20th December 2004
Let's begin this week with a new review!
Channel 4's drama series Shameless was one of this year's best
shows. A DVD release is due on December the 27th, a
couple of days after Channel 4 air a new instalment, the Shameless
Christmas Special (on the 23rd, at 9pm). Click on the sleeve image,
right, or here to
read the review. You can watch a trailer for the series (actually, the
show's opening credits), by clicking
screens for Fox's fifth and final Angel season box set can be
As you can see, the set will features seven episodes with commentary
tracks (Conviction, Destiny, Soul Purpose, You're
Welcome, Hole In The World, Underneath and Not Fade
Away), as well as about an hour's worth of bonus featurettes.
One menu snafu to note: the sixth disc's
menu says the Halo's & Horns featurette is subtitled
Resurrecting Villainy, whereas the on-screen title is Halo's &
Horns - Recurring Villainy.
As usual, the episodes are presented in
anamorphic widescreen format (1.78:1), with Dolby Digital 2.0 audio and
optional English HoH subtitles. The set is due for release on February the
21st, with an RRP of £79.99.
Scott's gritty revenge
thriller Man on Fire, which stars Denzel Washington as a washed-up
bodyguard charged with protecting a nine year-old girl,
will be released by Fox on the 14th of February.
will be two versions available:
single disc version priced at £15.99 and a two-disc Special Edition, for
sleeve here is probably the single-disc edition, although it could also be
noted that the certificate is wrong - the BBFC has already passed Man
On Fire for home video as an 18 certificate, the same as the
The film will be presented in anamorphic
1.85:1 widescreen format, with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Oddly, there does
not seem to be the option of a DTS track (there's one on the US disc).
two-disc set will feature a seventy-minute documentary, Vengeance Is
Mind - Reinventing Man on Fire; a commentary track by Tony Scott;
fifteen deleted scenes, including an alternate ending, with optional
director's commentary; a multi-angle
sequence and storyboards for (SPOILER:
four TV spots; a music video (Oye Como Va by Kinky); and a photo'
gallery (sixty shots). The disc will also feature an Inside Look
featurette promoting a forthcoming Robert De Niro film, Hide and Seek,
which also stars Man on Fire co-star Dakota Fanning.
It seems that the UK disc will be quite
different from the US version, which is a single-disc edition. As well as
the absent DTS track, the UK version also seems to be missing a second
commentary track (by producer Lucas Forster, screenwriter Brian Helgeland
and Dakota Fanning). The US disc is, however, missing all the other bonus
features (unless you count the Inside Look featurette). Most
worryingly, the UK press release says that the film is in 1.85:1 ratio:
the US disc is 2.4:1. I'll ask for clarification...
Leap fans are up in arms about some changes that Universal has made
for the second season DVD box set, which was released a week or so ago in
The series often used well-known songs to
help establish whatever year it was that the lead character, Sam, found
himself in, and many of these tracks have been removed from the new DVD
Clearing the rights to featured music
tracks is becoming a major problem for companies trying to release TV
series on DVD, as deals made at the time of production rarely extended to
future home video formats. Music rights owners have disc producers over a
barrel, knowing that removing their track will make a title commercially
less attractive, and knowing that the alternatives are expensive (costly
re-dubbing) or highly undesirable (cutting a sequence completely).
The problem is often exacerbated with older
series, because it's very difficult to re-mix a track where separate audio
tracks containing just the dialogue and sound effects do not exist).
Sometimes permission to use a track can be refused completely. Some series
have even had to have their theme music replaced, because it wasn't
economically viable to clear them (the US sitcom Married... With
Children used a Sinatra recording of Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen's
standard Love and Marriage as it's signature theme, and it's been
removed completely from the latest DVD release because it was too
expensive to use).
Feature films are usually exempt from this
problem, because music rights to cover all future exploitation are usually
made at the time a film is made. Ironically, a series like Quantum Leap
can continue to be shown without changes on television because
broadcasters have blanket agreements with the music companies (and, in any
case, the rights to use the music for future TV screenings, both domestic
and foreign, would probably have been made when the series was created).
Programme producers must shoulder part of the blame. Clearing music rights
for home video exploitation is an expensive business, one that programme
makers are reluctant to absorb in their budget. They may not even consider
that a programme has home video potential, so would justifiably argue that
clearing music for a home video release would be an unnecessary cost.
Quantum Leap is the latest series to
be hit by music substitution (other examples include Fox's Roswell
(an example of a recent production that hadn't included home video rights
when it was made), and the 1970 Doctor Who story Spearhead From
The changes to Quantum Leap are
far-reaching: any track that isn't directly referred to in the dialogue
has been substituted for generic alternatives. (The second season features
an episode, Good Morning, Peoria, where Sam leaps into the body of
a radio DJ, so some tracks have escaped substitution because they're
referred to by name). This indicates that tracks can be cleared where
necessary, and that Universal are cutting costs by substituting music
where they think they can get away with it.
Fans are especially upset at the
replacement of a track from the season finale, M.I.A., which
features a memorably intimate scene between Al and his first wife, which
fans have affectionately nicknamed the Shadowdance. The scene was scored
with the Ray Charles track Georgia On My Mind. Now it's been
changed to something similar, but considerably more up-tempo. Primo
Quantum Leap fan site
has created a file comparing the two versions, which
you can download
here - the quality's a bit naff, but you'll get the idea. The
changes are particularly disappointing because the first season was
released without any changes, and the expectation was that others would be
And now, the welcome return of....
SEAN’S GUIDE TO THE
Hello, and a
very happy Christmas to one and all!
apology for the lack of an updates guide last week. My computer decided to
die on the Saturday afternoon as I was putting everything together!! Now I
know what to ask Santa for Christmas this year, but enough of my technical
In the weeks
leading up to the festive period, news of forthcoming releases are
traditionally a little thin on the ground, as all the retailers tend to
understandably concentrate on the big Christmas sales effort, (closely
followed by the New Year sales!)
been some cool announcements to keep the wheels turning though.
now released the complete 1971 Series of Public Eye, which is
currently exclusively available through their
for £39.99. At the same time, they are also offering the previous 1969
series release for the bargain price of £19.99. There have been some
gremlins in the works when ordering: hopefully these are just temporary
Also new from
Network on the 31st of January is Series 1 of The Power Game
staring Patrick Wymark, Barbara Murray, Clifford Evans, Rosemary Leach and
Jack Watling. There hasn’t been any restoration work done on the material,
but if it’s anything like the recent George and the Dragon release,
I doubt we’ll be disappointed. I can’t find any retailers listing this
title just yet, so the price is TBA.
George and the Dragon (review
here) reminds me that this delightful series goes on general release
with retailers from
the 24th of January 2005
at £49.99 RRP (Play are currently offering the title on pre-release for
from this year’s successful release of The Goodies, Network will be
issuing the next disc in the series sometime in early 2005, titled The
Goodies …At Last a Second Helping. There’s no word yet as to a release
date or price, but we’ll keep our ears to the ground for you. The cover
for the new set, along with the expected extras (which include
commentaries) has been posted for perusal over at
the The Mausoleum Club,
which is rapidly turning into a PR site for Network.
The 24th of
January sees the complete Second Series Network release of the charming
with all 26 episodes intact, and priced at £14.99.
The same date
also has, for the patient among you, the long-delayed Network Charley
Says… Volume 2 released. Just to remind you, it comes in two flavours.
The first, with an RRP of £9.99, is a follow-on for those who bought
Volume One. The 2 disc Limited Edition set includes everything
from the standard Volume 2, but also includes the contents of
Volume One and costs £14.99.
from Network up for release on the 24th of January include Robin Hood –
The Complete Series 4 (the final season, with Richard Green) at £29.99
and Seasons 5 and 6 of Third Rock from the Sun at
£29.99 each. Of course, the Season 6 set has already been released,
in June 2002 - perhaps the two-disc set will be re-issued with new
packaging that more closely matches the rest of the series? Some
retailers are listing an RRP of £24.99 for Season 6, incidentally -
it's 2002 list price.
Paramount has issued provisional details of their
Region 2 Star Trek 2005 release schedule. As ever, these dates are
subject to change (though to be fair,
don’t tend to fiddle with their release dates too much).
Star Trek - Voyager Seasons 5 and 6 are on schedule for the 10th of
January and the 7th of March, and Season 7 has, it seems, been moved
forward to the 18th April.
(or, if you prefer, just Enterprise),
has been timetabled for the 3rd of May, 6th of June, 1st
of August and the 3rd of October for Seasons 1 to 4 respectively.
re-releases of the Star Trek movies as Special Editions continue
unabated, with First Contact Special Edition due on the 25th of
April, the Insurrection Special Edition on the 6th of June and a
Nemesis Special Edition on
the 7th of November 2005,
all at £24.99.
With all that
the only Star Trek yet to make an appearance is the 1970s animated
series, which is rumoured to appear at the end of next year.
Also new from
Paramount in 2005 is the release of the lightweight
Charmed. The first two season box sets are due on the 4th of April and
the 5th of September.
Granada will be releasing the recent Ultimate
Force – Series 1 & 2 box set on the 24th of January at £29.99.
Ceri for posting that
are advertising the inimitable Peter Cook & Dudley Moore – The Best of
Goodbye Again as being released on
the 7th of February 2005 for £15.99.
science fiction comedy movie Morons from Outer Space (directed by
Mike Hodges) is released on the same date from MGM, at £12.99. The film
will also soon be re-released paired with Alien From L.A. in the
release of The Simpsons – Season 5 on the 7th of February is now
showing the following extras to salivate over: Audio commentary on all
22 episodes from numerous participants, including Matt Groening, Al
Jean, James L. Brooks, various directors, writers and crew members with
special guest appearances from Dan Castellaneta, Yeardley Smith, Hank
Azaria, Jon Lovitz and Conan O'Brien; 4 Animation
Showcases, 2 Animatic with Illustrated Commentary, 2 Animatic with Audio
Commentary, 2 Original Sketches by David Silverman, Deleted Scenes
with optional commentary from 14 episodes, Audio Outtakes from special
guest star James Taylor, A Special Language Feature, 'A Look Back
with James L. Brooks' featurette, More Commercials.
Stargate SG1 will be pleased to learn that MGM will be releasing the
entire Season 7 onto DVD on the 28th of February 2005, and costs £59.99.
The next new SG1 disc - Volume 38 - will be released on
February 28th, too. The first Stargate Atlantis disc follows a
fortnight later, on March the 14th. RRP for these is the usual £19.99.
Also from MGM
next year comes confirmation that The Outer Limits will be
released, and Seasons 1 and 2 will both be available on the same date of
the 11th of April 2005, at £29.99 each.
showing Series 1 of The Irish RM now up for pre-order at £14.99
(£19.99 RRP), although no word yet as to who is releasing it on the 11th
of April 2005.
Thanks go out
to Lissa for posting that Father Ted: The Complete Series is
currently available from Amazon UK for only £27.97 (£22.02 off!)
to Ceri for letting us know that the film Super Size Me can be
pre-ordered for only £9.99 (£6.00 off!) and that The 4400: Series 1
can be pre-ordered for £15.49 (£9.50 off!), both from Choices Direct.
bargains on the Offers page include
The Office - Christmas Specials at £9.75 (£10.24 off) from Amazon
(Jersey); Spiderman 2 at £17.99 (£7.00 off) and Starsky and
Hutch - Season 3 at £25.99 (£9.00 off), both from Benson’s World;
Doctor Who - The Mind Robber at £12.99 (£7.00 off) from dvd.co.uk;
Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence at £13.75 (£6.24 off) and The Tigon
Collection at £19.99 (£10.00 off), both from DVD Popcorn; and The
Tomorrow People - Series 6 at £10.99 (£5.00 off) form PowerPlay
for now folks, except for me to go out to brave the Christmas crowds and
financially assault the credit cards for yet another year…
Previous Zeta Minor News entries can viewed