“Last Resort: The Complete Series” (Sony, 2012, three discs, $38.99, 13 episodes, featurettes). This suspense series has a U.S. submarine commander (Andre Braugher) defying orders to launch nuclear missiles at Pakistan and then discovers the American government has been taken over, “Seven Days in May”-style. The pilot is riveting but as it progresses the show becomes more and more outrageous. Though canceled, it managed to wrap up most plotlines in the final episode. Scott Speedman and Robert Patrick co-star.
“North & South" (Acorn, 1975, two discs, $39.99, four episodes). Nearly a decade before he became Capt. Picard on “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” Patrick Stewart starred with Rosalind Shanks in this TV miniseries adaptation of the novel by Elizabeth Gaskell about a young woman who moves with her parents from the rural south of England to the industrial north. Unhappy there, she mingles with and encourages the working class while clashing with a harsh mill owner, though, over many years, they warm to each other.
“Falcon” (Acorn, 2012, two discs, $39.99, four episodes). Marton Csokas stars in two feature-length mysteries (two episodes each) about a police inspector in Seville, Spain, looking into a murder connected to his father’s past and an apparent suicide of a businessman with dark secrets. (Contains sex, nudity, violence, drugs, coarse language.)
“Why We Laugh: Funny Women” (Lionsgate, 2013, $19.98). Documentary about female comics, narrated by Joan Rivers and featuring interviews with Kathy Griffin, Whoopi Goldberg, Lily Tomlin, Kim Wayans, Jeneane Garofalo, Rita Rudner, Kathy Najimy, Sandra Bernhard, etc.
“Death By China” (DBC, 2012, $13.99, audio commentary, director’s statement, short film: “Death By Chinese Junk,” music video, trailer). Documentary narrated by Martin Sheen that vilifies U.S. relations with China. The box has this statement: “all materials used to manufacture DVD and its box are NOT MADE IN CHINA.” (Available at deathbychina.com)
“Legends of the Old West” (Lionsgate, 2013, three discs, $19.98, six episodes). Six History cable channel documentaries on the title figures: “Buffalo Bill & His Wild West,” “Wild Bill Hickock,” “Legendary Cowboys,” “The Law From Behind the Tin Star,” “The James Gang” and “The Texas Rangers.”
Chris Hicks is the author of "Has Hollywood Lost Its Mind? A Parents Guide to Movie Ratings." His website is www.hicksflicks.com
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