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Published at: Jan. 31, 2013, 2 a.m. CST

 

Herc’s Popular Pricing Pantry


The Blu-ray Ultimate Matrix collection, $90.95 in 2008 and $45.99 last year, sells this week only at its lowest price ever: $24.99 (62% Off!!)


The fourth Blu-ray volume of “Masters of Horror” featuring Takashi Miike’s too-disturbing-for-Showtime “Imprint,” $21.49 in 2010 and $19.99 last year, has fallen to its lowest price ever: $4.99 (75% Off!!)


The second Blu-ray volume of “Masters of Horror” featuring Lucky McKee’s wonderful and hilarious “Sick Girl,” $21.98 in 2008 and $17.99 last month, is now $5.17 (75% Off!!)


The complete-series set for the 1970s “Battlestar Galactica,” $89.98 in 2009 and $67.49 last January, is for the moment $26.93!!

 

 

New This Week


Look at this! “Downton Abbey’s” third season is still airing on PBS, but here’s the Blu-ray already. Shirley MacLaine was pretty wonderful as Martha Levinson, the American trying to talk sense to these wacky Englishers. Will she be back later in the season? Pick this up to learn!

I also hear this set contains a lot of episode footage not shown on PBS. That makes me nuts. PBS can’t run a show till 10:05 p.m.? I love Laura Linney, but do we really need those introductions instead of actual drama?

There’s much to love about the PG-13 “The Dark Knight Returns Part 2,” which serves as a smashing antidote to the flaccid nonsense I associate with “The Dark Knight Rises.”

“Lost’s” Michael Emerson wonderfully brings the Joker into this future universe and brings a perfect end to his story. I love how ugly and creepily sentient his flying kiddie robots seem to be. And I love that he tortures Catwoman by dressing her up like Wonder Woman.

Two old Justice Leaguers turn up – Clark Kent and Oliver Queen – to great effect. Here Clark is like Dr. Manhattan, crushing a third-world nation under orders of a cadaverous Ronald Reagan. I love the way Clark and Bruce deal with their new status as frenemies.

I love that Bruce Wayne seems to have somehow gotten hold of one of Hourman’s Miraclo pills.

I love that Bruce pauses in the middle of a harrowing situation to give Fat Selina Kyle one last kiss.

I love that Clark gives Carrie Kelly a parting wink, much as he did at the end of the Superman/Aquaman hours of yore.

Extras:

“Superman Vs. Batman: When Heroes Collide” (9:24) makes some nice points about what the two comic-book icons are really up to during their final, epic confrontation -- and correctly points out that while The Joker kills a lot of people in this story, Superman kills more.

“The Joker: Laughing In The Face Of Death” (14:05) tells us The Joker is a descendant of sorts of Prometheus and the trickster god Loki – and in “The Dark Knight Returns” he’s an omnisexual rock star of a character.

“Exploring The Adaptation Process” (43:30) features the director of “Dark Knight Returns” as he discusses translating the source material. He says he tried to give the adaptation the feeling that it was made in the 1980s even if it wasn’t set in the 1980s.

“The Last Laugh” (22:20) An episode of “Batman: The Animated Series.”

“The Man Who Killed Batman” (22:19) An episode of “Batman: The Animated Series.”

“Battle of the Superheroes” (22:57) An episode of “Batman: The Brave and the Bold.”

 

This was the better of last season's two new network series set in 1963, but it’s no “Mad Men.”

The period visuals are occasionally striking but, as with NBC’s 1963-set “Playboy Club,” the cast of characters in ABC’s 1963-set “Pan Am” feel flat, derivative and uninspired.

There’s a subplot about the U.S. government using stewardesses as spies. It feels hacky, as if Matt Weiner decided Don Draper’s hidden life would be something akin to a part-time James Bond or something.

Nancy Hult Ganis, a Pam Am stew in the late 1960s and early 1970s and one of the show’s producers, insists this sort of CIA recruitment really went on, but this series needs to put more emphasis on the flight crew’s inner lives than low-boil espionage if it wants me to stick around.

Writer-producer Jack Orman, who did a stellar job overseeing early seasons of “ER,” is “Pan Am” showrunner. The fabulous Kelli Garner (“Lars and the Real Girl”) and Christina Ricci (“Black Snake Moan”) play hot stews.

I like seeing again the Pan Am logos, brilliantly and memorably exploited in everything from Kubrick’s “2001” to Spielberg’s “Catch Me If You Can.” (Sinatra’s “Fly Me To The Moon” is utilized for both “Catch Me” and “Pan Am,” but in “2001” Pan Am actually got interplanetary commuter Heywood Floyd part way to Clavius.) Unlike Playboy, the Pan Am brand isn’t really with us anymore; the airline shut down in 1991 and its distinctive Midtown Manhattan skyscraper (opened in 1963) has been adorned since 1992 with the MetLife logo.

I’m willing to give “Pan Am” a few episodes to stabilize itself. It’s already flying higher than “Brothers & Sisters.”

HitFix says:

... As with "Playboy Club," "Pan Am" has an impressive central set in the large recreation of the cabin of a Pan Am Clipper jet of the era, and smooth, engaging direction from "West Wing"/"Sports Night" veteran Tommy Schlamme. … The script, by "ER" veteran Jack Orman, is less memorable ...

AOL says:

... struck me as well-made but somewhat insubstantial. It's certainly miles better than the laughable 'Playboy Club,' but BBC America's 'The Hour' may well have served any need I had for a retro drama with espionage overtones. ...

The New York Times says:

... not fully formed characters so much as stick figures borrowed from a Rona Jaffe novel. ... the espionage feels like padding … usually period shows pick through the past to meditate on the present, whether it’s examining generational rites of passage or critiquing the Vietnam War at a safe remove. “Pan Am” doesn’t say much of anything about the current state of the nation except that our best days are behind us.

The Los Angeles Times says:

... I am almost ashamed to say how well it all worked it on me, but when Maggie told Kate, as they took off for London, "Buckle up, adventure calls," I was ready to consider a new career.

The San Francisco Chronicle says:

... the show's writers need to replace character types for the women with credible, nuanced and engaging characters per se. We need to care more about their personal lives and who they are as individuals. Beneath all the visual dazzle of the premiere episode, a bit of the groundwork is there, but Schlamme and Orman need to build on it very soon. ...

The Washington Post says:

... a handsome study in perfect mediocrity. ...

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says:

... Every television series launches on a wing and a prayer, perhaps none more than this entertaining, glossy drama. …

The Boston Herald says:

... If you really want to turn viewers on, re-create the consumer experience. The 1963-set drama “Pan Am” captures that magical time when flying was a grand adventure and not something you dreaded more than a colonoscopy. ...

The Boston Globe says:

… The romance and the attractively stylized innocence of the era is addictive, but the espionage plot, with its link to political history, is absurd. And the female empowerment message grows feeble. …

USA Today says:

... a series where surface is substance, and surfaces don't come much dreamier than in this beautifully realized flight fantasy, from its lovely, terror-free airport to its even lovelier cast. ...

TV Guide says:

... If Mad Men (its stylistic predecessor) burrows under the surface of the swinging '60s, Pan Am is all surface, a sleek globe-trotting romance of the Jet Age...

Variety says:

... The image of stewardesses walking in synchronized step makes for an arresting promo, but this bird is a hollow shell whose pilot, anyway, never gets off the ground. … with its engines whirling so frantically, about all "Pan Am" can do initially is spin around in circles.

The Hollywood Reporter says:

… has neither the exactitude of the times nor the talent of the writers to get at the issues, ala Mad Men, that illuminate the issues of the day. ... The attempt, as it were, to add some gravitas to the fetishism of hip nostalgia (as opposed to going under the surface) comes in the form of one flight attendant asked to be a spy for the United States government. To which the natural response should be, “Hmm, didn’t think you’d choose that option.” And then maybe some really loud laughing. ...

TV-on-Disc Calendar

Last Week
Iron Man Armored Adventures 2.x Vol. 3
Kendra 4.x
The Men Who Built America: The Complete Miniseries
The Men Who Built America: The Complete Miniseries (Blu-ray)
The Scarecrow and Mrs. King 4.x
Spy 1.x
Young Justice 2.x Vol. 1

This Week


Downton Abbey 3.x


Downton Abbey 3.x (Blu-ray)


Femme Fatales 1.x


Misfits 2.x


Pan Am: The Complete Series


Partners in Crime: Tommy & Tuppence Mysteries


Poirot & Marple: Fan Favorites


Wodehouse Playhouse: Complete Collection

February 5
Above Suspicion Vol. 2
Animaniacs Vol. 4
Avenging Spider-Man
Ben 10: Omniverse - A New Beginning Vol. 1


Cougar Town 3.x
Gunsmoke 7.x Vol. 2
Gunsmoke: 7-Season Pack
H2O: Just Add Water 3.x
Remodeled 1.x
R.L. Stine's The Haunting Hour Vol. 3
R.L. Stine's The Haunting Hour Vol. 4
Southland 2.x/3.x/4.x
Testimony of Two Men: The Complete Miniseries
The Virginian 7.x
Wagon Train 6.x

February 12
Big Bad Beetleborgs 1.x Vol. 2
Bonanza 5.x


Doctor Who: Reign of Terror
Family Matters 3.x
Gossip Girl 6.x
Gossip Girl: The Complete Series
The Hardy Boys 3.x
Loretta Young: 100th Birthday Edition - Best Of
Matlock 8.x
Nurse Jackie 4.x
Nurse Jackie 4.x (Blu-ray)
SlugTerra: Return Of The Shane Gang
Storage Wars Vol. 4
Top Gear: 50 Years of Bond Cars
Weeds 8.x


Weeds 8.x (Blu-ray)

February 19
Adventure Time Vol. 4
Alvin & The Chipmunks: Easter Collection


Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes Vol. 6
The Awesome Adventures of Johnny Test - 10 Episodes
Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome


Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome (Blu-ray)
Beverly Hills Teens - Volume 1
Carol Burnett Show: This Time Together
Duck Dodgers 1.x
Game of Thrones 2.x


Game of Thrones 2.x (Blu-ray)
Jayce & The Wheeled Warriors - Volume 2
The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams 2.x
Naked City: 20 Episodes


The Six Million Dollar Man 3.x
Street Sharks: The Complete Series
Superhuman Samurai Syber Squad - Volume 1
Swamp People 3.x
Top Gear 2.x


Wacky World of Tex Avery - Volume 1

February 26
Carol Burnett Show: This Time Together


The Client List 1.x
First Performances: Streisand
Iron Road: The Complete Miniseries
Law & Order 12.x
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers 2.x Vol. 1
Phineas & Ferb: Animal Agents
Rocko's Modern Life: The Complete Series
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Rise of the Turtles
West Point

March 5
Care Bears: Totally Sweet Adventures
Dalziel & Pascoe 7.x
Duck Dynasty 2.x Vol. 1
House of Payne Vol. 10
Lego Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu 2.x
Lego Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu 2.x (Blu-ray)
Peter Gunn 1.x
Power Rangers: Clash of the Red Rangers Movie
Regular Show Party Pack
Rescue Bots: Energize
Tom & Jerry: Pint Sized Pals
Wagon Train 6.x

March 12
Return of the Beverly Hillbillies NEW!!
Doctor Who: Ark In Space
Doctor Who: The Aztecs
Father Dowling Mysteries 3.x
Father Dowling Mysteries: The Complete Series
Hercules 4.x
Law & Order: Criminal Intent 10.x
Life & Legend of Wyatt Earp 2.x
The Mob Doctor: The Complete Series


Petticoat Junction: Return to Hooterville NEW!!
Pioneers of Television 3.x
Ripper Street
Ripper Street (Blu-ray)
Roseanne 7.x ($13.48)
Roseanne 8.x ($13.48)
Smurfs: Best Of 1.x/2.x
SpongeBob 8.x
That '70s Show 7.x ($13.48)
That '70s Show 8.x ($13.48)
Tom & Jerry: Musical Mayhem
Xena 4.x

March 19
Ghost Hunters 8.x Vol. 1
Jersey Shore 6.x
Jersey Shore: The Complete Series
Quincy, M.E. 5.x
Sesame Street: Best of Friends

March 26
The Borgias 2.x
The Borgias 2.x (Blu-ray)
Carol Burnett Show: This Time Together - Collector's Edition


Continuum 1.x NEW!!


Continuum 1.x (Blu-ray) NEW!!


Johnny Sokko and His Flying Robot: The Complete Series
Lee Marvin Presents Lawbreaker
Mad TV 2.x


Mystery Science Theater 3000 XXVI


Star Trek Enterprise 1.x (Blu-ray)
Veep 1.x


Veep 1.x (Blu-ray)

April 2
The Aquabats! Super Show! 1.x
Route 66 4.x
Tombstone Territory 1.x

April 9
Adam 12: 13 Episodes


Boss 2.x NEW!!
Boss 2.x (Blu-ray) NEW!!


The Dick Van Dyke Show 1.x (Blu-ray)
Family Ties 6.x NEW!!
Howdy Kids! A Saturday Afternoon Western Roundup
Inside Men 1.x
Leave It To Beaver: 20 Episodes
Route 66: 10 Episodes

April 16
Ben 10 - Destroy All Aliens
Last of the Summer Wine: Vintage 1998

April 23
Iron Man: Armored Adventures 2.x Vol. 4


Maverick 2.x
Merlin 5.x NEW!!
Merlin 5.x (Blu-ray) NEW!!
The Restless Gun: The Complete Series


Sylvester & Hippety Hopper
Touched By An Angel 7.x NEW!!

April 30
Combat 1.x
Friends 1.x (Blu-ray)


Friends 2.x (Blu-ray)
My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic: April
Tom & Jerry Kids Show 1.x

May 7


Fringe 5.x NEW!!


Fringe 5.x (Blu-ray) NEW!!
Fringe: The Complete Series (Blu-ray) NEW!!
Private Practice 6.x

May 14
Taz-Mania: Taz on the Loose

May 21
Perception 1.x

August 27


Homeland 2.x NEW!!
Homeland 2.x (Blu-ray) NEW!!

September 24


American Horror Story 2.x NEW!!


American Horror Story 2.x (Blu-ray) NEW!!

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