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DVD-Reviews: Yuri’s Night 2015

Fifty-three years ago, mankind had reached space for the first time when Yuri Gagarin had made his flight and since about a decade, this event has been celebrated as Yuri’s Night all over the world. This post is the same as last year and I have already written another article on my other blog about the event, but for this occasion I’d also like to bring a little something together from my archives, because there are now quite a few English-language reviews. There is nothing specifically about Yuri Gagarin, but the movies and television series are covering the early years of spaceflight very well.

Documentaries and Dramatisations:
The Right Stuff » – The Mercury program, as told by Tom Wolfe (1959-1963)
From the Earth to the Moon » – Gemini & Apollo – the way to the Moon (1963-1972)
For All Mankind » – The Apollo Program in original footage & sound (1969-1972)
The Dish » – The moon landing from an Australia perspective (1969)
Apollo 13 » – Dramatisation of the near-catastrophy (1970)

Although I have never written about it before, I can also recommend the BBC four-part miniseries Space Race, an excellent docudrama about the beginnings of spaceflight from the perspectives of the rocket designers Sergei Korolev and Wernher von Braun. The series is available on DVD, but can also be found on Youtube.

More Fiction than Science:
Space Cowboys » – Clint Eastwood, the Space Shuttle and a broken Soviet satellite. A fond spaceflight comedy from the shuttle era.

And in closing another tip: First Orbit was made for the 50th anniversary of Yuri Gagrin’s flight in 2011 with footage from the ISS, recreating his flight in space with amazing visuals and original sounds. The 99-minute movie can still be viewed on Youtube for free, but it is now also available on DVD and Blu-Ray.

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DVD-Reviews: Shaun the Sheep

Each year around this time, I usually try to post some Easter-themed reviews, but since this year I unfortunately don’t have anything new to post, so something from the archives has to do. Because the sheep have stormed the cinemas this spring, how about a bit of Shaun the Sheep? I’ve already reviewed the first two series a long time ago and I would aleady have done so with the current episodes if the BBC had released a proper boxset in the UK! But I guess that will come when Shaun the Sheep – The Movie is going to be released – which, incidentially, will be on June 1st in the UK and on August 6th in Germany. Until then, here’s some classic Shaun – Happy Easter everyone!

Continue to Shaun the Sheep Series 1 »
Continue to Shaun the Sheep Series 2 »

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DVD-Review: Futurama Season One

Good news, everyone! Last year, I completely forgot about the 15th anniversary of Matt Groening’s other animated series Futurama, but this year I’m going to make up for it by translating all the existing reviews and, of course, write about the final series, which I had not even gotten around to yet. But today’s review goes back to where it all started – Futurama Season One is still one of the most impressive debuts of an animated television series and although it shares the same drawing style as The Simpsons, it has always been its completely independent entity. The series only arrived three years after its US television debut on DVD, first in Europe while North America had to wait another year. This article is both an introduction to Futurama and a review of the DVD boxset that was released in Europe in Spring 2002, which still holds up reasonably well even until today.

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Note: The next reviews are going to follow when they’re ready, that means not necessarily in weekly installments. But they’re coming, I’m just taking things slow – stay tuned!

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DVD-Reviews: Terry Pratchett’s Discworld

My plans for getting at least one new review up before the end of the year were completely foiled – but at least I managed throw something festive together: the Discworld Collection, five reviews I translated last year for the 30th Anniversary of Terry Pratchett’s brillant satirical fantasy world. There are Cosgrove Hall’s two animated series from the 1990s and the three television miniseries made for Sky One between 2005 and 2010 – all of them very much worth watching. The articles are mostly about the series themselves, the technical reviews of the discs are, as usual, not the main focus. Here they are, in order the books  they are based on were originally released:

The Colour of Magic (SkyOne 2008) »
Wyrd Sisters (Cosgrove Hall 1997) »
Soul Music (Cosgrove Hall 1997) »
Hogfather (SkyOne 2005) »
Going Postal (SkyOne 2010) »

Plus some bonus Youtube links:
★ Trailers for The Colour of Magic and Going Postal (sorry, no proper one forHogfather to be found)
Wyrd Sisters & Soul Music (because the DVDs are very hard to find nowadays)

This posting also concludes the year 2014 for DVDLog, so I wish everyone happy holidays! More season’s greetings are over in the traditional end-of-year blog post. This website will go into the usual Winter hiatus now until roughly the end of January, when I’ll be back with some new stuff. Happy Hogswatch! :-)

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DVD-Review: The Prisoner

Another week later and I have to admit again that I had neither energy nor time to write something new, but at least I managed to pull something out of the archives again. Continuing the classic television theme, we’re going over to England, where one of the most intriguing and fascinating series ever was created: Patrick McGoohan’s The Prisoner. I have written numerous times about it and today’s article is yet another improvement of the existing review with a couple of added sections. Sadly, the original boxset including a thick book about the series does not seem to be available anymore, but the DVDs or Blu-Rays still are. It’s an amazing and unique series that deserves to be watched and belongs into every collection!

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DVD-Review: Get Smart

It does not look like I will be getting much writing done in the rest of the year except maybe one or two new reviews, so I thought I’d pull some old favourites out of the archives and make some improvements. For this Monday, I had another look at Get Smart, the one and only spy parody series from the late 1960s. I originally wrote this in 2010, but it’s still a great way to get acquainted with Maxwell Smart, Agent 99 and the Chief because I put tons of background information about the making of the series, which is still one of the great classics of American television.

Right now, you can get the whole series, all 138 episodes on 25 discs with tons of bonus material for only £42 from (the boxset I reviewed in this article) and for $44 from (the US boxset is now finally affordable, too and apart from some differences in the image quality, basically identical with the UK version.)!

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DVD-Review: Monty Python Live (Mostly)

Nothing much positive might have happened in 2014, but there was at least one event that this year will certainly be remembered by – the reunion of the British comedy group Monty Python, who had not been together for over thirty years despite never officially splitting up. Everyone was skeptical if the could really do a great big stage show one more time as a last hurrah, but it worked marvellously and Monty Python Live (Mostly) – One Down, Five to Go became a rousing success and a wonderful farewell show full of their old favourites performed in a fresh and original way. Luckily, the last of the only ten stage shows at the O2 Arena in London was preserved as a film and now has been released on DVD and Blu-Ray all over the world. As a long-time Monty Python fan, I had no way around this disc and while it has some image quality issues, it’s still highly recommended for the show itself!

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DVD-Review: Mr Peabody & Sherman

Although I have to admit that I had only made a fleeting acquaintance with the Rocky & Bullwinkle Show and their time-travelling duo of Sherman and Mister Peabody, because they had never made it to German television, I was eagerly looking forward to Rob Minkoff’s big-screen adaption. The concept seemed a lot of fun and with Dreamworks behind it, Mr. Peabody & Sherman was bound to be a success – which it turned out to be. It’s the best time-travel adventure in a long time and one of the most wonderful movies of the studio, modernizing the original cartoon carefully without ignoring its beginning. The German home video release was a world premiere, although the DVD edition leaves a lot to be desired in the extras department despite the flawless technical representation. Today’s review, as usual, concentrates more on the movie than on the DVD itself, so I’m going to have an in-depth look at what makes Mr. Peabody & Sherman tick. The German disc has been out since September, the UK release is today and North America will follow next Tuesday on the 14th.

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DVD-Reviews: The Hound of the Baskervilles

Before I write anything else, I have some unfinished business with a certain master detective – this is the final part of my Quest for Sherlock Holmes and round two of Holmes vs. Holmes! Which Sherlock is the best? There were two great television adaptations of The Hound of the Baskervilles in the 1980s, one with Ian Richardson and the other with Jeremy Brett. In today’s double-header of reviews, which are based on earlier German-language articles, I have looked at both movies in detail and found some surprising differences. Both have their advantages and disadvantages and I tried to be neutral in the reviews, but my favourite version is, of course, the one with Jeremy Brett. Maybe there’s a bit of that coming through in the articles, which are less about the DVDs than about the movies themselves.

Continue to The Hounds of the Baskervilles (Ian Richardson) »
Continue to The Hounds of the Baskervilles (Jeremy Brett) »

Note that this will probably be the last of my Sherlock Holmes reviews – there are three other movies from the Granada series, but I have already written about them a little in the review of the third boxset and since they are the least successful parts of the series, I will skip them for now.

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DVD-Review: Cosmos – A Spacetime Odyssey

It was just one year ago when the first glimpse of the new incarnation of Carl Sagan’s Cosmos, now called Cosmos – A Spacetime Odyssey was revealed to the public – now, the series has not only been completed, but also broadcast and released on home video. Initially, I was not even sure if I could afford the DVD set, but then the price finally dropped and I was not able to resist importing the Region 1 release. The series is every bit as amazing as its predecessor and Neil deGrasse Tyson was a brilliant choice for the new host walking in the footsteps of the late Carl Sagan. Even the involvement of Fox has not hurt the series and the studio has also put together a solid home video release containing not only the complete episodes, but also some very worthwhile extras. Today’s article is first and foremost a long, in-depth review of the series itself, but I also have the usual look at the excellent DVD release itself.

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