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THIS IS US: The Complete Third Season Revisits on DVD for the News Season to Come

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to DVD from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment is the highly successful television series comes to DVD with THIS IS US: The Complete Third Season.

The season begins with Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) preparing to take Rebecca (Mandy Moore) on a date. Going to a carnival turns up a wash when Jack comes clean that his life hasn't exactly been as he planned since returning from Vietnam. Agreeing to another date, Jack sees something that is difficult. Deja (Lyric Ross) is still with the family and Randall (Sterling K. Brown) is doing his best, especially when she sees her biological father. Zoe (Melanie Liburd) and Kevin (Justin Hartley) are still together but Beth (Susan Kelechi) has her opinion on the matter. Kate (Chrissy Metz) and Toby (Chris Sullivan) are determined to have a child and she must convince a fertility specialist that it's what they truly want.  

Looking into the Pearson's past, Rebecca must find a new home and each of the kids are having their own difficulties. Realizing that she is barely functioning with Jack gone it all have consequences. Now Randall tries to help with a rec center but it seems the residents aren't impressed. Kevin finally has his film premier but not everyone is there to cheer on his success. Rebecca puts in her two-centers with Kate and Toby and gets a response she isn't expecting. 

More of Rebecca and Jack's past are explored and in one fell swoop Rebecca tells Jack they should drive to Los Angeles together. After making a comment about Jack at Kevin's movie premier, Randall gets a little hot with his sister. As the IVF begins for Kate, she has a moment under anesthesia that changes her perspective. Beth gets an unexpected shock from work and Randall decides he can't help people unless he runs for city council. It is Kevin now that needs to know more about Jack and decides he needs to know more. 

Jack and his brother Nick (Michael Angarano) have a story that has long been kept quiet but now we see it played out. Nick is on the draft list to go to Vietnam and Jack wants him to go to Canada to get away but Nick has other ideas. Jack knows he has to go as well to keep an eye on his brother and lies to be accepted into the military. Doing his own time after a battle, Jack discovers where Nick is and flies in to see him.

Miguel (Jon Huertas) buys Rebecca a piano and finds himself more and more at the Pearson's place as each of the kids go through their own emotions. In adulthood Kate and Toby wait to hear if she is pregnant and she discovers Toby has been avoiding his own issues. Beth and Randall are dealing with their career changes and Kevin learns more about his father and a necklace he wore.

Randall and Kevin need each other as the campaign goes into full swing and Deja knows something is wrong between her foster family. Rebecca and Kate talk about motherhood and Zoe tells Kevin she will follow him to Vietnam.

While in Vietnam Jack helps a young boy who is injured and his mother gives him a gift. Nick isn't about to get his hands dirty after everything that happened. In the now Beth isn't thrilled with an event in Randall's campaign. Kate and Toby are in town and making dinner at the Randall's house. That's where Tess (Eris Baker) tells her Aunty something she hasn't told her parents yet. The only thing missing is Miguel and Rebecca who are visiting his adult children.

In Vietnam Jack discovers that Nicky has a problem and it brings them to brotherly blows. Jack would do anything to avoid fighting yet all Nicky wants to do is fight. Now Kevin and Zoe are in the village his father and uncle were at and a family secret is uncovered. Kate decides to teach music but has one obstacle to get through with Toby's support. 

Kevin and Zoe move in together but there is something odd about it all. Kate and Toby are getting ready by vamping the baby's room but she makes a mistake that sends Toby over the edge. They both realize they are stressed about the coming baby and do something extraordinary for each other.

After a tragedy in Vietnam, Jack ignores incoming mail from Nicky until he can't any longer. Kevin begins to realize the substance of what secrets do to a family and turns to his siblings to find an answer to the nagging questions they all admit to having. All of it prompts to a slip by Kevin as they all begin to remember things only to discover everyone has their own perception of how it really was.

Beth's story comes to light showing her story of being accepted into a ballet school and the struggle her parents went through to make sure she could go. The struggle continues for Beth and as the family yet there are things that haven't been said between mother and daughter. 

It is graduation time for the Pearson Three as Randall plans to attend college, Kevin wants to go to New York and Kate is floundering. Back to the now, Randall deals with news about Deja and her schooling and telling Beth he needs her at home with the girls. Toby does one of the most loving things ever creating a party for Kate where Kevin has problems. Taking him home, Kate's water breaks and they are stuck. 

Everyone waits impatiently on the baby news which gives Randall and Beth time to argue about careers and child raising. Miguel has an opinion that isn't well received, Rebecca is quiet, Zoe is full of information that doesn't please Beth, Kevin and Randall can't seem to stay civil and Toby saves the day with an announcement.

Toby is having trouble being a Dad and Kate won't spend a moment away from their son. Kevin decides that maybe couples therapy is the way to go and Zoe drops a little bomb on him. Randall needs Beth for support and does something horrifically stupid that he can't take back. The struggle for both of them to be married, parents and have careers of their own continue to bring strife to them both.

As Kate's worry for her son increases, Rebecca starts stepping a little bit out of her grandmother lane. Kate doesn't exactly know how to handle this until her frustration spills over. Kevin and Zoe have a difficult decision to make and babysitting seems to be the way to find an answer. Randall is put in his place by a teenage Deja who reminds him how wonderful Beth truly is. This is their family…

… this is us! 

Ventimiglia as Jack and Moore as Rebecca are the characters we thought we would never see, always wanted and are imperfectly perfect together. Every time they are on my television screen together I am moved, heartbroken, hopeful, understanding, a little angry, joyful and everything in between all of those. Growing up in their "time" I get it, I understand it and, in a way I miss it. A time I hold in my heart as simple in some aspect was also totally fraught with issues that are only coming to light in the past few years. Even after Jack's death I knew there was more of his story to tell and happy to see him in flashbacks. Moore has the tough part of not only flashbacks but a different life in the present for her character. Just both so well done.

Brown and Kelechi as Randall and Beth are going at it full bore this season. They have both been used to having careers and family that go along smoothly. Now that there are bumps in the road, either have to come to face their youthful disappointments, separate family issues never resolved and a future that seems so uncertain for their marriage. There is so much going on that they forget there are kids right in front of them seeing every bit of it, it happens.

Metz and Sullivan as Kate and Toby are about to embark on something neither believed possible. They are also dealing with the emotions of their lives and it's time for them both to find their lane with it. Metz as Kate continues to struggle with Jack's death which interferes with her decisions on motherhood and Sullivan is continually there for his wife and makes a decision about his own health that is dangerous. I love their humor together and admit that Toby just absolutely has my heart.

Hartley and Liburd as Kevin and Zoe are a couple that I never saw fitting together. Kevin is just a hot mess trying to find his place in the world - still. Every time I think he's finding it and happiness along with it, the pieces on his life board get moved quicker than he can adjust too. Hartley is a master of his Kevin character and this past season he kept it fast paced and uncertain. Liburd as Zoe is a woman with her own issues and good at keeping them away from Kevin.

Huertas as Miguel comes into more focus this season as we see how his own family has dealt with his marriage to Rebecca. I'm sure there is much more to has story and I hope we see more this next season. Ross as Deja is a young girl turning into a young woman with smarts beyond her years. She sees what is happening in her home and feels the needs to straighten the adults out. Kudos girl…always step in when it seems the adults are acting childish!

Angarano as young Nick is a kid just looking for a way to escape everything. When Jack follows to Vietnam, the two brothers have to deal with the home issues. He literally is a one man wrecking crew and it's easy to see where Kevin gets it from. Baker as Tess has something important to tell her parents but that's difficult when the household is upside down and you can't get next to your cactus parents!

Other cast include Faithe Herman as Annie Pearson, Caitlin Thompson as Madison, Porter Duong as Hien, Wendie Malick as Mary Damon, Joy Brunson as Shauna, Phylicia Rashad as Carol, Carl Lumbly as Abe, Alexandra Breckenridge as Sophie and Griffin Dunn as Nick Pearson.

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment brings award-winning global product and new entertainment to DVD, Bluray, and Digital HD. There amazing collection offers fans an opportunity to expand their own home libraries with the best films. To discover what other titles they have please visit www.fox.com.

THIS IS US: The Complete Third Season includes the episodes Nine Bucks, A Philadelphia Story, Katie Girls, Vietnam, Toby, Kamsahamnida, Sometimes, Six Thanksgivings, The Beginning is the End is the Beginning, The Last Seven Weeks, Songbird Road: Part One, Songbird Road: Part Two, Our Little Island Girl, The Graduates, The Waiting Room, Don't Take My Sunshine Away, R&B and Her. 

The Special Features include THE AFTERSHOW on all Episodes and this is us AT Paleyfest 2019.

THIS IS US started out with a slowly lovely burn letting the story continually unravel about the Pearson family. I was actually hooked the very first episode and haven't missed one since. There are shows that just reach deep inside and won't let go and THIS IS US is that show for which millions don't mind the hold. Instead, we want to know more and more. Granted we all waited for Jack's death and when it happened it broke our hearts, but, like most people who watch the show, knew then as we know now that there is so much more of this family's story left to be told.

Each of the characters brings something different to the series with intensity, humor, love and complexity to which we'd expect. I mean seriously, there isn't a family out there who doesn't have their problems and histories - it's just that the Pearson's have invited us in to see all of theirs - raw and unfiltered.

The fourth season of THIS IS US is about to begin on NBC and along with millions of others we have more questions we hope are answered but even if they all aren't, we don't mind sharing our evening with the Pearson's. Actually, we don't mind one little bit.

In the end - they are us all!
MAYANS M.C.: The Complete First Season Prepares us for What is to Come

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to DVD from creators Elgin James, Kurt Sutter, FX and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment comes the high anticipated MAYANS M.C.: The Complete First Season.

In the small California border town of Santo Padre, Ezekiel ‘EZ’ Reyes (JD Pardo) has served time in prison for killing a cop and is now a prospect with the Mayan motorcycle club. The club’s president Bishop (Michael Irby) is working on drugs that are being transported to Las Vegas and making the trip with EZ is brother Angel (Clayton Cardenas). 

Before they go, EZ stops by the local high school and remembers being enrolled at Stanford and coming home to visit then-girlfriend Emily (Sarah Bolger). Visiting father Felipe (Edward James Olmos), EZ assures him that he is being careful and before leaving gives him something wrapped up and gets a poetry book. Brother Angel is outside dealing with his own issues about Felipe.

Making a delivery, the Mayans are jumped and EZ comes to the rescue. The problem is that now they have to tell Miguel Galindo (Danny Pino), a cartel boss, what has happened to his drugs. Angel and EZ go through tunnels to get into Mexico looking for help for one of its members. 

At the Mayans clubhouse, El Padrino (Emilio Rivera) comes to talk about the cartel issues but tells EZ to stop outside. Knowing the Samoans made the hit, it is agreed to reach out for help with the problem. After getting their hands on the leader of the Samoan group, Galindo takes over and shows them what happens when you take something that doesn’t belong to you. Besides a big mess, Galindo believes there is someone in their ranks giving out details and he wants whoever it is.

EZ is personally still dealing with the fact that Emily, his high school and college love, is now married to cartel boss Galindo. Angel has his own secrets as well when EZ learns that he is helping a woman named Adelita (Carla Baratta) who leads a group called the Olvidados. She makes it clear that she wants to help the families affected by what is happening by Galindo.

After an evening out, Galindo and Emily, along with their baby, go their separate ways. Emily’s car is attacked and the baby is kidnapped quickly. This is just the beginning of the deception, lies, secrets, twists and terror and that’s just the first episode!

Pardo as EZ has a story to tell and most of it is sad and full of misunderstandings. There is a part of this character that has the same feel as Jax Teller in that he knows what he wants but getting there might be tricky. I think Pardo is doing an amazing job and with the cast surrounding him it is only going to get more epic to watch EZ’s story unfold.

Cardenas as brother Angel has a serious magazine rack full of outdated issues. Not speaking to his own father and keep secrets from his brother EZ is going to cost him. Always trying to keep his brother out of trouble, sometimes it’s Angel who actually gets him IN trouble. 

I’m so thrilled to see Rivera return as El Padrino Marcus Alvarez because it is a thread to SONS OF ANARCHY that I can grab onto while watching this new web be woven by the Mayans. Irby as Bishop is the club’s president who is moving at a glacial pace trying to understand what works best for the club while keeping an eye totally on everything. Baratta as Adelita is a woman who is just plain nuts in my book. She knows what she wants from Galindo and doesn’t care who gets in the way of making that happen. Of course there is a history she needs to settle and it’s close to EZ’s front door.

Bolger as Emily is the one time love of EZ who got away. He’s not over it and neither is she although you wouldn’t know it. Currently married to cartel boss Miguel Galindo isn’t helping her cause any. Trying to navigate her way through the family history and where they are going, she might be a force for them all. Pino as husband and cartel boss Miguel Galindo is a vicious leader who isn’t afraid to get his hands bloody, and the first episode proves that! Pino is sharp, fast and effective and even when you think he’s cornered, remember what happens to trapped tigers! 

Olmos as EZ and Angel’s father Felipe is a daunting role. He has a history that neither son knows about but, like all secrets, will make its way out slowly and painfully for Felipe. I am thrilled to see Olmos once again on the screen because this man is an icon who has blazed the way in some man arenas that I know his character will be memorable. Personally I’ll be cheering for him what ever happens. 

Other wonderful cast includes Richard Cabral as Coco, Maurice Compte as Jiminez, Frankie Loyal as Tranq, Vincent Vargas as Gilly, Gino Vento as Nestor, Tony Plana as Devante Cano, Michael Ornstein as Chucky Marstein, Joseph Lucero as Creeper, Ada Maris as Dita Galindo, Salvador Chacon as Pablo, Melany Ochoa as Mini, Curtiss Cook as Bowen, Emily Tosta as Leticia Cruz, Alexander Bedria as Heimler, Joe Ordaz as Paco and Ray McKinnon as Lincoln Potter. 

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment brings award-winning global product and new entertainment to DVD, Bluray, and Digital HD. There amazing collection offers fans an opportunity to expand their own home libraries with the best films. To discover what other titles they have please visit www.fox.com. 

Special Features of MAYANS M.C. are The Creation of MAYANS M.C., Hit the Ground Roaring, Customizing the Mayans’ Signature Bikes and Promotional Featurettes. 

The DVD includes the episodes Perro/Oc, Escorpion/Dzec, Buho/Muwan, Murcielago/Zotz, Uch/Opossum, Gato/Mis, Cucaracha/K’uruch, Rata/Ch’o, Serpiente/Chikchan and Cuervo/Tzikb/uul. 

MAYANS M.C.: The Complete First Season is a must have to add to the SOA/MAYAN library. There isn’t an episode that doesn’t just cause the jaw to drop or a few cheers. The cast is extensive and I wish I had the space to cover them all but here and now I say the show wouldn’t be the SHOW without each and every one of them. 

There are familiar faces and an Easter Egg I won’t talk about because I want the viewer to find it too. Of course there is always one face that is bad news and trust me you will know him when you see him because honestly I threw something at the television myself. I think it’s fantastic that Sutter and James kind of gave SOA fans a few kisses here and there to remind us that SAMCRO isn’t forgotten but also asks us to embrace MAYANS M.C. – and I fully intend to. 

I can’t wait for season two to begin because my jaw hit the floor at the finale moments at the end of season one. Without giving anything away let me just say I was shocked, horrified and all I could say was ‘no, no, NO, NO!’

In the end – Mayans have their own story to tell.

MAYANS M.C. Talk About Upcoming Season Two

Jeri Jacquin

At San Diego Comic Con International, Sunday’s had a long standing history with the FX series SONS OF ANARCHY and you can believe that I was their ever single year the crew made an appearance. The final year of panel was insanely sad for us SOA fans because it was the end of something we held dear – family. That’s what creator Kurt Sutter had done, created a family of the millions of fans.

Well, we all got a chance to expand that family when Kurt Sutter along with co-creator Elgin James got together and brought the first season of MAYANS M.C. on FX. The show turned out to bring in the number one new hit show of the season (as I suspected it would). Season one brought out the characters and what they are all about, now fans are getting ready for season two airing September 3rd because there is a lot of explaining to do.

Of course the panel couldn’t give much away because, and let’s face it, what fun would that be? What they could share was their thoughts on characters and storyline without facing the wrath of Sutter and James.

The panel included co-creator Elgin James, executive producer Kevin Dowling, JD Pardo, Clayton Cardenas, Edward James Olmos, Sarah Bolger, Michael Irby, Antonio Jaramillo, Raoul Max Trujillo, Danny Pino, Emilio Rivera, Frankie Loyal, Joseph Lucero and Vincent Rocco Vargas along with moderator Lynette Rice.

EZ is in deep now and there is no turning back right JD [Pardo]?

JDP: There is no turning back and we are going full throttle. I think what is going to be surprisingly easy it’s going to be for EZ. 

Michael Irby, your hammer thing is like Thor’s, how heavy is that weapon?

MI: It’s about eight pounds right there. 

EJO: It’s a judge, jury and executioner right there.

There are so many awesome key moments to talk about. [The scene were Galindo extracts information in a ‘special’ way that is very graphic] 

DP: To play a character that has so much rage to be a family man and yet be capable of that [bad things] is a gift. 

That must have taken some serious special effects.

ER: Who said those are special effects? [The crowd cheers]

EJ: Actually is just shows how bad-ass Miguel Galindo is and we wanted that iconic scene. Also I think everyone loves Danny Pino and we also wanted to show you a very different Danny Pino, one that people haven’t seen before.

DP: I tell you what, reading that scene from the very beginning set the tone for Miguel and what he is capable of.

A few kids lost their lives in season one.

EJ: Carla Baratta who plays Adelita couldn’t be here so let the character of Angel (Clayton Cardenas) answer that.

CC: If you guys remember this from season one, this little rat was infiltrating us and this is how we handle rats.

It was a big deal because you did kill a kid, was there any pushback from the networks on that?

JDP: No, the kid took it all.

EJ: They trust Kurt Sutter and they trust what we are doing that it isn’t gory just to be gory or violent just to be violent. It is part of a certain story and in this world it happens.

JDP: It was interesting because you have to imagine it. You have to pretend and have all the senses to imagine that horrible feeling. It is part of this dark world the Mayans are in. 

EJ: One of the things with our show is that we have inherited a violent language with SONS OF ANARCHY that Kurt Sutter and some really smart people created. When the world is so violent how do you say something about the violence. We have to find really smart ways of going around the truth. This is one of those moments.

Michael Ornstein as Chucky comes to MAYANS M.C., can you go back to the call from Kurt that said ‘please join us’? How did that work?

MO: I got a call from Kurt asking if I was in town and I said yes. He said alright and two weeks later I found out about this. I went to my first casting fitting and here I am.

EJ: Michael is part of our soul and I’m so happy he could be here with us today. He is part of the ligaments that bring us back to the SONS OF ANARCHY as does our Padrino Marcus Alvarez. We have been so lucky to have Michael who is such a special, special person and wonderful artist.

Who started the whole ‘my bad’ that Angel does?

EJ: It was written in the script from the first reading we ever did and ‘my bad’ was kind of a throw away line. It killed it in the room so we thought ‘okay, let’s use it’ and it kept happening. Then his daughter Lettie had a ‘my bad’ and that was it. We had no idea what it was going to get into.

Does it crack you guys up or can you keep a straight face?

JD: My bad.

I mean he is very cute with it.

JD: He IS very cute with it.

Will you keep it as part of his shtick?

EJ: Everyone is going to have to watch to find out. 

I don’t know about the rest of you but I don’t know of any evil villain in pop culture history that wore French braids. Why?

EJ: I was eating brunch, which I never did until I moved to Los Angeles. This dude showed up with wild hair with tattoos all over his body and neck and he said, ‘Yo, Elgin!’ I tried to figure out where I knew him from, like was it Mayans, or gangs or prison – I had no idea [meaning Gino Vento]. He was living in New York and he kept saying he wanted to be a Mayan. He came in and read and we found a way to place him. I mean Nestor wasn’t meant to have French braids but we wanted to work with Gino. 

So where do the French braids come in?

EJ: Because his hair is huge. It takes a team.

Can you tease what we will see in this season?

EJ: Yes, we can see what Marcus Alvarez will be doing this season. 

Marcus looks good in a suit by the way.

ER: Thank you.

JDP: I think he looks better in a cut.

So let’s talk about a shirtless EZ.

JDP: They give you a few days warning before the shirt comes off which I appreciate.

Is that when you go all protein or what’s the plan?

JDP: I try to eat as much as I can and work out. Plus the guys are constantly giving me grief so it’s a lot of pressure.

I’m going to admit that my guilty pleasure of the show is all the men at the end of the table. What is it like to sit around the Mayans table in scenes?

FL: I think it’s the best acting lessons I can get from these gentlemen on stage. It’s a blessing everyday to be on set. I think some of the days with the guys is intense when we are filming. It hit me that even though we aren’t present in some shots we are present. So I think it’s a beautiful feeling, like Clayton’s poncho.

JL: Humanity is key and there is a lot of alpha males in this group. We embrace each other as a family and all have hardships that we relate to. It’s nice to be in this position coming from where I come from and to be in front of this crowd and be on t.v. Just lets me know that change is possible.

Mr. Olmos, you have made it your mission in life to make sure there is representation in both film and television and it culminates with this new show. In our political climate now, does it scare you or worry you that this is a show that portrays Latinos as bad guys?

EJO: It’s not that it’s scary but part of understanding that we are honestly looking at stereotypes and looking at people in a stereotypical way but at the same time with every stereotypes there is truth. There is a lot of truth in this show. Really, the darkness of the show is what is giving everyone energy to watch it. It’s like SONS OF ANARCHY is a show people gravitate to. This is a show filled with things people need to see. I believe in Elgin a lot and season two is a lot darker. Season three will be even darker. We deal with the truths of what it is we are working on. It’s a very difficult show to shoot.

DP: In terms of stereotypes, its easy to identify a stereotype and what I love about what Elgin and Kurt do is that they set up a stereotype and then proceed to break it down the duality within the character. Miguel is a sociopath and is an agent for change and even with the violence I believe is what I respond to. We are addressing difficult things to look at. We are hoping that through the writing and acting and the fans we are allowed some latitude to explore that and find our way out of it.

The character of Emily played by Sarah Bolger isn’t the angel we’d like to think she is right?

SB: Sometimes I’m an angel on set right? No one supports me on that. Emily was somewhat of an innocent bystander last year, her child was taken and her marriage was in flux. She didn’t really understand what she was getting into marrying into a cartel. I think in season two we are going to see her settle into that role to easily. Everyone is coming to terms with the situations they are in, who they are and who they are with. I think you will be happy with the choices Elgin and Kurt have made?

What’s it like to be on set with all these guys?

SB: These men are incredible to work with and we all respect each other. We go to each others trailers and hang out doing lines together. 

DP: She is one of the most prepared and smartest, instinctual and most fun scene partner I’ve had the chance to work with. She handles herself on set just fine. 

ER: Watching Danny and Sarah work together is like watching a master class. I am always learning from them. 

JDP: That’s beautiful because working with Clayton is the total opposite!

CC: I’m a wreck.

Are we going to see anything about the border play out in the storyline?

EJ: Kurt has always been very clear that we are not a political show. We will find a way to bring that within the story. It will fit into our universe.

JDP: I have to say that we needed to kill it with the SONS OF ANARCHY fans because we wouldn’t be here without them. Those actors, cast, crew and production – we are so grateful that they’ve given us this opportunity. We run into each other at auditions and usually competing, now we have a place where we can work together. Hopefully we can also create opportunities for others.

EJO: I want to thank a thousand times over Elgin, Kurt and the writing staff. You have to realize something, when we see our strips; we see it at the table read. We see the script when we sit down at the table to read it. We are shocked like you guys. There are tears, laughter and real anxiety. Without the writers we’d have nothing to say. 

Will Nero ever make an appearance?

EJ: You never know. We are really careful about the mythology that was created so we are careful about picking our time. Chucky was our first one obviously and we got him. Of course Happy is now part of it as well. Names get brought up a lot but we will see where the show takes us.

When is EZ going to go from being a Prospect to a Member?

MI: I think I will decide that. When he learns to ride a motorcycle.

JDP: Prospect life is hard but it’s a journey to get there. With SONS OF ANARCHY Jax was the Vice President and jumped right into it. Season one is the rise of EZ and see how his journey progresses.

That’s what Season Two will bring as EZ continues his journey with the Mayans but there is so much more as Galindo still runs the cartel, Alvarez is now part of it, Emily finds her place, Angel still has a story and oh so much more!

Now that you have heard from the cast about their first season, it’s time to catch up as MAYANS M.C.: The Complete First Season is out DVD filled with every moment. Get your helmet ready because season two of MAYANS M.C. on FX September 3rd is about to unravel even more secrets, stories and surprises.


STRANGER THINGS Season 3 Brings More Frights in Friendship

Jeri Jacquin

Currently on Netflix with its continuing story is the highly successful and long awaited STRANGER THINGS Season 3. 

It is 1985 and Hawkins has fallen to shopping malls causing the shops in town to begin closing. The Starcourt Mall is now the hangout for everyone who wants to see and be seen. Mike (Finn Wolfhard) and Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) aren’t seen there much because they’ve been spending quality time together much to the dismay of El’s guardian Officer Hopper (David Harbour). 

Looking for parental tips, Hopper turns to Joyce (Winona Ryder) who is coming to terms with her choice to move away from Hawkins. That doesn’t give Hopper much time to deal with his feelings about anything. The rest of the gang - Will (Noah Schnapp), Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) and Max (Sade Sink) welcome Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) back from science camp.

At the nearby steel mill, something wicked this way comes and Mike is feeling it on the back of his neck. The power goes out and a weird creature emerges from the darkness. Max’s brother Billy (Dacre Montgomery) is on his way for a rendezvous when his car is struck by an invisible force and without warning he is dragged into the Upside Down. 

The tips Joyce gave to Hopper about Mike and El didn’t work out so well and Mike now fears to be around El. She doesn’t understand it but Max shows her the fun side of life with a trip to the Starcourt Mall and another way for El to use her powers. At the local paper, Nancy (Natalia Dyer) gets Jonathan (Charlie Heaton) to help her investigate a local woman who is having a weird rat problem. 

Dustin is still weirding out by the hilltop transmission that sounds like Russian and convinces Steve (Joe Keery) to help figure it out. What they both don’t expect is that Robin (Maya Hawke) who works with Steve is more than happy to lend her language ear to the problem at hand.

Discovering the joys of the mall, El and Max decide to spy on the guys again with powers but Eleven only discovers that Billy may be responsible for a missing lifeguard. Billy is changing and he can’t explain why he is making dangerous choices. Hopper finally asks Joyce on a date but she loses track of time when her refrigerator magnets lose their magnetism. 

Dustin, Steve and Robin make a chilling discovery when they see Russians moving shipments of mysterious crates down into the mall. Nothing is going to stop these three from uncovering what is going on below their town and they find help from the very smart and no-nonsense Erica (Priah Ferguson).

What they don’t know is that Joyce and Hopper have gone to high school teacher Murray Bauman (Brett Gelman) for answers about the magnets. It leads them back to the place they didn’t want to ever go again. That’s when they take Russian scientist Dr. Alexi (Alec Utgoff) sort of hostage to get answers as to what is happening but they are being chased mercilessly.

Nancy and Jonathan are still trying to discover what has happened to the source of their story. Once at the hospital, the two are also attacked by something, well, gooey that comes together to create an insanely large beast! Still below the mall, Steve and Robin are interrogated by Russians but Dustin and Erica save the date. 

Now above ground, they all manage to come together to put the pieces of the monster puzzle together. El discovers from Billy the exact location of the beast and now a plan is formed as the gang handles the food court, Dustin handles the communications while Joyce and Hopper take on the reason for all of this happening again.

What the Russians and the monster don’t realize is that this group isn’t afraid of taking hard knocks and they have El on their side!

Brown as Eleven is growing up so fast and under the protection of her guardian and new boyfriend. Her world is still relatively small until Max shows her what she’s been missing. Of course that doesn’t last long but Brown has made the character of Eleven her very own and I love when she embraces her powers. 

Wolfhard as Mike is smitten with Eleven and wants to spend every minute with her. Of course this doesn’t set well with his buddies, especially with Will. The other person it doesn’t make happy is Harbour as Officer Hopper. Trying to keep his ‘fatherly’ instincts in check, it is policeman instincts that take over and are a little harsher than poor Mike can take. Harbour is a little more intense this season but then again I think I would be too if the town I’m responsible for can’t catch a break.

Matarazzo as Dustin returns from science camp with a new outlook and a new love even though no one believes him. I adore Matarazzo because he is quick and hilarious all rolled into mischievous eyes and a quirky smile. Keery as Steve is thrilled to see Dustin as their friendship finds another level – that of Russians and being a hero to the town. Hawke as Robin is a breath of fresh air and don’t like the ice cream costume fool you. She’s smart as a whip and has a secret of her own. 

Ryder as Joyce is still dealing with the death of Bob Newby and can’t quite catch on to Hopper’s intentions. The one thing she is sure of and that’s there is a creepy in Hawkins that she knows all too well. Ryder continues to give her character everything I remember about Moms of 1985. Schnapp as Will understands the creepy as it tends to bring goose bumps to the back of his neck. Of course he’d rather be playing D&D with his friends but they all have other plans. 

McLaughlin as Lucas keeps busy with his relationship with Max but is also surprised when Ferguson as sister Erica joins the mix and madness. Ferguson as Erica is smart, doesn’t take any garbage from anyone and has a thing for ice cream which is a good thing for Steve, Robin and Dustin! Sink as Max is a fiery redhead who has the chance to solidify her friendship with El through fashion and boy advice. Montgomery as brother Billy gets the intensity award this season! He lives through the creature and throughout the season it just gets worse and worse. What a great role for the season! 

Dyer as Nancy smells a story and nothing or no one is going to get in the way of her investigating. Heaton as Jonathan doesn’t want to follow Dryer’s character but it all starts to make horrible sense and he can’t turn away. Gelman as teacher Murray Bauman carries all the science and language and finds himself deep into all that is happening to the town, what’s under the town and the people in it. Utgoff as Dr. Alexi thinks he holds all the cards so get the man a cherry slurpee and get on with it!

Other cast include Cara Buono as Karen Wheeler, Joe Chrest as Ted Wheeler, Andrey Ivchenko as Grigori, Cary Elwes as Mayor Kline, Peggy Miley as Mrs. Driscoll, Jake Busey as Bruce, Francesca Reale as Heather Holloway, Michael Park as Tom Holloway, Rob Morgan as Officer Powell, Arthur Darbinyan as Dr. Zharkov and Misha Kuznetsov as Ozerov.

The episodes include Chapter One: Suzie Do You Copy?, Chapter Two: The Mall Rats, Chapter Three: The Case of the Missing Lifeguard, Chapter Four: The Sauna Test, Chapter Five: The Flayed, Chapter Six: E. Pluribus Unum, Chapter Seven: The Bite and Chapter Eight: The Battle of Starcourt. 

Season 3 of STRANGER THINGS has to be the most intense yet and with that being said, watch carefully the last few moments of the last episode. That means Season 4 has it’s work cut out yet I think the writers have accepted the challenge. As these characters have grown older, I can’t wait to see what they all do next in the season and in other things. Brown already tested her chops in the summer film GODZILLA.

What I love best about STRANGER THINGS is everything about the era the story takes place in. From the outrageous clothes, shoes and hair to the music that I still embrace and listen to today. Wrapping the story around the setting of an era we still hold dear is so much fun and brings back memories for some of a time when things like bike riding, malls, friendships and big hair were more important than cell phones and texting.

All of the friendships are so endearing and even though they are growing up (both on and off camera), it hasn’t changed this group in the way they interact with each other. It is totally believable that they would have been friends in 1985, played D&D, went to the mall, and watched early zombie movies – all of it. This cast, these actors and actresses have given us a treat and when the final season comes around (because we all know its going to happen), we will be all the sadder for it.

The downside of binge watching the whole season in one day is that the waiting begins for the next season. Of course it will drag its heels making us all crazy with wonder and craving the first trailer of what is to come. It’s a pretty cool torture and I don’t mind saying so.

In the end – friends like these are amazing and necessary!

​GAME OF THRONES Final Season Brings the Answer to the 8 Season Question of the Iron Throne 

Jeri Jacquin

Currently on Digital from HBO Home Entertainment comes the final season of a series that has captured the heart of the world as we all became part of GAME OF THRONES.

Our time in Westeros has come to an end and that saddens me in a dual way. I came to enjoy my Sunday evenings all cured up with my yarn crocheting while watching (yes I can crochet without looking) the antics of heroes and villains I either openly cheered and jeered or even secretly cheered.

The cast of GAME OF THRONES is one fans have felt they have watched grow into their characters. From the first season even I wasn't sure what this was all about having not read the books but was immediately curious with each episode. I'm not sure if it was because I wanted to see if Sean Bean lived (as he tended not to do with his characters) or my love of period pieces but week after week I stayed.

The journey of the Stark clan with Ned (Bean), Catelyn (Michelle Fairley), Robb (Richard Madden), Sansa (Sophie turner), Arya (Maisie Williams), Bran (Isaac Wright) and the bastard Jon Snow (Kit Harington) didn't take long to be put under the thumb of the Lannisters’.

Speaking of a dysfunctional family led by Tywin Lannister (Charles Dance), daughter Cersei Lannister-Baratheon (Lena Headey), along with sons Jamie (Niolaj Coster-Waldau) and Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) made sure fans appreciated their own families more. Of course dangling on that family tree was also the kid most likely to be strangled by the masses Joffrey Baratheon (Jack Gleeson) amongst the rest of the kids.

Then there was this little blonde Targaryen girl named Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) who was traded to a very tall Dothraki leader in the form of Jason Momoa. Of course there is a history of craziness in her own family that she needs to come to terms with. That little marriage brought out the Mother of Dragons who flew her way into creating an army as we all cheered her on.

Of course behind the two families were such characters as Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen), Samwell Tarly (John Bradley, Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen), Lord Varys (Conleth Hill), Davos Seaworth (Liam Cunningham), Aidan Gillen as Lord Baelish, Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie), The Hound (Rory McCann), Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel), Bronn (Jerome Flynn), Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson), Melisandre (Carice van Houten), and the beloved Hodor (Kristian Nairn).

There are so many characters to name that I just don't have enough room or time to write this all out so let’s move on and know that I am giving credit to every character as they are due with our humble thanks.

Onward, each season the story line grew bigger and bigger, so much so that I couldn't wait to go to Comic Con and sit in on the panel AND happily receive a goodie that included an awesome bag and inside a book so that I could read what I was missing, Seeing the casts on panels, it was fun to hear them talk about their time on the show as well as trying so very hard not to give anything away.

As the story unfolded season after season there was plans, survival, death, secrets, destruction, betrayal, power struggles (with family and with distant family) and all in the name of the Iron Throne and who will end up sitting on it. We began with Robert Baratheon and his friendship with Ned Stark and ended up with Joffrey being the next king (and I use a small 'k' because it fits him). Joffrey was the kind of king who would burn the wings of flies with a magnifying glass while his mother Cersei stands behind egging him on.

That's when Sansa gets put into play between the Starks and Lannisters but there is oh so much more to that story. As the houses begin to shift and loyalties become apparent, the one person who isn't loyal to anyone is Tyrion and that's when I started cheering for him. Yes, I understand that he has a problem with prostitutes and he likes to spout that 'That's what I do, I drink and I know things!' becoming his (and our) mantra.

We watched weddings, funerals, battles, enemies from far away and enemies close up fighting for supremacy, lack of love, a few crushes, women being passed on and men being passed over, magic, dragons, friendships (both faked and deserved), honesty wrapped in lies, and oh so much more in Westeros. Our loyalties, like the characters in Westeros, were solid - until they weren't.

The break between season 7 and 8 was the longest break in the show and fans believed, as I did, that it was because the last season would be epic. We bit our collective tongues when it was announced that there would only be six episodes, and we bit even harder when we learned collectively that it would be almost two years before the end would happen. Okay, we are die-hards, we can take it…right….RIGHT?

And so we all did, rumors would drop here and there and speculation about what would happen in the final season kept fans going until the first trailer dropped. I think the world might have stopped spinning for a second or two when that happened. It didn't give us much but it was something and we were raised to believe that it was better than nothing.

Then that first Sunday brought us all back, and sometimes in groups, to see who would finally sit on the Iron Throne. Bets were placed, surveys taken, and polls done with different opinions varying with Jon Snow, Tyrion Lannister, Daenerys, Arya and Sansa being the top picks. Of course I had my pick which I will save till the end of this rant, rave or otherwise.

As the finale drew near, I put my favorite Westeros shirt on and filled up my Tyrion "that's what I do is drink and I know things' cup and prepared to see who would finally sit on the Iron Throne. 

In Season 8 Winterfell brings Jon and Daenerys against the White Walkers and the Night King. There are still secrets that are about to be dropped and Arya has a plan of her own. Theon decides he must return, as does Jaime Lannister to help in the fight for Winterfell and Sam reveals a startling truth to Jon. Euron is back in King’s Landing making sure that Cersei understands what it is he wants and that’s to share the Iron Throne. 

Jaime doesn’t hesitate to share what he knows about Cersei and Brienne is happy to see him. Bran sees Jaime and the time has finally come to talk about what started all of the madness. Bran decides that he should be the one to bring the Night King out knowing what he truly wants. Sansa isn’t giving an inch where her distrust in Dani is concerned. 

The battle against the White Walkers bring the soldiers, Unsullied, and Dothraki to put together their plan. Melisandre brings her own brand of help as well as well as Jon and Dani riding the two remaining dragons against Viserion. All those fighting see people they love fall and rise again in this battle that can only have one outcome. 

Decisions have to be made about King’s Landing as Dani makes Gendry a Baratheon. With his new title he hopes there is one person in the Stark family who will be a part of his new kingdom. Jaime and Brienne have a moment of their own but it isn’t to last an a particular loyalty can’t be forgotten. Jon tells his Stark ‘siblings’ what he knows about his lineage but it doesn’t stop the army from moving towards King’s Landing. 

Tyrion continues to stand with Dani as they all set sail when Missandei is taken by Cersei, there will be no surrender when her friend is taken. He also learns that Jaime has been captured and he will do what a brother must for a brother. Varys has plans of his own as well not trusting that Dani has what it takes to sit on the Iron Throne and that causes his betrayal. 

All of this leads to Dani doing the unthinkable, Tryion telling Jon that what was done was unconscionable and the Iron Throne still for the taking. It is time to finally see who will take power and what that future looks like for them all. 

Yes, that’s all I’m going to say because I think it’s very important that those who have not seen the final season have their own chance to jaw drop. So, what did we learn on our journey? We learned that absolute power corrupts absolutely so sometimes melting a throne is best and love doesn't conqueror all, in fact in Westeros love could get you killed and usually did. We understood many things about the trials of some characters and we embraced others who seemed un-embraceable. Twisted life lessons but lessons all the same. 

From the very beginning we all knew this was a game, a game among men and women for a throne, something that didn’t care about any of them was easily taken away. A game of life and death and there was plenty of that to go around from all the seven kingdoms.

We also learned that loyalty exists, friendships can come from the most unlikely places, that family (even dysfunctional ones) will beat each other up but let no one else do it and that magic is in the eyes of the beholder. All of these things are what makes us love GAME OF THRONES even when we are disgruntled by it. 

We will all settle in time, we will watch and re-watch until a comfortability sets in. We will wait to see if the prequels that are rumored will give us back our Sunday's evenings of being whisked away to another time, another place and another story and restore our suspension of disbelief.

In Westeros, after everything, they are beginning again. In our own imaginations let us hope that the choices made in the finale send them all on their way to a peace not known in Westeros for eight season.

So we should all take a collective deep breath and remember, there will be box sets coming of every season to enjoy whenever you feel the need to visit old friends and enemies. It should keep us busy until we see the first trailer to the prequel to GAME OF THRONES.

In the words of Tyrion and the truth is in it, even after everything that has happened in the years we've all invested in GAME OF THRONES, "even knowing what I know now, I'd do it again" - and we will.

LOST IN SPACE: The Complete First Season Spins in on Bluray

Jeri Jacquin

This week on Bluray from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment comes the iconic Robinson family who are LOST IN SPACE.

The Robinson Family are about to go on a journey that they would never have thought possible. On board the Resolute ship to colonize space is Commander Maureen Robinson (Molly Parker), former Navy Seal John Robinson (Toby Stephens), doctor Judy (Taylor Russell), mechanic Penny (Mina Sundwall) and 11 year old Will Robinson (Maxwell Jenkins). Also aboard is the Don West (Ignacio Serricchio) and Dr. Smith (Parker Posey).

When their ship is attacked and the Robinson family race to board Jupiter 2 and are hurled through space landing on ice but begins to feel it sinking. Judy tries to get the power back up on the ship as Penny races to try and save their mother who is injured. Will wanders outside only to fall down a deep hole that turns up a space ship and a robot that is out of whack. Being the tinkerer he is there is a new member to the gang. 

Don West and Smith also survived the Resolute attack and after landing begin looking for survivors. Back with the Robinsons, the Robot is helping the family not only with the ice surrounding their ship but creates a mental connection with young Will. In that connection they all discover what happened to the Resolute. Outside a storm is brewing and a flare brings Dr. Smith to the ship.

The story of how Dr. Smith came to be on the ship in the first place and the question is whether the Robinson family are in danger because of it. Still working to get the ship working, it is Robot who takes it upon himself to fix the issues and get it off the ice. That is when a communication comes through of other survivors as they all try to connect for rescue.

Moving the ship from the ice to a more stable place, Will and Smith have a conversation about Robot. What the young man doesn’t know is that Smith has plans for trying to get the robot away from Will. Another problem is that creatures are consuming the ships fuel which is making a getaway impossible. Vijay Dhar (Ajay Friese) comes from another survivors group and Penny is taken with him.

Maureen discovers a black hole that is close to the sun making life for them more difficult once again. Vijay’s father and Don get to their ship in the desert and discover there are no creatures taking fuel but Don finds out who Dr. Smith really is and shares that with Judy but not before chaos is created and John is injured.

When confronted about John’s injury, Dr. Smith believes that Vijay’s father Victor is to blame. John and Maureen take out the rover but a tar pit sends them to the bottom and they have time to talk about family issues. In the meantime Don and Victor are trying to salvage the fuel after an accident with the tanker. With all that is going on, Dr. Smith has a plan in motion.

Victor wants to get off the planet because of its instability but Maureen and John know the launch needs more done for it to be successful. They receive a message from the Resolute that time is crucial and Don realizes he must pilot the ship if they are all to survive. Of course Dr. Smith has other plans!

When things go wrong Will is not going to believe it is impossible to make things right, especially when he discovers that the rocks he’s found are an answer. Maureen is in the middle of realizing that Dr. Smith can’t be trusted and when she can’t be found, Judy sets out to find both of them. There is also a reason for the attack on the Resolute and the Robot’s role become clearer and far more dangerous than the Robinson’s realize.

The Resolute has been sent a message that the survivors are about to launch off the planet. What they know now about Robot and the story of it all comes to a head when Will is saved from the grips of Dr. Smith and in a flash the engine aboard Jupiter 2 pushes them away from the Resolute to somewhere only Will recognizes.

Danger Will Robinson!

Parker as Maureen Robinson wants to be part of the colony and have her family part of the journey. She has her hands full once everything goes crazy because now there are others that have also survived and in the same predicament. Stephens as John Robinson goes along with Maureen to leave their home. There are issues with them and they aren’t about to get any better under these circumstances.

Russell as Judy is smart and very aware of what is happening and how it affects them all. Trying to keep everyone medically safe is almost as much a challenge as just keeping them plainly safe. Sundwall as Penny is definitely a Robinson and knows what she is doing. Serricchio as Don doesn’t start out with the Robinsons but all too soon 

Jenkins as 11-year-old Will Robinson is amazing and brings the human emotion to the series that sometimes gets lost in the action and adventure of it all. His relationship with Robot scares everyone but Will. Posey as Dr. Smith is about as manipulative and destructive as any character can be without getting her hands dirty. Clearly this gal has issues and she’s going to make sure everyone else pays for those issues. 

Other cast include Amelia Burstyn as Diane, Raza Jaffrey as Victor Dhar, Sibongile Mlambo as Angela, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa as Hiroki, Kiki Sukezane as Aiko, Yukari Komatsu as Naoko, Adam Reid as Peter Beckert, Shaun Parkes as Captain Radic, Douglas Hodge as Hastings and Brian Steele as The Robot.

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment brings award-winning global product and new entertainment to DVD, Bluray, and Digital HD. There amazing collection offers fans an opportunity to expand their own home libraries with the best films. To discover what other titles they have please visit www.fox.com.

The Bluray Special Features include “No Place to Hide” – Colorized Unaired Pilot from the Original Series, Deleted Scenes, Bill and Max: Lost and Found in Space, Bill Mumy Visits the Jupiter 2, Designing the Robot and Lost in Space Sizzle. 

Episodes include: Impact, Diamonds in the Sky, Infestation, The Robinsons Were Here, Transmission, Eulogy, Pressurized, Trajectory, Resurrection, Danger Will Robinson. 

LOST IN SPACE takes on the baton from the 1965 original television series. The special effects give this new re-telling a chance to bring the adventures in space a wider berth. The family story is complex and strained in moments but still the story of a family. The relationship between Will and the Robot are, as I am sure it is for many, truly something to see. 

I grew up watching the original LOST IN SPACE and it was Will and the Robot that captured my attention in the beginning. Then it became like a science fiction soap opera that was a weekly addiction in our home. Although the characters have had some revision from the original, the idea and the family complexity is still there.

It is a wide universe and LOST IN SPACE: The Complete First Season makes sure we are all aware of it.

In the end – danger will find them!

HBO Brings a Riveting Series with CHERNOBYL

Jeri Jacquin

Currently on HBO is a five-part series created by Craig Mazin and director Johan Renck to tell the story of the 1986 disaster we all know as CHERNOBYL.

In April of 1986, an explosion rocks the Soviet Union in more ways than one. A nuclear power plant known as Chernobyl has exploded and from the moment it happened, no one realized exactly how devastating it would all become. 

With a cast that stars Jared Harris as scientist Valery Legasov, it is his knowledge of what he saw once called in for his expertise by Boris Shcherbina played by Stellan Skarsgard that is riveting. Adding Emily Watson as Ulana Khomyuk, another scientist who fills in even more terrifying news that has so far rounded out those in the know about what to do next.

Director Renck doesn’t leave a single thing out in the way of devastation both to the building and the human beings left inside trying to discover how bad it is. Once Legasov and Shcherbina comes together, they are the brain and the mouthpiece that need to convince Mikhail Gorbachev (David Dencik) that action, although late, needs to be swift.

From the moment of the explosion, reality may be in front of the eyes of the crew and firefighters with an almost instant effect, but it is those in charge who fail to accept what is truly happening. 

That is another riveting aspect of CHERNOBYL, watching the average citizen slowly become aware that something is seriously wrong and knowing at the same time it is unlikely their government would tell them the truth. One woman who isn’t about to wait around for answers is Lyudmilla Ignatenko (Jessie Buckley), wife of firefighter Vasily (Adam Nagaitis).

There is no doubt that CHERNOBYL does not have happy moments in the first few episodes because there can’t be. In fact what the first few episodes show us is nothing short of a hellish nightmare filled with not only the instant horror but the horror to come for the people living around the plant and other countries in the path of a nuclear cloud.

Harris as Legasov knows immediately what they are up against but also knows that he has a partial gag in being allowed to speak. There is a presence in Harris’ performance that is just short of him wanting to scream out the truth yet has the good sense to tread lightly. That is until its time to not treat lightly. His performance continues to astound me and I can not wait to see the final three episodes.

Skarsgard is one of my favorite actors and in this role he gets a chance to play both sides against the middle. Almost immediately believing Legasov (especially when he sees with his own eyes what has happened at the power plant), Skarsgard takes his character to a dangerous place and that is in making decisions without the direct approval of Gorbachev.

Watson as Ulana comes in before an even larger disaster takes place. She becomes the second scientific voice of reason and both Legasov and Shcherbina trust her immediately. Watson continues to choose roles that are challenging and I enjoy everything she does and CHERNOBYL is brilliant.

The cast is filled with outstanding performances that also include Paul Ritter as Anatoly Dyatlov, Sam Troughton as Aleksandr Akimov, Robert Emms as Leonid Toptunov, Adam Lundgren as Vyacheslav Brazhnik, Karl Davies as Viktor Proskuryakov, Jay Simpson as Valery Perevozchenko, Billy Postlethwaite as Boris Stolyarchuk, and Adrian Rawlins as Nikolai Formin.

Also starring Con O’Neill as Viktor Bryukhanov, Donald Sumpter as Zharkov, Barry Keoghan as Pavel, Ralph Ineson as Nikolai Tarakanov, Mark Jones as Vladimir Pikalov, Alex Ferns as Blukhov, Michael Colgan as Mikhail Shchadov, Alan Williams as Chairman Charkov and David Dencik as Mikhail Gorbachev.

The show is jaw dropping and even heart breaking in the story it tells. When looking for a show that is absolutely worthy of your time, might I suggest you tune in and see for yourself as CHERNOBYL can be seen on HBO. 
​Finale of GAME OF THRONES Brings Emotional Duality 

Jeri Jacquin

Well, our time in Westeros has come to an end and that saddens me in a dual way. I came to enjoy my Sunday evenings all cured up with my yarn crocheting while watching (yes I can crochet without looking) the antics of heroes and villains I either openly cheered and jeered or even secretly cheered.

The cast of GAME OF THRONES is one fans have felt they have watched grow into their characters. From the first season even I wasn't sure what this was all about having not read the books but was immediately curious with each episode. I'm not sure if it was because I wanted to see if Sean Bean lived (as he tended not to do with his characters) or my love of period pieces but week after week I stayed.

The journey of the Stark clan with Ned (Bean), Catelyn (Michelle Fairley), Robb (Richard Madden), Sansa (Sophie Turner), Arya (Maisie Williams), Bran (Isaac Wright) and the bastard Jon Snow (Kit Harington) didn't take long to be put under the thumb of the Lannisters’.

Speaking of a dysfunctional family led by Tywin Lannister (Charles Dance), daughter Cersei Lannister-Baratheon (Lena Headey), along with sons Jamie (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) made sure fans appreciated their own families more. Of course dangling on that family tree was also the kid most likely to be strangled by the masses Joffrey Baratheon (Jack Gleeson) amongst the rest of the kids.

Then there was this little blonde Targaryen girl named Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) who was traded to a very tall Dothraki leader in the form of Jason Momoa. Of course there is a history of craziness in her own family that she needs to come to terms with. That little marriage brought out the Mother of Dragons who flew her way into creating an army as we all cheered her on.

Of course behind the two families were such characters as Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen), Samwell Tarly (John Bradley), Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen), Lord Varys (Conleth Hill), Davos Seaworth (Liam Cunningham), Lord Baelish (Aidan Gillen), Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie), The Hound (Rory McCann), Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel), Bronn (Jerome Flynn), Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson), Melisandre (Carice van Houten), and the beloved Hodor (Kristian Nairn).

There are so many characters to name that I just don't have enough room or time to write this all out so let’s move on and know that I am giving credit to every character as they are due with our humble thanks.

Onward, each season the story line grew bigger and bigger, so much so that I couldn't wait to go to Comic Con and sit in on the panel AND happily receive a goodie that included an awesome bag and inside a book so that I could read what I was missing, Seeing the casts on panels, it was fun to hear them talk about their time on the show as well as trying so very hard not to give anything away.

As the story unfolded season after season there was plans, survival, death, secrets, destruction, betrayal, power struggles (with family and with distant family) and all in the name of the Iron Throne and who will end up sitting on it. We began with Robert Baratheon and his friendship with Ned Stark and ended up with Joffrey being the next king (and I use a small 'k' because it fits him). Joffrey was the kind of king who would burn the wings of flies with a magnifying glass while his mother Cersei stands behind egging him on.

That's when Sansa gets put into play between the Starks and Lannisters but there is oh so much more to that story. As the houses begin to shift and loyalties become apparent, the one person who isn't loyal to anyone is Tyrion and that's when I started cheering for him. Yes, I understand that he has a problem with prostitutes and he likes to spout that 'That's what I do, I drink and I know things!' becoming his (and our) mantra.

We watched weddings, funerals, battles, enemies from far away and enemies close up fighting for supremacy, lack of love, a few crushes, women being passed on and men being passed over, magic, dragons, friendships (both faked and deserved), honesty wrapped in lies, and oh so much more in Westeros. Our loyalties, like the characters in Westeros, were solid - until they weren't.

The break between season 7 and 8 was the longest break in the show and fans believed, as I did, that it was because the last season would be epic. We bit our collective tongues when it was announced that there would only be six episodes, and we bit even harder when we learned collectively that it would be almost two years before the end would happen. Okay, we are die-hards, we can take it…right….RIGHT?

And so we all did, rumors would drop here and there and speculation about what would happen in the final season kept fans going until the first trailer dropped. I think the world might have stopped spinning for a second or two when that happened. It didn't give us much but it was something and we were raised to believe that it was better than nothing.

Then that first Sunday brought us all back, and sometimes in groups, to see who would finally sit on the Iron Throne. Bets were placed, surveys taken, and polls done with different opinions varying with Jon Snow, Tyrion Lannister, Daenerys, Arya and Sansa being the top picks. Of course I had my pick which I will save till the end of this rant, rave or otherwise.

Each episode brought out grumbling fans who weren't to happy with how the stories were playing out. The grumblings were a bit low until the infamous 'coffee cup' screw up that hit the internet like wildfire. It started out as funny until people begin writing that this isn't the first 'ooops' that had been caught in this season and many began to see it as lack of caring. That translated into fans feeling slapped with a freshly caught trout across the kisser by the creators.

Along with that petitions started wandering around the internet demanding that the entire 8th season be redone. I actually thought that myself but in a more amused way because we all know that it would never happen. With all the complaining it was only a matter of time before creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss tried to humor there way out of the complaining. I read an article about it and laughed myself thinking 'well this is one way to thumb your nose at fans'. 

As the finale drew near, I put my favorite Westeros shirt on and filled up my Tyrion "that's what I do is drink and I know things' cup and prepared to see who would finally sit on the Iron Throne. Yet, there was a nagging feeling I couldn't shake that with the way the final season had been going, I should just take a deep breath and suck it up that I wasn't going to get what I wanted.

That's exactly what happened, I didn't get what I wanted. Now its easy to say 'well no one is going to always be happy with the way things end on a long running series', tis true enough, however - that's not what disappointed me.

What caught me was the duality of feeling regarding the final season. So here’s the pros and cons of what went on inside my head these past few weeks (insert deep breath here, a crack of the knuckles and fingers on the keys…here we go!).

Let’s start with the downers shall we? What disappointed me is just the 'lack-of' I felt in the final season. The waste of time with these long drawn on scenes of longing looks or pull back camera work instead of putting the effort into talking, telling the story and really getting in there to let the characters hands get really dirty before its all over. It felt like a lack of umph that we would never have come to expect from GAME OF THRONES.

Each episode was about an hour and a half and yet there wasn't anything there that made me feel like my subscription to HBO was worth it. I felt like, without reading the final book, that there was so much room to play out the story effectively instead of special effects. Sure, I have no idea what it takes to bring a show like GAME OF THRONES to the screen and sure I don't have any idea how much it costs but lets be honest - that's not my job and it's not the viewers job to know that.

I don't want dark battles, I don't want long battles - I get it, there's a dragon that they used sparingly and you can't kill white walkers because the Night King has a wavering hands that revives them. Did I need a whole hour and a half of that? Nope. Did I need to see and hour and a half of Cersei staring at the destruction of Kings Landing? Nope. Did I need an hour and a half of a dragon burning innocent people into ash? Nope. Such a waste of time - my time - everyone's time. THEN, the finale ends up being an hour and 20 minutes? Seriously?

My remark on Twitter that the season was "lazy" is exactly how I feel, and even more-so with the finale. The only character I was riveted by was Tyrion because Dinklage showed me something, made me feel something even if I didn't like his choice. The only character I thought had a pair was Sansa and her declaration that was basically, 'screw you all, I'm doing what I want….period…so peace out!'.

We aren't even hours after the finale when, once again, a mysterious item shows up on the screen. Behind the leg of Samwell when the leaders bring Tyrion to them at the hands of Grey Worm - a plastic water bottle. Do you see what I mean by lazy? With each mistake that is on screen the suspension of disbelief is crushed and we only went to Westeros each week to be taken OUT of reality.

On the other hand…….

What did we learn on our journey? We learned that absolute power corrupts absolutely so sometimes melting a throne is best and love doesn't conqueror all, in fact in Westeros love could get you killed and usually did. We understood many things about the trials of some characters and we embraced others who seemed un-embraceable. Twisted life lessons but lessons all the same. 

From the very beginning we all knew this was a game, a game among men and women for a throne, something that didn’t care about any of them was easily taken away. A game of life and death and there was plenty of that to go around from all the seven kingdoms.

We also learned that loyalty exists, friendships can come from the most unlikely places, that family (even dysfunctional ones) will beat each other up but let no one else do it and that magic is in the eyes of the beholder. All of these things are what makes us love GAME OF THRONES even when we are disgruntled by it. 

We will all settle in time, we will watch and re-watch until a comfortability sets in. We will wait to see if the prequels that are rumored will give us back our Sunday's evenings of being whisked away to another time, another place and another story and restore our suspension of disbelief.

In Westeros, after everything, they are beginning again. Perhaps not as they wished and not as we wish but we are left knowing that they do go on in some form or another. In our own imaginations let us hope that the choices made in the finale send them all on their way to a peace not known in Westeros for eight season.

So we should all take a collective deep breath and remember, there are always box sets coming of every season to enjoy whenever you feel the need to visit old friends and enemies. It should keep us busy until we see the first trailer to the prequel to GAME OF THRONES.

In the words of Tyrion and the truth is in it, even after everything that has happened in the years we've all invested in GAME OF THRONES, "even knowing what I know now, I'd do it again" - and we will.

THE ORVILLE: The Complete First Season is Out Of This World on DVD

Jeri Jacquin

On DVD from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment comes a ship and its crew filled with adventure and awkwardness on the deck of THE ORVILLE: The Complete First Season.

Ed Mercer (Seth MacFarlane) is living in the 25th century with 21st century problems. After finding his wife Kelly Grayson (Adrianne Palicki) cheating on him with something blue between the sheet, it is a year before he can even talk about it. When a captain’s chair becomes available on the USS Orville, Mercer jumps at the chance bringing Lt. Gordon Malloy (Scott Grimes) as his helmsman.

Arriving on the ship looking spiffy, his happiness is immediately taken down a peg when he is told that Kelly has been assigned as his first officer. After a time acceleration deal with a Krill Captain, Mercer and Kelly find themselves trapped in a Calivon zoo! Alara (Halston Sage) is commanding the Orville because Bortus (Peter Macon) had laid an egg and needs to be a good parent with mate Klyden (Chad Coleman). Claire wants to help Alara but it is Admiral Tucker (Ron Canada) who orders that the ship return home without Mercer.

Bortus and Klyden are upset that their hatchling is a girl and turn to Doctor Finn (Penny Johnson Jerald) to make it ‘right’. The Doc refuses as does everyone else the two talk with about it. Upset they can’t get help, they turn to a Mocian vessel to have it done. Mercer even goes as far as to find one of their kind that has lived happily as a female and the choice between the two must be made.

Mercer and the crew of the Orville come across a 2000 year old ship drifting in space. They are shocked to discover that there are people called the Dorahl who don’t know they are on a ship! Their leader Hamelac refuses to let anyone tell the Dorahl about the outside world. The truth comes out when Captain Jahavus Dorahl (Liam Neeson) explains the truth. 

Captain Pria Lavesque (Charlize Theron) and her ship are saved by The Orville and immediately Mercer is taken with her. There is a nagging feeling that something isn’t quite right yet she saves the Orville from a weird storm. Of course she did it for a reason as Pria turns out to be a time-traveling artifact dealer and puts Mercer’s head in just as much of a wormhole as she does the Orville!

On Sargas 4, Grayson is sent to find two missing anthropologists along with Alara and Claire. Mercer is keeping himself busy bringing Lysella onto the Orville to explain about a dancing feed that will teach her the difference between opinion and knowledge. Taking a little break, Isaac, Finn, Marcus (BJ Tanner) and Ty (Kai Wener) crash on a planet light years away from where they should be. It’s not a pretty planet either as the local cannibals are hungry and the dinner bell has been rung.

The Orville is sent to mediate between the Navarians and the Bruidians. Mercer isn’t happy to learn that Darulio (Rob Lowe) is also at the meeting. Darulio has a pheromone problem and it has a major effect on the crew – most especially Grayson as well as Mercer, Finn and Yaphit (Norm Macdonald). Having such a big effect a battle between the Navarians and Bruidians breaks out and a they need something to bring out a cease fire. Grayson might also get the answer to the question that’s been following her for the last year – maybe.

After feeling guilty about the death of a ship mate, Alara wants to resign her post but Mercer refuses. The Orville is about to be hit by several interesting phenomena including scary clowns, giant spiders and murdering ship mates. Alara and Mercer have a confrontation that bring captain and crew to an understanding.

Mercer has to find a new chief engineer for the Orville and Grayson tries to convince him to give the post to LaMarr. Keeping that decision on hold, the crew comes in contact with someone who has plasma rifles that belong to the Krill. To get out of a potential problem with the Krill, Mercer discovers that his hesitation about LeMarr turn out to be unnecessary.

Grayson and her team crash land on a Bronze Age planet and they quickly realize they only have 11 days to get home or else 700 years will pass. Grayson becomes a deity of sorts and a theocracy happens very quickly. Mercer is in hot water with Admiral Ozawa Kelly Hu) and is told to stay away from the planet. Mercer and Grayson don’t listen (what a surprise right?) and see how much the planets history continues to shift. Isaac Mark Jackson) stays for a planet rotation only to come back to the Orville to explain that they are now on the right path and far ahead time wise!

MacFarlane as Mercer is unsure, depressed and neurotic as anyone would be when finding a blue alien in a wife’s bed! Getting sympathy orders to be the captain of the Orville seems like the lowest blow he could deal with but instead, Mercer takes it in stride and gets comfortable in the captains chair. Of course that moment of happiness is fleeting but he accepts the challenge that the Orville brings and it can only be done by MacFarlane. The guy still makes me laugh after all these years!

Palicki as Grayson is dealing with her own issues of guilt and bedding a blue guy can do it to a gal. Trying to make things right by joining the crew of the Orville certainly puts the ex’s relationship to the test on several occasions but I enjoy the banter. Grimes as Malloy is the character I can’t wait to see what he says next. He is cocky and doesn’t seem to have a problem voicing his opinion on just about anything. I kinda like the guy!

Sage as Alara is smart and sweet which can be a bad combination. As the season goes on don’t let the interesting face fool you. Macon as Bortus is an alien with some serious issues from egg laying to egg raising. Along with Coleman as mate Klyden, this is a family that needs to figure things out quick as space waits for no one. Jerald as Finn is always one step back watching the craziness the crew comes up with and tries to guide when she can and stays out of the mayhem when necessary.

Other cast include J. Lee as Lt. John LaMarr, Gavin Lee as Nurse Park, Mike Henry as Dann, Brian George as Doctor Aronov, Victor Garber as Admiral Halsey, Jeffrey Tambor as Ben Mercer, Holland Taylor as Jeannie Mercer, Rena Owen as Heveena, James Horan as Sazeron, Steven Culp as Wilks, and Brian Thompson as Drogen.

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment brings award-winning global product and new entertainment to DVD, Bluray, and Digital HD. There amazing collection offers fans an opportunity to expand their own home libraries with the best films. To discover what other titles they have please visit www.fox.com. 

The DVD episodes include Old Wounds, Command Performance, About a Girl, If the Stars Should Appear, Pria, Krill, Majority Rule, Into the Fold, Cupid’s Dagger, Firestorm, New Dimensions and Mad Idolatry.

The Special Features include Q&A with Cast and Creative Team from PaleyFest 2018, Inside Look, Directed By, The First Six Missions, Designing the Future, The Orville Takes Flight, The Science of The Orville: Quantum Drive and Alien Life, Crafting Aliens and A Better Tomorrow. 

THE ORVILLE is such a good time and I want more. The cast of characters and the actors that portray them are spot on and actually look like they are enjoying it more than they probably should be allowed to. Having so many guests on the show also means that the street-cred of the crew is universal.

In the midst of the comedy there are subtle issue tackling bits of space housecleaning that are sure to catch anyone’s attention. Prime example is Bortus and Klyden raising a female in what clearly is a male dominated alien species but its also not without its secrets and its idea of acceptance.

So this is the perfect cold weather marathoning series to watch in prep for a second season that is certainly sure to have even more outrageous aliens and Captain Mercer at the helm. I mean really, would we have it any other way? I’m all in!

THE ORVILLE Season Two is docking to your television set in the new year!

In the end – they are our future gawd help us!


SHARP OBJECTS Gives Twists and Turns a New Meaning

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray and Digital from HBO Home Entertainment, director Jean-Marc Vallee based on the book by Gillian Flynn is family dysfunction with SHARP OBJECTS.

Camille Preaker (Amy Adams) is a reporter with her own unique set of problems that she drowns in alcohol. When editor boss/friend Frank (Miguel Sandoval) asks her to cover the story of two girls who were killed in her hometown of Wind Gap, Camille goes but not without hesitation.

The first reason to be wary is the tension filled relationship Camille has with mother Adora (Patricia Clarkson) and strained step-father Alan (Henry Czerny). Going to stay in the family home, the only person who seems happy to see her is little sister Amma (Eliza Scanlen). All of this brings Camille to flashbacks of her own young life and the young death of a sister Marian years before. 

Jumping right in to the story she meets Det. Richard Willis (Chris Messina) and they both begin to wonder about the murder of the two young girls. Looking for a connection, the local chief of police Bill Vickery (Matt Craven) is keeping his eye on Det. Willis. 

At home Camille notices that Adora still keeps Marian’s room like a shrine and that starts a conversation between the two that is filled with hurt and venomous words. Amma is behaving like a teenager as she tries to break away from Adora’s control. Coming home drunk, Adora instantly blames Camille and the bad influence she brings to the family.

Back to the story, Camille speaks to father of the second girl murdered; Bob Nash (Will Chase) who believes teen John Keene (Taylor John Smith) is responsible. That sends her to visit the young man but also meets cheerleader girlfriend Ashley (Madison Davenport) who defends her boyfriend fiercely. 

More of Camille’s life comes to the forefront and she can’t seem to avoid it. Her time in a psychiatric hospital, death of friends and hurting herself as a way to deal with it all. Adora takes great pains in making sure that Camille knows of the ‘trouble’ she has always caused and continues to cause. Especially with the town celebration of Calhoun Day and Camille’s articles about the murders become the talk of the event. 

To pay her daughter back, Adora takes Richard on a guided tour of their home and when alone, lets the officer know that Camille is dangerous. At the same time cheerleader Ashley is upset with Camille that she wasn’t given enough attention in the article that came out. Amma performs for the crowd and when she sees that sister Camille isn’t giving her enough attention, she flees sending everyone into a frenzy.

Adora decides that she has had enough of Camille and wants her to leave but wants husband Alan to do the deed. While out, she runs into Amma and her friends agreeing to go off to a party where sisters end up high roller skating through Wind Gap. While the family drama takes a turn, Richard decides to investigate Camille and find out what everyone in the family is hiding and why Adora considers her own daughter dangerous. In that investigation he also finds out what killed sister Marian. Richard had no problem finding people who wanted to talk and the paper trail to back it up. 

When Keene is arrested for murder, Richard is shocked to discover that he is with Camille. Feeling defeated once again, she turns to long time family friend Jackie (Elizabeth Perkins) only to discover that what has been happening is now moving closer to home. Feeling as if she is losing control, she calls boss-friend Frank who is worried now more than ever that Camille is falling apart and may hurt herself.

She returns home and sits for a family dinner where everyone is calm but sister Amma looks ill. When Adora takes her to bed, Camille also begins to feel ill. Relying on mother Adora, mother finally gets the wish to take care of her daughter as she tells Camille how much it all means to her.

What happens when Richard knocks on the door starts a domino effect into a shocking conclusion that Camille can not even begin to grasp.

Adams as Camille is everything that is stunning about this series! She carries the film through so many twists and turns and it is her undisputed talent that made me want so much more. Of course the finale had me as shocked as the look on her character Camille’s face when the whole story comes to the surface. Adams is an actress who continues to surprise me in her role choices but in SHARPER OBJECTS I can’t imagine anyone who could have pulled off Camille better than she. 

Clarkson as Adora is another actress who I personally have come to adore. She is bold, brave and also surprises and delights me with the choices in roles she plays. I first saw Clarkson in the 1987 film THE UNTOUCHABLES, the 1999 film THE GREEN MILE, the 2010 film SHUTTER ISLAND and one of my favorite and deliciously guilty pleasures Netflix hit House Of Cards. As Adora she is sharp and there are moments where if looks could kill – Clarkson’s beautiful eyes would leave prints on the two daggers!

Scanlen as Amma has me cringing from the first scene to the last. Actually she drove me completely nuts with her teenage attitude and mean streak with everyone letting her get away with a lot. But isn’t that what teens do? Drive us all nuts with their cell phones, sense of entitlement and sneaking off to do gawd knows what. Yet there are moments where she just wants her family close and the love of both her sister and mother. Scanlen made it all look so easy and she definitely gets high fives from me.

Messina as Det. Willis jumps right into the case whether the town sheriff likes it or not. He is immediately drawn to Camille but can’t understand what it is about her that screams secrets and lies. Messina takes his character’s job seriously and isn’t about to let anyone stop him from finding out who is killing teenage girls. Craven as Vickery doesn’t want help with the case and seems to have a strange closeness to Adora that Camille doesn’t quite understand. Craven’s character may seem laid back but don’t let the daily habits fool you.

Smith as Keene has a story to tell but it’s hard to make people believe you when gossip is stronger than the truth. Smith is a quiet character letting the town make their own judgment calls. Davenport as Ashley is a cheerleader who craves attention and believes supporting her boyfriend will make that happen. It isn’t hard to believe that a young girl would act this way and Davenport makes sure we buy into it.

Sandoval as Frank is a boss who is more of a friend to Camille. Wanting the story on one hand and worrying that he made a mistake choosing his young reporter on the other. Czerny as Alan is a man who cares deeply for his wife but is the strangest husband I think I have ever laid eyes on. Putting his wife first above everything else, he attempts to put Camille in her place but is only met with a fingers reply.

Other cast include Jackson Hurst as Kirk Lacey, Lulu Wilson as Marian, Sophia Lillis as young Camille, Jennifer Aspen as Jeannie Keene, David Sullivan as Chris, Reagan Pasternak as Katie Lacey, Sydney Sweeney as Alice, Hilary Ward as Becca Barbara Eve Harris as Eileen and Emily Yancy as Gayla.

HBO Home Entertainment has an extensive array of critically-acclaimed and groundbreaking programs found on Bluray, DVD and Digital HD. They have provided viewers with some of the most amazing programs with huge fan bases that include the shows True Blood, Sex and the City, The Sopranos, True Detectives, The Wire, Entourage and Game of Thrones. Launched in 1984, HBO is world wide in viewed entertainment in more than 70 territories around the world! For more of what they have to offer please visit www.hbo.com. 

The Bluray contains the episodes Vanish, Dirt, Fix, Ripe, Closer, Cherry, Falling, and Milk. Bonus Features include Creating Wind Gap: The Cast and Crew discuss the creation of the fictional town of Wind Gap. 

SHARP OBJECTS is an intense story that isn’t easy to figure out (thank goodness!) leaving every episode with more questions than answers. This is totally worth binge watching because I would have gone crazy in my own way to have to wait each week for the next episode. 

The ensemble cast is absolutely spectacular as each character has their own story to tell in a mix that resembles water but is really deadly quicksand. There isn’t a character in this series that I don’t absolutely love because of their uniqueness to the show and the ease in which they all drew me in so quickly. 

The intensity only adds to the mystery surrounding Wind Gap and sets a deep tone. There is no doubt that HBO has taken the lead in what is quickly becoming daring story telling and SHARP OBJECTS adds grit and not an ounce of fear in being dark and powerful.

In the end – going home was never so dangerous!

HBO Introduces Us to a Family All Wanting SUCCESSION: The Complete First Season

Jeri Jacquin

Now available on DVD from HBO is one of the most startling series created by Jesse Armstrong to hit our screens and a family in SUCCESSION: The Complete First Season.

The Roy Family, led by patriarch Logan Roy (Brian Cox) is one of the most powerful in the global media world. Adult kids starting with sons Kendall (Jeremy Strong), Roman (Kieran Culkin), Connor (Alan Ruck) and daughter Shiv (Sarah Snook) are still trying to find their place in the world.

Kendall believes he is about to become CEO of Waystar Royco the family business and sees this as a comeback from his previous life problems with addiction. Currently separated from wife Rava (Natalie Gold), he is ready to take the place of leadership. Of course he is in for a big surprised when Logan announces he’s staying on.

That doesn’t last long when Logan has an attack and it’s clear that Kendall is going to step in. With the consent of the board, he jumps into the position bringing along brother Roman. Upset by this move is Logan’s second wife Marcy (Hiam Abbass) who also refuses to let anyone see Logan.

That’s when daughter Shiv decides its time to step in and check on who Marcy really is. Shiv’s fiancé Tom (Matthew Macfadyen) supports her decision to try and see her father. The only good thing is that Shiv has her own life outside the family business in politics which doesn’t make her father happy either.

Son Connor is all over the place and sides with who ever has the most votes – on anything. His only interest seems to be on girlfriend Willa (Justine Lupe) who has a shady past that is often brought up by the others in the family. Watching the family dynamic unfold is Greg (Nicholas Braun), Logan’s great-nephew who is given a job to keep him occupied. 

As Logan is recuperating, Kendall is making moves when he discovers that his father is deeply in debt. Trying to make the company more stable, he makes a major decision that has his father furious. Tom, given a position in the Parks department, discovers there is such a serious problems that could come back to hurt him and uses Greg to make it go away.

Shiv and Tom are getting married and as that day approaches, she meets up with Nate (Ashley Zuckerman) trying to prove they can still be friends after a prior romance. Working together they want to help Gil Eavis (Eric Bogosian) become the next president of the United States and he doesn’t like Logan Roy.

Kendall decides the only way to keep control of Waystar Royco is by calling for a vote of no-confidence against his father. Getting the board members to side with him means pulling out all the stops and convincing them it is the right thing to do. When a disaster happens, Kendall and half the board members are escorted out of the building. That’s when he knows who he can truly depend on from this point forward.

Connor has found a place in the desert and invites the family to come down for a visit. Logan feels that it is the perfect opportunity for a little family therapy and a few photos. Everyone agrees to go except Kendall who hasn’t forgiven any of his family members for the fiasco in the board room.

Logan is furious when he learns that Shiv is helping Eavis with his presidential campaign, so much so that he decides not to attend her wedding. Shiv acts as if this is no problem but won’t stop working for Eavis either. 

He is approached once again by someone who wants to bring down Logan Roy and discovers that someone he thought a friend has been playing a dangerous game all along. Kendall also sees that there is an opportunity to get back in the game and after Tom’s bachelor party, begins to move once again against Logan Roy.

As everyone arrives at a castle in Wales for Shiv’s wedding, Tom begins to feel as if there isn’t something his bride isn’t telling him. It doesn’t help when Greg wants to clear his own conscious either. As the wedding approaches, they are all surprised when Logan shows up for his daughters wedding in grand style. 

Roman, who is still playing COO of the company, is pushing to have a satellite deal all worked out to prove to his father once and for all that he has what it takes. Conor decides that this is a good time for him to tell everyone that he wants to run for President of the United States which makes his siblings jaws drop.

After the ceremony and during the reception, Kendall learns that he has give Logan the papers that show he is once again out for the CEO position. He is then put up against his siblings to explain what he is doing but the conversation doesn’t go so well as Logan enters the room and lets him know that he is ‘nothing’. 

Shiv works out a deal between her father and Gil Eavis but the details are kept under wraps. Especially after now husband Tom lays out the disaster he knows about the family business. Roman’s satellite deal isn’t fairing any better and he has to keep that to himself for now.

Kendall isn’t getting any support from those who should be helping him through this latest battle with his father. So, he turns towards the one thing he knows works for him every time. When he can’t get his hands on the white powder, he turns to a waiter at the party who agrees to meet up with a connection.

What happens next is the stuff nightmares are made of and once again Kendall’s dreams are about to come under someone’s very heavy foot.

Cox as Logan Roy is absolutely, positively and without a doubt stunning in this role. There is nothing more frightening than a man who isn’t afraid of losing everything and Logan isn’t afraid of that at all. He has the uncanny way of always landing on his feet even when most mortals wouldn’t. I can’t take my eyes off the screen when he is about to set someone right or tell them off, either way he is riveting and powerful. If Logan Roy wasn’t so bad he’d be so good and it’s all due to Brian Cox!

Strong as Kendall is one hot mess of a man who is struggling to become CEO of a company that isn’t his. I mean truthfully it isn’t his but boy does he want it badly! So bad in fact he is willing to continually strike at his own father without thinking things through. I have to give him points for trying but damn boy, how many times are you going to go down? That’s what Strong does for this character, makes us root for him but when it doesn’t work you yell ‘stay down’ at the screen. With the shocking finale, once the blank stare has worn off, I have to wonder how long it will be before he is ready to go at it again.

Culkin as Roman is one step away from being considered for some kind of special room with a view. He is sharp, witted, snappy, sloppy and has a story to tell in the little bits and pieces of his sometimes out of sync trains of thought. You have to keep up with this one because you never know where he has been, where he is going and what the hell he is aiming for. Culkin is stellar and a force in this role absolutely.

Snook as Shiv is a woman who just wants to have her family without all the problems that go along with it. She finds safely in her soon-to-be husband Tom and gets to be a bit of a shark in her political career. Shiv is equally snappy with the one liners and doesn’t take smack from anyone – except her father. I am actually rooting for Shiv to end up on the iron throne of Waystar Royco. Snook knocks this role right out of the park!

Ruck as Connor is just completely out there and I don’t know that he’s ever going to be coming back. He is an agree-er with the rest of the family when it comes to decisions because he refuses to be confrontational at any point. He is okay with his girlfriend and seems oblivious to what anyone else thinks of it all but, the most recent jaw dropper is his announcement that he wants to become President. Ruck just takes this role and zig zags everyplace leaving the viewer unsure what will happen with him next.

Braun as Greg is a combination of so many of the men on this show. Presenting himself as a big simple, he seems to always need the help of his mother but slowly starts to rely on the Roy family. He allows himself to be somewhat abused by them all but has a moment of clarity that might just come in handy later. Braun keeps his eyes open and forgets to keep his mouth shut. Lets see if he learns his lesson on the latter.

Macfadyen as Tom is one of the most insecure characters I think I’ve ever seen on television. He loves Shiv but one moment he is drowning her with his insecurities and the next he is brow beating Greg like it is an Olympic sport. Once he realizes he has been exposed like fresh meat in a lion’s cage, Tom has to decide who to trust. Macfadyen is scary one moment, head shaking the next and jaw dropping to the end.

Abbass as Marcy is a woman I just plainly don’t like. I know there is a story mixed into this that hasn’t been explored so I’ll save my list of reasons I wouldn’t put up with her trash for season two! 

Two shout outs: Bogosian as Gil Eavis just because I’m thrilled to see him once again and his character has just signed a deal with the devil so I have to see how that’s going to turn out. 

Second, to James Cromwell as Logan’s brother Ewan. This isn’t a big role but it certainly has its moments where I know Ewan isn’t about to stand by and watch the mess without having a front row seat!

Other cast includes Parker Sawyers as Alessandro, Rob Yang as Lawrence Yee, J. Smith-Cameron as General Council Gerri, David Rasche as Karl, Arian Moayed as Stewy, Juliana Canfield as Jess, Dagmara Dominczyk as Karolina, Peggy Scott as Jeane, and Harriet Walter as Caroline Collingwood.

HBO Home Entertainment has an extensive array of critically-acclaimed and groundbreaking programs found on Bluray, DVD and Digital HD. They have provided viewers with some of the most amazing programs with huge fan bases that include the shows True Blood, Sex and the City, The Sopranos, True Detectives, The Wire, Entourage and Game of Thrones. Launched in 1984, HBO is world wide in viewed entertainment in more than 70 territories around the world! For more of what they have to offer please visit www.hbo.com. 

The DVD Bonus Features includes The Cast and Crew of SUCCESSION Break Down the Action of the First Season’s Heart-Stopping Finale and Anatomy of a Scene.

SUCCESSION has a strong bunch of Executive Producers including Will Ferrell, Adam McKay, Frank Rich, Kevin Messick and Ilene Landress as well as comedy television veteran and Oscar nominee Adam McKay. 

This series had me on the edge of my seat each of the ten episodes and I absolutely hated it when it was over. I didn’t want the madness to end. Let’s be honest, I feel like I did an amazing job raising my kids compared to Logan Roy and his band of out of control adult kids. That being said, I really wouldn’t have these characters any other way.

It is absolutely stunning how creator Armstrong could keep up with what these characters were doing while writing. I imagine a huge blank wall with a lot of post it notes and sharpie markings of all colors with arrows pointing every which way. Actually that sounds like a pretty cool way of keeping track of all the misfits.

Every time I thought I had them pegged, a big nopity-nope-nope would escape my lips. Even though I have a soft spot for Kendall, he had me shaking my head so much I think I actually have a case of whip lash. I mean seriously dude! Culkin brought me shocking laughs with his portrayal of a kid who just lets everything fly out of his mouth with absolutely no filter what so ever and I have to admit – I loved it. 

Snook is a woman after my own heart in that her character really is very strong and extremely smart but still wants the heart of her daddy on her side. Well lady, you don’t have that kind of dad. Ruck has the role of a lifetime in that he doesn’t have to fit into any of the Roy family molds, he just does him and he seems content with that.

They are bitchy, sarcastic, uncompromising, vicious, back stabbing, back biting, loving, secretive, under handed but they are family!

A family that needs serious therapy, although that didn’t work out so well in the desert, so I think the only way it would work is if they are locked in a concrete room with armed guards so none of them could escape and let them duke it out. In the meantime, you must, must, must put SUCCESSION: The Complete First Season on your Christmas list!

In the end – they give the term dysfunctional family a whole new meaning!

HBO Tells the Story of STOLEN DAUGHTERS: Kidnapped by Boko Haram

Jeri Jacquin

Currently on HBO is the stark and, at times, difficult story about the story that made world wide headlines with director Gemma Atwal’s STOLEN DAUGHTERS: Kidnapped by Boko Haram.

In 2014, in the small village of Chibok in Northern Nigeria, there was a school attended by young girls seeking an education. One night, they will be awoken to the sounds of gun fire as men claiming to be soldiers tell the girls to get up and go outside. Believing they were soldiers sent to protect them, it quickly becomes all to clear that these are not in fact soldiers, nor are they going to protect the girls.

Instead, it turns out they are Boko Haram, an Islamic terrorist group that has been waging war in Nigeria for several years. There plans are to take the girls and through a series of videos, the families are told they will be sold. A scattered few of the girls manage to escape but the rest are taken deep in the Sambisa Forest where Boko Haram has a camp. 

It would take world wide attention to the plight of the girls before people became involved. The Nigeria government was not swift in helping and it would be three years before an agreement is reached with Boko Haram and less than 150 girls are returned to their families. Now called the Chibok Girls, they are under the protection of the Nigerian government. Aisha Al-Hassan is the Nigerian Minister of Women's Affairs who visits the girls at the safe house and introduce the filmmakers to their living situation.

Hannutu is now 21 and she speaks about her anxiety and that staying at the safe house makes her feel better and keeps the thoughts of the Boko Haram away. Surrounded by the familiar, Al-Hasan explains that when the girls first came they were afraid of everything. The same government that is protecting them is the same government that controls the narrative about what the girls went through. Also explains to the girls that the documentary about their experience is being made yet they are not to answer questions about being in the Sambisa Forest because if they do, the girls that are still missing could be in jeopardy. Yet, a few of the girls manage to slip the documentary filmmakers their diaries of the time in captivity. 

The Northeast Nigerian city of Maiduguri is considered the place where Boko Haram began. Although the Nigerian military are in place, Boko Haram is also in place and not about to give up the city. The young girls from Chibok aren't the only girls being taken by the Boko Haram. Those that manage to get away from the Sambisa Forest run to Maidurguri and are called 'Forgotten Girls' like 18 year old Zahra. 

Hasatu Allamim of the city's Women's Rights Activist believe there are as many as 2,000 women and girls that have been taken by Boko Haram. Unlike the Chibok girls, Zahra does not have the same fear talking about her experience explaining what was expected of her and other girls. She tells of her own participation in the abduction of other girls as a way of staying alive herself. Even so, she is haunted by one particular young girl. 

In the capital city of Abuja at the government safe house, the girls wait for visits from their families. All of these girls have worries about what they have experienced, their emotional injuries and there obvious outward physical scars. Bringing in counselors, their goal is to help the girls with their transitions and finding that spot inside where they can become more than victims of Chibok. 

Parents and family make the long trek to be reunited with their girls. The kidnapping of the Chibok girls has also affected family members because life went on while they were gone and some of it tragic. Yet, when they see the girls, there are smiles and love open for them. For some of them that is. 

The Boko Haram have also taken over northern Nigeria and driven so many people out of their villages due to famine. That has brought them to the city of Maiduguri where the Boko Haram have infiltrated into neighborhoods were no one dare speak of them. That doesn’t mean the questions aren’t being asked about the other girls and their fate. The government insists that negotiations are still in play for the release of more girls.

What these girls have experiences is nothing short of miraculous in that they are discovering life again and making choices so that they can move forward. The next generation of children are caught up in the madness created by the Boko Haram as it is not just the girls they take. Young boys are trained to be soldiers and taken from their mother’s and families as well.

For the Chibok girls, the world is opening up for them as they are receiving help and an introduction back into the world. Education also awaits the girls back at a dormitory at AUN that now includes security. But the camps of fleeing villages form the Boko Haram are growing larger and counselors are trying to reach out for them as well listening to their stories of murder, missing family members and fear.

HBO has brought a riveting, informative and heart breaking documentary to us all. Of course many have heard the story in bits and pieces about what has been happening with the people of Nigeria and, for a brief time, about the girls of Chibok. As with most news cycles, it all eventually fades and we never truly know the story or the outcome.

Director Atwal pieces together the stories that these now young women tell, as much as they can or will tell, about their experiences. It is incredible that in their fear, they openly talk (as much as they can) about the day they were abducted and trying to find their way back into the world.

I am personally in awe of these young women as there is no way to ever put ourselves in their shoes. Their lives are forever changed, their families can only be relieved at the young women’s homecoming and the effects of the Boko Haram are far reaching and continues to be a destructive force in Nigeria. 

This documentary is worthy of being watched by everyone for its grace in the beautiful eyes of those who haven’t given up on the world when it would have been so easy to do but instead want to help others. These young women now see futures that, yes is quite different than they had ever imagined, but they see a future and that’s everything. 

Where are the others and when will they be safely returned – or can they ever be?

Prepare for THE AMERICANS: The Complete Final Season on DVD

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to DVD is the highly acclaimed FX series and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment offering of THE AMERICANS: The Complete Final Season.

The Jennings have moved on with life and in 1987 it is about to remind them of who they are. Working at a travel agency, Philip (Matthew Rhys) is giving all his time to the job. The same can’t be said for Elizabeth (Keri Russell) who has been working for weeks with a proposed Reagan-Gorbachev summit in the works. Claudia (Margo Martindale) doesn’t give her a moments break when she orders Elizabeth to Mexico to learn of new plans called ‘Dead Hand’. 

Henry (Keidrich Sellati) and Paige (Holly Taylor) are also living their own lives in boarding school and college with the latter preparing for her own training. It is quickly put to the test. Oleg Burov (Costa Ronin) contacts Philip and orders him to discover where Elizabeth went and why. 

Elizabeth returns and must find a way into the State Department to see CIA McCleesh and gets more information than she bargained for regarding the President. She also uses the powers of information persuasion to get what she wants from McCleesh agreeing to meet up later. When it goes wrong, Elizabeth is relieved to have Paige on her side but also lets her know that she could have blown it by leaving her look out.

Now it starts to get a little dirty as Dennis (Brandon Dirden) and Stan (Noah Emmerich) discover Burov is in Washington and need to find out why he is so interested in transportation. They aren’t the only ones to have to deal with him as Philip learns through their meet-up that things with Gorbachev aren’t going well. 

Claudia is keeping Elizabeth busy with a new contact for what they tried to get from McCleesh. Her gun isn’t even cold before she takes out security guards in the Altheon warehouse to get the radiation sensors they need. There has been a defection and it is big news.

Philip discovers that he might not have enough money to afford Henry’s school and works even harder at the travel agency and finally tells Elizabeth about it. Sex as a way to get information begins as Paige finds a Congressional intern and Philip is assigned Kimmy (Julia Garner) for a trip to Greece that will lead to a kidnapping. 

After a double hit, Philip changes his mind and tells Elizabeth what he has done. Claudia has other plans sending Elizabeth and Marilyn (Amy Tribbey) to find ‘Harvest’, a Russian code name for someone else working on ‘Dead Hand’. When Philip asks her to stop what she is doing, Elizabeth turns him down leaving him no choice but to go and help her.

Working together, Philip and Elizabeth get their person but not without cost. Marilyn and ‘Harvest’ both leave the two looking for even more answers in France. Before they go, it is mess cleaning time. Even though Elizabeth had previously thought Paige might not ever be ready for the spy game, she encourages her into a State Department internship. 

Philip finally discovers what Elizabeth has been up to and can not believe it but that has to wait as Gorbachev has landed in the United States. Using her intern conquest, Elizabeth manages to plant a bug and learns that Nesterenko (Alex Feldman) is interested in having no nuclear weapons and immediately the order is given for his assassination. Claudia finally comes clean about her movies and she turns to Philip for help.

When Father Andrei (Konstantin Lavysh) is discovered to be with the KGB and Philip narrowly escaped being arrested. Also in custody Oleg is suggesting that he was only placed in the United States to protect the Russian President. Claudia is furious that Elizabeth did not follow the plan and Paige asks again about her seducing interns for information and when she doesn’t get the answer she wants, Paige begins the name calling. No time for thinking, Philip gives Elizabeth a signal that begins a clearing out of their home.

Now, Philip, Elizabeth and Paige must make a decision about where they are to go but are sure that it’s better to leave Henry behind at boarding school. Stan has finally put the pieces together and has to make a decision of his own when it is confirmed that the two people he is looking for are right in front of him.

Russell as Elizabeth has come such a long way in playing this character. From the very beginning I was never quite sure what her motivation was or which way she would turn. That’s what made her character to intriguing and let me tell you, there isn’t anything she wouldn’t do to get an assignment done – some of it quite harrowing. Russell proved in this series why she got the role in the first place and there is no one else ever, in watching this series, could have done it better.

Rhys as Philip has the unique ability to show everything on his face while saying something totally opposite with his words. I have enjoyed watching his career blossom with so many amazing roles but I honestly believe it is the series THE AMERICANS that will be the standout for him. Along with Russell, the role of Philip was unpredictable, intense, stirring and even confusing but in a good way. 

Taylor as Paige has certainly grown up in this series. I always suspected that she would attempt to join the ranks of the life her parents were living; of course I was hoping she wouldn’t but there it is. Taylor’s performance continues to be strong until the end leaving a moment of question that I just frustratingly love. Selatti as Henry is the one kept out of the loop throughout the series. There is something amazing when you have one character that lives in what he thinks is the real world without knowing that it isn’t.

Emmerich as Stan has been the suspicious eye throughout the series and he has the amazing and unique ability to do just that. There were times I thought he was so very close to figuring it out and then backed off again not wanting to accuse anyone of something so serious. Emmerich, like Rhys, has made a name for himself in playing amazing roles and in THE AMERICANS he deserves to be recognized for every moment he has been on screen.

Other cast include Lev Gorn as Arkady Zotov, Laurie Holden as Renee, Darya Ekamasova as Sofia Bystrova, Yuri Kolokolnikov as Gennadi Bystrov, and Kelly AuCoin as Pastor Tim.

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment brings award-winning global product and new entertainment to DVD, Bluray, and Digital HD. There amazing collection offers fans an opportunity to expand their own home libraries with the best films. To discover what other titles they have please visit www.fox.com. 

The DVD includes the Special Features of Deleted Scenes, Inside Looks and Gag Reel which helps to lighten up a very intense series! The 3-disc set is 526 minutes of drama that will leave you guessing up until the very end – and it’s an ending worthy of such an amazing series as THE AMERICANS.

Also included are the episodes Dead Hand, Tchaikovsky, Urban Transport Planning, Mr. and Mrs. Teacup, The Great Patriotic War, Rififi, Harvest, The Summit, Jennings Elizabeth and START. 

What has made THE AMERICANS such a unique experience is the stellar cast that continued week after week and season after season bringing it all home to fans. Beginning in 2013, the Cold War series set in the 1980’s was actually a reminder to many of us who remember that time period. Another amazing thing that came from the series is loads of conversations about the characters and the season after season unknowns.

Created by former CIA officer and novelist Joseph Weisberg, he is also responsible for working on the series Falling Skies, Damages and Justified. He also won Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series from the Primetime Emmy Awards. Rhys also won for Outstanding Lead Actor and Russell was nominated for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. The TCA Awards gave THE AMERICANS an award for Program of the Year and Outstanding Achievement in a Drama. Russell won Individual Achievement in Drama and Rhys received a nomination. 

That proves one thing for sure – fans of THE AMERICANS are going to miss the series greatly but, when that feeling hits, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment makes THE AMERICANS easy to get into your own home library.

In the end – their dedication is being watched and the clock is ticking!

THE RESIDENT is the New Amazing Series from Fox with Season One on DVD

Jeri Jacquin

Just in time for the new season, on DVD this week from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment is THE RESIDENTS: Complete Season One.

Chastain Park Memorial Hospital is just like any other complicated hospital filled with patients looking for help and staff trying to provide it. Into the fray is new resident intern Devon Pravesh (Manish Dayal) who comes in with fresh energy. Assigned to third year resident Conrad Hawkins (Matt Czuchry) they both see to leukemia patient Lily (Violett Beane). Hawkins likes Lily and continues to help her with recurring problems. Also caring is Nicolette ‘Nic’ (Emily VanCamp), a no-nonsense nurse practioner that Hawkins seems to have an eye for.

Watching over them is narcissistic Chief of Surgery Randolph Bell (Bruce Greenwood) or, as the staff refers to him as “Hodad” (Hands of Death and Destruction) who is in under the gun for an incident during surgery. Hawkins gets the opportunity to talk with kids about being a doctor when the teacher collapses. Needing a transplant, the first of many conflicts with Bell about who can afford treatment comes into play. To make things happen, Hawkins has to leave Devon to swim in the ER alone.

Head of the hospitals oncology department, Lane Hunter (Melina Kanakaredes) visits Lily and to the dismay of the staff, discharges the young woman. Bell is coming to terms with a condition he has recently discovered that could stop him from performing surgery. Putting his needs before the patients, he quickly decides he isn’t about to help an undocumented immigrant with a procedure she needs.

Mina (Shaunette Wilson) is a young surgeon who doesn’t have the best bedside manner but is brilliant in the operating room. Constantly up against Bell’s ego, she knows that there is something wrong with him that is putting patience in jeopardy. Nic begins to suspect that Dr. Lane’s clinic where Lily has been suggested to go is a problem, especially when she sees an overcrowded treatment room.

When Nic shares her suspicions with Devon and Hawkins, Dr. Lane makes sure that she doesn’t have any more contact with her patience. With money for the hospital in short supply, a new investor makes himself known to Dr. Bell. Marshall Winthrop (Glenn Morshower) wants the hospital to get back on a paying basis but looks for suggestions in the most unlikely place.

Lily is back in the hospital much to the dismay of Hawkins, Devon and Nic, especially when it’s discovered that her functions are failing. As if she doesn’t have enough to deal with, Nic also suspects that Mina is doing something wrong that could put her career at an end and a athlete decides he can have his way with her.

Devon’s and Priya (Tasie Lawrence) welcome his parents to discuss upcoming nuptials but the problem is that the family is from India that still has the caste system. When the hospital decides to put cameras in the operating room, Bell becomes even more nervous, especially since his medicine isn’t working any longer.

Lily comes back to the hospital again for a reaction to medication and Lane is upset that the young girl has sought other medical advice with the support of Nic. After a dose of medicine ordered by Lane, Nic receives some devastating news.

Lane and Bell, both hungry for power in their own way are hooking up. Lane has woven her magic spell around him and he loves the pep talks she gives. Especially the pep talk suggesting that Bell replace the current hospital CEO and willing to help make that happen.

Lily’s parents decide that they want the hospital held responsible for everything their daughter went through. Dr. Lane, being quick on the draw, decides to lay the blame at Nic’s feet. That doesn’t sit well with Hawkins and Devon who immediately begin to look at the history of Dr. Lane’s other patients. Yet in the board room, Bell becomes the new hospital CEO and his first duty is to fire Nic.

Mina meets cardiothoracic surgeon AJ ‘The Raptor’ Austin (Malcolm Jamal Warner) who is almost as arrogant as Dr. Bell. Quietly and without a job, Nic begins searching the back history of Dr. Lane and it brings physical danger. Getting help from a friend from nursing school, Nic is mysteriously arrested and put in jail.

Hawkins knows there is a link and isn’t about to give up looking for it. Especially when Dr. Lane is recruiting more patients and Devon knows she is fudging the medical records. Once they have proof, they immediately go to the FBI. Now Bell must make the decision as to what to do next and plays right into the hands of the government and Bell’s new superior!

Czuchry as Hawkins portrays his character who never takes his eyes off the patient. A former soldiers, he came to understand that if you are going to help people – you have to be all in. That’s what Hawkins does at Chastain; he goes all in and isn’t about to let anyone, especially Dr. Bell, take health care away from people because it doesn’t fit the bottom line. I like Czuchry’s portrayal of this character because it’s strong, unexpected at times but always with the belief that the patient comes first.

Dayal as Devon is a resident who trusts Hawkins and the way he believes in the staff. He is also keenly aware that residents are not always looked upon favorably but it doesn’t stop what he also knows – that this is the only profession he wants to be part of. I am a Dayal fan so having him on a series means I just get to watch his performance grow and grow.

VanCamp as Nic is a nurse practioner who loves her job, has a thing for Hawkins and will do just about anything to protect the rights of her patience – even go to jail. VanCamp gives her character strength in many ways that equals the residents and even doctors who may want to challenge her ability to stand strong. I enjoy her performance and it’s not just a woman thing, it’s a do what is right by the jobs these professionals chose making their characters believable and powerful.

Greenwood as Bell is absolutely amazing. Trust me when I say that I wasn’t sure I’d be too thrilled about him playing what could only be considered a douchy-character roll. Instead, I am watching this stellar actor ride the razor leaning on the narcissist side to occasionally dip back onto the human side of life. He jumps from one disaster to another like a gazelle and I kinda dig it. 

Wilson as Mina is a woman who has done everything right by her education and equally right by the gift she obviously has for healing. She has found her friendships with Nic, Devon and Hawkins but also with AJ. Warner as AJ doesn’t have a problem saying exactly what he’s thinking but can back it up. Being at Chastain tests everyone but there are beautiful moments when he’s not being ‘The Raptor’.

Kanakaredes as Hunter is just the worst character anyone wants to see on a medical television show but there it is. Watching Kanakaredes waltz into Chastain and feel bulletproof, there are moments where I am stunned at the nerve and a cheer section for those who are not going to let her get away with it.

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment brings award-winning global product and new entertainment to DVD, Bluray, and Digital HD. There amazing collection offers fans an opportunity to expand their own home libraries with the best films. To discover what other titles they have please visit www.fox.com. 

The three-disc DVD includes the Pilot episode as well as Independence Day, Comrades in Arms, Identity Crisis, None the Wiser, No Matter the Cost, The Elopement, Family Affair, Lost Love, Haunted, And the Nurses Get Screwed, Rude Awakenings and the Raptor, Run Doctor Run, and Total Eclipse of the Heart. 

This series broke the ground running last year and hasn’t stopped for a moment. Dealing with the struggles of patience who need help and the bureaucracy that keeps the doctors and staff fighting are what the series is about. Of course there is intense drama and conflict that one could find in any hospital on any given day.

The cast brings the drama on strong yet lets us know the characters they portray also have all the human frailties. Even though Dr. Bell would like to think he’s one step above everyone at Chastain, I can over look him with people like Hawkins, Devon and Nic fighting the good fight.

This is a series that I see so much potential for in the stories that they tell. As a huge fan of the successful series E.R. from 1994, THE RESIDENT takes it all a step further and I can’t wait to see where it leads. Fox has given us another amazing series so if you happened to miss the first season, now you can binge quickly and catch up because the first two episodes of the new season are loaded!

The new second season of THE RESIDENT has begun and airs on Fox every Monday at 8/7c. Be there to see the staff, residents and patients work to make Chastain work for all.

In the end – it is the good and the bad behind hospital doors!

VIKINGS Season Five Volume 1 Deserves Serious Revisiting

Jeri Jacquin

On Bluray from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment is the epic and successful series that has brought a long forgotten culture to the forefront again with VIKINGS Season Five Volume 1.

Ubbe (Jordan Smith) and Hvitserk (Marco Llso) are now ruling over East Anglia and it hasn’t been that long since the death of Sigurd. Everyone begins to depart in different directions as King Harald (Peter Franzen) makes his way back to Kattegat with Bjorn (Alexander Ludwig) and Halfdan (Jasper Paakkonen) setting out going back the Mediterranean. Ivar (Alex Hogh) is on another mission to get the brothers to take the city of York and while there gives them a big surprise. 

Floki (Gustaf Skarsgard) has other ideas wanting to get as far away as he can to find something else in dealing with the loss of his wife. He lands on an island he believes belongs to the Gods and wants to bring others to share his vision of this new land. 

Lagertha is holding Harald in prison but all he wants is to make an alliance through marriage. Of course the Queen of Kattegat isn’t about to share the throne after working so hard to get it back. What the Queen doesn’t see coming is a rescue and taking Astrid with an offer for her as well – become a queen herself. 

Discovering the Vikings may be coming to York happens as Athelstan comes in a vision to Prince Alfred (Ferdia Peelo). The King knows it is time to bring his soldiers together to prepare for battle. 

Bjorn arrives in the Mediterranean and Sindric (Frankie McCafferty) thinks it might be advantageous to hide who they truly are. It will allow them to travel with a caravan meeting Emir Ziyadat Allah who greets them as a friend. When one of his men vanishes, the Emir explains about what happens to people who are disloyal or untrustworthy. Bjorn, Halfdan and Sindric find themselves in a precarious position at best.

Ivan continues to break the brothers even further apart after winning the battle against King Aethelwulf (Moe Dunford). Ubbe and Hvitserk want peace but Ivar, well Ivar wants blood and to be the new and only leader of their army. Ubbe decides it is time to return to Kattegat but Hvitserk stays behind.

Floki returns to Kattegat trying to explain what he has found and Lagertha isn’t listening to any thought of him taking her people. Once several of them have made clear that they intend to leave, she allows it with misgivings. What is even worse is that everyone on the ship is disheartened by what they see once arriving to Floki’s island.

Ivar and Heahmund (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) make plans to once again attack Kattegat and Lagertha attempts to make ready. Margrethe (Ida Nielsen) also has a plan of attack and that is to make Ubbe betray her from the inside so that a war is avoided and he can become King. She clearly doesn’t know Ivar that well does she?

Ivar and Heahmund believe that their plan is flawless and they too have underestimated their opponent. Bjorn is back in Kattegat to help his mother but there is another army that has also sided with the Queen. First they try peace and it is rejected by both men and as the battle begins. 

Heahmund finds Lagertha interesting and pledges loyalty to her but the battle is hardly over. Hvitserk turns to Rollo (Clive Standen) for help and Bjorn tries once again to find peace with Ivar and Harald but Ivar only sees blood.

Floki is discovering that being a leader of a new settlement is far more difficult than he could ever have imagined. When arson and murder are the first infractions on their new home island, Floki tries to find middle ground with a sacrifice to the gods. 

Ivan and Harald once again strike Kattegat and this time it is friend against friend, brother against brother and loved one against loved one as they all come falling down. Bjorn and Lagertha retreat waiting for a miracle – and they don’t have to wait long.  

Winnick as Lagertha continues to be as much of a bad ass queen as she wants to be. She certainly looks lovely in gowns and a crown but man does she wear armor well. Continuing her refusal to surrender Kattegat, especially to the likes of the blood thirsty Ivar, Winnick gives her character so many depths and dimension. I absolutely love waiting to see what she will do next.

Ludwig as Bjorn is trying to avoid confrontation at all fronts but finds that being away from home only brings different ones. Wanting to be the explorer of the family, he does dare to push the limits of being in a foreign land – until this latest outing. Skarsgard as Floki can’t get over the loss of his wife and knows that perhaps its time to start over somewhere else where the memories aren’t so painful. I think he learns a painful lesson about what it takes to lead people and might even give him an insight to all those years with Ragnar and now Lagertha.

Smith as Ubbe isn’t weak strength wise but he certainly can be when it comes to women. Brothers aren’t easy either for him but he chooses to walk away from Ivar. Llso as Hvitserk on the other hand makes a last minute choice that might come back to cut him deeply.

Franzen as Harald isn’t happy that his suggestion to Lagertha isn’t accepted or appreciated. So if he can’t have one queen, he will certainly hurt her by creating another from someone she cares about. 

The two characters that stand out this season are Hogh as Ivar the Boneless who proves that there is nothing to the name. Not afraid to fight or to take anyone out who tries to stop him, Hogh has made this role so deliciously evil and I can’t imagine anyone else who could pull it off. He does a credit to the role and makes Ragnar look pretty tame in some cases. Well done!

The other is Meyers as Bishop Heahmund who started out with the opposite side with his plots and plans – of course all in the name of the church. Seeing Lagertha might have changed things for him and, as we have seen with many Vikings, loyalty can change as swift as a sharp swinging blade! I have always loved Meyers in these types of era pieces, he is just a master with them and in VIKINGS its no exception. 

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment brings award-winning global product and new entertainment to DVD, Bluray, and Digital HD. There amazing collection offers fans an opportunity to expand their own home libraries with the best films. To discover what other titles they have please visit www.fox.com. 

The 3-disc set includes the episodes The Departed – Part 1, The Departed – Part II, Homeland, The Plan, The Prisoner, The Message, Full Moon, The Joke, A Simple Story and Moments of Vision.

There are also Special Features including Deleted Scenes and Extended Versions of All Episodes, The Creator’s Audio Commentary with Michael Hirst, I am Boneless, and Bringing the Invisible People to Life: The Sami.

What can be said about VIKINGS that hasn’t already been said? Words like epic, amazing, astounding, original, bloody, intrigue, twists, turns, character driven, treachery, back stabbing, family and so much more. 

So how does the creator of VIKINGS Michael Hirst tell us it all started? “Many years ago I was writing a film script about Alfred the Great, who fought against the Vikings. I was fascinated to discover that a lot of what I thought I knew about the Vikings was wrong. I knew nothing about their attitude towards women, which was much more progressive than most other societies.”

This isn’t the first time I’ve fallen head over heels for something Hirst has written. He is behind the 1998 Oscar winning film ELIZABETH and another of my favorite television shows THE TUDORS. It should be no surprise then that with as much history as there was with those two films, I would expect Hirst to dive into Viking history with the same enthusiasm. 

He found Ragnar Lothbrok in Norse history and discovered he was a warrior. What Hirst also discovered was a history about women, family and battle that have become the series VIKINGS that has made it into its fifth season (with a sixth not far behind).

So until that day arrives, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment invites you to revisit the set up of a battle for the one thing they all want – revenge, the crown and Kattegat!

In the end – drawing blood has nothing to do with family!

THIS IS US Season Two is on DVD and it Should Come with Kleenex!

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to DVD from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment is the amazing Pearson family and the hit series from NBC with This is Us: The Complete Second Season.

The season begins with Randall’s (Sterling K. Brown) 37th birthday with the news to wife that he wants to adopt as Beth (Susan Watson) convinces her husband it might be better to open their home to an older child. Kate (Chrissy Metz) is still dealing with her weight issues and struggles even more when going to an audition where all the girls are thin. Kevin (Justin Hartley) tries to bring his sister some comfort when Toby (Chris Sullivan) tells him to pump the breaks a little and let him be there for Kate. The memories come flooding back of a time when Rebecca (Mandy Moore) deals with Jack’s (Milo Ventimiglia) drinking and a tragedy for the Pearson’s.

Kevin deals with his series The Manny celebrating a milestone but he wants out and leans on girlfriend Sophie. The family packs up and heads to see the live episode. Kate gets the call on an audition but doesn’t want Rebecca to know but it finally happens that mother and daughter must talk out their long silent issues with each other. The memory of Jack telling a younger Kate about his problem brings him and Rebecca to AA.

Kevin is back in front of the camera working on a film with Sylvester Stallone as a co-star but it also brings back memories of his father Jack. While filming him hurts his knee and pain medication is prescribed. Randall and Beth meet Déjà (Lyric Ross) who is a young girl from a home the two adults can’t fathom. Kate has some wonderful but scary news for Toby. All of this leads to a memory for Rebecca when her mother wonders why she treats Randall better than Kate and Kevin.

Randall works on earning Déjà’s trust and Kate’s news becomes family wide. Kevin and Sophie work in a charity event but he manages to make things chaotic. The relationship between Jack and his own father bring Rebecca into memories knowing that there is so much more to their issues. 

The ten-year-old Pearson triplets are trick or treating as Jack takes Kate and Kevin to see a haunted house. Not to eager to do that, Rebecca and Randall spend a little spooky time together. The flashes continue with Kate’s relationship issues, Kevin’s road to being an actor as Randall and Beth await their first baby’s birth. All of this leading to Rebecca reconnecting with Miguel (Jon Hearts), Jack’s old friend.

Randall is a year old now, Jack and Rebecca work towards full adoption not knowing that on the other side of town a man named William (Ron Jones) is entering a guilty plea for drugs. The prospect of long jail time is interrupted as the judge sees something in William. In exchange for a shorter jail time, William must agree to stay sober. Fast forward he has kept that promise only to discover he is ill and a knock on his door is about to change everything.

Kevin in his younger years had the potential to go all the way as a football player. Dad Jack encourages his son but also isn’t happy with his son’s attitude. That’s when fate takes its turn and an injury might change everything. That’s when Kevin learns that his father has seen more about the world than the young man could have ever imagined. Jack gives him a necklace that gave the father hope when he needed it most. Now Kevin has a chance to speak as an alumnus at his high school and it goes horribly wrong causing him to lose that which his father held dear.

Going to Randall with his problems, Kevin discovers that he has been neglecting Kate and her news. Flashing back she has no interest in college but tries to please her parents. Now Kate wants to do things differently but it changes nothing and the pains of her life come flooding back with a vengeance. Toby believes in Kate and wants to protect her from any more pain but finally lets it be known that his feelings matter in their relationship as well. Rebecca remembers the pain of Kyle and how she hides it just like her daughter.

Jack is thrilled to think that Randall might go to Harvard but his son is thinking Howard University wanting to feel more inclusive. Visiting the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Randall hears from his father and they share feelings about that ‘off-balance’ feeling. Now Déjà is still having issues with her own mother as Randall and Beth consider fighting for custody of the teen. When Kevin hops in a car he has no idea that his niece Tess (Eris Baker) is in the back seat when he makes another mistake.

After rehab, Kevin is with Rebecca who is now being watched by Miguel who has been quite during all of the problems. Not so quiet now, he tells Kevin how he feels about Jack and Rebecca as a couple and reminds him that no one is leaving because of his actions. William is finding a place with Randall and learning the story of what happened when he was a baby.

Now the home that Jack and Rebecca built for their three children comes into play as excitement, a slow cooker and Super Bowl Sunday goes through changes. Kevin is with his girl, Randall is with a date and Kate is working on her music. That means the couple finally have a little ‘me’ time. Presently, Randall and Beth buy the apartment complex where William lived and quickly discover the intricacies of being a land lord. Toby decides that Kate needs some place to put all the love she hides and Kevin tries to make things right with the people he has hurt.

It is 1988 and the Pearson home is in trouble as Jack is taken away to the hospital. It is the 20th anniversary of that day and Kate isn’t dealing well with any of it. Watching a tape her father made for her, the VCR damages it. Toby jumps into action to bring her some peace of mind. Rebecca and Kevin know there is only one way to remember their feelings – a favorite meal. Randall goes bold with a Super Bowl that is interrupted by a lizard. 

A Wagoneer becomes the Pearson’s new ride going to see “Weird Al” and then again to go to get an autograph from Alanis Morissette. The car holds memories for all of the family and a final memory along with Bruce Springsteen. 

Jack and Rebecca are surprised when their ten year olds decide they are going to do something romantic for the couple which show the kids how their parents feel about each other. Toby and Kate go to Vegas to celebrate their upcoming nuptials and this is a chance for everyone to get to know the new incoming family member. Instead inner feelings are finally shared and because of that a decision is made about young Déjà.

Her story comes to light learning that mother Shauna was raised by her grandmother G.G. and years later began using drugs. Déjà began her stint in the foster system and the forward and back of being with her mother Shauna (Joy Brunson). After a boyfriend practically ruins mother and daughter, Randall and Beth open their home once again.

The wedding is bringing Kate to the point of dealing with her grief and opening up her life to Toby. Thinking she is the only one with problems, Kate meets Toby’s parents and sees what he has been dealing with. From family talking about what they don’t know about and Toby showing his depression, what comes next only brings closer the fact that This is Us.

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment brings award-winning global product and new entertainment to DVD, Bluray, and Digital HD. There amazing collection offers fans an opportunity to expand their own home libraries with the best films. To discover what other titles they have please visit www.fox.com. 

The DVD includes the episodes A Father’s Advice, A Manny-Splendored Thing, Déjà Vu, Still There, Brothers, The 20’s, The Most Disappointed Man, Number One, Number Two, Number Three, The Fifth Wheel, Clooney, That’ll Be The Day, Super Bowl Sunday, The Car, Vegas Baby, This Big Amazing Beautiful Life, and The Wedding. The most amazing Special Feature is The Aftershow on all of the episodes is there in case you didn’t see them during the season. 

This Is Us is a series that has continued from its pilot episode up until last season of bringing the buzz. By this I mean there isn’t anyone I know that doesn’t watch, talk about or hand Kleenex around when it comes to this show. We love the Pearson’s and embrace ever aspect of their past that helps explain the trials and love they experience in the present.

There isn’t anything about this show that doesn’t resonate in some way with people. We might hate the fact that we cry but cry we are proud to do for the characters and laugh and laugh proudly at the silliness that resembles our own family in some small way.

This cast is absolutely amazing and it begins with Ventimiglia and Moore who have just rocked their characters and our minds to their very core. Every fan of the show has embraced Jack and Rebecca and it’s hard to believe it has only been two seasons. Each episode isn’t wasted in the telling of their past and present and I can tell you quite honestly that after each episode my friends and I do a number-of-kleenex we used for that episode. Trust me when I say we haven’t gone below three tissues!

Season Three of This Is Us premiers September 25th so now is your chance to catch up and have the Pearson’s with THIS IS US: The Complete Second Season as part of your home entertainment library. 

In the end – everyone has a family!


ABC’s A MILLION LITTLE THINGS is Going to Force Us all to Shed A Million Little Tears

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to the ABC line up this fall, and personally I can’t wait for all the new shows, is the first season of A Million Little Things.

The series opener brings friends Jon Dixon (Ron Livingston), Rome Howard (Romany Malco), Eddie Saville (David Giuntoli) and Gary (James Roday).

What brings them together even more is that Jon decides to do something that is about to change their lives forever. Rome almost met the same fate as his friend as he hides his depression; Eddie tries to stay away from the bottle and is in love but not with his wife and Gary works days to day to keep the fear of cancer at bay.

Delilah (Stephanie Szostak) must come to terms with why Jon chose to leave his family, Regina (Christina Marie Moses) discovers that Jon believed to much in her that he had a surprise waiting, Maggie (Allison Miller) also deals with a threat in her life and Jon’s assistant Ashley (Christina Ochoa) is hiding secrets from them all. 

Filled with fear, doubt, love, uncertainty, friendship, change, secrets and surprises – these friends and their loved ones are on a journey to discover why Jon did what he did and what that means moving forward. 

Livingston as Jon is going to be the ghost of the show in that we will only see him in the flashbacks of his family and friends. That doesn’t bother me in the slightest because Livingston is one of the most underrated actors we have today. His body of work has always kept me watching because he keeps taking on roles that challenge not only Livingston as an actor but me as a viewer. 

Roday as Gary is the first character in a series that addresses the fears of cancer for men. He is the jokester of the group with his witty come backs and one-liners but, as with most funny people, there is a deep well of fear that is going to bubble to the surface with each episode. I am a bit fond of Roday’s character from the first episode and I’m not ashamed to admit it.

Malco as Rome is the character that is going to let us know that sometimes even the darkest places can have moments of light. Wanting to get a movie made, he is feeling his life out of control and confessing to his friends how he has been feeling, those same friends he was afraid to talk to will be the ones to reach out with a life preserver.

Giuntoli as Eddie has a secret that is a big one and I have to say as the story of all the characters unfold, I can’t say his role in it all is going to come off so well. I’m not sure how I feel about it all but at the season progresses I’m sure I will have a lot to say about him.
Szostak as Delilah has so many questions about Jon yet the answers might be more than she can take. Raising a teenage daughter and young son, they also want to know why tragedy has struck their family and she is going to have some explaining to do.

Moses as Regina has a big dream that she believes in unattainable considering the circumstances she and husband Rome are in. It’s hard to be a chef and start a new restaurant but Jon believes in her and proves it. Miller as Maggie joins the group swift and hard capturing Gary’s attention straight out. The group takes to her right away and Delilah likes her immediately.

Ochoa as Ashley is going to be the keeper of all secrets I think and I don’t like the look of what she’s done in just one episode. Of course with any good employee there is going to be a modicum of protecting one’s boss but boy, she is going above and beyond the call of duty. As Truuvy would say, “I think there’s a story there!”

From the first scene to the last, we are invited to talk about issues that still, to this day, remain hard to talk about or impossible in some cases. A Million Little Things isn’t about to let that stay the fact for long and I welcome it. If the stories of these characters open dialogue (as I hope it will) then trust when I say this series is well on its way to becoming a stand out favorite.

Hold onto your Kleenex boxes because this show is going to have us all understanding and embracing the complexities of these characters with occasional tears. Diving into their individual stories is going to be complicated and bringing us even more questions and personally – I can’t wait.

DJ Nash is the creator and executive producer of A Million Little Things. Also Aaron Kaplan and Dana Honor are executive producers of the show along with James Griffiths who also directs the pilot. The show is brought to viewers by ABC Studios and Kapital Entertainment.

A Million Little Things premiers Wednesday September 26th at 10:00 p.m. on ABC!