Herc’s Popular Pricing Pantry
From Aaron Sorkin, writer of “A Few Good Men,” “The American President,” “Sports Night,” “Charlie Wilson’s War,” “Moneyball” and “The Social Network”!! The 22-hour first season of the genius dramedy “The West Wing,” $52.49 in 2010 and $38.03 last year, just plummeted to its lowest price ever: $10.98!! 82% Off!!
New This Week
Showtime’s “Weeds,” created by the same individual who created Netflix’s “Orange Is The New Black,” is one of my favorite half-hour comedies of all time. Like “Breaking Bad,” it’s about a law-abiding suburbanite who turns to the drug trade when not a lot of other options present themselves.
Weeds: The Complete Collection on Blu-ray collects all eight seasons on HD for just $69.99. That’s $8.75 per Blu-ray season and that’s some deal. (Season eight on Blu alone sells separately for $19.93.)
At $134.98,the new “Seinfeld” complete-series set works out to nine seasons at $15 per season. My understanding is this new set comes with the 104 hours of extras from the older, more expensive ($396.23) edition issued back in 2007, but perhaps not the big coffee table book.
The sixth, magnificent, penultimate season of “Mad Men” is the one that introduced the Bob Benson and Dr. & Mrs. Rosen, and brought Peggy Olsen back to something eventually called Sterling Cooper and Partners. Megan Draper got famous and propositioned by a co-star, Betty Francis got skinny again, Robert Kennedy caught a bullet, Don cheated on Baked Beans to make a play for the Coca-Cola of condiments, Joan and her married friend went on a stranger-kissing tour, Sally Draper let a middle-aged African-American into the Draper residence (and was later forbidden to speak before she got loaded), Glenn got cooler, Trudy kicked Pete to the Curb, a sun-kissed Mrs. Campbell tasted the ocean spray, “Things I Like About Mitchell” was drafted, Ted Chaough kissed Peggy, Peggy contended with rats and saved Joan’s career, Roger Sterling fired a guy he already fired, took a low blow and rescued Don from drowning, Harry demanded a partnership, Stan Rizzo boned Wendy Gleason, Dr. Hecht shot everybody up with “energy serum,” Ken Cosgrove danced, many characters saw “Planet of the Apes” and “Rosemary’s Baby,” and a serviceman named Dinkins explained that death does not make you whole.
A very loose CBS adaptation of Stephen King’s 2009 novel about a small Maine municipality suddenly and mysteriously enclosed by a transparent but inescapable force field, “Under The Dome” comes to us from director Niels Arden Oplev (who helmed the original “Girl With The Dragon Tattoo”) and writer Brian K. Vaughan (“Lost”).
The flashy first episode is better than any of the network pilots I've seen intended for the regular 2013-2014 season. It boasts a brisk pace, interesting characters and situations, suspense, visually arresting mayhem and more than a few compelling mysteries.
Unfortunately, the series gets much, much stupider as it needlessly deviates from the novel. So much stupider that I cannot recommend a first-season purchase. (Better perhaps to just buy an episode at a time until you realize that this is not the King adaptation for you.)
The series stars Dean Norris (DEA man Hank Schrader to “Breaking Bad” fans) as evil local car dealer Big Jim Rennie, Mike Vogel (“Cloverfield”) as army vet Dale Barbara, Rachelle Lefevre (Victoria Sutherland in the “Twilight” movies) as investigative reporter Julia Shumway, Britt Robertson (“Life UnExpected,” “The Secret Circle”) as abuse victim Angie McAlister, Alex Koch (“Underemployed”) as Big Jim Rennie’s piece-of-shit son Junior, Aisha Hinds (she played Ballard’s FBI pal Loomis on “Dollhouse” and Miss Jeanette on seven episodes of “True Blood”) as out-of-towner Carolyn Hill, Natalie Martinez (“Detroit 1-8-7,” “End of Watch”) as ambitious deputy Linda Everett, Jolene Purdy (“Donnie Darko,” “Glee”) as electronics wiz Dodee, Nicholas Strong (“Nashville”) as radio deejay Phil Bushey, Mackenzie Lintz (“The Hunger Games”) as Norrie Calvert and Jeff Fahey (“Lost”) as Sheriff Perkins.
Working in collaboration with King, Vaughan has made loads of changes from the book – so many that those of us who read it will still find lots of surprises. People inside The Dome cannot hear those outside it, and vice-versa. News-hen Julia Shumway is younger, married and more of an outsider. Phil Bushey is a popular alt-rock radio deejay rather than a meth-addled basket case. Waitress Dodee is now a genius radio engineer. Visiting grad student Carolyn Sturges appears to have morphed into visiting L.A. attorney Carolyn Hill. Even before The Dome appears, Barbie is up to some unsavory (if intriguing) shenanigans we never saw in the book.
Most who watch the first episode should find a lot of reasons to tune into episode two. I know I did. But it’s a long, dopey roll down the hill from there. Let’s hope the second season goes better.
Critics generally enjoyed the pilot:
... quite promising. … the opening episode is creepy, and it explores the premise and the talent on-hand in interesting ways.
... gets off to an addictive start on Monday, so much so that it’s hard to imagine any second-episode falloff in viewership. Bite on Part 1 and you’re going to be there for Part 2, or at least the start of it. …
... it's the next Big Summer Event, so you don't want to miss it. …
... the most promising show launching on broadcast television this summer. …
... There is promise in the one episode of Dome sent to critics and the series could work well …
... silly but somewhat intriguing … does have an air of King’s more sinister tendencies, but not enough of them in the first hour to suggest the sort of horror that’s worth sticking around for. …
... offers an effective set-up … It remains to be seen whether either will merit watching for a full season but the pilot does exactly what it should: It intrigues and makes the case for viewers to come back next week for more.
... While the initial arrival of the dome is intriguing, the characters are not. …
... gets off to a roaring good start … Bad ending and all, I'd watch It again tomorrow. And Dome again next week.
... worth lifting the lid. The premise captures the imagination, and the characters are well cast …
It’s only one episode out of 13 and a whole lot of things can go sideways, but CBS’s summer series from Stephen King, Under the Dome, set the hook pretty deep. Count me in. … And it sure helps that the first hour is intriguing as hell and filled with a lot of storytelling promise. If viewers catch the pilot, they’ll be back for the next episode. …
... King’s latest “Twilight Zone”-like premise clearly has the potential to get under one’s skin. …
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