Hands down, this weeks best DVD release has to be Life On Mars (UK): The Complete Collection. If you are only familiar with the US remake, which was unwatchable, you have my condolences, and trust me when I say the UK original was wonderful. If you are a fan of the original, but have been holding off on buying it because each 8-episode season ran around $45, now might be the time to make your move. While the SRP is $79 for the full set, I have found it at a few online sites available for pre-order for around $54, just over half of the original separate season costs. This is one of those Time Travel/Cop Show/Psychotic Break programs any thinking person can’t help but watch over and over (again, unlike the American TV remake), particularly because of the interaction between actors Philip Glenister and John Simm. Did I mention I recommend it?
For the rest of the TV choices, three Sci-Fi selections from classic Doctor Who and two documentaries round out the collection. The first Who release would be the William Hartnell episodes The Space Museum / The Chase. It is worth noting the Space Museum includes the actor who would later become Boba Fett as leader of the Xerons. Next of the Doctor Who releases is The Time Monster, starring Jon Pertwee and Katy Manning. The bit that makes this episode memorable is its redundancy inside a recursion; the Doctor hides his Tardis inside the Master’s Tardis, while the Master’s Tardis is inside the Doctor’s. This is a true Tesseract moment in the history of Dimensional Displacement. The final Who disk is The Horns of Nimon, a Tom Baker/Lalla Ward series episode. The Nimon were the first TV series examples I know of for the Sci-Fi trope of the intelligent interstellar locust species used to such good effect in Independence Day.
The documentaries are comprised of Douglas Adams final book, Last Chance to See, and the NASA/UA behind the scenes look at the Phoenix Mars Mission: Onto The Ice. The Adams film is hosted by Steven Fry, but even with that powerful combination of funny men this one is dead serious about all the species on the edge of extinction.
On the movie front nothing really spectacular leaps out, but a few potential hidden gems are lurking about the edges. Bitten looks like an interesting Vampire horror comedy (the Zombies have gotten too much of that field recently). I am thinking that looks at least worth a Netflix viewing, so I can decide if it needs to be part of the permanent collection. Eyeborgs has been making the Film Fest circuit for a while, and again looks real interesting. With all the reviews I have read about this one, there will not be a wait before I purchase.
For foreign live action this week Battle League Horumo stands out as a humorous (perhaps even downright silly) action adventure. The Battle League games consist of 10 players, each of which controls 100 Oni or small demons, fighting to be the last player standing. Kyoto is the playing field.
Anime gives some good options this time around. D.Gray-man comes out this week with a season 1 box set, as does Ghost Slayers Ayashi. Another full season collection is Gurren Lagann, which is a very warped little program using retro-70s animation styles (even though it was made around 2005 to 2007) to tell a twisted little story about the nature of existence and humanity’s place in it. And season 1 of the Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya is also being released; no word yet on when the ONA, the movie, or the second season of the show might be available. All of these programs were previously released as individual volumes, but this marks their first time available as box sets.