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Category:    Home > Reviews > Mystery > Drama > Detective > Murder > Crime > British TV > Anime > Animation > Action > Adventure > Japan > Com > Alibi (2003)/The Commander: The Complete Collection (2003 - 2008/both Acorn DVD releases)/Kissdum R: Engage Planet (2007/Sentai Blu-ray Set)/Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In: The Complete Second Season (1969

Alibi (2003)/The Commander: The Complete Collection (2003 - 2008/both Acorn DVD releases)/Kissdum R: Engage Planet (2007/Sentai Blu-ray Set)/Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In: The Complete Second Season (1969 - 1970/Time Life DVD Set)

Picture: B-/B/C+/C Sound: B-/B/C+/B- Extras: D/C+/C/C Episodes: C+/B/C+/B+

Here's our latest set of TV reviews...

If you like British crime/thriller series or are a fan of the genre in general, then you'll want to check out this series, Alibi (2003), which is packed full of great performances and interesting filmmaking. The three hour TV program(me) centers around Greg (Michael Kitchen) to whom is discovered with the dead body of his wife Marcey's (Sophia Okonedo) lover. As Greg attempts to cover up the murder, Sophie has own plan of attack for dealing with Greg.

The show also stars Phyllis Logan, Simon Hyde, Paul Thronley, and Stefan Weclawek to name a few. The series is directed by David Richards and written by Paul Abbott.

Presented in anamorphically enhanced, standard definition with a 1.78:1 widescreen aspect ratio and a standard, lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 audio mix, the show looks and sounds better on DVD than it likely did upon its original broadcast. While it's a shame that it's not on Blu-ray, Acorn does a nice job of presenting the piece to the best of its ability, but this is well done and worth checking out.

No extras.

The UK crime series The Commander emerges with a collectible new seven-DVD disc set from Acorn TV that presents the whole show in one binge friendly edition The Commander: The Complete Collection (2003 - 2008). Starring Amanda Burton as Commander Clare Blake, the procedural cop drama centers around a London elite murder squad and Blake, who isn't afraid to do whatever it takes to get the job done.

Seventeen episodes are spanned over the discs and features a semi-realistic portrayal to the material. The show is created by Lynda La Plante (Prime Suspect).

The Commander also stars Matthew Marsh, Nicholas Jones, Pip Torrens, Christopher Robbie, Anthony Valentine, and Tristan Gemmill, to name a few.

Series 1 (2003) - Entrapment Parts One and Two

Series 2 (2005) - Virus (Parts One and Two) and Blackdog (Parts One and Two)

Series 3 (2006) - Blacklight (Parts One and Two)

Series 4 (2007) - The Devil You Know (Parts One and Two), The Fraudster (Parts One and Two), and Windows of the Soul (Parts One and Two)

Series 5 (2008) - Abduction (3 Parts)

The series is presented on anamorphically enhanced, standard definition DVD commercial and watermark free with a 1.78:1 widescreen aspect ratio and a lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 mix, a presentation that is nicer (or on par) with the original television broadcast and previous DVD releases.

Special Features include...

Interview with star Amanda Burton

Character retrospective with creator Lynda La Plante

Supporting Cast Featurette.

In the near future of Kissdum R: Engage Planet (2007), alien lifeforms has suddenly appeared all over the world and is destroying all mankind, the Hadeans. Only the N.I.D.F. (Neo International Defense Force) stands in the way from the complete extinction of the human race. However, on the frontlines is maverick fighter pilot Shu Aiba who is involved with the lead scientist Yuno who believes mankind's salvation can be saved with an artifact the 'Book of the Dead', but when Shu is mortally wounded, Yuno uses the Book of the Dead to save his life, but now Shu is the 'Emissary'/Necrodiver and last hope for mankind.

Mankind discovers aliens have visited earth before and ancient relics foretold that mankind will have to fight the Hadeans, powerful creatures/monsters for the right to exist. Their only hope lies in a Book of the Dead, granting power equal to the Hadeans. The Book of the Dead grants power to the 'Emissary' as the representative to mankind and to test to see if mankind is worthy. Yuno however sacrifices herself and uses the Book of the Dead to save Shu, and Shu becomes the Emissary. Only thing is, Shu could care less about the human race and becomes obsessed with revenge and finding a way to bring Yuno back from the dead. Shu then meets and save Noa, another scientist and just so happens to be Yuno's younger sister who then also then falls for Shu too. But the dark truth is the Hadeans is made from human life and it tempts mankind with their inner desires and immortality. One by one, Shu's teammates becomes Hadeans and become either his enemy or rival. And what they thought the Hadeans' were 'aliens' are just mutated humans.

The entire series played off like a gigantic Greek tragedy, stories of love, lost and revenge. In each episode people die tragically and then our hero goes into 'God mode' to save the day and defeat the big bad monsters afterward. In the end, the whole thing is about the our own inner demons and the dark side of human nature and the only thing that saves and redeems us as humans ...is love.

The 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer can show the age of the materials used and the animation style, along with a style that is limited holds this back visually. The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) Japanese 2.0 Stereo lossless mix on all the episodes (including OVAs) is good, but not great either, so expect only so much sonically.

Extras include clean opening and closing animations, Japanese commercials, promos and trailers, plus I liked the show, so give it a look with those factors known.

Before The Late Show, before Comedy Central, before America's Funniest Home Video, there was Laugh-In. Join Dan Rowan and Dick Martin as they host stand-up comedy from downtown Burbank as they bring guest stars and aspiring new talent to TV entertainment with quick wit, gags, one-liner jokes, tongue twisters and skits they make fun of the political and cultural events in America of the late 1960s through the new Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In: The Complete Second Season (1969 - 1970) DVD Set.

Laugh-In was a popular comedy show in the late '60s that made fun of people, events from the time period from the civil rights movement to hippie culture to the antiwar movement of Vietnam. It features a huge cast of people who became stars and guests who already were. Martin and Dick would host and introduce famous actors and make jokes with them. Many of the jokes were one liners, tongue twisters and had sexual innuendos. While Dan played as the charming intelligent host, Dick would play the dim witted plucky side kick. Many of the girls on the show were portrayed as beautiful hippies and were charming, but they had no brain among them. Along with other guests they would make fun of minorities, other races and nationalities. Common and repeat gags/skits includes 'Sock it to me' the random soaking of actors, 'The Party' people telling one-liner jokes while dancing and 'Laugh-In Looks at the News' making fun of the past, present and future.

The series gives an insight into what was considered a comedy show in the late '60s and early 70s, a lot of it nowadays people would argue they didn't care/consider about political correctness or gender equality (but hey, it was the '60s). Laugh-In featured not only famous celebrities but also new talents, anyone who got on the show was more likely to move on to bigger and better things, including their own show in the future.

You can read more about the debut season of the show here...


The 1.33 X 1 image has the same analog videotape flaws like some video noise, video banding, telecine flicker, tape scratching, cross color, faded color and tape damage that the previous set had a little bit, but not much and looks fine, but I was really impressed with the lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono remastering. The playback quality makes this even more watchable. Extras include tons of guest stars and interviews with the cast.

- Ricky Chiang & James Lockhart (Acorn DVDs)



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