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CSI -CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATION (Seasons 1 - 5) ***** Filled with extraordinary and unimaginable crimes that has to be solved based on the evidence found, performances of the entire cast are first rate, with superb direction and outstanding production value: The first season is available in two sets, featuring interviews, production information, and character profiles. The second season features 12 exciting episodes; the extras include a 37 minute cast and crew doccie, a going behind the scenes of CSI, set walk through and commentary from the producer, director and cast members for selected episodes. The features on the third season includes commentaries, documentaries, the CIS Tour, the CSI Shot, the Writers' Room and Crime Scene Field Kit. Season four's extras include commentary on selected episodes, 'Evolution of an Episode: Script' documentary, documentaries on 'Evolution of An Episode: Pre-Production', 'Evolution of an Episode: Production', and 'Evolution of an Episode: Post-production'. There's also a sneak preview of the first episode of CSI: NY
CSI: MIAMI - Season One ***
The first Season of this popular series is available on two box sets. Not as brilliant as the original CSI (Las Vegas), it still offers ample entertainment with its selection of mind boggling crimes that stimulates thought and allows you to try and uncover the truth by only taking the evidence into account. Definitely not for the squeamish. Features: The first set includes commentary and a behind the scenes 'making-off' documentary; set two includes a feature 'The Autopsy and Gun Lab Tours' and commentary on certain episodes.
CSI: MIAMI - Season 2 (Episodes 1 - 12) *** It still offers ample entertainment with its selection of mind boggling crimes that stimulates thought and allows you to try and uncover the truth by only taking the evidence into account. Definitely not for the squeamish. Features: Commentaries, The AV Lab Tour
CSI: NY (Complete Season 4) ***** Another solid season for "C.S.I.: NY" offers up a mix of excellent cases and serialized detective work, all topped off by the personal drama that makes the CSI shows so engrossing. The second spin-off from the successful "C.S.I." series, "C.S.I.:N.Y." follows the New York City-based forensics team led by Detective Mac Taylor (Gary Sinise) as they track down criminals in the enormous, dense and diverse city of Manhattan. The show takes full advantage of Gotham's world-famous and iconic locales, as well as the wide variety of residents, businesses and lifestyles, to tell stories unique to this series. The first season of the show was released on DVD in October of 2005, and was followed by annual releases. Though the team is on pretty solid ground professionally, their personal lives are frequently a problem (a trademark of the franchise.) Stella (Melina Kanakaredes) sees her trouble with guys crop up again, and faces trouble close to home, while Mac's relationship with medical examiner Peyton is struggling also. This year's big winner in the unlucky lottery though is Danny Messer (Carmine Giovinazzo), who suffers an unfortunate loss that sends him spiraling both at home and at work, affecting his relationship with Lindsey (Anna Belknap). Though Stella's problems feel a bit overdone at this point, Messer is great to watch as he tries to hold it together, as Giovinazzo projects a frustrated strength by playing his character's boiling anger close to the vest. The series continues to prove itself to be the most stylish of the three CSI series, using fantastic current music that fits the locale perfectly, while using the imagery of the city to build authenticity. While "C.S.I.: Miami" brought in the Surface computing technology last season to up the tech look of the show, the New York crew remains mostly street-level realistic, with the exception of a product-placement for a video teleconference set-up and the gear used by medical examiner Sid (Robert Joy.) From a nifty three-dimensional electronic x-ray of a brain that comes in handy on a number of occasions, to a full-body "map" of a body that helps him teach autopsy techniques, he gets the coolest toys and has the coolest personality to go with it. As much as the other show's MEs have been good, no one touches Sid and former ME Sheldon Hawkes (Hill Harper) for the title. Bonus Features: There is only one audio commentary with "Down the Rabbit Hole" provided by creator Anthony Zuiker and offers a good bit of info about the inspiration for the episode and a lot of well-thought-out comments from Zuiker on the whole idea of Second Life. Unfortunately, there are several points where he's just watching, leaving dead air. There are four featurette, starting with the 15-minute "Art Imitates Second Life" again focuses on "Down the Rabbit Hole," an episode set partially in the online service Second Life. "Dante's Infernal Episode" spends 10 minutes on the season's unusual Halloween episode, which was directed by scaremaster Joe Dante. "Art Attack" is a four-minute look at artist Clemente Bornacelli's paintings, as seen in the episode "Right Next Door." The 13-minute "Cutting to the Core: Season Four in the Big Apple" is essentially an overview of the season, covering the storylines and cases, with interviews with the cast and some of the creators. It's a good capsule summary of the show, but if you've seen the episodes, it's not really telling you anything new (though it is from the mouths of the actors), while if you haven't seen the episodes, everything is basically spoiled for you.
DEXTER (The First Season) ***** If there's one series that will keep you watching from start to finish, it's the superb first season of Dexter. Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall) leads a double life as a police forensics specialist of crime scenes by day, and a serial killer by night of criminals whom have gotten away with murder through legal technicalities. He hides his double life from his neurotic, foul-mouthed, vice squad sister Debra, his co-workers at the Metro Miami Police Department where he works, as well as his commitment-minded girlfriend, a troubled divorcée named Rita, who, like Dexter is mortally afraid of intimacy and sex. Dexter also as frequent flashbacks to his life with his late foster father Harry, a police detective, who gave Dexter his inspiration to act out his homicidal urges. But during an investigation of another murder scene, Dexter thinks he's met his match when bodies left behind by a mysterious serial killer of prostitutes show no trace of blood on or in the bodies. Season one features all 13 episodes.
HARPER'S ISLAND ***** Make sure to take a trip to this thrilling 13-part horror thriller/mystery series created by Ari Schlossberg for CBS's 2008-2009 television season. Described as Scream meets And Then There Were None, "Harper's Island" is about a group of family and friends who travel to a secluded island for a destination wedding. They've come to laugh... to love... and, though they don't know it... to die. As the wedding festivities begin, friendships are tested and secrets exposed as a murderer claims victims, one by one, transforming the wedding week of fun and celebration into a terrifying struggle for survival.
In every episode, someone is killed and every person is a suspect, from the wedding party to the island locals. By the end of the 13 episodes, all questions will be answered, the killer will be revealed and only a few will survive.
Harper's Island, the guiltiest pleasure of the 2009 summer TV season, is part Agatha Christie and part Friday the 13th. This cleverly plotted 13-episode CBS mystery event invites return visits to the eponymous island where a good portion of an ill-fated wedding party will not survive to celebrate the happy couple's first anniversary. Harper's Island begins with a "Whap" and goes out with a "Sigh" (each onomatopeaic episode title replicates the sound of a victim's demise). Here's the set-up: Pauper Henry (Christopher Gorham) and princess "Trish" (Katie Cassidy) have invited family and friends to Harper's Island, located 37 miles off the coast of Seattle, for their nuptials. Seven years earlier, John Wakefield slaughtered six people there. These were the first murders in the history of the island. A title card warns us they will not be the last. One by one, episode by episode, a killer (or killers) methodically picks off the wedding guests in grisly and gory fashion. Some characters are more expendable than others, and those who are dispatched early don't get the chance to make much of an impression (cousin Ben doesn't even make it out of the dock in the opening episode), but as the mystery unfolds and the body count escalates, viewers become more emotionally invested in those who survive the longest. For Abby Mills (Elaine Cassidy) this is all kinds of personal. Abby, Henry's once-inseparable childhood friend, has not been back to the island since Wakefield, presumed dead, slaughtered her mother. She is reunited with her estranged father, the sheriff (Jim Beaver), and Jimmy (C.J. Thomason), the boy she left behind. Harper's Island will keep viewers guessing until its final twist, which is a doozy, although somewhat suspect. But until then, the series is an effective horror show that gets under your skin with its attractive cast, soap-opera dramatics, tantalizing red herrings, and quality kills (although nothing in the show is as creepy as the unnerving little girl named Madison). Those who missed the boat when Harper's Island first aired are advised to steer clear of the spoiler-heavy bonus features until you've watched it through to the bloody end.
LIFE ON MARS (Complete first season) ***** Another winner from the BBC, superb on every level. Co-created and written by Matthew Graham, it stars John Simm as an ambitious young detective determined to keep the streets of the 21st century Manchester safe. The problem is that after a near fatal car-accident, Sam wakes up, dazed and confused, in 1973, struggling to understand what's real. Has he gone back in time? Is he in a coma? Or has he simply gone insane? Thrown head-first into his new world, Sam faces some of the hardest cases he has ever known. He has no idea why he is in 1973, but maybe he find a way back home. It also features a delightful performance from Philip Glenister as his hard-nosed DCI boss. There are unfortunately no features on this two disc set, featuring all 8 episodes from the first season.
MEDIUM **** (The complete first Season/ Season 2) From the creator of Moonlighting comes the hit suspense series, with Patricia Arquette in an Emmy Award winning portrayal of a woman haunted by visions of murder. Wondering if her psychic power is a gift or a curse, she works as a consultant to law enforcement, using her mind to uncover the dark secrets of vicious killers. The risks to her life are enormous, the strain threatens her family. But how can she refuse to listen when the dead cry out for justice? The first season includes five discs featuring all 16 thrilling episodes that end on 'to be continued', so prepare yourself for season two. The bonus features include an extended version of the pilot; cast and crew commentaries and deleted scenes on selected episodes; the making of the show; the story of medium; interpreting and meeting the real Allison duBois; and a gag reel.
THE MENTALIST (The Complete First Season) ***** You will be mesmerised by this fantastic six-disc, 23-episode collection of the hit CBS crime show that debuted last year. It features Simon Baker in an acclaimed performance as a celebrity psychic and master manipulator of thought and behavior who brings criminals to justice. When his wife and child are viciously murdered by an elusive serial killer called Red John, Patrick admits his paranormal act is fake,, renounces his earlier life and uses his astonishing skills of observation and analysis - talents that made him appear psychically gifted - to bring killers to justice. At crime scenes across California, Patrick now helps an elite team of detectives break their toughest cases. But no matter how many criminals he catches, Patrick never forgets his central goal: Find Red John. And bring him down. His "superior" (even though Jane is not a bona fide law officer) is tough, smart looker Teresa Lisbon (Robin Tunney), who is forever scolding or roping in the fickle, unconventional Jane during his undeniably successful investigating (or perhaps more accurately: his instigating). Even though Jane functions technically as a consultant only, he may as well be heading up the solid team of experienced officers in the Serious Crimes Unit. Straight-faced, dead-pan Kimball Cho (Tim Kang), and big, good-natured Wayne Rigsby (Owain Yeoman), can be just as exasperated as Lisbon with Jane's antics, but they won't let official police procedures get in the way of results: Jane closes cases. Bonus Features: On Pilot, Red John's Friends, and Red John's Footsteps all include very brief snippets of deleted scenes (only running maybe 30 seconds). Fairly useless. Much better is Evidence of a Hit Series, a 24-minute documentary, featuring the cast and creator Bruno Heller, discussing the series. It's pretty standard as these production documentaries go, but the cast is personable and well-spoken. Cracking the Crystal Ball: Mentalist vs. Psychic, running 18:11, looks at the question of whether or not mentalism, or psychic readings, are credible. It's an interesting back-and-forth, but I prefer the fictional battle in the actual series. There's also a 7 minute gag reel that's kind of funny, too (but the scripts are funnier).
MIDSOMER MURDERS (Complete Season 1) ***** This absolutely delightful British 'who dunnit' series features 5 feature length murder mysteries. Set in the idyllic English countryside of Midsomer, nothing is what it seems. Beneath the tranquil surface of sleepy village life, there exist dark secrets, scandals and downright evil. Murder, kidnap and blackmail are commonplace, with Inspector Barnaby (John Nettles) having to uncover the murderers. It is based on the award-winning Inspector Barnaby novels by mystery writer Caroline Graham, whom the London Sunday Times described as the "best detective writer since Agatha Christie". What gives the series an edge, is its dark sense of humour. The features include a behind the scenes featurette.
MESSIAH I & II ***** This outstanding BBC two-disc sets tells of Scotland Yard's tough-talking detective who has two solve some grizzly murders and track down two crazed serial killers in each series. Features: The making of each series, as well as deleted scenes and a special effects featurette: 'Constructing the Murders'
MONK - (Season 1 & 2) **** Emmy and Golden Globe winner Tony Shaloub is Mr.Monk, an ingenious defective detective with a twist: he's phobic and an obsessive compulsive. His offbeat and hilarious antics made him unfit for duty but he is in top form as a private eye to help the police with the most baffling cases. The features on season one includes Mr. Monk and his origins; Mr. Monk and his O.C.D; Mr. Monk and his Fellow Suffrers; Mr. Monk and his partner in crime.
MURDER IN MIND ***** 23 gripping psychological thrillers from all three BBC TV series takes you on a journey into the psyche of murderers, exploring their motivations. In each of the chilling, self-contained stories, you view crime through the eyes of the killer and examine the darkest and most compelling of human crimes. Created by Andy Horowitz, who also wrote most of the episodes, the series features the best writers and directors in the business. Series one was originally transmitted in 2001; series two in 2002, and series three in 2003. This is fascinating viewing that holds the attention and challenges your detective skills.
N.C.I.S: NAVAL CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIVE SERVICE
Season 1 **** In the tradition of other crime investigation series (CSI) , comes this entertaining and amusing 23- episode series that follows an elite team of special agents who operate outside the military chain of command. Mark Harmon is charming as Special Agent Gibbs who is a tough, highly skilled investigator who's willing to bend the rules to get the job done as his crew travel the world investigating everything from bizarre murder cases to intriguing espionage, to terrorism and kidnapping. The characters are delightful with first-rate performances, and outstanding production value,.
Season 2 ***** This 6-disc set features all 23 thrilling episodes from this unique and dynamic show. Filled with mind-blowing action and pulse-pounding adventure, with vibrant characters and a sizzling script. It focuses on an elite team of special agents who operate outside the military chain of command. Mark Harmon is great as Special Agent Gibbs, a tough, highly-skilled investigator who's willing to bend the rules to get the job done. This tight knit crew prove they're willing to pay the ultimate price when they travel the globe investigating everything from murder and espionage to terrorism and kidnapping.
PRISON BREAK (Season One - Part One) ***** In a clever marketing strategy (following the example of 'Lost'), only the first 13 episodes of this riveting series is released, and will be followed by the rest of the Season in July. Created by … who also wrote the pilot and serves as Executive Producer, this unusual prison drama takes place at Fox River Penitentiary, where Lincoln (Dominic Purcell) has been sentenced to die foe a crime he did not commit. His brother, Michael Scofield (Wentworth Miller), gets himself arrested and he end up in the same prison as his brother, with the hope of getting him out. Armed with prison blueprints tattoed on his body and an impossibly intricate escape plan, Michael needs all of the cunning, daring and luck he can muster, along with the assistance of the prison's most vile and dangerous felons.
THE SHIELD **** The first season of Shawn Ryan's superb cop-drama features 13 episodes with cast/crew audio commentary on all episodes. There's also some fantastic behind the scenes features. This hardcore look at an elite Strike Team in Los Angeles is raw and brutal, featuring an excellent cast and brilliant production value.
STATE OF PLAY ***** In this tense conspiracy thriller an ambitious politician's affair with his research assistant turns into a scandal when she mysteriously falls to her death on the London Underground. When a journalist (who is also the politician's best friend and former campaign manager) starts digging for the truth and a front page story, it tests their friendship and puts everyone's career on the line. The two disc set includes all six episodes (originally transmitted in 2003). Features: Episode 1 commentary by director David Yates and writer Paul Abbott; and episode six commentary with producer Hilary Bevan Jones, editor Mark Day and director David Yates.
THE MOST HAUNTED (The first 2 Seasons) ****If you are fearless you can dare to explore Britain's most haunted destinations and paranormal horpots with a team of experts led by Yvette Fielding. The fearless crew explores some of the spookiest places on earth with spiritual medium Derek Acorah and paranormal investigator Phil Whyman. Each episode begins in the safety of daylight with a chilling historical overview and tales of horrifying eyewitness accounts. As night approaches the team swings into action, investigating all the paranormal hotspots and gathering the evidence. The bonus features include a 10 minute behind the scenes specials on all 20 episodes, an extended walkabout of the 17 houses.
24 ***** If there is one series that will keep you watching around the clock it's Season One of this award-winning 24-episode series, with Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer, head of the Los Angeles Counter Terrorist Unit, who gets caught up in terrorism and political intrigue. It is truly riveting stuff. Features: Alternate ending, a preview of season 2, and a great booklet with useful information on all the different episodes.
24 (Season Four) ***** Following in the footsteps of the riveting previous 24s, this latest 24-episode journey into the world of terrorism and the Los Angeles Counter Terrorist Unit is absolutely brilliant. Created by Joel Surnow and Robert Cochran, the sizzling scripts are filled with suspense, romance, intrigue and human drama. Add to this first class performances by the entire ensemble cast with fantastic production design and spectacular visual design and you are in for a treat. Our own Arnold Vosloo is great as the terrorist who takes on the Unites States of America and plans to destroy the world. Features: Disc seven includes featurettes on 'Building the New CTU', 'Blood on the Tracks', music videos and tons of deleted and extended scenes (with commentary)
24 - The Complete fifth season ***** Undoubtedly one of the finest series ever made. This is guaranteed non-stop viewing. Set eighteen months after the death of Jack Bauer (Keifer Sutherland), Bauer is forced to return to Los Angeles when it becomes apparent that the only four people who knows he is still alive are being systematically assassinated. The assassination coincides with the signing of an anti-terrorism treaty between Russia and the U.S, leading Jack to suspect a link between the assassinations, the treaty, and a group of Russian terrorists holding hostages at Ontario airport. But a shocking discovery at the airport reveals just how far the terrorists are willing to go and how thoroughly tested the newly signed treaty will be before the 24 hours is over. There are some stunning bonus features, including four featurettes and 23 deleted scenes on Disc seven.
WAKING THE DEAD (Seasons 1 - 4) ***** This BBC series offers captivating viewing for those looking for intelligent viewing. Set inside a Cold Case Unit in the UK. It focuses on Chief Inspector Boyd (Trevor Eve) and his unit working on unsolved cases. Each series consists of six cases that showcase excellent writing, superb direction and outstanding production design. Besides its visual impact, it also offers an intriguing introspection of the criminal mind, and the human psyche. A must for discerning collectors. Make sure to add all 24, two hour episodes to your collection.
WIRE IN THE BLOOD ***** (Season 1 - 3) Riveting viewing from start to finish. Based on the books and characters created by prize-winning authors Val McDermid, the captivating crime series explores the mindscape of serial killers. Set in Northern England, it features Robson Green in an outstanding performance as Dr. Hill, a rather eccentric clinical psychologist who has an extraordinary understanding of the criminal mind, enabling him to empathise with both victim and murderer. Working alongside Detective Chief Inspector Carol Jordan (Hermione Norris) of the Bradfield Police, Dr. Hill profiles and tracks down vicious killers. Season one has three discs, and Season Two and Three have four discs. First rate direction and superb writing makes this a must have for any serious collector. Visit the website: www.wireintheblooddvd.com
WITHOUT A TRACE - (Seasons 1 & 2) ***** Set in the FBI's Missing Person's Unit, this exciting first complete first season includes 23-episodes. In tracking down a missing person, no lies, deceptions or evasions can withstand the unit's withering scrutiny. You will discover who they are, and you'll find out where they are. You don't have time to get it wrong because after 48 hours, most victims are gone forever. If you're looking for drama and suspense, topped by first rate acting and direction, as well as brilliant writing, this one is a must for your collection.
WITHOUT A TRACE - The Complete Third Season ***** All the series' stars return for 23 compelling and masterfully crafted episodes of this acclaimed drama. It focuses on special agent Jack Malone (Anthony LaPaglia) and his FBI team who face incredible odds of turning the missing into the found.
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