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 > Drama > Action > Epic > War > Fantasy > Cable TV > Politics > Terrorism > Police State > Feminism > Acting > Com > Game Of Thrones: The Complete Eighth Season 4K (2019/HBO 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray set)/Handmaid's Tale: Season Three (2019/MGM/Fox Blu-ray set)/The Kominsky Method: The Complete First Season (201

Game Of Thrones: The Complete Eighth Season 4K (2019/HBO 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray set)/Handmaid's Tale: Season Three (2019/MGM/Fox Blu-ray set)/The Kominsky Method: The Complete First Season (2018/Warner DVD)

4K Ultra HD Picture: B+ Picture: B/B/C+ Sound: B+/B/C+ Extras: B/C/C- Episodes: C+/B/C

Here comes the latest seasons of two big hits show, one of which is ending, plus a new show hoping to be a hit...

First off is Game Of Thrones: The Complete Eighth Season 4K (2019) in its concluding season with whomever survived (or will survive) wrapping up what HBO is claiming to be the most successful TV series of all time, being in 130 countries and all. If it is not true, it is close to being among all the international hits since TV arrived in the 1950s. Fair enough. We could now call it the most successful fantasy live-action TV series of all time.

Other writers who love the show much more than this writer have done an excellent job of getting into the characters, detail and ideas that made it a phenomenon, so I will not even begin to attempt to compete with them and at this point, if you do not know what is going on, you'll absolutely have to start at the very beginning of the series, so its nice the debut season was upgraded to 4K. I liked it better than way, despite the upscaling limits, so it comes down to that ending that almost everyone hates.

Since the show is so successful and has a huge number of fans, what kind of ending should it have? It could have been funny (Seinfeld, the British TV spy classic The Avengers), mysterious (The Sopranos), clever (St. Elsewhere), of wish fulfillment (Good Times), subtly taking a stand and breaking ground in the last scene (That Girl), tying things up nicely (Big Bang Theory), creating a loop that takes you back to the first episode (Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea) or a final episode that ends as if it is just any other episode of the series at a time when shows finished their stories in a single show and were aware of a syndicated-only future.

After all the amazing, shocking and bold twists and turns Thrones offered, the second half of the last episode is truly flat, lame, a dud and the biggest anti-climax of any TV series since The X-Files abandoned its big conspiracy arch as soon as Fox pumped out its first theatrical film in the midst of the series still being produced for TV. Without giving it away, we get a bunch of talk, no action, no twists, no closure and it plays like it was done to save money as if the show's budget were suddenly cut. It will remind some of the poorer scenes in the 1963 Cleopatra with Elizabeth Taylor when they ran out of money despite setting a record budget they never totally recouped.

This show had no such money, but the windup (is this the end of the franchise?) looks like a rough draft and even I was stunned at how comatose it was. That a show that was smart enough to have Dame Diana Rigg on it would then let the show be such a bore in the last reel or two is awful and now I understand the fans in their anger and disappointment. Rumor has it that an alternate ending was planned, but it is not here and it is not confirmed, but anything would have been better than saving the dullest for last. Someone needs to tell the makers that they needed to stick with dragons, not draggin' fans down.

Extras include another special medallion in our Limited Edition DigiPak Steelbook release, while the discs add Game of Thrones: The Last Watch: A documentary featured on DVD in two parts by filmmaker Jeanie Finlay chronicling the making of the final season, When Winter Falls: Exclusive 30-minute featurette with showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, along with major stars and behind-the-scenes players, breaking down all that went into the colossal filming of the 'Battle of Winterfell' in Season 8, Episode 3, Duty is the Death of Love: A compelling look at how the team behind Game of Thrones and its major stars, including Kit Harington, Peter Dinklage and Emilia Clarke, brought the show to its conclusion in the series finale, 'The Iron Throne.', Audio Commentaries: 10 Audio Commentaries with cast and crew, including the show's creators, Benioff and Weiss, on the final season, Deleted and Extended Scenes: 5 never-before-seen deleted or extended scenes from Season 8 (but no alternate endings) and Histories and Lore: New animated pieces giving the history and background of notable Season 8 locations and storylines.

The Handmaid's Tale: Season Three (2019) continues a show that is at least the equal of Thrones as the nightmare continues of the hell, genocide, oppression and lawlessness of Gilead and its reign of terror gets more desperate and troubled. This time, a few plausible cracks start to occur, but I cannot get into them without spoilers, but have to say the writers have handled this very well and the show continues to be as timely as ever.

On a personal note, I still have problems with the placement of hit records, but it was not as bad this season, while the acting and plotting continue to move smoothly and convincingly. Very well thought out, Aunt Lydia continues to be annoying and worse, though we get some background on her and the storyline continues to be brutally honest about how rotten some people can be. If you have not seen the show yet, you should get all three Blu-ray sets and watch them back to back before the next season,because the show is that good.

Extras only include a Making Of featurette: Power Play: Gilead's Women Fight Back.

Finally we have a new sitcom of sorts in The Kominsky Method: The Complete First Season (2019) from super-producer Chuck Lorre (The Big Bang Theory, Mom, Young Shelton, Two & A Half Men) that was too verbally graphic for regular network TV, Michael Douglas stars as a famous acting teacher whose life is not what it used to be and is unhappy as well with what is going on in the world around him. Alan Arkin is his agent who is still helping him with his work and career, but he is also dealing with age catching up with him.

The show has some giggles and a few amusing moments, but I was surprised how obvious and crass it could get, offering little new in the way of insight like Mom started out with, it tries to dig up all kinds of topics to laugh about in old age, but that too is a compendium of cliches to some extent and even with the leads and talent involved, gets thin and uneven too often.

I have been a fan of most of Lorre's work, but the show is just missing the extra honesty, depth and humor Lorre shows usually have. Maybe it will pick up next season, but I was a little disappointed, especially being a Douglas fan.

A small piece of paper with an episode guide is the only extra.

Now for playback quality. The 2160p HEVC/H.265, 1.78 X 1, Dolby Vision/HDR (10; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced Ultra High Definition image on the 4K Thrones is better than the release of the debut season, as the show started with older 1080p HD and upgraded the production as the series moved along and became a huge hit. It is still dark and stylized, but that look and approach works much better than the still-fine 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image on the regular Blu-ray edition.

The 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Handmaid's Tale is looking as good as it ever has, also with its own unique dark look, but color and fidelity increase in the minority of times we get flashbacks and/or the character's escape the fascist police state the majority of the show (and its living nightmare) take place in.

That leaves the anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on Method a little soft, but consistent and as good as it can get for the format, which can also be said of its lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 mixes, so that's it though Warner Archive has an exclusive release of the show on Blu-ray and serious home theater people might want to go for that version instead.

As for sound, HBO has included a very good Dolby Atmos 11.1 (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 for older systems) soundtrack for Thrones on both the 4K and regular Blu-ray edition, following upgrades to other seasons, 4K and otherwise. Along with Westworld, it remains one of the only TV series to have such a soundtrack, but it is welcome and I would add that most TV shows just do not have the sonics to justify such treatment. Fans will be pleased.

The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on Handmaid's Tale is also solid, if not as wide-ranging and in line with how well mixed and well-recorded the previous season were.

- Nicholas Sheffo


 Copyright © MMIII through MMX fulvuedrive-in.com