CHICAGO – Mention the name Harry Lennix, and images of his many character roles are bound to emerge – Harold Cooper in the TV series “The Blacklist,” General Swanwick from “Batman v Superman” and Commissioner Blades from Spike Lee’s recent “Chi-Raq.” The deeply knowledgeable Lennix brings his years of dramatic expertise, as he directs the Congo Square Theatre Company’s world premiere stage play “A Small Oak Tree Runs Red.’
What to Watch: Sept. 3-9, 2013
CHICAGO – The biggest column yet on What to Watch on DVD, Blu-ray, Netflix, Amazon, On Demand, and more is another seemingly random hodge-podge of offerings that you can use to guide your way through the new releases shelf at Best Buy, the On Demand section on Vudu, the store on iTunes, and maybe even Netflix and Hulu. Pick your favorites. This is the way we’d rank these new releases if you have a free night this weekend or money to burn next week.
Parks and Recreation
Photo credit: Universal
“Parks and Recreation: Season Five”
The funniest show on network television. Seriously, it’s not even close. I love “Enlightened,” “Girls,” “Louie,” and even the FX bad boys of shows like “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” and “Legit” but there’s nothing left on network TV to compare to this brilliant program now that “30 Rock” is gone. There are good comedies, shows that make me laugh every week, but nothing as smart as what Amy Poehler and her incredible ensemble do week in and week out. With Rashida Jones and Rob Lowe exiting the program, most people think season six will be the last. There’s still time to catch up before the end.
From my top ten TV shows of 2012 (where the program ranked #9): “The writers have reached that confident point where they have refined their characters so well that they don’t have to hit punchlines directly, allowing the humor to come from people we feel like we know. And I always say that a sitcom is only as good as its weakest supporting player. It’s the ultimate ensemble art form. And there’s not a weak player on this team.”
o Extended Episodes
o Deleted Scenes
o Gag Reel Uncensored
o Parks and Recreation Promos
o Patton Oswalt’s Sci-fi Filibuster (*-this is worth buying for this alone)
Where to Watch: DVD, Vudu, iTunes, Amazon Instant, Hulu
Photo credit: Warner Bros.
“Regular Show: Fright Pack”
“Adventure Time” gets a lot of the press — and, don’t get me wrong, I LOVE “Adventure Time,” the best animated show on TV right now — but it’s led to “Regular Show” feeling kind of underrated. Not for long. Now that the first season is on Netflix Streaming, I know a lot of people, especially parents, who are stumbling across this show in their recommendations and loving it. “Regular Show” is smart, original, and incredibly fun. This is yet another sampler pack, a DVD release of various episodes from throughout the show’s run to give you a taste of what the program is like. You’re gonna love it.
o Villains Gallery
Where to Watch: DVD, Amazon Instant
Photo credit: Magnolia
“Evocateur: The Morton Downey Jr. Movie”
From a cartoon to a cartoonish character, the larger-than-life Morton Downey Jr., is examined in this always-interesting bio-doc new to Blu-ray and DVD. We get glimpses of Downey’s childhood and how he longed to please his father his entire life but the film focuses almost entirely on Downey’s incredibly quick ascent and descent on the rollercoaster of fame. The loud, aggressive, chain-smoking talk show host redefined th form before Jerry Springer or Sean Hannity or Glenn Beck and the film nicely details how he did so with numerous interviews with those who were there for the ride.
o Memorable Moments
o Behind The Animation
o An Evening With Kellie Everts
o Commentary With Directors Seth Kramer, Daniel A. Miller and Jeremy Newberger
Where to Watch: Blu-ray, DVD, Vudu, Amazon Instant
Photo credit: Shout Factory
“MST3K: The Movie”
Not only is it a bit odd that there was ever a theatrical release for a movie that makes fun of another movie within it but now it’s on Blu-ray? This mean, technically, that “This Island Earth” is on Blu-ray. And “Stories We Tell” is not. It’s a weird world. In all seriousness, “MST3K: The Movie” retained what worked about the show, providing enough laughs to more than warrant a look, especially on Netflix streaming. If you fall in love with it there, pick it up on the newly-released Blu-ray. Then maybe they’ll get back together and make another one.
o The Making of Mystery Science Theater 3000 The Movie
o Mystery Science Theater 3000 The Movie: The Motion Picture Odyssey
o This Island Earth: 2.5 Years In The Making
o Original Theatrical Trailer
Where to Watch: Blu-ray, DVD, Amazon Instant, Netflix