Fulvue Drive-In.com
Current Reviews
In Stores Soon
In Stores Now
DVD Reviews, SACD Reviews Essays Interviews Contact Us Meet the Staff
An Explanation of Our Rating System Search  
Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > Crime > Science Fiction > Comedy > Mystery > Detective > Police > Corruption > Medical > Spy > Cars > F > Almost Human: The Complete Series (2013 - 2014/Warner Archive DVD)/Elementary: The Second Season (2013 - 2014/CBS DVDs)/Golden Boy: The Complete Series (2013/Warner Archive DVD)/Now & Again: The DVD E

Almost Human: The Complete Series (2013 - 2014/Warner Archive DVD)/Elementary: The Second Season (2013 - 2014/CBS DVDs)/Golden Boy: The Complete Series (2013/Warner Archive DVD)/Now & Again: The DVD Edition (1999 - 2000/CBS)/Top Gear: The Complete Season 21 (2013/BBC DVD Set)/Wizards & Warriors: The Complete Series (1983/Warner Archive DVD)

Picture: C/C+/C/C+/C+/C+ Sound: C+ (Wizards: C) Extras: C/C/D/C-/D/D Episodes: C/C/C+/C/B/C

PLEASE NOTE: The Almost Human, Golden Boy and Wizards & Warriors DVD sets are only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive series and all can be ordered from the link below.

Here's a set of high concept TV shows, mostly fiction, with a few hits and misses that will render the non-hits curios...

Almost Human: The Complete Series (2013 - 2014) is a show produced by J.J. Abrams that wants to be part of a little-discussed cycle of the unusual partner cycle of TV shows, many of which are action shows. These shows are often comedies like Mr. Ed (no one knows the horse talks), the infamous My Mother The Car (no one knows the leads mother has been reincarnated into the body of the very old car; one of the worst TV shows ever made) or Randal & Hopkirk Deceased, a British hit where a policeman's partner is killed in the pilot episode, but stays around as a ghosty to help him get criminals. It is one of the weirdest hits ITC and Lord Lew Grade ever had.

Set in 2048, Karl Urban is a tough cop (of sorts) who is stuck with a robot partner because regulations says that is now standard. Made to look human, Dorian (Michael Ealy) talks at every one like the rest of his manufactured line, but can he become human in any way? That he is a non-white body makes that a loaded question and the futuristic crimes they have to solve are not that impressive, playing like a poor variant of Spielberg's overrated Minority Report (now itself planned as a TV series (!?!) leading to this show becoming a failure. With the 13 shows here and their scripts, things were doomed from the start. Lily Taylor nearly saves the show as their Captain, but the makers forgot the part in the ITC/Lord Lew Grade playbook where you make this character more than just a desk-bound character. Look for another such show below.

Extras include a 2013 Comic Con Q & A featurette, Unaired Scenes and a Gag Reel.

Elementary: The Second Season (2013 - 2014) is the hit CBS show that revises the Sherlock Holmes mythos by making Watson a woman (Lucy Liu) and Jonny Lee Miller as Holmes. Of course, it is no match for the new BBC Sherlock show with Benedict Cumberbach, but I'm not a fan of that one and not of the Robert Downey Jr./Jude Law feature films as all of them tend to throw the original books away and wing it. This show falls between the two, but is very quickly forgettable, though mildly amusing at the time you watch.

The dumbed-down argument is what do you do with the material after Holmes remains one of the most filmed characters of all time. In these cases, find a niche and get moderate to big hits, but that does not make it good and the 22 hour-long shows here are the flattest of the three, though the show is inadvertently admitting their position by filming the opening of the season in the U.K., as none of these post-modern adaptations can escape the shadow of the real thing. Miller and Liu have mixed chemistry and I actually like them, but this is not their best work. Still, it is enough of a hit to keep going, showing just how evergreen Holmes is.

Extras include Deleted Scenes on select shows, six making of/behind the scenes featurettes,

audio commentary on the Paint It Black episode and a Gag Reel.

Better still is Golden Boy: The Complete Series (2013), with a well-cast Theo James as a young man who gets promoted to a police job he is too young to take on under special circumstances form the creator of the big hit Arrow series. The scripts go between now and seven years ago when he got the promotion and it has some good moments here, so why did the show only last 13 episodes before they pulled the plug? For one thing, the repetitiveness of the overly sped-up footage to mark time changes is way overdone, but then the show holds back more than it should.

It is able to deal with ideas of corruption, but cannot seem to go all the way with them like the recent (and also sadly cancelled before it should have been) Low Winter Sun did. It is also never as gritty as the ultimate look at to people getting such power way before they should have and the madness that follows, Michael Cimino's underrated, influential Year Of The Dragon (1985) with Mickey Rourke. The supporting cast is not bad either and the makers were on track to making this work, but they fell short and a potential classic missed the boat.

There are sadly no extras, but it would have been nice to hear what everyone was working towards.

Now & Again: The DVD Edition (1999 - 2000) is the other show like Almost Human were a partner shows up with a sudden change in what we would expect. This time, in a show produced by Moonlighting veteran Glenn Gordon Caron, John Goodman is a working guy who sells insurance and gets killed in a freak subway accident. For whatever reason, the government decides to save and rebuild him into a superman with more than bionic powers at great expense and (like Six Million Dollar Man and Bionic Woman, but nowhere near as good as those classics), is expected to be a super secret agent for the U.S. Government. Dennis Haysbert is the doctor who rebuilds him, now played by Eric Close, who is smaller, younger than Goodman and ripped for the part.

The problem off the bat is that the show wants to do the set-up as a light comedy with some feel-good aspects and made prior to the terrorist events of 9/11/2001, the way they go after terrorism would have never been treated as lightly and as problematically as it is here if it were made after that date. Margaret Colin, Gerrit Graham and Heather Matarazzo are a plus in the cast, but the scripts are uneven and never as smart about genre or people as those from Moonlighting, so the show did not last and for several good reasons. The late Charles Durning narrates and all 22 episodes are here, including the last one that suggests a second season was intended, but never happened. Making the super character too much the other and being silly about this is the ultimate error overall, but like the dumb, darker Bionic Woman remake, it should have never happened in the first place unless they were going to go all out instead of coasting on a half-baked idea.

A brief vintage promo clip from the time of the show's debut is the only extra.

If all else fails, we have Top Gear: The Complete Season 21 (2013), the original (and actually second era) U.K. version of the BBC hit. Jeremy Clarkson got into some trouble for a not-so-nice comment he made, but I still like him and he is still as fired up about cars as his co-stars James May and Richard Hammond. Cars tested this time out include various hot hatchbacks, the nice Alfa Romeo 4C, Gibbs Quadski, McLaren P1, Zenvo ST1, Ford Fiesta, VW UP!, Dacia Sandreo, Caterham 620R, Caterham 160, special Alfa Romeo Touring Disco Volante, Mercedes Benz G63 AMG 6X6, BMW M135i, Volkswagen Golf GTI MK7 and Porsche 918. Celebrity guests this time are Hugh Bonneville, Tom Hiddleston, James Blunt, Jack Whitehall and Aaron Paul.

We also get the usual jokes, gags, news segments and sarcasm, plus some in-jokes I bet some U.S. audiences missed. It is another solid season, though I wished we had seen a few more great cars, but there is more than enough to enjoy in easily the best car series made anywhere.

There are sadly no extras, though the text tries to count the Burma shows as such, we will not.

Finally we have Wizards & Warriors: The Complete Series (1983), a satire of fantasy stories at a time long before the false warmth of the Lord Of The Rings films where the genre was either done seriously (Boorman's Excalibur) or wildly spoofed by Monty Python or Mel Brooks. Jeff Conway (Grease, Taxi) is the heroic lead in what was meant as a comedy of sorts and promoted heavily as a must-see show, but the result tried to have it both ways as if it were a shamed to be an outright action show. Noted for being an early Julia Duffy show before the 1980s hit Newhart, promotion and the scripts confused the public so much that the show was ended after only 8 episodes.

Now, it would likely have been more of a hit and the villains were played by Clive Revill and Duncan Regehr (later of Star Trek: Deep Space 9), so the casting was not much of a problem, while the look was not bad for a show of its budget at that time, yet I would not call it schizophrenic. It was just not as well thought out, though geeks will love how the image turns to a comic book art panel to mark commercial breaks. It deserves this DVD release, but it is not great and has not aged well either.

There are no extras, but a few would have been nice.

The newer shows ought to look best, but the anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on Human and Boy are HD productions that are much softer than they should appear, while the same presentation on Elementary and Gear are more like it. Even the 1.33 X 1 presentations on Again and Wizards look better and tie the latter two for best image reproduction. As for sound, the shows are evenly matched save the lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono on Wizards, which is a bit weaker than expected. The lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 on Almost, Elementary and Boy (with serviceable but weak surrounds) and lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (with some Pro Logic surrounds) on the Again and Gear DVDs sound as good as they can for this format.

To order the Almost Human, Golden Boy and Wizards & Warriors DVD sets, go to this link for them and many more great web-exclusive releases at:


- Nicholas Sheffo


 Copyright © MMIII through MMX fulvuedrive-in.com