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Category:    Home > Reviews > Horror > Supernatural > Mystery > Drama > Scottish > Medical > Animated > Comedy > TV > Castle Rock: The Complete Second Season (2019/Warner Blu-ray Set)/Deadwater Fell (2020/Acorn DVD)/Good Doctor: Season Three (2019 - 2020/Sony DVD Set)/Taz-Mania: The Complete Third Season (1993/Warner

Castle Rock: The Complete Second Season (2019/Warner Blu-ray Set)/Deadwater Fell (2020/Acorn DVD)/Good Doctor: Season Three (2019 - 2020/Sony DVD Set)/Taz-Mania: The Complete Third Season (1993/Warner Archive DVD Set)

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

Now for the latest seasons of three new TV series and an animated past hit...

Stephen King and J.J. Abrams bring us the second season of the show Castle Rock, which originally appeared on Hulu and has finally landed on Blu-ray disc to accompany its first season (reviewed elsewhere on this site).

Castle Rock: The Complete Second Season (2019) features Lizzy Caplan (Cloverfield) in a starring role as the younger version of psychopath nurse Anne Wilkes (from King's novel Misery who was played previously by Kathy Bates, who won the Best Actress Oscar for her work), who ends up stuck in the fictional small town of Castle Rock - a town where several of King's stories crossover. This intense season set in the King multiverse is sure to please fans and keep you on the edge of your seat!

The series also stars Tim Robbins (Mystic River), Paul Sparks (House of Cards), Barkhad Abdi (Captain Phillips) as Abdi Howlwadaag, Yusra Warsama as Dr. Nadia Howlwadaag, Elsie Fisher (Eighth Grade) as Joy and Matthew Alan (13 Reasons Why).

Ten episodes make up Season 2 of Castle Rock and include Let The River Run, New Jerusalem, Ties That Bind, Restore Hope, The Laughing Place, The Mother, The Word, Dirty, Caveat Emptor, and Clean.

Special Features: Anne Wilkes: Mother of Sorrow (new featurette)

Castle Rock is enjoyable even if you aren't a diehard Stephen King fan, but if you are there's tons of references to his work that are (again) fun to catch.

Next is a series that is a mini-series. Deadwater Fell (2020) deals with the fallout of children dying in a building fire, was it an accident and how does it affect its Scottish town. Doctor Who alumni David Tennant is a real-life medical doctor and Anna Madeley, his teacher wife. The fire happens to their home and it is a tragedy to begin with, then they start to ask questions.

Running four episodes, the mystery gets deeper and deeper, though the child-in-jeopardy (even when they are dead) is not one I am always a fan of, though the show does not wallow in it as much as others of its kind have. The cast os not bad and the locales not ones you have likely seen enough if you are a U.S. viewer, but there were also lulls in the teleplays and some things we have seen before. Tennant can act and he helps save this from becoming dull and generic. It is worth a look if interested, but I would have liked a little more energy and surprise.\

Cush Jumbo and Matthew McNulty also star.

A brief Behind-The Scenes featurette is the only extra.

The Good Doctor: Season Three (2019 - 2020) has actor Freddie Highmore in the lead as a young medical doctor who is great at what he does, because of mental illness. That can either be played as a disaster or really work, but my reaction since this show debuted is that they are playing it in the middle and I was not always convinced. There is still some stereotyping on the side that cannot be avoided as mental illness and mental health are still stigmatized and even under the most enlightened circumstances, Highmore's Dr. Shaun Murphy (he is an autistic savant who functions better than say, Rain Man) is capable enough to actually make a living, et al.

If we take his character as believable (ala Monk) than I can see why the show is a hit, viewers are on his side and do not see any stereotyping whatsoever and it is a case where you cannot say 'why can't they get someone who really has autism to play the role' as that illness is more complex than that. Thus, we get 20 episodes that move along well and make the most sense if you start at the series' very beginning. The supporting cast is not bad, but it is up to Highmore to make this work and he has found the character and it works in the world the show takes place in, even if some of us cannot totally buy it.

As a final aside, the show kept reminding me of the final scene in St. Elsewhere, though there is no intended connection.

Extras include Deleted Scenes and a Blooper Reel.

Finally on a lighter note, we have Taz-Mania: The Complete Third Season (1993) and an animated series that was a bigger hit than you might remember. Though the Tazmanian Devil only appeared in 5 theatrical short animated cartoons back in the 1950s and 1960s, people, generation after generation, discovered him, loved him more and more and by the time his shorts (usually with Bugs Bunny) were rerun on TV, he was as popular as just about any of the Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies family. Thus, his appearance in new Looney Tunes TV shows, specials and this series.

Surrounding him with a new group of characters made for this series (he is a bellboy for the Hotel Tasmania!) with cameos from some we might know, the show also has fun with him, putting him into funny situations that are absolutely exploiting how much viewers love him. It is really for a younger audience (like Baby Looney Tunes, et al) but has a few chuckles for older viewers and must be at least a curio for them. Each half-hour has more than one adventure and this is a 2-DVD set.

There are no extras.

Now for playback performance. Castle Rock: Season 2 is presented in 1080p high definition on Blu-ray disc with a MPEG-4 AVC codec and an original widescreen aspect ratio of 2.00:1 and paired with an English DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix. The show has a highly cinematic look that comes across very nicely on disc here and is comparable to other recent King big screen adaptations.

The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on Fell and Doctor are about even, though color is a little richer on Doctor, but Fell leans towards more outdoor shots. I bet both would look better in HD, but these editions are fine for what they are with their lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 sounding good, but proving that the soundmasters are likely better than what we can hear in this older audio codec.

The 1.33 X 1 image transfer on Taz-Mania has good color, but is from older video transfers with some aliasing errors throughout. Made on film, We wonder if the show was simply finished on old standard definition analog video, thus the detail issues here and there. Otherwise, this looks good and the lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo has some nice Pro Logic surrounds. Still, this could look and sound better too.

- Nicholas Sheffo and James Lockhart (Castle)



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