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Blu-ray Review: Smart, Fascinating World of BBC’s ‘Orphan Black’

Orphan Black

CHICAGO – Sorry “Sharknado” fans, BBC America has been the go-to place for science fiction fans for years and they have delivered time and time again. The world of “Doctor Who” gets the most attention but genre fans have also devoured shows like “Torchwood,” “Primeval,” and “Being Human.” The latest bullet in this genre arsenal is the truly impressive and increasingly popular “Orphan Black,” recently released on Blu-ray and DVD.

DVD Review: Special Edition of BBC’s Original ‘The Office’

The Office BBC

CHICAGO – I can still vividly remember when it was announced that NBC was to air a remake of the incredible British series “The Office.” Those of us familiar with the original thought it was a VERY bad idea. A guy from “The Daily Show” filling the shoes of Ricky Gervais? Now it’s safe to say, the current season excepted, that the remake has eclipsed the original. It leads me to wonder if there isn’t a whole generation now that doesn’t even know the NBC version is a remake. School them with “The Office: Special Edition,” now available for discerning Black Friday shoppers everywhere.

Blu-Ray Review: Mesmerizing ‘Planet Earth: Six-Disc Special Edition’

Planet Earth

CHICAGO – “Planet Earth” is one of the most highly-acclaimed Blu-rays of all time and a cherished gift every holiday season. What does a company do when so many people already own one of their most beloved products? It’s time for a re-release! Luckily for fans of “Planet Earth,” there’s enough new material here (and a stellar new video transfer) to justify the double dip. Sell your old version of “Planet Earth” and ask Santa for this one.

Blu-Ray Review: Disappointing ‘Outcasts’ Not Worth Your Time

Outcasts

CHICAGO – With so much great science fiction on the tube now from masterpieces like “Being Human” and “Torchwood” to enjoyable diversions like “Warehouse 13,” it’s one of the best times to be a fan of the genre. And so when a piece with a brilliant premise, talented ensemble, and high production values like “Outcasts” comes along, it’s tempting to assume that it will deliver on its potential like so many of its colleagues. “Outcasts” is nothing but a string of rising disappointments.

Blu-Ray Review: Rufus Sewell Stars in Stylish, Smart ‘Zen’

Zen

CHICAGO – Stylish, sexy, and smart, “Zen” is a treat for international mystery lovers, seen recently on PBS stateside and now available on DVD and a stunningly-transferred two-disc Blu-ray. Starring Rufus Sewell and Caterina Murino, the release includes three feature-length mysteries — “Vendetta,” “Cabal,” and “Ratking” — all based on Michael Dibdin novels. While the BBC canceled the show (despite strong ratings) due to a reported glut of male crimefighters in the country’s TV (if only more American producers felt that way), “Zen” stands out from the crowd.

Blu-Ray Review: ‘Torchwood: The Complete Original UK Series,’ ‘Doctor Who: Series Six, Part 1’

Doctor Who 2011

CHICAGO – Are you loving the Starz import of the great “Torchwood” into the pretty-good “Torchwood: Miracle Day” and wondering where the heck Jack Harkness (John Barrowman) came from? Do you already know about one of the best sci-fi series of the last decade? Either way, the gorgeous HD box set for “Torchwood: The Complete Original UK Series” is spectacular and you might as well keep your BBC fix going with the strong “Doctor Who: Series Six, Part 1,” both released this week on Blu-ray.

DVD Review: Loving Tribute in ‘The Royal Wedding: William & Catherine’

The Royal Wedding

CHICAGO – According to reports, billions of people watched the wedding of the new century last month when HRH Prince William and Catherine Middleton were united on April 29, 2011. If you didn’t get enough coverage and don’t have the actual event saved in your DVR for the rest of time, BBC and Warner Bros. have put together a solid tribute to the event called “The Royal Wedding: William & Catherine.”

Blu-Ray Review: Excellent Supernatural Hit ‘Being Human’ From BBC

Being Human

CHICAGO – It’s not often that a program in the U.K. is being produced and airing on BBC America at the same time as an American remake version of the same concept. But it’s not often that you have a hook as strong as the one on “Being Human” — the remake airs on SyFy and the third season of the original was recently released on Blu-ray and DVD by BBC America and Warner Bros.

Blu-Ray Review: Look at Our World From a Different Angle With ‘Human Planet’

Human Planet

CHICAGO – The team behind the riveting and best-selling “Planet Earth” and “Life” have produced another multi-part documentary series that will show off your HDTV in ways you probably haven’t seen since the in-store demonstration. “Human Planet” is a mostly-riveting examination of the way we interact with the world around us, featuring unique stories and personalities unlike any documentary you’ve ever seen.

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