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Published at: Dec. 27, 2011, 3:03 a.m. CST

Herc’s Popular Pricing Pantry

The Blu-ray for the stunning first season of "Rome," $60.99 in April and $39.99 last month, has just plummeted to an all-time low of $23.99!! (66% Off!!) The Blu-ray for the magnificent second season of “Rome,” $39.99 last month and $32.99 last week, has also just plummeted to an all-time low of $23.99!! (66% Off!!)

 

The third Blu-ray season of “True Blood,” $55.99 in March and $49.99 last week, has just plummeted to an all-time low of $30.99!! (61% Off!!)

 

The first season of “La Femme Nikita,” $61.49 in May and $55.99 last week, has just plummeted to $11.08!! (84% Off!!)

 

The complete series set for “Lark Rise To Candleford,” $135.99 in July and $129.49 last month, has just plummeted to an all-time low of $73.99!! (59% Off!!)

 

 

The complete series set for “The Ben Stiller Show” (starring Bob “Better Call Saul” Odenkirk), $17.99 last month, has plummeted to $6.94!! (74% Off!!)

 

 

 

The first two seasons of “McCloud,” $30.99 last month, have momentarily fallen to an all-time low of $9.65 (76% Off!!)

 

The second season of the wonderful “Veronica Mars,” from the creator of “Cupid” and “Party Down,” has momentarily hit  $9.25!! (85% Off!!)

 

New This Week


 For those underwhelmed by the “Arrested Development” reunion at Fox’s “Running Wilde” last fall, the good news is there’s a second reunification of “Development” brothers-in-law David Cross and Will Arnett this fall via an IFC sitcom titled
“The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret.”

It’s about a weak-minded temp (Cross) who unexpectedly finds himself dispatched by his half-wit of a new boss (Arnett) to market to the British a vile Korean energy drink called Thunder Muscle. While “Wilde” is masterminded by Arnett and “Arrested” creator Mitch Hurwitz, “Margaret” was co-created by Cross, whose earlier endeavors as a screenwriter include HBO’s “Mr. Show” and Comedy Central’s animated “Freak Show.”

I believe Cross one of the funniest comics alive, but not every stand-up transitions to other media as brilliantly as did Woody Allen and Albert Brooks. “Mr. Show,” a sketch franchise, deserves its following.

“Freak Show” a bit more of a sitcom, was a bit less of a laugh generator. “Margaret” again demonstrates that writing situation comedies – even TV-MA ones – may not be Cross’ strongest suit. Todd Margaret is a mammoth boob, smart enough to recognize a good job when it lands in his lap, but too stupid to realize locking his cat in his apartment for a month with a giant dish of tuna and a bucket of water is not preferable to boarding the pet. (Margaret’s new salary is $120,000 annually so he really should have been able to swing that expense.)

Margaret also knows somehow that Leeds is a municipality in England -- but doesn’t know The Who didn’t play there every Saturday.

The character of Todd Margaret, like a lot of sitcom characters, doesn’t always make a lot of sense. Margaret is assigned a cruel and unpleasant young British assistant who seems to take great joy in exploring just how dim his new boss is.

The series is repetitive and often wearing, determined to make the point over and over that Margaret has not much of an intellect. The set pieces that demonstrate this almost always overstay their welcome. 

But it’s not all bad. The thousands of boxes of the energy drink shipped to Margaret’s London office from Korea are labeled “Bad Sanitation!” I also enjoyed checking in with Margaret’s cat at the end of each episode. American guest stars on the series include Amber Tamblyn and Janeane Garofalo.

Variety says:

Despite the promising talent and amusing title, the poorest decision pertaining to "The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret" was the one to greenlight it. … it's a very one-note joke, adding a second creative disappointment (the other being Fox's "Running Wilde") to this fall's Cross-Will Arnett team-ups … A more fundamental problem lies with Cross, whose mixture of wide-eyed innocent/ugly American/myopic moron has no nuance to engender even a trace of sympathy for his plight. And haven't we seen Arnett play the same blowhard over and over again, to the point of becoming tiresome? …

The New York Times says:

… though it has moments of sublime satire and a typically memorable performance from Mr. Cross’s “Arrested Development” colleague Will Arnett, it still has the feel of a dish that has been sitting on the table well past the point of cooling. … all about its own ad-hoc lunacy, and yet it holds up as a pretty funny take on American corporate arrogance and as a symbol of the shift the workplace comedy has taken in recent years from an emphasis on relationships toward illustrations of dopey mismanagement. …

The Los Angeles Times says:

… not altogether successful … His attempts to speak the local lingo — "Hello, hello, if I could have a wee minute of a brief spot tinkling of your time" — are as strained as his conversations with women, where he is both elaborately courteous and helplessly gross. … This is fun at first, but it becomes tiring to see him continually swatted down. It isn't until the glimmer of a plot finally emerges, after Todd stumbles into a Middle Eastern market with a can of Thunder Muscle, eliciting sudden mysterious interest — that the series inches past mere mockery to the promise of more muscular misadventure. …

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says:

… by far the funnier of the two David Cross-Will Arnett series airing this fall … He's an idiot (after he hears a British waitress say "raison d'etre," he says, "Aww, I love raisins") but the situations are pretty funny and hilariously profane whenever Arnett is on screen. …

The Boston Globe says:

… It’s not must-see, but worth a half-hour, if you like Cross. …

 


A new Showtime drama about the family of the rich, lusty fellow who “ascended” to the Papacy around the time Columbus “discovered” America, “The Borgias” was written and directed by Neil Jordan (“The Crying Game,” “Interview With The Vampire,” “The Brave One”) and stars Jeremy Irons (“Brideshead Revisited,” “Reversal of Fortune,” “Die Hard With A Vengeance”), Joanne Whalley (“Willow,” “Scarlett,” “Jackie Bouvier Kennedy Onassis”), Colm Feore (“24,” “Thor”) and Derek Jacobi (“I, Claudius,” “The King’s Speech”).

It lacks the full-bodied characterizations that made “Rome,” set 1,500 years earlier in the same general locale, such a ripping yarn.

I think Jordan means to shock us with these tales of a ruthless, fornicating Pope, but the papers now so bulge with tales of Christian clergy availing themselves of pre-teen genitalia, the idea of a power-driven, mistress-indulging Vicar of Christ is rendered almost quaint.

I will say Irons is fun to watch, but the series drags during the stretches that too often pull him offscreen.

Time says:

… a lavish but joyless affair. Maybe in this kind of drama, trying to be too good is the cardinal sin. …

The New York Times says:

… Jeremy Irons plays the ruthless head of the Borgia clan with almost campy relish. It may the most villainous fun he has had on screen since he played Claus von Bülow in “Reversal of Fortune” …

The Los Angeles Times says:

… though Jordan has worked to make the Borgias understandable in human terms, it's hard to deeply care for them … it doesn't matter, finally, what becomes of them, we watch less in suspense than in wonder: wonder at the cheek and gall of these characters; wondering how true any of it is; and wondering, most profitably, at the performances, the least of which are good and the best of which are good fun. That, more than the story — which, notwithstanding the curlicues of palace intrigue, is in broad strokes easy to anticipate, so clear are everyone's intentions and options — is what makes "The Borgias" worth your while. …

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says:

… a bit pell-mell and almost cartoon-like … has a somewhat talky, two-hour premiere Sunday night, but it also moves through history at so fast a clip that character motivation is sacrificed. Borgia is crowned pope within the first hour, but the show never bothers to show viewers why, power grab aside, he wants it so badly. Also, he appears to take a mistress within hours of becoming pope when a young woman shows up from seemingly out of nowhere.

HitFix says:

… tiresome … the ongoing identity crisis of "Camelot" is a tiny bit more entertaining than the more consistent tedium of "The Borgias," which tells the tale of the infamous 15th century Spanish family, whose patriarch Rodrigo became one of history's most controversial popes. That show has a more impressive pedigree - created by "The Crying Game" director Neil Jordan, and starring Jeremy Irons as Rodrigo - yet it would be hard to imagine a Hirst-penned version being any different, and Irons seems surprisingly bored by the whole project …

TV Squad says:

… has Jeremy Irons' steely portrayal at its core, and his velvety magnetism allows the viewer to pardon quite a few of this period drama's lesser sins (even if a few serious sins remain). …

The Boston Herald says:

The name alone conjures up images of depravity and debauchery. So why is “The Borgias” so dreary?…

The Boston Globe says:

… Irons doesn’t bring a lot of nuance to the role, but he nonetheless manages to balance his monster with a hint of godliness and a passion for diversity. But still, the story lines in “The Borgias’’ are terribly flat. … has all the surface requirements you’d expect from a prestige production. Now all it needs is a beating heart.

USA Today says:

… captured by a sterling cast led in marvelous high style by Jeremy Irons, and presented with all the brio, flair and sumptuous design TV can muster, the infamous family is almost addictively entertaining. …

The Hollywood Reporter says:

… The fact is, these kinds of grand historical reimaginings can be a scrumptious combination of costume drama acting, soap opera theatrics and pay cable promiscuousness. That’ll make the hours fly by. And it doesn’t mean your pleasure needs to be all that guilty.
 

 


“Shameless,” Showtime’s American version of a long-running British series, follows the scam-happy family of a hard-drinking, welfare-squandering patriarch. John Wells (“ER”) and John Abbott (“State Of Play”) handle scripting for the American version.

It stars Emmy Rossum (“The Phantom of the Opera”), William H. Macy (“Wild Hogs”), Joan Cusack (“What About Joan”), Joel Murray (“Mad Men”) and Marguerite Moreau (“Parenthood”).

The series is certainly better than its promos let on, though Macy really does chew too energetically on scenery. Happily the pilot puts a lot more focus on the sexy Rossum, who is fetching parading around in her undies in the second scene and indulges some Showtime-style nudity before the pilot’s 20-minute mark.

Some of it is a little predictable; a lot of it is too cute. The photography and direction are strong, as is a lot of the acting. It’s more entertaining on the whole than Wells’ “Southland” over on TNT if that’s any measure.

The critics are all over the place:



 The New York Times says:

… surprisingly appealing, crude, funny and also touching …

The Los Angeles Times says:

… strangely unlikable … seems determined to knock viewers on the head by turns with sledgehammers of grittiness and preachiness, never a good combination. …

The Washington Post says:

… one of the best things I've watched on TV in many months. … The last dysfunctional family drama I can recall getting off to such a good start was "Six Feet Under," with which "Shameless" shares a certain vibe. …

The San Francsico Chronicle says:

… Not only is there honor among the members of the nimble-witted Gallagher family on Showtime's "Shameless," but a lot of love, smart writing and simply extraordinary performances … In its own, yes, quirky way, "Shameless" is irresistibly heartwarming. It's also great television. …

TV Squad says:

… the family's scams, adventures and predicaments are interesting enough to keep things perking along, though the episodes occasionally feel a bit long (their running time is generally around 52 or 53 minutes). The danger of a sprawling ensemble show is that there are sometimes too many characters to service adequately. Not all of them pull their weight here, but most are at least mildly interesting. Still, if there isn't a season-long arc to pull us in, establishing empathy for a few central characters is even more important. …

The Boston Herald says:

… a remake of an inexplicably popular British series … Joan Cusack wastes her talents as a tightly wound neighbor who doesn’t realize what her teenage daughter is doing just inches away from her. …

USA Today says:

… For all the show's flaws, you can see the attraction for an actor of Macy's quality, with the kind of showy, outsized role that wins awards. But as fine an actor as he is, Frank just comes across as loud and empty. Much like Shameless.

The Hollywood Reporter says:

… excellent, compelling television from the first moment. As long as it stays true to the roots of the original, it's going to be essential viewing.

Variety says:

… wallows in dreariness without offering enough dramatic compensation in return. … For the most part, there's nothing here to be ashamed of. It's just that at a time when TV drama is so flush with riches, "Shameless" plays like a poor relative. …



TV-on-Disc Calendar

Last Week
The Donna Reed Show 4.x
The Franchise 1.x
Futurama Vol. 6
Futurama Vol. 6 (Blu-ray)
My Life As A Teenage Robot 1.x
My Life As A Teenage Robot 2.x
One Tree Hill 8.x

This Week

 


Archer 1.x (Blu-ray)

 


Archer 2.x

 


Archer 2.x (Blu-ray)

 


The Borgias 1.x

 


The Borgias 1.x (Blu-ray)

 


Happiness Is Peanuts: Friends Forever

 


The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret 1.x

 


Jersey Shore 4.x

 


Pepe Le Pew Collection

 


Shameless 1.x

 


Shameless 1.x (Blu-ray)

Next Week
Alfred Hitchcock Presents 5.x
Care Bears: Helping Hearts
Flipper & Lopaka 1.x
Justified 2.x

 


Justified 2.x (Blu-ray)
Mildred Pierce: The Complete Miniseries
Mildred Pierce: The Complete Miniseries (Blu-ray)
Only When I Laugh: The Ultimate Collection
Royal Pains 3.x Vol. 1
SpongeBob's Frozen Face-Off
That's My Boy: The Complete Series

January 10
Boardwalk Empire 1.x

 


Boardwalk Empire 1.x (Blu-ray)

 


Columbo 1994-2003
Dennis The Menace 4.x

 


Doctor Who: The Android Invasion

 


Doctor Who: Invasion of the Dinosaurs
‘80s Cartoon Bundle: C.O.P.S. + Jayce + Pole Position
Garfield Show: Dinosaur & Animal Adventures
G.I. Joe Series 2: Season 1
Hawaii Five-0 12.x

 


Hawaii Five-0: The Complete Series
An Idiot Abroad
An Idiot Abroad (Blu-ray)

 


Looney Tunes Showcase Vol. 1 (Blu-ray)
Pacific Blue 1.x
Pacific Blue: The Complete Series
Penguins of Madagascar: Operation Blowhole
Primeval Vol. 3
Primeval Vol. 3 (Blu-ray)
thirtysomething 1.x Vol. 2 ($9.98)

January 17
Adam 12 6.x
Alvin & the Chipmunks: Chipmunk Valentine
Babar: Out Of This World
Delocated 1.x/2.x
George Gently 1.x (Blu-ray)
Mad 1.x Vol. 2
Merlin 3.x
Sliders 5.x
Waking The Dead 6.x

January 24
Ancient Aliens 3.x
Buck Rogers in the 25th Century 1.x
Kojak: The Complete Movie Collection
Mannix 6.x
Meet The Browns 4.x
Scooby Doo Mystery Incorporated 2.x Vol. 1

January 31
Agatha Christie's Poirot 1.x
Agatha Christie's Poirot 2.x
Agatha Christie's Poirot 1.x (Blu-ray)
Agatha Christie's Poirot 2.x (Blu-ray)

The Comic Strip Presents: The Complete Collection
Diagnosis Murder Movie Collection
Hey Dude 2.x
Leave It To Beaver: 20 Timeless Classics
Poldark: The Complete Collection

 


Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Next Level (Blu-ray)

February 7

 


CSI: Grave Danger
Curious George Saves The Day
Downton Abbey: The Complete Series

 


Downton Abbey: The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
The Father Dowling Mysteries 1.x
Hell's Kitchen 6.x
Laramie 2.x
Mayday 3.x/4.x (Blu-ray)
New Tricks 6.x
Police Woman 2.x
Rocko's Modern Life 2.x

February 14
The Adventure Of Chuck & Friends: Friends To The Finish
Beavis & Butt-Head Vol. 4
Beavis & Butt-Head Vol. 4 (Blu-ray)

 


Doctor Who: The Caves Of Androzani

 


Doctor Who: The Doctor, The Widow and the Wardrobe

 


Doctor Who: The Doctor, The Widow and the Wardrobe (Blu-ray) <--- NEW!!

 


Doctor Who: The Sensorites
Dog the Bounty Hunter: Taking It to the Streets
Family Matters 2.x
Frederick Forsyth: Six Movies
Jem And The Holograms 2.x
Murder, She Wrote: 4 Movie Collection
Overland Trail: The Complete Series
Robin of Sherwood Vol. 2 (Blu-ray)
Storage Wars Vol. 2
They Came From Outer Space: The Complete Series

February 21
Borgia 1.x

 


Fades 1.x (Blu-ray)
Hazel 2.x
Last of the Summer Wine 1991
Matlock 7.x
Matlock 7-Season Pack
Nurse Jackie 3.x (Blu-ray)
Underdog: The Complete Series
Weeds 7.x
Weeds 7.x (Blu-ray)

 


Young Justice 1.x Vol. 3

February 28
Angry Beavers 3.x Vol. 1
The Brief: The Complete Collection
Here Come The Brides 2.x
Here's Lucy 5.x
French Fields: The Complete Collection
Justice League: Doom

 


Justice League: Doom (Blu-ray)
Law & Order 10.x
Midsomer Murders Vol. 19

 


Mission: Impossible '89
Mission: Impossible ‘88/'89
My Little Pony: Ponyville Chronicle

 


Todd and the Book of Pure Evil
Top Gear 17.x
Top Gear 17.x (Blu-ray)

March 6
Adventure Time: It Came From the Nightosphere
Best of Cheers <--- NEW!!
Best of Frasier <--- NEW!!
Best of Happy Days <--- NEW!!
Best of Hogan’s Heroes <--- NEW!!
Best of the Honeymooners <--- NEW!!
Best of MacGyver <--- NEW!!
Best of The Odd Couple <--- NEW!!

Game of Thrones 1.x

 


Game of Thrones 1.x (Blu-ray)

 


Happily Divorced 1.x
Pound Puppies: Homeward Pound

 


Tennessee Tuxedo: The Complete Collection
Tom & Jerry: In the Dog House
Transformers Prime

 


Transformers Prime 1.x (Blu-ray)

March 13
Come Fly With Me 1.x <--- NEW!!
Come Fly With Me 1.x (Blu-ray) <--- NEW!!
Doctor Who: Face of Evil

 


Doctor Who: Robots of Death

 


Doctor Who: Three Doctors

 


Doctor Who: Tomb of the Cybermen

 


Hercules 3.x

 


The Looney Tunes Show 1.x Vol. 3
Picker Sisters 1.x
Superjail 2.x
That '70s Show 1.x (Blu-ray)

 


The Tribe 1.x Vol. 1

 


Xena 3.x

March 20

 


The Adventures Of Tintin 2.x

 


Batman: The Brave and the Bold 2.x Vol. 2
Hey Arnold 2.x Vol. 1
Kojak 3.x
The Scarecrow and Mrs. King 3.x

March 27
CatDog 1.x Vol. 2

 


Eureka 4.5

 


Mystery Science Theater 3000 XXIII

April 3
Eagleheart 1.x
Mayday 3.x/4.x
Regular Show 1.x/2.x

April 10

 


Logan's Run: The Complete Series <--- NEW!!

April 17
Ben 10 Vol. 5 <--- NEW!!
Ice Road Truckers 5.x

May 1
The Invisible Man: The Complete Series
The Invisible Man: The Complete Series (Blu-ray)

 


The Virginian 6.x <--- NEW!!

 


Wagon Train 5.x <--- NEW!!

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Readers Talkback

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  • Dec. 27, 2011, 4:17 a.m. CST

    Logan's Run: the TV series on DVD? Finally.

    by Daniel_S_Duvall

    I suspect that the Logan's Run series has not aged well, but I'll check it out anyhow. Never heard of The Fades until I saw it listed above, but it sounds decent (though a bit expensive for a 6-episode first season).

  • Dec. 27, 2011, 12:57 p.m. CST

    Shit, I meant 22.99

    by Mattman

    Dur.

  • Dec. 27, 2011, 4:45 p.m. CST

    Logan's Run - holy crap!!!

    by Chakalak

    I have been waiting literally decades for this to come out on video - I can't believe it's finally here!!! Plus The Man from Atlantis is also out - just need The Mind of Mr. Soames and Cliffhanger, and my happiness will be complete.

  • Dec. 28, 2011, 8:16 a.m. CST

    Holy crap, 'Logan's Run'?

    by Zombiana_Jones

    ...Plus 'Man from Atlantis', 'Brisco County, Jr', AND 'Tales of the Gold Monkey', all within the last year or two? Hell, all that's left for me is 'Bring 'em Back Alive'...And possibly 'Automan'... Friggin' hell, it's taken long enough....

  • Dec. 28, 2011, 8:59 a.m. CST

    LINK DUMP

    by DrGogol

    This is a commentless link dump. What a waste of time.

  • Dec. 28, 2011, 9:46 a.m. CST

    Does anyone know if there are any differences in the Rome sets?

    by Detective_Fingerling

    Any extra material found in Rome : The complete series Blu versus content found on the individual season Blus?

  • And you felt the best use of your time was to make that comment?

  • My first reaction was to wonder if this is what became of all the recent attempts at a new movie - a "complete series" of a show so horrible that it never made it to air. Now I see it is not something new, just newly available.

  • Dec. 28, 2011, 4:20 p.m. CST

    is that Logan's Run pic big enough?

    by rben

    fun factoid: harlan ellison, david gerrold and other no doubt familiar writers wrote eps of LR, and i did not realize it had so few eps before it was given the heave ho. need to buy it and The Starlost just to see if i can withstand 70s cheesiness. speaking of which, when is Fantastic Journey with Roddy McDowell coming out. That was one weird ass show. i have the six mill and bionic woman and they are still cheesy goodness! I'm really looking forward to season 5 of Hitchcock Presents. hey Universal, feel free to release all 10 seasons before i'm ready for the grave!

  • Dec. 28, 2011, 6:01 p.m. CST

    Assassins Creed 2, and brotherhood Told the tale of the Borgias

    by Phategod2

    excellently. Who'd have thought games outdoing Primetime Premiere Cable.

  • Dec. 30, 2011, 11:17 a.m. CST

    Anyone know if "Tribes" is any good

    by In Action Man Reborn Requiem

    The premise sounds interesting.