras, including the unaired version of the pilot episode, “Where is Everybody?”, audio commentaries and recollections, and a Serling college lecture, truly take this six-disc set to another dimension. –Donald Liebenson

Product Description
For the first time ever find all 156 complete episodes of Rod Serling’s groundbreaking series in one box set packed with exciting extras! Travel to another dimension of sight and sound again and again through these stellar remastered high-definition film transfers.Extras include the fascinating Serling bio-documentary Submitted for Your Approval compelling interviews with the show’s writers the series’ unaired pilot audio commentaries with Martin Landau Leonard Nimoy Cliff Robertson and much much more!

Twilight Zone - The Movie

Twilight Zone – The Movie

Product Details

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com
A highly anticipated release for fantasy fans in the summer of 1983, Twilight Zone: The Movie presents three adaptations of classic episodes (and one original story) from Rod Serling’s anthology series by a quartet of the biggest directors in Hollywood. With Stephen Spielberg (also the film’s co-producer), John Landis, George Miller (The Road Warrior, Happy Feet), and Joe Dante behind the camera for this portmanteau feature, one might expect Serling’s episodes to positively gleam with star power, but the truth is that Twilight Zone: The Movie is a hit-and-miss affair. Landis opens with an amusing nod to the original series’ pop-culture appeal with Dan Aykroyd and Albert Brooks riffing on their favorite episodes before a hair-raising shock finale; unfortunately, his second offering is a bland morality plan about racial tolerance that will forever be overshadowed by the accident that claimed the lives of star Vic Morrow and two child actors during shooting. Spielberg’s take on George Clayton Johnson’s “Kick the Can” looks lovely and is well performed by its cast (especially Scatman Crothers), but it struggles to bear up under the weight of treacley sentiment so common to the director’s films at the time. Dante’s version of Jerome Bixby’s “It’s A Good Life” (about a boy with monstrous powers) is rife with his trademark energy and black humor (and his cast of regular players, including Kevin McCarthy and William Schallert, strike the right balance of terror and comedy). But it’s Miller’s revamp of Richard Matheson’s legendary “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet” that delivers the biggest payoff, thanks to John Lithgow’s super-charged turn as a nervous airline passenger who’s convinced he’s seen a monster tampering with the plane’s wing. Burgess Meredith (himself a veteran of the original TZ) provides narration; the widescreen DVD features no extras save for the original trailer and a remastered digital transfer. –Paul Gaita
Product Description
Four short horrorific tales are anthologized in this film as a tributeto rod serling and his popular tv series.

Planet of the Apes - The Legacy Collection (Planet of the Apes [1968] / Beneath the / Escape from the / Conquest of the / Battle for the)

Planet of the Apes – The Legacy Collection (Planet of the Apes [1968] / Beneath the / Escape from the / Conquest of the / Battle for the)

Product Details

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com essential video [From the original movie]
Many early science fiction films are now, quite inadvertently (and in most cases undeservedly), objects of camp attention: we laugh at the silly makeup, tin-can special effects, and the naive “high-tech” dialogue. Planet of the Apes is no such film. Its intelligent script, frightening costuming, and savagely effective conclusion (which needs no big-budget special effects to augment its impact) remain both potent and relevant. When Colonel George Taylor (the fabulous Charlton Heston) crash lands his spacecraft on what seems to be an unfamiliar planet, he is captured and held prisoner by a dominant race of hyperrational, articulate apes. However, the ape community is riven with internal dissention, centered in no small part on its policy toward humans, who, on this planet, are treated as mindless animals. Befriended and ultimately assisted by the more liberal simians, Taylor escapes–only to find a more terrifying obstacle confronting his return home. Heavy-handed object lessons abound–the ubiquity of generational warfare, the inflexibility of dogma, the cruelty of prejudice–and the didactic fingerprints of Rod Serling are very much in evidence here. But director Franklin Schaffner has a dark, pop-apocalyptic sci-fi vision all his own, and time has not dulled the monumental emotional impact of the film’s climactic payoff shot. If you don’t know what I’m talking about here, you owe it to yourself to check out this stone classic, and even if you do, see it with fresh eyes; and don’t be surprised if you get the chills all over again… and again… and again. –Miles Bethany

Product Description
Disk 1: *Planet of the Apes (’68)

Disk 2: *Escape from the Planet of the Apes

Disk 3: *Conquest for the Planet of the Apes

Disk 4: *Battle for the Planet of the Apes

Disk 5: *Beneath the Planet of the Apes

Disk 6: *Behind the Planet of the Apes (bonus disc) *Documentary ”Behind the Planet of the Apes” *Planet of the Apes trailer *Beneath the Planet of the Apes trailer *Escape from the Planet of the Apes trailer *Conquest of the Planet of the Apes trailer *Battle for the Planet of the Apes trailer *Planet of the Apes Cross Promotion trailer *TV Spot for Behind the Planet of the Apes *Fox Interactive Presents: Behind the Scenes of the Planet of the Apes game

Planet of the Apes (Special Edition)

Planet of the Apes (Special Edition)

Product Details

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com
Billed as a “reimagining” of the original 1968 film, Tim Burton’s extraordinary Planet of the Apes constantly borders on greatness, adhering to the spirit of Pierre Boulle’s original novel while exploring fresh and inventive ideas and paying honorable tribute to the ’68 sci-fi classic. Burton’s gifts for eccentric inspiration and visual ingenuity make this a movie that’s as entertaining as it is provocative, beginning with Rick Baker’s best-ever ape makeup (hand that man an Oscar®!), and continuing through the surprisingly nuanced performances and breathtaking production design. Add to all this an intelligent screenplay that turns Boulle’s speculative reversal–the dominance of apes over humans–into a provocative study of civil rights and civil war. The film finally goes too far with a woefully misguided ending that pays weak homage to the original, but everything preceding that misfire is astonishingly right.

While attempting the space-pod retrieval of a chimpanzee test pilot, Major Leo Davidson (Mark Wahlberg) enters a magnetic storm that propels him into the distant future, where he crash-lands on the ape-ruled planet. Among the primitively civilized apes, treatment of enslaved humans is a divisive issue: senator’s daughter Ari (Helena Bonham Carter) advocates equality while the ruthless General Thade (Tim Roth) promotes extermination. While Davidson ignites a human rebellion, this conflict is explored with admirable depth and emotion, and sharp dialogue allows Burton’s exceptional cast to bring remarkable expressiveness to their embattled ape characters, most notably in the comic relief of orangutan slave trader Limbo (played to perfection by Paul Giamatti). Classic lines from the original film are cleverly reversed (including an unbilled cameo for Charlton Heston, in ape regalia as Thade’s dying father), and while this tale of interspecies warfare leads to an ironic conclusion that’s not altogether satisfying, it still bears the ripe fruit of a timeless what-if idea. –Jeff Shannon
Product Description
After a spectacular crash-landing on an uncharted planet, brash astronaut Leo Davidson (Mark Wahlberg) finds himself trapped in a savage world where talking apes dominate the human race. Desperate to find a way home, Leo must evade the invincible gorilla army led by ruthless General Thade (Tim Roth) and his most trusted warrior, Attar (Michael Clarke Duncan). Now the pulse-pounding race is on to reach a sacred temple that may hold the shocking secrets of mankind’s past – and the last hope for it’s salvation!

The Complete TV Series

Planet of the Apes: The Complete TV Series

Product Details

  • Actors: Planet of the Apes-TV Series
  • Format: Color, Dubbed, DVD-Video, Full Screen, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 4
  • Rating:
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: October 3, 2006
  • Run Time: 696 minutes

Editorial Reviews

Product Description
After their spacecraft travels through a time warp, two astronauts (Ron Harper, James Naughton) from 1981 crash-land back on Earth in the year 3085 – a time when intelligent apes rule and humans have been reduced to servants or pets. Captured by the apes and sentenced to death, they are saved by a curious chimpanzee name Galen (Roddy McDowall). But now all three are on the run, trying to keep one step ahead of the gorilla army led by General Urko (Mark Lenard), who is determined to kill the renegades.

OR if that isn’t enough:

Planet of the Apes - The Ultimate DVD Collection

Planet of the Apes – The Ultimate DVD Collection

Product Details

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com
While provoking neither the decades of spin-offs of the Star Trek franchise or the cultural staying power of the Star Wars universe, Planet of the Apes nonetheless lives in the hearts of many a Sunday afternoon TV-watcher. A high water mark for prosthetic movie magic, this primate-vs-man epic–spanning four movies, a TV series, and an animated series–was as integral to the 1970s as Led Zeppelin or muscle cars. So how to properly pay tribute to a science fiction franchise about intelligent apes roaming a post-apocalyptic earth?

In a freaking ape head boxed set, man.

It’s true. 20th Century Fox packaged the entire run–movies, TV series, animated series, and the 2001 Tim Burton remake–in Caesar’s head. Actually, the 14 discs are efficiently packaged in a fold-out book that slides into the bust’s back. The bust is smartly dressed in green canvas, with zippers that don’t actually lead to pockets. The hair is a luxurious mane that could have been wasted on at least three toupes. Put this masterpiece of DVD packaging on a shelf and watch it catch the gaze of everyone who walks into the room. Unfortunately, the set does not come with any supplemental reading material; an essay or two on the impact of Planet of the Apes would have been nice. The set is limited to 10,000 copies and comes with a numbered certificate of authenticity. For those who don’t want to commit to the full ape head experience, most of the discs in this set–sans the animated series, TV show, and Tim Burton remake–can be had in the Planet of the Apes Legacy Boxset –Ryan Boudinot

Back to the Future - The Complete Trilogy (Widescreen Edition)

Back to the Future – The Complete Trilogy (Widescreen Edition)

Product Details

Amazon.com essential video
Filmmaker Robert Zemeckis topped his breakaway hit Romancing the Stone with Back to the Future, a joyous comedy with a dazzling hook: what would it be like to meet your parents in their youth? Billed as a special-effects comedy, the imaginative film (the top box-office smash of 1985) has staying power because of the heart behind Zemeckis and Bob Gale’s script. High schooler Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox, during the height of his TV success) is catapulted back to the ’50s where he sees his parents in their teens, and accidentally changes the history of how Mom and Dad met. Filled with the humorous ideology of the ’50s, filtered through the knowledge of the ’80s (actor Ronald Reagan is president, ha!), the film comes off as a Twilight Zone episode written by Preston Sturges. Filled with memorable effects and two wonderfully off-key, perfectly cast performances: Christopher Lloyd as the crazy scientist who builds the time machine (a DeLorean luxury car) and Crispin Glover as Marty’s geeky dad. –Doug Thomas

Critics and audiences didn’t seem too happy with Back to the Future, Part II, the inventive, perhaps too clever sequel. Director Zemeckis and cast bent over backwards to add layers of time-travel complication, and while it surely exercises the brain it isn’t necessarily funny in the same way that its predecessor was. It’s well worth a visit, though, just to appreciate the imagination that went into it, particularly in a finale that has Marty watching his own actions from the first film. –Tom Keogh

Shot back-to-back with the second chapter in the trilogy, Back to the Future, Part III is less hectic than that film and has the same sweet spirit of the first, albeit in a whole new setting. This time, Marty ends up in the Old West of 1885, trying to prevent the death of mad scientist Christopher Lloyd at the hands of gunman Buford “Mad Dog” Tannen (Thomas F. Wilson, who had a recurring role as the bully Biff). Director Zemeckis successfully blends exciting special effects with the traditions of a Western and comes up with something original and fun. –Tom Keogh
Product Description
Experience theiComplete Trilogy!
Presented by Steven Spielberg, directed by Oscar® winner Robert Zemeckis and starring time travelers Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd, the phenomenally popular Back To The Future films literally changed the future of the adventure movie genre. Now, this unprecedented Back To The Future DVD Trilogy immerses you in all the breathtaking action, outrageous comedy and sheer moviemaking magic of one of the most brilliantly inventive, wildly entertaining motion picture triumphs in Hollywood history!

Buffy The Vampire Slayer - Collector's Set (40 discs)

Buffy The Vampire Slayer – Collector’s Set (40 discs)

Product Details

Amazon.com
From its charming and angst-ridden first season to the darker, apocalyptic final one, Buffy the Vampire Slayer succeeds on many levels, and in a fresher and more authentic way than the shows that came before or after it. How lucky, then, that with the release of its boxed set of seasons 1-7, you can have the estimable pleasure of watching a near-decade of Buffy in any order you choose. (And we have some ideas about how that should be done.)

First: rest assured that there’s no shame in coming to Buffy late, even if you initially turned your nose up at the winsome Sarah Michelle Gellar kicking the hell out of vampires (in Buffy-lingo, vamps), demons, and other evil-doers. Perhaps you did so because, well, it looked sort of science-fiction-like with all that monster latex. Start with season 3 and see that Buffy offers something for everyone, and the sooner you succumb to it, the quicker you’ll appreciate how textured and riveting a drama it is.

Why season 3? Because it offers you a winning cast of characters who have fallen from innocence: their hearts have been broken, their egos trampled in typically vicious high-school style, and as a result, they’ve begun to realize how fallible they are. As much as they try, there are always more monsters, or a bigger evil. Despite this, or perhaps because of it, the core crew remains something of a unit–there’s the smart girl, Willow (Alyson Hannigan) who dreams of saving the day by downloading the plans to City Hall’s sewer tunnels and mapping a route to safety. There are the ne’r do wells–the vampire Spike (James Marsters), who both clashes with and aspires to love Buffy; the tortured and torturing Angel (David Boreanz); the pretty, popular girl with an empty heart (Charisma Carpenter); and the teenage everyman, Xander (Nicholas Brendon).

Then there’s Buffy herself, who in the course of seven seasons morphs from a sarcastic teenager in a minidress to a heroine whose tragic flaw is an abiding desire to be a “normal” girl. On a lesser note, with the boxed set you can watch the fashion transformation of Buffy from mall rat to Prada-wearing, kickboxing diva with enviable highlights. (There was the unfortunate bob of season 2, but it’s a forgivable lapse.) At least the storyline merits the transformations: every time Buffy has to end a relationship she cuts her hair, shedding both the pain and her vulnerability.

In addition to the well-wrought teenage emotional landscape, Buffy deftly takes on more universal themes–power, politics, death, morality–as the series matures in seasons 4-6. And apart from a few missteps that haven’t aged particularly well (“I Robot” in season 1 comes to mind), most episodes feel as harrowing and as richly drawn as they did at first viewing. That’s about as much as you can ask for any form of entertainment: that it offer an escape from the viewer’s workaday world and entry into one in which the heroine (ideally one with leather pants) overcomes demons far more troubling than one’s own. –Megan Halverson
Product Description
*Seasons 1-7 on each disc

Bonus Disc: **Introduction by Joss Whedon **Back to the Hellmouth: A Conversation with Creators and Cast **Breaking Barriers: It’s Not a Chick Fight Thing **Love Bites: Relationships in the Buffyverse **Evil Fiends **Buffy: An Unlikely Role Model **Buffy Cast and Crew: Favorite Episodes

Angel - Complete Series Collector's Set

Angel – Complete Series Collector’s Set

Product Details

  • Actors: David Boreanaz
  • Format: Box set, Color, DVD-Video, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 30
  • Rating:
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: October 30, 2007

Editorial Reviews [For Season one -the complete boxed set didn’t have a review listed]

Amazon.com
He’s hunky, he’s brooding, he’s a do-gooder, and he was Buffy’s first boyfriend. Angel, the tortured vampire destined to walk the earth with a soul, got his own series after three seasons on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and did what any new star might do: he moved to L.A. (the City of Angels–get it?) and set up shop. Angel (co-created by Buffy mastermind Joss Whedon) finds the titular vampire (David Boreanaz) as a kind of supernatural private investigator, fighting evil one case at a time and, like his ex-girlfriend, keeping the world from getting destroyed by vengeful demons and such.

A darker, more film noir version of Buffy, Angel lacked the peppy humor that permeated Sunnydale but more than made up for it in its soul-wrenching gravitas, and it elevated Boreanaz to leading-man status, a role he filled out ably and then some. Initially, the stoic vampire was paired with Irish demon Doyle (the late Glenn Quinn) and fellow Sunnydale transplant Cordelia (Charisma Carpenter), but Angel finally found its footing when Doyle was dispatched (giving his powers of precognition to Cordelia) and replaced by Buffy alum Wesley (Alexis Denisof), a fallen watcher who, like his friends, was hoping for a new start in L.A. However, pesky law firm Wolfram and Hart (a front for the demon mafia, as it were) reared its ugly head and discovered Angel’s presence, thus setting the stage for a battle of good and evil–and if you’re a regular Joss Whedon fan, you know that it’s a never-ending war.

This first season features guest appearances by various Buffy characters, including werewolf boy Oz (Seth Green), rogue slayer Faith (Eliza Dushku), deliciously evil vamp Darla (Julie Benz), and Buffy herself (Sarah Michelle Gellar), all of whom helped get the show off and running in style. –Mark Englehart
Product Description
HIS TIME HAS COME . . . Now you can own the entire first season of ANGEL. All 22 classic episodes are available for the first time in this exclusive 6-disc collector’s edition. From “City of,” “In the Dark” and “I Will Remember You” to “Hero,” “Sanctuary” and “To Shanshu in L.A.,” these Season One episodes are a must for every Angel and Buffy fan.

Product Description [for the complete boxed set]
ANGEL SEASON 1 (6 DISCS) ANGEL SEASON 2 (6 DISCS) ANGEL SEASON 3 (6 DISCS) ANGEL SEASON 4 (6 DISCS) ANGEL SEASON 5 (6 DISCS)

**COMPANION BOOKLET **LETTER TO FANS FROM JOSS WHEDON

Firefly – The Complete Series

Product Details

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

As the 2005 theatrical release of Serenity made clear, Firefly was a science fiction concept that deserved a second chance. Devoted fans (or “Browncoats”) knew it all along, and with this well-packaged DVD set, those who missed the show’s original broadcasts can see what they missed. Creator Joss Whedon’s ambitious science-fiction Western (Whedon’s third series after Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel) was canceled after only 11 of these 14 episodes had aired on the Fox network, but history has proven that its demise was woefully premature. Whedon’s generic hybrid got off to a shaky start when network executives demanded an action-packed one-hour premiere (“The Train Job”); in hindsight the intended two-hour pilot (also titled “Serenity,” and oddly enough, the final episode aired) provides a better introduction to the show’s concept and splendid ensemble cast. Obsessive fans can debate the quirky logic of combining spaceships with direct parallels to frontier America (it’s 500 years in the future, and embattled humankind has expanded into the galaxy, where undeveloped “outer rim” planets struggle with the equivalent of Old West accommodations), but Whedon and his gifted co-writers and directors make it work, at least well enough to fashion a credible context from the incongruous culture-clashing of past, present, and future technologies, along with a polyglot language (the result of two dominant superpowers) that combines English with an abundance of Chinese slang.

What makes it work is Whedon’s delightfully well-chosen cast and their nine well-developed characters–a typically Whedon-esque extended family–each providing a unique perspective on their adventures aboard Serenity, the junky but beloved “Firefly-class” starship they call home. As a veteran of the disadvantaged Independent faction’s war against the all-powerful planetary Alliance (think of it as Underdogs vs. Overlords), Serenity captain Malcolm Reynolds (Nathan Fillion) leads his compact crew on a quest for survival. They’re renegades with an amoral agenda, taking any job that pays well, but Firefly‘s complex tapestry of right and wrong (and peace vs. violence) is richer and deeper than it first appears. Tantalizing clues about Blue Sun (an insidious mega-corporation with a mysteriously evil agenda), its ties to the Alliance, and the traumatizing use of Serenity’s resident stowaway (Summer Glau) as a guinea pig in the development of advanced warfare were clear indications Firefly was heading for exciting revelations that were precluded by the series’ cancellation. Fortunately, the big-screen Serenity (which can be enjoyed independently of the series) ensured that Whedon’s wild extraterrestrial west had not seen its final sunset. Its very existence confirms that these 14 episodes (and enjoyable bonus features) will endure as irrefutable proof Fox made a glaring mistake in canceling the series. —Jeff Shannon

Product Description
Five hundred years in the future there’s a whole new frontier, and the crew of the Firefly-class spaceship Serenity is eager to stake a claim on the action. They’ll take any job, legal or illegal, to keep fuel in the tanks and food on the table. But things get a bit more complicated after they take on a passenger wanted by the new totalitarian Alliance regime. Now they find themselves on the run, desperate to steer clear of Alliance ships and the flesh-eating Reavers who live on the fringes of space.

Serenity (Collector’s Edition)

Product Details

  • Actors: Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres, Alan Tudyk, Morena Baccarin, Adam Baldwin
  • Directors: Joss Whedon
  • Format: AC-3, Collector’s Edition, Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, Dubbed, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rating:
  • Studio: Universal Studios
  • DVD Release Date: August 21, 2007
  • Run Time: 187 minutes

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com
Serenity offers perfect proof that Firefly deserved a better fate than premature TV cancellation. Joss Whedon’s acclaimed sci-fi Western hybrid series was ideally suited (in Browncoats, of course) for a big-screen conversion, and this action-packed adventure allows Whedon to fill in the Firefly backstory, especially the history and mystery of the spaceship Serenity’s volatile and traumatized stowaway, River Tam (Summer Glau). Her lethal skills as a programmed “weapon” makes her a coveted prize for the power-hungry planetary Alliance, represented here by an Operative (Chiwetel Ejiofor) who’ll stop at nothing to retrieve River from Serenity’s protective crew. We still get all the quip-filled dialogue and ass-kicking action that we’ve come to expect from the creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but Whedon goes a talented step further here, blessing his established ensemble cast with a more fully-developed dynamic of endearing relationships. Serenity‘s cast is led with well-balanced depth and humor by Nathan Fillion as Captain Mal Reynolds, whose maverick spirit is matched by his devotion to crewmates Wash (Alan Tudyk), Zoe (Gina Torres), fun-loving fighter Jayne (Adam Baldwin), engineer Kaylee (Jewel Staite), doctor Simon (Sean Maher), and Mal’s former flame Inara (Morena Baccarin), who plays a pivotal role in Whedon’s briskly-paced plot. As many critics agreed, Serenity offered all the fun and breezy excitement that was missing from George Lucas’s latter-day Star Wars epics, and Whedon leaves an opening for a continuing franchise that never feels cheap or commercially opportunistic. With the mega-corporate mysteries of Blue Sun yet to be explored, it’s a safe bet we haven’t seen the last of the good ship Serenity. –Jeff Shannon
Product Description
Serenity, the action-packed event that delivers thrilling non-stop adventure, incredible battles in dangerous worlds and spectacular visual effects, is now available in a Special 2-Disc Collector’s Edition containing all-new bonus content and never-seen-before footage! With over 30 minutes of all-new special features and special collectible packaging, the Serenity – Collector’s Edition is a must own for all true Sci-Fi and Joss Whedon fans! All-new 2-disc edition will include 6 completely new bonus elements including cast & filmmaker commentary. Will also include all bonus features from previous release.

All New Bonus Features:
-Extended Scenes (6:45)
-Take A Walk on Serenity (4:00) Cast and Crew take us on a special tour of the Serenity space ship
-A Filmmaker’s Journey (19:49) Take A Journey with Joss Whedon from script to the big screen
-The Green Clan (3:03) An expose on Cinematographer Jack Green and his team
-Sci-Fi Inside: Serenity (21:41) Hosted by Adam Baldwin, an in-depth look at the film that was resurrected from a cancelled television show, as well as its supportive culture.
-Session 416 (7:52) These internet pieces document a portion of River’s participation in a psychological study and her interactions with her therapist.
-Feature Commentary with Director Joss Whedon and Cast Members Nathan Fillion, Adam Baldwin, Summer Glau, and Ron Glass

Jurassic Park Adventure Pack (Jurassic Park/ The Lost World: Jurassic Park/ Jurassic Park III)

Jurassic Park Adventure Pack (Jurassic Park/ The Lost World: Jurassic Park/ Jurassic Park III)

Product Details

Amazon.com
Jurassic Park
Steven Spielberg’s 1993 mega-hit rivals Jaws as the most intense and frightening film he’d ever made prior to Schindler’s List, but it was also among his weakest stories. Based on Michael Crichton’s novel about an island amusement park populated by cloned dinosaurs, the film works best as a thrill ride with none of the interesting human dynamics of Spielberg’s Jaws. That lapse proves unfortunate, but there’s no shortage of raw terror as a rampaging T-rex and nasty raptors try to make fast food out of the cast. The effects are still astonishing (despite the fact that the computer-generated technology has since been improved upon) and at times primeval, such as the sight of a herd of whatever-they-are scampering through a valley. –Tom Keogh

The Lost World – Jurassic Park
In the low tradition of knockoff horror flicks best seen (or not seen) on a drive-in movie screen, Steven Spielberg’s sequel to Jurassic Park is a poorly conceived, ill-organized film that lacks story and logic. Screenwriter David Koepp strings along a number of loose ideas while Jeff Goldblum returns as Ian Malcolm, the quirky chaos theoretician who now reluctantly agrees to go to another island where cloned dinosaurs are roaming freely. Along with his girlfriend (Julianne Moore) and daughter, Malcolm has to deal with hunters, environmentalists, and corporate swine who stupidly bring back a big dino to Southern California, where it runs amok, of course. Spielberg doesn’t seem to care that the pieces of this project don’t add up to a real movie, so he hams it up with big, scary moments (with none of the artfulness of those in Jurassic Park) and smart-aleck visual gags (a yapping dog in a suburb mysteriously disappears when a hungry T-rex stomps by). A complete bust.–Tom Keogh

Jurassic Park III
Surpassing expectations to qualify as an above-average sequel, Jurassic Park III is nothing more or less than a satisfying popcorn adventure. A little cheesier than the first two Jurassic blockbusters, it’s a big B movie with big B-list stars (including Laura Dern, briefly reprising her Jurassic Park role), and eight years of advancing computer-generated-image technology give it a sharp edge over its predecessors. While adopting the jungle spirit of King Kong, the movie refines Michael Crichton’s original premise, and its dinosaurs are even more realistic, their behavior more detailed, and their variety–including flying pteranodons and a new villain, the spinosaurus–more dazzling and threatening than ever. These advancements justify the sequel, and its contrived plot is just clever enough to span 90 minutes without wearing out its welcome.

Posing as wealthy tourists, an adventurous couple (William H. Macy, Téa Leoni) convince paleontologist Alan Grant (Sam Neill) and his protégé (Allesandro Nivola) to act as tour guides on a flyover trip to Isla Sorna, the ill-fated “Site B” where all hell broke loose in The Lost World: Jurassic Park. In truth, they’re on a search-and-rescue mission to find their missing son (Trevor Morgan), and their plane crash is just the first of several enjoyably suspenseful sequences. Director Joe Johnston (October Sky) embraces the formulaic plot as a series of atmospheric set pieces, placing new and familiar dinosaurs in misty rainforests, fiery lakes, and mysterious valleys, turning JP3 into a thrill ride with impressive highlights (including a T. rex versus spinosaurus smack-down), adequate doses of wry humor (from the cowriters of Election), and an upbeat ending that’s corny but appropriate, proving that the symptoms of sequelitis needn’t be fatal. –Jeff Shannon

Stargate SG-1 - The Complete Series Collection

Stargate SG-1 – The Complete Series Collection

Product Details

  • Actors: Stargate Sg1
  • Format: Full Screen, Surround Sound, HiFi Sound, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 54
  • Rating:
  • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • DVD Release Date: October 9, 2007
  • Run Time: 9900 minutes

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com [From Season One]
Hollywood’s film archives overflow with the carcasses of dismal movies based on lame ’60s and ’70s television shows, a syndrome that shows no sign of abating. But here’s evidence that the reverse effect, turning a movie into a TV series, can have surprisingly positive results. Indeed, based on the 21 episodes produced for the first season of Stargate SG-1, it could be argued that this show is significantly better than the 1994 feature it’s derived from.

The central conceit of the original Stargate–the existence of an artificially created “wormhole” through which one can travel to different worlds light years away from Earth–was an intriguing one. In seizing on the obvious possibilities for expanding on that premise, series executive producers-writers Jonathan Glassner and Brad Wright have smartly retained some of the film’s basic elements (its amalgam of myth and theoretical hokum, or the ongoing clash of wills between scientists and soldiers), while adding a variety of fresh ideas (including new characters, new locations, and a welcome dose of humor, much of it supplied by Richard Dean Anderson, MacGyver himself, who replaces Kurt Russell in the central role of Colonel Jack O’Neill). The result is a show with multidimensional heroes and villains and consistently compelling story lines (many of them introduced in the pilot and carried forward through subsequent episodes) balancing excellent special effects and production values. All this and full frontal nudity, too (at least in the aforementioned pilot). Who can resist?

The first season is spread out over five DVDs; the 100-minute pilot shares the first volume with two other episodes, while discs 2 to 5 contain anywhere from three to five shows each. Sound and visuals (in widescreen format) alike will take full advantage of any home system’s capabilities. But aside from language and subtitle options, bonus features are limited to brief featurettes that play like commercials and provide little in the way of background information or insight (there are no features at all on the first disc). Then again, if you really want to know what that symbol on Teal’c’s forehead means, or why the nasty, parasitic Goa’ulds look a lot like the fledgling stomach monsters in the Alien series, there is no doubt a Web site out there just for you. –Sam Graham

Amazon.com [From Season Ten]
If this five-disc, 20-episode, tenth season set really is the end of Stargate SG-1–and considering the number of reprieves the show has already had and the rumors of various movie spin-offs, not to mention the fact that the final installment is entitled “Unending,” who knows?–then the folks responsible for this durable sci-fi series can be proud that they finished it off in style, with a run of episodes that are for the most part highly entertaining, exciting, and fun, offering resolution if not complete closure. And if sharks were jumped, at least they were small ones. As was the case in Season 9, and to a large extent in Season 8 as well, original series star Richard Dean Anderson is little in evidence here. Portraying Lt. Col. Cameron Mitchell, Ben Browder, who came to Stargate SG-1 from the underrated Farscape, is now entrenched as leader of SG-1, the Stargate project’s ace team in the field, joining series veterans Amanda Tapping, Christopher Judge, and Michael Shanks (as Samantha Carter, Teal’c, and Daniel Jackson, respectively). Most notably, fellow Farscape alum Claudia Black has an ever-expanding role as Vala, whose cheeky wit and irreverence bring a consistent spark to the proceedings. The big, bad villains known as Ori are back as well. We still can’t see them–they are, after all, “ascended beings,” represented by the blind, monk-like Priors, who roam the universe intoning “Hallowed are the Ori” and ensuring that all will submit to their will (the element of scary religious fanaticism remains as relevant as ever). But the Ori are also still the most implacable, irresistible force our heroes have ever encountered; nothing less than the fate of the entire galaxy is at stake (again)! And now there’s an added twist: the Ori have a frontwoman, if you will, whose powers make the Priors look like pikers. Known as Adria (or “the Orici” to believers), this beautiful young woman (played by Morena Baccarin) also happens to be the daughter of Vala, whom the Ori chose to bring their demon seed into the world; the uneasy (to say the least) Adria-Vala relationship provides many intriguing moments. On the minus side, the show tends to break its own rules (for instance, for a character who’s supposed to be invincible, Adria often seems awfully, well, vincible), and the commingling of Arthurian legend, Greek, Roman, and Egyptian myth, magic, and other sources is occasionally over-the-top, even for this franchise. Some episodes are plot-heavy, bogged down by too many characters (past bad guys like the Goa’uld, and Ba’al reappear, as do several Stargate Atlantis principals in one episode) or excessive techno-rap about time dilation fields, flux capacitors, and something called the Clava Thessara Infinitas (don’t ask). Episodes in which the writers move away from the central Ori theme are less than stellar; “200” exists mostly as an opportunity to make fun of the TV business and is as irrelevant and silly as “Citizen Joe,” the worst episode from Season 8. And finally, without revealing details, suffice to say that “Unending,” which offers a possible fate for our heroes before totally pulling its punches, may frustrate some longtime adherents. By and large, though, Stargate SG-1 has all the elements–humor, action, great effects, good story-telling and acting, characters you care about–to more than justify its ten-year run. It will be missed. Special features are again bountiful, including audio commentary on all episodes, various featurettes, and five “directors series” entries devoted to particular episodes. –Sam Graham

Product Description
Episode Description: Disc 1- 5: Stargate SG-1 Season 1 Disc 6-10: Starage SG-1 Season 2 Disc 11-15: Stargate SG-1 Season 3 Disc 16-20: Stargate SG-1 Season 4 Disc 21-25: Stargate SG-1 Season 5 Disc 26-30: Stargate SG-1 Season 6 Disc 31-35: Stargate SG-1 Season 7 Disc 36-40: Stargate SG-1 Season 8 Disc 41-45: Stargate SG-1 Season 9 Disc 46-50: Stargate SG-1 Season 10

Disc 51: Bonus Disc 1 **Ark of Truth Promo **Continuum Promo **”Stargate SG-1: The Lowdown (SG-1 Season 7)” **From Stargate to Atlantis: The Lowdown (SG-1 Season 8 & Atlantis Season 1) **Behind the Stargate: Secrets Revealed (SG-1 Season 8 & Atlantis Season 1)

Disc 52: Bonus Disc 2 **”Sci Fi Inside: Stargate SG-1’s 200th Episode (SG-1 Season 10)” **”Behind the Mythology of Stargate SG-1 (SG-1 Seasons 1-10)” **Stargate SG-1: True Science

Disc 53: Bonus Disc 3 ***Season Three: **Timeline to the Future **Part 1: Legacy of the Gate **Part II: Secrets of the Gate **Part III: Beyond the Gate

***Season Four: **SG-1 Video Diary: Teryl Rothery **”Stargate SG-1 Season 5: Gateway to Adventure ” **Stargate SG-1: The 100th Episode

***Season Five: **SG-1 Video Diary: Don S. Davis

***Season Six: **”SG-1 Directors Series: Smoke and Mirrors” **SG-1 Directors Series: The Changeling **SG-1 Directors Series: Memento **SG-1 Directors Series: Prophecy **SG-1 Video Diary: Richard Dean Anderson Paradise Lost”

Disc 54: Bonus Disc 4 ***Season Seven: **SG-1 Directors Series: Revisions **SG-1 Directors Series: Heroes **SG-1 Directors Series: Resurrection **”Behind the Scenes: Journey Inside Lost City” **The Storyboard Process **”Bra’tac vs. Ronan: Designing the Fight” **Stargate Magic: Inside the Lab **Richard Dean Anderson: “My Life as a Mime”

***Season Eight: **”Beyond the Gate: A Convention Experience with Amanda Tapping” **”Beyond the Gate: A Convention Experience with Michael Shanks” **SG-1 Directors Series: Threads **Profile On: Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie **The Last Day of Teal’C **SG-1 Directors Series: Moebius **”Stargate SG-1 Alliance: The Making of The Video Game”

Stargate – The Ark of Truth

Product Details

  • Actors: Ben Browder, Amanda Tapping, Christopher Judge, Michael Shanks, Claudia Black
  • Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rating:
  • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • DVD Release Date: March 11, 2008
  • Run Time: 97 minutes

Editorial Reviews

Product Description
Blasting off where the Sci-Fi Channelâ??s longest running show, Stargate SG-1, left off, this thrilling feature thrusts the Stargate team â?” Daniel Jackson (Michael Shanks), Vala (Claudia Black), Tealâ??c (Christopher Judge), Sam (Amanda Tapping) and Cam (Ben Browder) â?” into their biggest challenge yet. In search of an Ancient artifact they hope can defeat the oppressive Ori, the team not only learns that the Ori are set to launch a final assault on Earth, but a double-crossing I.O. operative is aboard the Odyssey! Also starring Beau Bridges, this pulse-pounder is loaded with enough suspense, humor and action to fill a galaxy!

Stargate (Ultimate Edition)

Product Details

  • Actors: Kurt Russell, James Spader, Viveca Lindfors, Alexis Cruz, Mili Avital
  • Directors: Roland Emmerich
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rating:
  • Studio: Lions Gate
  • DVD Release Date: February 17, 2003
  • Run Time: 119 minutes

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com
Before they unleashed the idiotic mayhem of Independence Day and Godzilla, the idea-stealing team of director Roland Emmerich and producer-screenwriter Dean Devlin concocted this hokey hit about the discovery of an ancient portal capable of zipping travelers to “the other side of the known universe.” James Spader plays the Egyptologist who successfully translates the Stargate’s hieroglyphic code, and then joins a hawkish military unit (led by Kurt Russell) on a reconnaissance mission to see what’s on the other side. They arrive on a desert world with cultural (and apparently supernatural) ties to Earth’s ancient Egypt, where the sun god Ra (played by Jaye Davidson from The Crying Game) rules a population of slaves with armored minions and startlingly advanced technology. After being warmly welcomed into the slave camp, the earthlings encourage and support a rebellion, and while Russell threatens to blow up the Stargate to prevent its use by enemy forces, the movie collapses into a senseless series of action scenes and grandiose explosions. It’s all pretty ridiculous, but Stargate found a large and appreciative audience, spawned a cable-TV series, and continues to attract science fiction fans who are more than willing to forgive its considerable faults. –Jeff Shannon
DVD features
Nothing beats a sci-fi movie with wall-shaking sound, and the Stargate Ultimate Edition delivers the goods with 6.1 DTS ES and 5.1 Dolby Digital EX. Yes, Stargate has been released on DVD numerous times, but this 2003 version is the best yet, with improved sound and a generally clean picture that’s now anamorphically enhanced for widescreen televisions. Note: The current Stargate Ultimate Edition is a stripped-down version with only a featurette and commentary track. The Ultimate Edition originally released in 2003 included the combination of the theatrical cut and director’s cut (nine minutes longer), and a 23-minute making-of feature that concentrated on the film’s design and production. –David Horiuchi

Stargate Atlantis – The Complete Seasons 1 and 2

Product Details

  • Format: NTSC
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • DVD Release Date: March 20, 2007

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Stargate Atlantis – The Complete First Season: It’s not a franchise on the order of Law & Order, CSI, or Star Trek–not yet, anyway–but with Stargate Atlantis, a more than worthy successor to SG-1, Stargate is becoming a nice little cottage industry in itself. The premise, in a nutshell: The Ancients, the greatest race the universe has ever known (or something like that), abandoned Earth millions of years ago, taking Atlantis with them; they then sunk the entire city in order to escape the clutches of the dreaded Wraith, an implacable bunch of villains who nourish themselves by sucking the life from humans. Now, as the two-hour “Rising” pilot details, a new team has gained access to the legendary city. Once they arrive, Atlantis loses the power to sustain its protective shield and rises to the surface, and thus begin the team’s adventures (i.e., using the stargate to travel to other planets in the Pegasus galaxy, encountering aliens both hostile and friendly, and trying to defeat the Wraith, or at least stay out of their way).

Jack O’Neill (Richard Dean Anderson), SG-1‘s driving force, is missed, but Atlantis has a strong replacement in Major John Sheppard (Joe Flanigan), easily the most charismatic member of the new team. Like O’Neill, Sheppard is a wiseacre and a loose cannon, as well as a superb pilot with an innate understanding of the Ancients’ arcane technology. His humor, humanity and conscience provide a welcome contrast to the other characters, especially brilliant-but-neurotic Dr. Rodney McKay (David Hewlett) and ultra-serious project leader Dr. Elizabeth Weir (Torri Higginson), who has little to do but give orders and stand up for her people. The Wraith, who resemble a vampire mutation of the albino blues guitarist Johnny Winter, are the focus of most of these 19 episodes (including the pilot). These bad boys will stop at nothing–nothing, I tell you!–in their quest to snack their way through every galaxy in the universe, with Earth their ultimate feeding ground. And while the final four episodes, dealing with the Wraith’s massive attack on Atlantis, end with an unsatisfying cliffhanger (basically, nothing is resolved), earlier shows effectively keep their ominous presence in the forefront. The episodes in which the Wraith play little or no active role are often compelling as well, including “Thirty Eight Minutes” (one of our heroes’ “puddle jumper” spacecraft gets stuck in the stargate), “Childhood’s End” (we meet a race whose members are convinced that only ritual suicide is keeping the Wraith at bay), and “The Eye” (a planet-size hurricane/tsunami bears down on Atlantis). As is the case with SG-1, the visual effects work, especially by TV standards, is excellent; in fact, one might wish for bit more cool sci-fi action and less talk in some of the episodes. Special effects include commentary (by directors, writers, and/or actors) for every episode, as well as the occasional behind-the-scenes featurette. —Sam Graham

Stargate Atlantis – The Complete Second Season: If Stargate Atlantis isn’t the coolest sci-fi series on television, this five-disc, 20-episode box set from the second season (2005-06) offers ample evidence that it’s right up there. The writing is good; the stories are intriguing, and the science part of the equation is credible enough to justify our suspension of disbelief. The characters are for the most part well-defined, and the acting, while perhaps not Emmy-caliber, is just fine. The action is exciting, the effects work impressive, the costumes and sets first-rate. But what Atlantis really has going for it is the presence of some of the baddest bad guys in the cosmos: the Wraith.

With their flowing white locks, cat-like eyes, pale, almost translucent skin, and teeth so bad they’d make the British blush, the Wraith rock. They also have a constant need to feed–on humans, of course–and are a serious threat not only to Atlantis but to the entire known universe, including good ol’ Earth. And although there are occasional diversions, the producers and writers have wisely kept the focus on these implacable antagonists; in fact, the newest member of the team, one Ronon Dex (played by the dreadlocked and hunky Jason Momoa), is a “runner” who escaped the Wraith’s clutches, was a fugitive for years before being found by our heroes, and specializes in dispatching the villains with cold precision. In the course of the season, via single episodes and several multi-parters, the Stargate team, commanded by Dr. Elizabeth Weir (Torri Higginson in the show’s least interesting role) and led by insouciant Major John Sheppard (Joe Flanigan), with genius-neurotic Dr. Rodney McKay (David Hewlett) handling the scientific intricacies and yet another doc, Carson Beckett (Paul McGillion, affecting a Scottish brogue), overseeing medical matters, deals with the enemy on many fronts. Lt. Ford (Rainbow Sun Francks) defects after assuming Wraith-like characteristics. The team experiments with a “retrovirus” designed to turn Wraiths into humans (the results are decidedly mixed). They encounter a human who raised a Wraith female from childhood and insists she’s just like us (she’s not). They’re captured and imprisoned on a Wraith “hive” ship. And in the final episode, the humans and the Wraiths even form an alliance of supposedly mutual convenience (the episode is a cliffhanger that awaits resolution until Season Three, but anyone who thought this “partnership” was a good idea for our side clearly hasn’t been paying attention). As was the case with the Season One set, bonus materials are generous, including audio commentary (by actors, directors, and others) on every episode, various featurettes, photos, and more. Now if only there were a few Wraith interviews… —Sam Graham

Stargate Atlantis – The Complete Third Season

Stargate Atlantis – Rising (Pilot Episode)

Product Details

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com
There are those who may regard it as old wine in a new bottle, but that doesn’t mean that Stargate Atlantis doesn’t have something to offer to both newcomers and fans of Stargate SG-1, the franchise from which it evolved. Co-creators and executive producers Brad Wright and Robert C. Cooper, both of whom worked on the earlier show, have concocted an appealing premise for this spin-off, in which the so-called Ancients abandoned Earth millions of years earlier, taking their city (i.e., Atlantis) with them. Now, a new team has gained access (via the Stargate, the “wormhole” our heroes use to travel to different worlds) to the legendary sunken city, where new adventures and deadly new enemies await. Stargate SG-1 stars Richard Dean Anderson and Michael Shanks make appearances in this series premiere, but the focus is on the new characters. Of these, Joe Flanigan excels as the insouciant Major John Sheppard, an Air Force pilot unexpectedly recruited for the new mission because of his preternatural ability to interface with the Ancients’ wondrous technology. The new leader is Dr. Elizabeth Weir (Torri Higginson), a role that is neither especially well-written nor well-played. The new monster-villains, replacing the trusty old Goa’uld, are the Wraith, whose name is actually cooler than they are; they may eat humans, in addition to being all-powerful (natch), but they tend to come off like refugees from The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Overall, the production values and special effects remain top-notch, especially for television, and the story itself is OK. But while Stargate Atlantis is certainly promising, it has a ways to go to equal its predecessor, which remains one of the best-made, most compelling sci-fi programs on television. –Sam Graham
Product Description
When SG-1 discovers what it believes to be the remnants of the Lost City of the Ancients ? the originators of the Stargates ? Stargate Command launches an investigation. A new team of explorers, headed by civilian Dr. Elizabeth Weir, travels to the distant Pegasus Galaxy, where it discovers an advanced but deserted city on the ocean floor, a group of nomadic humans and a deadly enemy that feeds on humans as an energy source!

The X-Files: The Ultimate Collection

The X-Files: The Ultimate Collection

Product Details

  • Actors: David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson
  • Directors: Chris Carter
  • Format: Box set, Color, DVD-Video, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 61
  • Rating:
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: November 6, 2007

Amazon Customer Revuiew

“This product, according to Fox, gathers together all nine seasons, the film, and the Mythology Threads featurettes off the Mythology collections. The nine seasons are thankfully in the original release format, with all special features included. The feature film appears to have the same contents as the current DVD release as well. As for the featurettes, they appear on a disc of their own.
For a box set this big (61 discs), it’s priced fairly reasonably as opposed to the 9-season collection that can be found elsewhere on Amazon. However, Fox needs to make sure this is the last time they re-dip the series; maybe they should release it on Blu-Ray to make the HD fanboys happy.
Be warned: if you bought the initial season-by-season releases (not the slimpaks) and the movie separately, there’s nothing new here. The featurettes on the last disc are also nothing new, as they appeared on the pointless Mythology arc sets that were released on DVD a while back. However, for anyone new to the series or anyone who’s been hesitating to buy the series on DVD, this is a great pickup for its price.”

The Ultimate Matrix Collection (The Matrix/ The Matrix Reloaded/ The Matrix Revolutions/ The Animatrix)

The Ultimate Matrix Collection (The Matrix/ The Matrix Reloaded/ The Matrix Revolutions/ The Animatrix)

Product Details

Amazon.com essential video [The Matrix]
By following up their debut thriller Bound with the 1999 box-office smash The Matrix, the codirecting Wachowski brothers–Andy and Larry–annihilated any suggestion of a sophomore jinx, crafting one of the most exhilarating sci-fi/action movies of the 1990s. Set in the not too distant future in an insipid, characterless city, we find a young man named Neo (Keanu Reeves). A software techie by day and a computer hacker by night, he sits alone at home by his monitor, waiting for a sign, a signal–from what or whom he doesn’t know–until one night, a mysterious woman named Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) seeks him out and introduces him to that faceless character he has been waiting for: Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne). A messiah of sorts, Morpheus presents Neo with the truth about his world by shedding light on the dark secrets that have troubled him for so long: “You’ve felt it your entire life, that there’s something wrong with the world. You don’t know what it is, but it’s there, like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad.” Ultimately, Morpheus illustrates to Neo what the Matrix is–a reality beyond reality that controls all of their lives, in a way that Neo can barely comprehend.

Neo thus embarks on an adventure that is both terrifying and enthralling. Pitted against an enemy that transcends human concepts of evil, Morpheus and his team must train Neo to believe that he is the chosen champion of their fight. With mind-boggling, technically innovative special effects and a thought-provoking script that owes a debt of inspiration to the legacy of cyberpunk fiction, this is much more than an out-and-out action yarn; it’s a thinking man’s journey into the realm of futuristic fantasy, a dreamscape full of eye candy that will satisfy sci-fi, kung fu, action, and adventure fans alike. Although the film is headlined by Reeves and Fishburne–who both turn in fine performances–much of the fun and excitement should be attributed to Moss, who flawlessly mixes vulnerability with immense strength, making other contemporary female heroines look timid by comparison. And if we were going to cast a vote for most dastardly movie villain of 1999, it would have to go to Hugo Weaving, who plays the feckless, semipsychotic Agent Smith with panache and edginess. As the film’s box-office profits soared, the Wachowski brothers announced that The Matrix is merely the first chapter in a cinematically dazzling franchise–a chapter that is arguably superior to the other sci-fi smash of 1999 (you know… the one starring Jar Jar Binks). –Jeremy Storey

Amazon.com [The Matrix Reloaded]
Considering the lofty expectations that preceded it, The Matrix Reloaded triumphs where most sequels fail. It would be impossible to match the fresh audacity that made The Matrix a global phenomenon in 1999, but in continuing the exploits of rebellious Neo (Keanu Reeves), Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne), and Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) as they struggle to save the human sanctuary of Zion from invading machines, the codirecting Wachowski brothers have their priorities well in order. They offer the obligatory bigger and better highlights (including the impressive “Burly Brawl” and freeway chase sequences) while remaining focused on cleverly plotting the middle of a brain-teasing trilogy that ends with The Matrix Revolutions. The metaphysical underpinnings can be dismissed or scrutinized, and choosing the latter course (this is, after all, an epic about choice and free will) leads to astonishing repercussions that made Reloaded an explosive hit with critics and hardcore fans alike. As the centerpiece of a multimedia franchise, this dynamic sequel ends with a cliffhanger that virtually guarantees a mind-blowing conclusion. –Jeff Shannon

Amazon.com [The Matrix Revolutions]
Despite the inevitable law of diminishing returns, The Matrix Revolutions is quite satisfying as an adrenalized action epic, marking yet another milestone in the exponential evolution of computer-generated special effects. That may not be enough to satisfy hardcore Matrix fans who turned the Wachowski Brothers’ hacker mythology into a quasi-religious pop-cultural phenomenon, but there’s no denying that the trilogy goes out with a cosmic bang instead of the whimper that many expected. Picking up precisely where The Matrix Reloaded left off, this 130-minute finale finds Neo (Keanu Reeves) at a virtual junction, defending the besieged human enclave of Zion by confronting the attacking machines on their home turf, while humans combat swarms of tentacled mechanical sentinels as Zion’s fate lies in the balance. It all amounts to a blaze of CGI glory, devoid of all but the shallowest emotions, and so full of metaphysical hokum that the trilogy’s detractors can gloat with I-told-you-so sarcasm. And yet, Revolutions still succeeds as a slick, exciting hybrid of cinema and video game, operating by its own internal logic with enough forward momentum to make the whole trilogy seem like a thrilling, magnificent dream. — Jeff Shannon

Amazon.com [Animatrix]
Matrix writer-directors Larry and Andy Wachowski commissioned seven artists from Japan, America and Korea to make nine short films set in the world of their feature trilogy. Some of the top anime directors contributed to this anthology, including Yoshiaki Kawajiri (Ninja Scroll), Koji Morimoto (Robot Carnival), and Shinchiro Watanabe (Cowboy Bebop). Some of the films tie directly into the narrative of the live-action movies. Drawn in a style reminiscent of Jean “Moebius” Giraud, Mahiro Maeda’s The Second Renaissance (Part I & Part II) depicts the human-machine wars that caused the enslavement of humanity and the creation of the Matrix. The duel between two flamboyantly costumed Kabuki warriors in Kawajiri’s Program is an expanded version of the cybernetic training Neo (Keanu Reeves) undergoes in the first Matrix film. Watanabe evokes the look of old newspaper photographs in A Detective Story, which falls outside the storyline of the features. Fast-paced, violent and grim, The Animatrix is an uneven but intriguing compilation that represents a new level in the ongoing cross-pollination between Japanese animation and American live action. (Not rated, suitable for ages 16 and older: considerable violence, violence against women, grotesque imagery, brief nudity, alcohol use) –Charles Solomon

Product Description
The definitive ten-disc DVD set, The Ultimate Matrix Collection features all three films in the trilogy together for the first time ever with a newly remastered picture and sound for The Matrix. Also included is the companion piece The Matrix Revisited and the best-selling The Animatrix, plus five entirely new DVDs packed solid with brand-new supplemental materials that encompass every aspect of the Matrix universe, including two new audio commentaries on each film, Enter the Matrix video game footage, 106 deep-delving featurettes/ documentaries and much more!

DVD Features:
Additional Scenes:Filmed for Enter the Matrix video game
Audio Commentary:The Philosophers: Dr. Cornel West and Ken Wilber; The Critics: Todd McCarthy, John Powers and David Thomson
DVD ROM Features
Documentary
Easter Eggs
Featurette
Introduction:by the Wachowski Brothers
Music Video
Photo gallery
Storyboards
TV Spot
Theatrical Trailer

Harry Potter Years 1-5 Limited Edition Gift Set

Harry Potter Years 1-5 Limited Edition Gift Set

Product Details

  • Actors: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint
  • Format: Anamorphic, Box set, Color, Limited Edition, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 12
  • Rating:
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: December 11, 2007

Product Description
The Harry Potter Limited Edition Giftset includes Harry Potters Years 1-5, a Harry Potter DVD game Hogwarts Challenge, along with a bonus disc containing over 2 hours of enhanced content, an exclusive “Harry Potter’s Bookmark Collection”, and collectible trading cards.

Star Wars Trilogy (Widescreen Edition with Bonus Disc)

Star Wars Trilogy (Widescreen Edition with Bonus Disc)

Product Details

  • Actors: Carrie Fisher, Peter Mayhew, James Earl Jones, Harrison Ford
  • Directors: George Lucas
  • Format: Anamorphic, Box set, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, DVD-Video, Subtitled, THX, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English, Spanish
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 4
  • Rating:
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: September 21, 2004
  • Run Time: 388 minutes

Amazon.com essential video
Was George Lucas’s Star Wars Trilogy, the most anticipated DVD release ever, worth the wait? You bet. It’s a must-have for any home theater, looking great, sounding great, and supplemented by generous bonus features.

The Movies

The Star Wars Trilogy had the rare distinction of becoming a cultural phenomenon, a defining event for its generation. On its surface, George Lucas’s story is a rollicking and humorous space fantasy that owes debts to more influences than one can count on two hands, but filmgoers became entranced by its basic struggle of good vs. evil “a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away,” its dazzling special effects, and a mythology of Jedi knights, the Force, and droids. Over the course of three films–A New Hope (1977), The Empire Strikes Back (1980), and Return of the Jedi (1983)–Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), and the roguish Han Solo (Harrison Ford) join the Rebel alliance in a galactic war against the Empire, the menacing Darth Vader (David Prowse, voiced by James Earl Jones), and eventually the all-powerful Emperor (Ian McDiarmid). Empire is generally considered the best of the films and Jedi the most uneven, but all three are vastly superior to the more technologically impressive prequels that followed, Episode I, The Phantom Menace (1999) and Episode II, Attack of the Clones (2002).

How Are the Picture and Sound?


Thanks to a new digital transfer, you’ve never seen C-3PO glow so golden, and Darth Vader’s helmet is as black as the Dark Side.


In a word, spectacular. Thanks to a new digital transfer, you’ve never seen C-3PO glow so golden, and Darth Vader’s helmet is as black as the Dark Side. And at the climactic scene of A New Hope, see if the Dolby 5.1 EX sound doesn’t knock you back in your chair. Other audio options are Dolby 2.0 Surround in English, Spanish, and French. (Sorry, DTS fans, but previous Star Wars DVDs didn’t have DTS either.) There have been a few quibbles with the audio on A New Hope, however. A few seconds of Peter Cushing’s dialogue (“Then name the system!”) are distorted, and the music (but not the sound effects) is reversed in the rear channels. For example, in the final scene, the brass is in the front right channel but the back left channel (from the viewer’s perspective), and the strings are in the left front and back right. The result feels like the instruments are crossing through the viewer.What’s Been Changed?
The rumors are true: Lucas made more changes to the films for their DVD debut. Hayden Christensen (Anakin Skywalker) has been added to a scene in Jedi, Ian McDiarmid (the Emperor) replaces Clive Revill with slightly revised lines in Empire, Temuera Morrison has rerecorded Boba Fett’s minimal dialogue, and some other small details have been altered. Yes, these changes mean that the Star Wars films are no longer the ones you saw 20 years ago, but these brief changes hardly affect the films, and they do make sense in the overall continuity of the two trilogies. It’s not like a digitized Ewan McGregor has replaced Alec Guiness’s scenes, and the infamous changes made for the 1997 special-edition versions were much more intrusive (of course, those are in the DVD versions as well).

How Are the Bonus Features?

Toplining is Empire of Dreams: The Story of the Star Wars Trilogy, a 150-minute documentary incorporating not only the usual making-of nuts and bolts but also the political workings of the movie studios and the difficulties Lucas had getting his vision to the screen (for example, after resigning from the Directors’ Guild, he lost his first choice for director of Jedi: Steven Spielberg). It’s a little adulatory, but it has plenty to interest any fan. The three substantial featurettes are “The Characters of Star Wars” (19 min.), which discusses the development of the characters we all know and love, “The Birth of the Lightsaber” (15 min.), about the creation and evolution of a Jedi’s ultimate weapon, and “The Force Is with Them: The Legacy of Star Wars” (15 min.), in which filmmakers such as Peter Jackson, Ridley Scott, and James Cameron talk about how they and the industry were affected by the films and Lucas’s technological developments in visual effects, sound, and computer animation.

The bonus features are excellent and along the same lines as those created for The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones. Each film has a commentary track, recorded by Lucas, Ben Burtt (sound design), Dennis Muren (visual effects), and Carrie Fisher, with Irvin Kershner joining in on the film he directed, The Empire Strikes Back. Recorded separately and skillfully edited together (with supertitles to identify who is speaking), the tracks lack the energy of group commentaries, but they’re enjoyable and informative, with a nice mix of overall vision (Lucas), technical details (Burtt, Muren, Kershner), and actor’s perspective (Fisher). Interestingly, they discuss some of the 1997 changes (Mos Eisley creatures, the new Jabba the Hutt scene) but not those made for the DVDs.

There’s also a sampler of the Xbox game Star Wars: Battlefront, which lets the player reenact classic film scenarios (blast Ewoks in the battle of Endor!); trailers and TV spots from the films’ many releases; and a nine-minute preview of the last film in the series, Episode III, Revenge of the Sith (here identified by an earlier working title, The Return of Darth Vader). Small extra touches include anamorphic widescreen motion menus with dialogue, original poster artwork on the discs, and a whopping 50 chapter stops for each film.

“The Force Is Strong with This One”
The Star Wars Trilogy is an outstanding DVD set that lives up to the anticipation. There will always be resentment that the original versions of the films are not available as well, but George Lucas maintains that these are the versions he always wanted to make. If fans are able to put this debate aside, they can enjoy the adventures of Luke, Leia, and Han for years to come. –David Horiuchi
Product Description
Includes:
* Episode IV, A New Hope
Commentary by George Lucas, Ben Burtt, Dennis Muren, and Carrie Fisher
* Episode V, The Empire Strikes Back
Commentary by George Lucas, Irvin Kershner, Ben Burtt, Dennis Muren, and Carrie Fisher
* Episode VI, Return of the Jedi
Commentary by George Lucas, Ben Burtt, Dennis Muren, and Carrie Fisher

* “Empire of Dreams: The Story of the Star Wars Trilogy,” the most comprehensive feature-length documentary ever produced on the Star Wars saga, and never-before-seen footage from the making of all three films
* Featurettes: The Legendary Creatures of Star Wars, The Birth of the Lightsaber, The Legacy of Star Wars
* Teasers, trailers, TV spots, still galleries
* Playable Xbox demo of the new Lucasarts game Star Wars Battlefront
* The making of the Episode III videogame
* Exclusive preview of Star Wars: Episode III

Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda: Slipstream Collection

Gene Roddenberry’s Andromeda: Slipstream Collection

Product Details

  • Directors: Philip David Segal
  • Format: Anamorphic, Box set, Widescreen, Closed-captioned
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 50
  • Rating:
  • Studio: A.D.V. Films
  • DVD Release Date: October 3, 2006
  • Run Time: 5500 minutes

Amazon Customer Review

“I was pleasantly surprised by this. The product details don’t mention it at all, but this IS a “thinpaks” release. The set contains all episodes of seasons 1-5 on 50 discs in 25 dual-disc thinkpaks, packaged in a sturdy, cardboard box. The box is much smaller than the Amazon product photo makes it appear. Placed sideways on your bookshelf it will take up less room than the First Season box set. The artwork on the outer sleeves of each thinpak is the same as previous releases. Artwork on the spines of all thinpaks, when viewed together, portray the Amdromeda Ascendant comin’ at ya! The discs in this collection are single-sided, unlike the double-sided discs in the 2-5 season box sets. The content and episodes on the discs are the same as in previous releases. If you already own the previous releases, this may not interest you much. However, if you didn’t like the double-sided discs of the season 2-5 sets and would like the space this set will save on your shelves, it IS worth getting.”

Battlestar Galactica - The Complete Epic Series (Limited Edition Cylon Head Packaging)

Battlestar Galactica – The Complete Epic Series (Limited Edition Cylon Head Packaging)

Product Details

  • Actors: Battlestar Galactica
  • Format: Box set, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, DVD-Video, Full Screen, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 6
  • Rating:
  • Studio: Universal Studios
  • DVD Release Date: October 21, 2003
  • Run Time: 1161 minutes

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover
In the deepest reaches of space, the fight to save all human life from extinction has begun in this science fiction adventure that launched the Battlestar Galactica phenomenon! Hopeful for lasting peace following centuries of intense warfare, the Twelve Colonies gather to sign a treaty with their dreaded enemies, The Cylons. But after an act of treachery on the eve of the ceremony, the Cylons launch a devastating surprise attack, destroying the Colonies’ home planets and most of their military strength. A lone flagship battlestar, the Galactica, remains to aid the surviving colonists on their epic journey for a new home to a far-off legendary planet -Earth. They must survive the pursuing Cylons in a series of epic battles that will determine the fate of the human race in this non-stop action-packed classic filled with cutting-edge special effects by John Dykstra (“Star Wars,” “Spider-Man”).

Battlestar Galactica (2003 Miniseries)

Product Details

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com
Despite voluminous protest and nitpicking criticism from loyal fans of the original 1978-80 TV series, the 2003 version of Battlestar Galactica turned out surprisingly well for viewers with a tolerance for change. Originally broadcast on the Sci-Fi Channel in December 2003 and conceived by Star Trek: The Next Generation alumnus Ronald D. Moore as the pilot episode for a “reimagined” TV series, this four-hour “miniseries” reprises the basic premise of the original show while giving a major overhaul (including some changes in gender) to several characters and plot elements. Gone are the flowing robes, disco-era hairstyles, and mock-Egyptian fighter helmets, and thankfully there’s not a fluffy “daggit” in sight… at least, not yet. Also missing are the “chrome toaster” Cylons, replaced by new, more formidable varieties of the invading Cylon enemy, including “Number Six” in hot red skirts and ample cleavage, who tricks the human genius Baltar into a scenario that nearly annihilates the human inhabitants of 12 colonial worlds.

Thus begins the epic battle and eventual retreat of a “ragtag fleet” of humans, searching for the mythical planet Earth under the military command of Adama (Edward James Olmos) and the political leadership of Laura Roslin (Mary McDonnell), a former secretary of education, 43rd in line of succession and rising to the occasion of her unexpected Presidency. As directed by Michael Rymer (Queen of the Damned), Moore’s ambitious teleplay also includes newfangled CGI space battles (featuring “handheld” camera moves and subdued sound effects for “enhanced realism”), a dysfunctional Col. Tigh (Michael Hogan) who’s provoked into action by the insubordinate Starbuck (Katee Sackhoff), and a father-son reunion steeped in familial tragedy. To fans of the original BG series, many of these changes are blasphemous, but for the most part they work–including an ominous cliffhanger ending. The remade Galactica is brimming with smart, well-drawn characters ripe with dramatic potential, and it readily qualifies as serious-minded science fiction, even as it gives BG loyalists ample fuel for lively debate. –Jeff Shannon

Battlestar Galactica  - Season One

Battlestar Galactica – Season One

Product Details

  • Actors: Edward James Olmos, Jamie Bamber
  • Format: Box set, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, DVD-Video, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 5
  • Rating:
  • Studio: Universal Studios
  • DVD Release Date: September 20, 2005
  • Run Time: 756 minutes

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com
Battlestar Galactica‘s Edward James Olmos wasn’t kidding when he said “the series is even better than the miniseries.” As developed by sci-fi TV veteran Ronald D. Moore, the “reimagined” BG is exactly what it claims to be: a drama for grown-ups in a science-fiction setting. The mature intelligence of the series is its greatest asset, from the tenuous respect between Galactica’s militarily principled commander Adama (Olmos) and politically astute President Roslin (Mary McDonnell) to the barely suppressed passion between ace Viper pilot “Apollo” (a.k.a. Adama’s son Lee, played by Jamie Bamber) and the brashly insubordinate Starbuck (Katee Sackhoff), whose multifaceted character is just one of many first-season highlights. Picking up where the miniseries ended (it’s included here, sparing the need for separate purchase), season 1 opens with the riveting, Hugo Award-winning episode “33,” in which Galactica and the “ragtag fleet” of colonial survivors begin their quest for the legendary 13th colony planet Earth, while being pursued with clockwork regularity by the Cylons, who’ve now occupied the colonial planet of Caprica. The fleet’s hard-fought survival forms (1) the primary side of the series’ three-part structure, shared with (2) the apparent psychosis of Dr. Gaius Baltar (James Callis) whose every thought and move are monitored by various incarnations of Number Six (Tricia Helfer), the seemingly omniscient Cylon ultravixen who follows a master plan somehow connected to (3) the Caprican survival ordeal of crash-landed pilots “Helo” (Tahmoh Penikett) and “Boomer” (Grace Park), whose simultaneous presence on Galactica is further evidence that 12 multicopied models of Cylons, in human form, are gathering their forces.

With remarkably consistent quality, each of these 13 episodes deepens the dynamics of these fascinating characters and suspenseful situations. While BG relies on finely nuanced performances, solid direction, and satisfying personal and political drama to build its strong emotional foundation, the action/adventure elements are equally impressive, especially in “The Hand of God,” a pivotal episode in which the show’s dazzling visual effects get a particularly impressive showcase. Original BG series star Richard Hatch appears in two politically charged episodes (he’s a better actor now, too), and with the threat of civil war among the fleet, season 1 ends with an exceptional cliffhanger that’s totally unexpected while connecting the plot threads of all preceding episodes. To the credit of everyone involved, this is frackin’ good television.

DVD features
The fifth disc in Battlestar Galactica‘s season 1 set is highlighted by eight comprehensive featurettes covering all aspects of the series, from its miniseries origins to standard surveys of production design, visual effects, and particulars of plot and character. For hardcore fans and anyone interested in TV production, nine out of 13 episodes, plus the disc 1 miniseries, are accompanied by intelligent and informative commentary originally provided as BG website podcasts, mostly by series developer and writer Ronald D. Moore, who provides tantalizing clues about developments in season 2. The “Series Lowdown” is a cast-and-crew promotional program originally broadcast to attract SciFi Channel viewers who were initially reluctant to embrace a “reimagined” Battlestar Galactica. The strategy worked: First-season ratings left no doubt that the new BG was as good as–and in many ways better than–the original. –Jeff Shannon

Battlestar Galactica - Season 2.0 (Episodes 1-10)

Battlestar Galactica – Season 2.0 (Episodes 1-10)

Season 2.5 (Episodes 11-20)

Battlestar Galactica: Season 2.5 (Episodes 11-20)

Battlestar Galactica – Season Three

Battlestar Galactica – Razor (Unrated Extended Cut)

Product Details

  • Actors: Edward James Olmos
  • Format: AC-3, Animated, Color, Dolby, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rating:
  • Studio: Universal Studios
  • DVD Release Date: December 4, 2007
  • Run Time: 101 minutes

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com
Battlestar Galactica: Razor was an oasis for BSG fans–when the double-length episode aired in November 2007, it was the only new material broadcast during the 12-month gap between seasons 3 and 4. But although it sets up some events in season 4, chronologically Razor is a prequel taking place within season 2, when Galactica had unexpectedly met up with a fellow Battlestar, Pegasus. The central character is new, Kendra Shaw (Stephanie Jacobsen), who becomes the XO after Lee Adama (Jamie Bamber) takes command of the Pegasus. Shaw’s promotion is controversial among Starbuck (Katee Sackhoff) and others because Shaw learned the trade under the previous commander of the Pegasus, Admiral Cain (Michelle Forbes), who lived by her own wartime rules. The central conflict in Razor involves the Pegasus trying to rescue a Raptor crew from the Cylons. During the mission Shaw flashes back to 10 months earlier, and her experiences in the immediate aftermath of the Cylons’ wipeout of Caprica influence how she handles this mission and its implications of a new Cylon-human hybrid. Razor is a riveting adventure, full of the top writing, great acting, and dark end-of-humanity vision that makes Battlestar Galactica the best show on television (that is, when it’s actually on). Fans will also enjoy the appearance of old-school Cylons, and the revelation that Gaius is not the only one who fell for the wiles of Number 6 (Tricia Helfer).

The unrated and extended DVD runs 103 minutes, about 16 minutes longer than the Sci-Fi Channel broadcast. There’s a brief bit of extra gore from Admiral Cain, and young William “Husker” Adama’s (Nico Cortez, nicely channeling Edward James Olmos) mission in the last days of the first Cylon war is now 10 minutes instead of 5, including a spectacular aerial battle. In another new sequence, at the moment when Cain tells Shaw “Sometimes we have to leave people behind so that we can go on,” there’s a flashback to Cain’s experiences in the first Cylon war. Among the bonus features is the complete 19-minute minisode version of Husker’s Cylon encounter (previously viewable on Sci-Fi Channel’s website) and two deleted scenes. Featurettes include “The Look of Battlestar Galactica” and “My Favorite Episode So Far” (“33” gets a lot of mentions from the cast and crew), and there are a trailer and 2.5-minute “sneak peek” at season 4 (mostly interviewing people who don’t know what’s going to happen, though Tricia Helfer mentions a new version of herself). In a commentary track for the extended edition, executive producer Ronald D. Moore and writer Michael Taylor discuss how the episode came together (they refer to Razor as episodes as 1-2 of season 4) amid some serious restructuring and bits of trivia, such as how they cast Stephanie Jacobsen in the pivotal role even though she had never watched the show. —David Horiuchi

Battlestar Galactica 1980 – The Complete Epic Series

Product Details

  • Directors: Vince Edwards
  • Format: Color, Dolby, DVD-Video, Full Screen, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rating:
  • Studio: Universal Studios
  • DVD Release Date: December 23, 2007
  • Run Time: 481 minutes

Editorial Reviews

Product Description
Galactica 1980 lands on DVD for the first time ever! With all ten thrilling episodes on two discs, see what happens when the original Battlestar Galactica crew finally makes the long-anticipated descent to Earth. With time running out and the Cylons closing in on their trail, Commander Adama and the Galactica must work harder than ever before to help Earth create the technology necessary for battle. Along for the action-packed fight are such stellar guest stars as Dirk Benedict, Brion James, Dennis Haysbert and more! It’s an epic adventure unlike any other, and an absolute must-have for any Battlestar Galactica collection!

Star Trek The Original Series - The Complete Seasons 1-3

Star Trek The Original Series – The Complete Seasons 1-3

Product Details

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com
The facts have become legend. Star Trek, the NBC series that premiered on September 8, 1966, has become a touchstone of international popular culture. It struggled through three seasons that included cancellation and last-minute revival, and turned its creator, Gene Roddenberry, into the progenitor of an intergalactic phenomenon. Eventually expanding to encompass five separate TV series, an ongoing slate of feature films, and a fan base larger than the population of many third-world countries, the Star Trek universe began not with a Big Bang but with a cautious experiment in network TV programming. Even before its premiere episode (“The Man Trap”) was aired, Star Trek had struggled to attain warp-drive velocity, barely making it into the fall ’66 NBC lineup.

The series’ original pilot, “The Cage,” featured Jeffrey Hunter as U.S.S. Enterprise captain Christopher Pike–a variation of the role that would eventually catapult William Shatner to TV stardom. Filmed in 1964, the pilot was rejected by NBC the following year, but the network made a rare decision to order a second pilot. “Where No Man Has Gone Before” was filmed in 1965, and only one character from the previous pilot remained–a pointy-eared alien named Spock (played by Leonard Nimoy), whom Roddenberry had retained despite network disapproval. The second pilot was accepted, and production on Star Trek began in earnest with the filming of its first regular episode, “The Corbomite Maneuver.”

Never a ratings success despite a growing population of devoted fans, Star Trek was canceled after its second season, prompting a letter-writing campaign that resulted in the series’ third-season renewal. It was a mixed blessing, since Roddenberry had departed as producer to protest the network’s neglect, and Star Trek‘s third season contained most of the series’ weakest episodes. And yet, the show continued to “to explore strange new worlds…to seek out new life and new civilizations…to boldly go where no man [a phrase later amended to “no one”] has gone before.”

There were milestones along the way. The first interracial kiss on network primetime TV (between Shatner and series co-star Nichelle Nichols) furthered a richly positive and expansive view of a better, nobler future for humankind. The series offered a timelessly appealing balance of humor, imagination, and character depth. And at least one episode (Harlan Ellison’s “The City on the Edge of Forever”) ranks among the finest science fiction stories in any popular medium. Beloved by long-time fans in spite of its cheesy sets and costumes, and the now-dated trappings of late-1960s American culture, “classic Trek” has aged remarkably well, and its sense of adventure and idealism continues to live long and prosper. –Jeff Shannon

The three 2004 DVD sets collect all 79 episodes of the show, including “The Cage” in both a restored color version and the original, never-aired version that alternates between color and black and white. Each set is supplemented by over an hour of featurettes incorporating new and old interviews with Shatner, Nimoy, other cast members, and producers, and there’s also some vintage footage of Gene Roddenberry. Accompanying the 20-minute seasonal recaps (“To Boldly Go…”) are a number of interesting featurettes: “The Birth of a Timeless Legacy” examines the two pilot episodes and the development of the crew; “Sci-Fi Visionaries” discusses the series’ great science fiction writers; Nimoy debunks various rumors in “Reflections of Spock”; “Kirk, Spock & Bones: The Great Trio” focuses on the interplay among Kirk, Spock, and Dr. McCoy (DeForest Kelley); and, in what is probably his last Star Trek appearance, James Doohan (Scotty), slowed by Alzheimer’s but still with a twinkle in his eye, recalls his voiceover roles and his favorite episodes. As they’ve done for many of the feature-film special editions, Michael Okuda and Denise Okuda provide a pop-up text commentary on four of the episodes filled with history, trivia, and dry wit. It’s the first commentary of any kind for a Star Trek TV show, but an audio commentary is still overdue. The technical specs are mostly the same as other Trek TV series–Dolby 5.1, English subtitles–but with the welcome addition of the episode trailers. The plastic cases are an attempt to replicate some of the fun packaging of the series’ European DVD releases, but it’s a bit clunky, and the paper sleeve around the disc case seems awkward and crude. Still, the sets are a vast improvement both in terms of shelf space and bonus features compared to the old two-episode discs, which were released before full-season boxed sets became the model for television DVDs. –David Horiuchi
Product Description
Space. The Final Frontier. The U.S.S. Enterprise embarks on a five year mission to explore the galaxy. The Enterprise is under the command of Captain James T. Kirk. The First Officer is Mr. Spock, from the planet Vulcan. The Chief Medical Officer is Dr. Leonard ‘Bones’ McCoy. With a determined crew, the Enterprise encounters Klingons, Romulans, time paradoxes, tribbles and genetic supermen lead by Khan Noonian Singh. Their mission is to explore strange new worlds, to seek new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.

The Next Generation - Complete Series

Star Trek: The Next Generation – Complete Series

Product Details

  • Format: Box set, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, DVD-Video, NTSC
  • Language: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 49
  • Rating:
  • Studio: Paramount
  • DVD Release Date: October 2, 2007
  • Run Time: 8085 minutes

Amazon.com
After Star Wars and the successful big-screen Star Trek adventures, it’s perhaps not so surprising that Gene Roddenberry managed to convince purse string-wielding studio heads in the 1980s that a Next Generation would be both possible and profitable. But the political climate had changed considerably since the 1960s, the Cold War had wound down, and we were now living in the Age of Greed. To be successful a second time, Star Trek had to change too.

A writer’s guide was composed with which to sell and define where the Trek universe was in the 24th Century. The United Federation of Planets was a more appealing ideology to an America keen to see where the Reagan/Gorbachev faceoff was taking them. Starfleet’s meritocratic philosophy had always embraced all races and species. Now Earth’s utopian history, featuring the abolishment of poverty, was brandished prominently and proudly. The new Enterprise, NCC 1701-D, was no longer a ship of war but an exploration vessel carrying families. The ethical and ethnical flagship also carried a former enemy (the Klingon Worf, played by Michael Dorn), and its Chief Engineer (Geordi LaForge) was blind and black. From every politically correct viewpoint, Paramount executives thought the future looked just swell!

Roddenberry’s feminism now contrasted a pilot episode featuring ship’s Counsellor Troi (Marina Sirtis) in a mini-skirt with her ongoing inner strengths and also those of Dr. Crusher (Gates McFadden) and the short-lived Tasha Yar (Denise Crosby). The arrival of Whoopi Goldberg in season 2 as mystic barkeep Guinan is a great example of the good the original Trek did for racial groups–Goldberg has stated that she was inspired to become an actress in large part through seeing Nichelle Nichols’ Uhura. Her credibility as an actress helped enormously alongside the strong central performances of Patrick Stewart (Captain Picard), Jonathan Frakes (First Officer Will Riker), and Brent Spiner (Data) in defining another wholly believable environment once again populated with well-defined characters. Star Trek, it turned out, did not depend for its success on any single group of actors.

Like its predecessor in the 1960s, TNG pioneered visual effects on TV, making it an increasingly jaw-dropping show to look at. And thanks also to the enduring success of the original show, phasers, tricorders, communicators and even phase inverters were already familiar to most viewers. But while technology was a useful tool in most crises, it now frequently seemed to be the cause of them too, as the show’s writers continually warned about the dangers of over-reliance on technology (the Borg were the ultimate expression of this maxim). The word “technobabble” came to describe a weakness in many TNG scripts, which sacrificed the social and political allegories of the original and relied instead upon invented technological faults and their equally fictitious resolutions to provide drama within the Enterprise‘s self-contained society. (The holodeck’s safety protocol override seemed to be next to the light switch given the number of times crew members were trapped within.) This emphasis on scientific jargon appealed strongly to an audience who were growing up for the first time in the late 1980s with the home computer–and gave rise to the clichéd image of the nerdy Trek fan.

Like in the original Trek, it was in the stories themselves that much of the show’s success is to be found. That pesky Prime Directive kept moral dilemmas afloat (“Justice”/”Who Watches the Watchers?”/”First Contact”). More “what if” scenarios came out of time-travel episodes (“Cause and Effect”/”Time’s Arrow”/”Yesterday’s Enterprise”). And there were some episodes that touched on the political world, such as “The Arsenal of Freedom” questioning the supply of arms, “Chain of Command” decrying the torture of political prisoners and “The Defector”, which was called “The Cuban Missile Crisis of The Neutral Zone” by its writer. The show ran for more than twice as many episodes as its progenitor and therefore had more time to explore wider ranging issues. But the choice of issues illustrates the change in the social climate that had occurred with the passing of a couple of decades. “Angel One” covered sexism; “The Outcast” was about homosexuality; “Symbiosis”–drug addiction; “The High Ground”–terrorism; “Ethics”–euthanasia; “Darmok”–language barriers; and “Journey’s End”–displacement of Indians from their homeland. It would have been unthinkable for the original series to have tackled most of these.

TNG could so easily have been a failure, but it wasn’t. It survived a writer’s strike in its second year, the tragic death of Roddenberry just after Trek‘s 25th anniversary in 1991, and plenty of competition from would-be rival franchises. Yes, its maintenance of an optimistic future was appealing, but the strong stories and readily identifiable characters ensured the viewers’ continuing loyalty. —Paul Tonks
Product Description
Finally, the complete, epic sci-fi television series, Star Trek: The Next Generation is available in a complete series set for the first time ever. Celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the landmark series and own all 176 classic episodes in one definitive collector’s boxed set, featuring all-new special features. This is the definitive release that fans have been waiting for!

NOTE: The other series are in Parts II & III.

Star Trek Movie Set (The Motion Picture/ The Wrath of Khan/ The Search for Spock/ The Voyage Home/ The Final Frontier/ The Undiscovered Country/ Generations/ First Contact/ Insurrection/ Nemesis)

Star Trek Movie Set (The Motion Picture/ The Wrath of Khan/ The Search for Spock/ The Voyage Home/ The Final Frontier/ The Undiscovered Country/ Generations/ First Contact/ Insurrection/ Nemesis)

Product Details

  • Actors: Star Trek
  • Format: Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 20
  • Rating:
  • Studio: Paramount
  • DVD Release Date: October 4, 2005
  • Run Time: 1141 minutes

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com
Spanning two decades and countless light years of interstellar adventure, Star Trek: The Motion Pictures Collection is a testament to the enduring goodwill of Gene Roddenberry’s optimistic sci-fi concept. Long before Star Wars sparked an explosion of big-screen science fiction, Roddenberry had planned a second Star Trek TV series; the project fizzled, but its pilot script evolved into the first film in Paramount’s most lucrative movie franchise. Despite its sluggish pace and bland “pajama” costuming, Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979) offered a welcomed reunion of the “Classic Trek” cast, packed with Douglas Trumbull’s still-dazzling special effects. Trekkers were even more ecstatic when The Wrath of Khan (1982) revived the spirit of the original series, even though director Nicholas Meyer was a Trek neophyte. With Leonard Nimoy directing, The Search for Spock (1984) began where Khan left off, with a thrilling (albeit contrived) obligation to resurrect the formerly ill-fated Mr. Spock.

A box-office smash, Nimoy’s The Voyage Home (1986) is the franchise’s most accessible adventure–a high point offset by William Shatner’s comparatively dreadful Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989). Meyer (and his penchant for quoting Shakespeare) returned for The Undiscovered Country (1991), a conspiracy thriller that put the series back on track, inspiring fans to invoke the “even number” rule in rating their franchise favorites. Generations (1994) gracefully passed the torch to TV’s The Next Generation, bidding farewell to Captain Kirk with honor and integrity intact. Highlighted by the evolving humanity of Brent Spiner’s android Lt. Cmdr. Data, First Contact (1996) explored Star Trek history with a logical (hint) surprise encounter, and Insurrection (1998) provided an adequate expansion of the successful NextGen series. Taken as a whole, these ten films demonstrate the consistent vitality of Roddenberry’s original vision, stoking any Trekker’s appetite for “ongoing missions” in Nemesis and beyond. –Jeff Shannon Most of the feature films were released early in the DVD era, but are represented here in their vastly improved two-disc special editions, which boast widescreen anamorphic pictures, director’s cuts of the first two films, numerous commentary tracks by cast and crew, humorous and informative trivia subtitle tracks by Michael and Denise Okuda, and a wide variety of new and vintage documentaries and galleries.

Babylon 5 - The Movie Collection

Babylon 5 – The Movie Collection

Product Details

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com
The Babylon 5 pilot movie The Gathering was originally broadcast in 1993 a full year ahead of the regular show. A somewhat dull tale of an attempt to assassinate Koch, the Vorlon ambassador to B5, the feature served to introduce Commander Jeffery Sinclair (Michael O’Hare) and Security Chief Michael Garibaldi (Jerry Doyle) as well as familiarize the audience with the unique environment of a five-mile-long space station in the year 2257. Missing many of the main cast, and suffering from a leaden pace and mediocre music score, series creator J Michael Straczynski later improved The Gathering by tightening the cut for a special edition (the version released on DVD), adding some deleted character moments and commissioning a new score from series composer Christopher Franke.

Four new TV movies were part of the deal to syndicate Babylon 5. In the Beginning is a prelude set 10 years before Babylon 5, telling the story of the Earth-Minbari war. Told retrospectively, many of the mysteries revealed gradually in the main series are recounted, making the show a collection of spoilers for newcomers while adding little for established fans. It is effective to see events only previously talked about, and enjoyable to have most of the main cast playing younger versions of themselves. River of Souls is a self-contained adventure featuring a return of the Soul Hunters from Season One, while Thirdspace offers a spectacular Lovecraftian space opera which slots into the saga after the end of the Shadow War. A Call to Arms is the most important of the TV films, laying the ground for the future TV series Crusade. Set five years after the Shadow War, it tells the story of a Drahk revenge attack on Earth. A final showcase for Bruce Boxleitner as Sheridan, the story fits between fifth-season episodes “Objects at Rest” and “Sleeping in Light.” The cliffhanger ending sets the scene for new starship Excalibur to boldly go on a five-year mission to explore strange new worlds and find a cure for the Shadow virus infecting the Earth. –Gary S. Dalkin
Product Description
First time on DVD! Initiate jump sequence for feature-length tales about key events in the B5 chronology.”

Crusade - The Complete Series

Crusade – The Complete Series

Product Details

  • Actors: Alex Mendoza
  • Directors: Tony Dow
  • Format: AC-3, Box set, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, DVD-Video, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 4
  • Rating:
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: December 7, 2004
  • Run Time: 576 minutes

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com
The first and only spin-off of Babylon 5, J. Michael Straczynski’s short-lived sci-fi series Crusade had its roots in the B5 television movie A Call to Arms, in which Earth was battling a Drakh invasion at the end of the Shadow Wars. When Crusade begins, the Drakh have released a deadly virus that threatens to wipe out all 10 billion humans living on Earth unless a cure can be found in five years. To take on this monumental task, Captain Matthew Gideon (Gary Cole) is assigned command of the state-of-the-art Destroyer-class ship Excalibur. His crew includes telepath John Matheson (Daniel Dae Kim); pompous but brilliant archaeologist-linguist Max Eilerson (David Allen Brooks); Dureena, a member of the Thieves’ Guild and the last surviving member of her species (Carrie Dobro); medical officer Sarah Chambers (Marjean Holden); and technomage Galen (Peter Woodward).

While Babylon 5 had five years to develop into a powerful saga, Crusade had its plug pulled after a mere 13 episodes (which were reordered for TNT’s broadcast), and the series never really got its footing. Galen often took center stage, then disappeared for several episodes. Matheson was underutilized (other than to provide fans with clues about what happened in the Psi-Wars after B5 ended), and tough-guy Gideon bounced back and forth between his desire to save the human race and his own moral code. There were some good action scenes and intriguing concepts (developed in conjunction with the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory). Special effects sometimes were impressive and sometimes showed budget constraints, and we never really saw the power and scope of the mile-and-a-half-long ship, other than the cool bullet cars used to traverse its length. But it did have its moments. If B5 was the spiritual companion to Star Trek: Deep Space Nine with its space-station setting and long story arc, Crusade was more like a traditional Star Trek setting, with mostly stand-alone episodes involving first contact with various species (even if, due to the nature of the Excalibur‘s quest, such species were usually extinct). And there were occasional tantalizing hints of a broader conspiracy that might have allowed the series to soar. Regardless, B5 fans will welcome even a brief opportunity to revisit this universe, especially when the Excalibur visits the station in “The Rules of the Game.” John Sheridan’s ex-wife Captain Elizabeth Lochley (Tracy Scoggins) even earned a spot in the opening credits for her appearance in a few episodes. –David Horiuchi
Product Description
Another Thrilling Reach Into Tomorrow From The Creator of Babylon 5! 2267 A.D. The battle is won, the war may be lost. After fending off the fierce attack of Drakh combatants, Earth faces an unseen yet even greater foe. The Drakhs have left behind…

So, Sci-Fi fans. Sit back, get all your snacks ready, and sit down for a looong marathon of viewing pleasure….

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4 responses to “The Ultimate Sci-Fi DVD Boxed Set collection, part I

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