UK release - 22nd October

UK release - 2nd SeptemberUK release - 27th August


8th October 2004

Australian label Umbrella has announced two new releases of classic British TV series.

The first is a box set of the first season of the LWT action series The Professionals. This is going to be a tough sell for Umbrella, at least here in the UK, where the series is already available, and quite cheaply, through Contender. It wouldn't be hard to improve on Contender's horrible picture quality, though. As an incentive, Umbrella's set will feature some bonus materials, including exclusive audio commentaries with the series' creator / Executive Producer Brian Clemens (on Private Madness, Public Danger and the banned episode Klansmen). Other bonus features include production notes, talent profiles, the original opening credit sequence, and commercial break bumper, a rare US sales trailer and isolated music and effects tracks on some episodes. The sleeve artwork shown here is provisional. The set is due on January the 12th, with an RRP of AU$69..99 (inc sales tax).

Umbrella will release the third and final collection of the black and white episodes of The Saint on January the 12th.

The set will feature twenty-three episodes, uncut and digitally remastered, including two with commentary tracks, (Sir Roger Moore and guest star Eunice Gayson - perhaps best known from her appearances in Dr. No and From Russia With Love - on The Saint Bids Diamonds and with regular ITC guest star Jane Merrow on The Happy Suicide). The set will also feature text from the original ITC press book, talent profiles, production notes, isolated music and effects tracks on selected episodes, original ITC story information, and "more to be confirmed". The set has an RRP of AU$119.95.

Umbrella has confirmed the features for their eight-disc box set of Man in a Suitcase.

Fitting in with star Richard Bradford's busy schedule has been difficult, explaining a delay in the release, which is now expected on December the 8th. The set will feature commentary tracks on four episodes (with Richard Bradford on Man From The Dead and Brainwash; with director Peter Duffell on The Revolutionaries; and writer Philip Broadley on Day of Execution); introductions by guest stars Jane Merrow (on The Bridge) and George Sewell (on The Sitting Pigeon); a new interview with Richard Bradford; the text from the original ITC publicity brochure; ITC video trailer; isolated music and effects tracks on selected episodes; original script pages; extensive image and memorabilia galleries; production notes; cast and crew profiles; textless material "and a few more to come..."

Warner Home Video's Without A Trace - The Complete First Series box set has a new release date: January the 10th. The twenty-two episode set has been rescheduled several times. The US version came out at the beginning of last month, and can be bought for about half the £59.99 RRP of the UK version...

Warner Home Video's third ER set - originally due on October the 11th, will now be released on January 31st. Warner don't seem to be able to get their act together with their TV product here in the UK... just ask any Babylon 5 fan!

To mark next Monday's re-release of the first three seasons of The X-Files in new packaging, at a new price point (£39.99), Fox has released a special trailer promoting the series, which you can find here.

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment is issuing four more Buffy The Vampire Slayer - Slayer Collection discs on November the 1st. Each disc features four episodes highlighting a particular character, and a fifteen-minute profile. This time they focus on Cordelia (Out of Mind, Out of Sight (a.k.a. Invisible Girl), What's My Line - Part 2, Homecoming and The Prom), Giles (The Dark Age, Passion, A New Man, Lies My Parents Told Me), Dawn (The Real Me, Blood Ties, Older and Far Away and Potential), and Xander (The Pack, Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered, The Zeppo and Hell's Bells).

If you didn't already know, Fox is re-promoting their Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Angel season sets starting on October the 18th. Each set has a new RRP of £49.99, except for Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 1, which is £34.99. This is the last time the book-style packaging will be available, so if you want your collection to look reasonably uniform, now's the time to fill any gaps!

Speaking of vampires, Universal will release Emilio Martinez-Lazaro and Donnie Yen's award-winning action movie The Twins Effect on November the 1st. The disc has an anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1) transfer, and a choice of Dolby Digital 5.1 (448kbps) and 2.0 (at 224kbps) Cantonese sound mixes, with optional English subtitles. Bonus features include trailers, a behind-the-scenes featurette (16m) and Interviews with Cast & Crew (approx. 50m). The RRP is £17.99.  Menu screens from the disc can be seen here.

Finally, Fox is running a Buy-One-Get-One-Free offer between November the 15th to December the 24th on three of their animated series lines: The Simpsons - Seasons 1-4, Family Guy - Seasons 1-3 and Futurama - Seasons 1-4. (Don't forget, if you buy the separate Family Guy sets you won't get the box set's bonus disc!) Prices will vary by retailer: each The Simpsons and Futurama set normally has an RRP of £39.99

6th October 2004

Two new reviews for you today. Matt West eulogises Network's new box set of the TV series Chancer here, and I've taken a look at Metrodome's UK version of the acclaimed serial killer biopic Monster, which is released next Monday, here.

5th October 2004

Subscribers to Doctor Who Magazine have received their copies of the next issue of the magazine, which is due in stores on October the 14th. The magazine's news page reveals that another Patrick Troughton story, The Mind Robber, will be released on DVD in March. This practically amounts to an official announcement, since the Magazine has a cosy relationship with BBC Worldwide.

Buena Vista will release two separate single-disc versions of Antoine Fuqua's revisionist historical drama King Arthur on November the 29th: the 12-certificate Theatrical Version and an 18-certificate Director's Cut, both with an RRP of £19.99.

Spoilers ahead - click-and-drag your mouse over the hidden text! The Director's Cut offers much more brutality in the battle scenes that bookend the film, including a much better look at each of the knights' individual fighting styles. Lancelot and Guinevere's roles in the fight scenes are  strengthened considerably. Lancelot is much more aggressive (scissor-cutting the head off a woad with his two swords in the opening battle), and Guinevere really gets stuck into the fighting, rather than seeming to skirt daintily around it, picking off Saxons with her bow. In one memorable scene a group of female woads overpower a Saxon soldier, and Guinevere garrottes him! In the extended version Lancelot really gets his revenge on Cynric, by skewering him through the neck! The showdown between Arthur and Cerdic is longer, both men succeeding in landing crippling blows before Arthur strikes the coup de grâce..

New scenes include the young Arthur being introduced to his future colleagues by his mentor; a short scene where one of the knights is seen training on his horse, a scene where the knights make plain to Bishop Germanius their contempt at being made to undertake the rescue of Marcus Honorius and his son; and a sequence where Cerdic cuts Cynric's cheek, after his failure to secure victory in the lake battle. Two scenes that might have been seen as obvious candidates for extension (the attempted rape and subsequent murder of the village girl, and the love scene between Arthur and Guinevere) haven't been lengthened.

Both discs will feature the same bonus material, spearheaded by a behind-the-scenes featurette, titled Blood on the Land: The Making of King Arthur (17m), a whirlwind-paced look at many aspects of the film, including the construction of Hadrian's wall (which, ironically looks like CGI, but actually took four-and-a-half months to build); a quick look at the props, and some of the two-and-a-half thousand costumes; a possible explanation of Stellan Skarsgård's Darth Maul-like vocal mutterings (he's a chain smoker); a few words about training on horseback ("I understand now why John Wayne walks like he did", grouches Ray Winstone); a look at how some of the three-hundred effects shots for the ice lake scene were created (most impressive); a couple of notes from the London Philharmonic and composer Hans Zimmer; and a rare chance to hear what's presumably Ioan Gruffudd's natural accent.

The disc also features a four--minute alternate ending, which drops the wedding scene that test audiences demanded, and adds a little more to the Excalibur mythology. This has optional director's commentary. Finally, there's a Sneak Peak at the next Bruckheimer adventure film, the Tomb Raider-esque National Treasure.

The Director's Cut version will have a choice of Dolby Digital and DTS audio tracks (the Theatrical Version doesn't have DTS). According to the press release, the Theatrical Version will be in full-frame format, and the Director's Cut will be (anamorphic 2.35:1) widescreen.

4th October 2004

Blimey O'Reilly. It's been a very, very busy weekend here, so there's not been a lot of time for news gathering. Truth be told, it's all a bit quiet, anyway.

There's not a lot of room on retailer's shelves between now and the end of the year for anything but A-list titles. Having said that, there are hundreds of titles coming out between now and Christmas. Most of them will get trampled underfoot, as the Summer blockbusters begin to grab shelf-space. It's a nasty dilemma for independent labels with new titles to launch - release it now, and hope that it will pick up a few seasonal sales from the few retailers large enough to stock it, or delay the release, and pray that it will make more of an impression in the New Year.

Anyhoo... in lieu of any real news, we have three new reviews for you today, and three new competitions! (There'll be more new reviews later this week, including one for Network's Chancer box set, which is released today).

Ceri has reviewed Network's The Complete Ripping Yarns set; Matthew Lee has taken a detailed look at Umbrella's Return of the Saint box set (which should be available from the Antipodean retailer of your choice now - we can vouch for EzyDVD and Family Box Office - see the bottom of the Offers page for contact details); and, last but by no means least, Mark Frost has completed a trilogy of Spaghetti Western reviews, with a look at one of the genre's classics, Django, which has just been released by Argent. (The other two films in the recent batch were Keoma and Texas, Adios). Click on the sleeve images, below (or right), or here for the Ripping Yarns competition, here for the Return of the Saint competition, or here for the Django review. My thanks to Ceri, Matthew and Mark for their contributions.

As you might have noticed, we also have three new competitions today, where you could win a copy of Umbrella's Return of the Saint box set, a copy of Network's six-disc Chancer set, or a copy of a new collection of six early Taggart TV movies, from ClearVision.

Click on the banners, above, or here for the Chancer competition, here for the Taggart competition, or here for the Return of the Saint competition.

The Incoming page has been given a quick update - all the titles listed as coming out today are due today, according to Next week, by hook or by crook, a full overhaul!

Previous Zeta Minor News entries can viewed here.

Van Helsing - Released October the 11th.




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