THE COUCH POTATO REPORT – April 28th, 2007
This week The Couch Potato Report shines the spotlight on some spectacular releases, and one you may want to avoid.
There is a lot for me to talk about this week, so let’s jump right in, starting with the Academy Award winning fim THE QUEEN.
THE QUEEN is a spectacular movie about what might have taken place behind-the-scenes between Queen Elizabeth and British Prime Minister Tony Blair in the week following the death of Princess Diana.
A week that features an outpouring of emotion that no one could have predicted, and an equally unpredictable response from The Royal Family.
Helen Mirren won the Academy Award for her work as Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth The Second, and it was well deserved.
From the moment just before the movie’s opening credits when she looks directly toward the camera, and right at us, she is The Queen.
It is an exceptional performance!!
We may never know what actually happened behind-the-scenes between after the death of Princess Diana, and the DVD of THE QUEEN even features a commentary from British historian & royal expert Robert Lacey acknowledging that.
But what we do get is an exceptionally well done movie that seems plausible, and above all else respects the people in real life that it is based on.
THE QUEEN is a spectacular film.
I will also use the word spectacular to describe the BBC documentary series PLANET EARTH.
There has been a lot of stories in the news this week about our planet, and if you’d like to get a unique look at what we could lose if we don’t take care of it, then this is the box set for you!!
PLANET EARTH is a five-DVD, eleven part series that doesn’t just cover the wildlife on our planet, it also gives us a one-of-a-kind look at mountains, caves, deserts, shallow seas, and much, much more!!
If you’ve ever wanted to see birds fighting caribou, a polar bear against a walrus, or watch North America turn from Summer to autumn using a camera from space, then do not miss PLANET EARTH.
It is simply spectacular!!
Up next this week is the three-DVD set for CHILLY BEACH, the CBC show about the Canadian island town where the tourists are few and the beer is plentiful
If you have never seen the show Saturday mornings on CBC Television, well the two main residents of Chilly Beach are Dale and Frank, two hockey-playing, beer-drinking best friends.
Yes, this show is distinctly Canadian!
CHILLY BEACH might be an animated show that is intended for kids, but as an adult, I enjoyed watching the show this week on DVD as well.
It has a great sense of humour.
Okay, right now I’d like to tell you about the DVD release of the classic television series WKRP IN CINCINNATI.
Finally this show is available on DVD…well, actually, the show that we watched when it aired from 1978 to 1982, the show we loved about the radio station and the eclectic group of people who worked there, the show that remains a television classic, will never appear on DVD.
What is actually available now is an edited version with most of the great music, and even some of the classic scenes and plots taken out, because they have references to songs and their lyrics, and those songs and references aren’t free.
The producers of WKRP would have had to pay upwards of $100,000 for each and every song they featured in the show, and since the show takes place at a radio station, there is lots and lots of music.
So instead of working hard to get permission from the artists and paying them, like many other old shows have done in order to secure a DVD release of their shows as they originally aired, the studio decided to just substitute most of the music.
So if you are a fan of the series as it first aired, you will be very, very disappointed by this three-disc DVD set.
Now, if you are a completest, you would obviously want the episodes as you remember them…as they originally aired….as we’ve enjoyed them on TV for the past 29 years…but they are not available….and due to the cost of licensing the music, they may never be available.
However, the laughs are still there, the characters are still there, and while the episodes are not the same in this edited version as they once were, this box set is the next best thing.
And for now, that will have to be good enough.
Finally this week is THE JOHNNY CARSON SHOW!
This TV show originally aired in 1955 and 1956 and they are an important part in Johnny’s journey to stardom.
After a series of local radio and TV jobs in Nebraska, where he was raised, Carson started in Los Angeles in 1950. His sketch comedy show, “Carson’s Cellar,” ran from 1951-53 and drew attention from Hollywood.
A staff writing job for “The Red Skelton Show” followed.
The program provided Carson with a lucky break. When Skelton was injured backstage, Carson took the comedian’s place in front of the cameras.
People then tried to find the right vehicle for the up-and-coming comic, trying him out as host of the summer quiz show “Earn Your Vacation” in 1954 and then “The Johnny Carson Show.”
The 2-DVD set for THE JOHNNY CARSON SHOW is very entertaining, but if it more than that. It is also fascinationg.
It allows us to watch a very thin 29-year-old Carson, begin to form some of the mannerisms and style he used to eventually make “The Tonight Show” his own, en route to becomming the undisputed king of late night television.
The very entertaining JOHNNY CARSON SHOW, the edited but still one of the the five best TV shows ever WKRP IN CINCINNATTI, the enjoyable CBC show CHILLY BEACH, the spectacular DVD Box Set for the BBC documantary series PLANET EARTH, and the also spectacular THE QUEEN are all now available on DVD.
Coming up in the next Couch Potato Report
THE ARROW is the true story of how Canada almost built one of the world’s most advanced fighter planes, back in the 1950s; teh TV series ROBSON ARMS debuts on DVD; LITTLE CHILDREN is a very, very interesting movie starring Kate Winslet and Jennifer Connelly; and then there is FLETCH! I’ll also talk about THE JANE DOE EDITION of Chevy Chase’s classic film FLETCH next week.
Also coming up next week, since the action filled, very loud, check-your-brain-at-the-door summer movie season will be upon us in theatres, I will offer you an alternative.
Each week during the summer movie season we will have a FOREIGN FILM FESTIVAL and I will tell you about at least one current release on DVD that you need your brain to enjoy.
I’m Dan Reynish. I’ll have more on those, and some other releases, in seven days.
For now, that’s this week’s COUCH POTATO REPORT.
Enjoy the movies and I’ll see you back here next time on The Couch!
In case you need something to watch (or avoid) this weekend.
THE COUCH POTATO REPORT – April 28th, 2007