‘Spiral,’ ‘Walking Dead,’ ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Top July 20 Disc Releases

July 20 sees the DVD and Blu-ray Disc releases of Lionsgate’s Spiral: From the Book of Saw and The Walking Dead: Season 10, in addition to Paramount’s Star Trek: Discovery — Season Three.

The latest “Saw” franchise entrant, Spiral: From the Book of Saw, arrives on 4K Ultra HD combo pack (plus Blu-ray and digital), Blu-ray combo pack (plus DVD and digital), DVD and on demand July 20 from Lionsgate and Twisted Pictures. It was released digitally a week earlier. In the latest installment of the horror franchise, a criminal mastermind unleashes a twisted form of justice. Working in the shadow of his father, an esteemed police veteran (Samuel L. Jackson), brash Detective Ezekiel “Zeke” Banks (Chris Rock) and his rookie partner (Max Minghella) take charge of a grisly investigation into murders that are eerily reminiscent of the city’s gruesome past. Unwittingly entrapped in a deepening mystery, Zeke finds himself at the center of the killer’s morbid game.

Lionsgate releases The Walking Dead: The Complete Tenth Season on Blu-ray Disc and DVD July 20. The collection includes all 22 episodes from the extended 10th season, in which the collected communities prepare for war against the brutal Whisperers. Additional episodes include the flashback episode “Here’s Negan,” which presents the origin story of the fan-favorite character played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan. The season also sees the departure of Michonne, played by Danai Gurira, and the return of Maggie, played by Lauren Cohan.

CBS and Paramount Home Entertainment release Star Trek Discovery: Season Three on Blu-ray Disc and DVD July 20. A limited-edition Blu-ray in Steelbook packaging also will be available. The four-disc set includes all 13 episodes of the latest season of the Paramount+ series, in which the crew of the U.S.S. Discovery travels 900 years into the future and learns that by the 32nd century the Federation has been shattered by a mysterious cataclysm that disrupted warp travel in the galaxy.

The action comedy Die in a Gunfight comes out on DVD and Blu-ray July 20 from Lionsgate. In Die in a Gunfight, Mary (Alexandra Daddario) and Ben (Diego Boneta) are the star-crossed black sheep of two powerful families engaged in a centuries-long feud — and they’re about to reignite an affair after many years apart. Their forbidden love will trigger the dominoes that will draw in Mukul (Wade Allain-Marcus), Ben’s best friend, who owes him a life debt; Terrence (Justin Chatwin), Mary’s would-be protector-turned-stalker; Wayne (Travis Fimmel), an Aussie hitman with an open mind and a code of ethics; and his free-spirited girlfriend, Barbie (Emmanuelle Chriqui). As fists and bullets fly, it becomes clear that violent delights will have violent ends.

Lionsgate releases The Spanish Princess Part 2 on DVD July 20. The collection includes the final eight episodes of the Starz series, which tells the epic story of Queen Catherine of Aragon and King Henry VIII. Based on the best-selling novels The King’s Curse and The Constant Princess written by Philippa Gregory, the miniseries stars Charlotte Hope (“Game of Thrones”) as Catherine and Ruairi O’Connor (“Delicious”) as Henry VIII.

AMC Networks-owned RLJE Films and horror streaming service Shudder release Jakob’s Wife on Blu-ray Disc and DVD July 20. The film stars Barbara Crampton as Anne, the wife of a small-town minister (Larry Fessenden). She feels like her life and marriage have been shrinking over the past 30 years, but after a chance encounter with “The Master” (Bonnie Aarons), she discovers a new sense of power and an appetite to live bigger and bolder than before. As Anne is increasingly torn between her enticing new existence and her life before, the body count grows and Jakob realizes he will have to fight for the wife he took for granted.

Indican Pictures July 20 releases the comedy Rock Paper Scissors on DVD and Digital HD. Rock Paper Scissors follows best friends Kelvin and Cheddar, as they try to go from losers to cool kids by engaging in the International Tournament of Rock Paper Scissors.

Paramount Home Entertainment releases Romulus Entertainment’s Gully on DVD July 20. The film is currently available via digital sellthrough and VOD. The feature film debut of director Nabil Elderkin, Gully is the explosive and timely story of three boyhood friends — Calvin, Nicky and Jesse — surviving an upbringing in L.A.’s roughest neighborhoods. Steeped in violence but united by friendship, together they find their escape in one out-of-control night of partying. But when the rampage stops, retribution begins.

The horror thriller Initiation arrives on Blu-ray (plus digital) and DVD July 20 from Lionsgate. Social media turns sinister when Lindsay Lavanchy (“Scream: The TV Series”), Jon Huertas (TV’s “This Is Us”), Lochlyn Munro (The Predator), Isabella Gomez (TV’s “One Day at a Time”), Froy Gutierrez (TV’s “Teen Wolf”), Bart Johnson (“High School Musical” franchise), Yancy Butler (“Kick-Ass” franchise) and Gattlin Griffith (Changeling) try to survive pledge week in this slasher film. The carefree partying turns deadly serious when a star athlete is found impaled in his dorm. The murder ignites a spree of sinister social-media messages, sweeping the students and police into a race against time to uncover the truth behind the school’s dark secrets and the horrifying meaning of a recurring symbol: a single exclamation mark.

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment releases Shameless: The Eleventh and Final Season on DVD July 20. The three-DVD set will include all 12 episodes from the final season of the comedic Showtime series, which follows the irreverent lower-class Gallagher family as they scheme and struggle to get by on Chicago’s South Side. The show stars William H. Macy as Frank Gallagher, the outspoken, alcoholic patriarch of the clan whose independent-minded children do their best to be rid of him. The final season finds Frank’s health failing as he deals with dementia, while the rest of the clan considers going their separate ways after selling the family house.

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The Japanese actioner Hydra hits digital, Blu-ray and DVD July 20 from Well Go USA Entertainment.

The sci-fi classic Flight to Mars (1951) is coming out on special-edition Blu-ray and DVD July 20 from Cinedigm and the Film Detective for its 70th anniversary. Filmed in Cinecolor with special effects ahead of its time, Flight to Mars blasted into theaters at the dawn of the 1950s science-fiction boom from legendary producer Walter Mirisch (Some Like It HotThe Magnificent SevenWest Side StoryThe Great EscapeThe Pink Panther).

MPI Media Group July 20 releases a DVD of Code 3: L.A. Sheriff’s Case Files, a vintage 1957 TV show that, like “Dragnet,” was based on actual police case files. The collection will contain all 39 episodes from the police procedural series, from Hal Roach Studios and producer Ben Fox.

RLJE Films, a division of AMC Networks, releases Gangs of London: Season One on Blu-ray Disc and DVD July 20.

The 1986 film The Wraith arrives on Blu-ray (plus digital) July 20 from Lionsgate as part of the Vestron Video Collector’s Series.

The horror titles Siege, Born for Hell and Skinned Deep are coming to to Blu-ray Disc July 20 from Severin Films and MVD Entertainment Group.

Paramount Pictures’ G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra and G.I. Joe: Retaliation, based on Hasbro’s action figures, make their U.S. 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray debuts on July 20 from Paramount Home Entertainment. The releases, coming in anticipation of the theatrical premiere of Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins, include Dolby Vision and HDR-10.

On the digital front, the comedic drama Here Today, starring Billy Crystal and Tiffany Haddish, becomes available for digital purchase July 20, ahead of its DVD and Blu-ray Disc release Aug. 3, from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. In the film, when veteran comedy writer Charlie Burnz (Crystal) meets New York singer Emma Payge (Haddish), they form an unlikely yet hilarious and touching friendship that kicks the generation gap aside and redefines the meaning of love and trust. Inspired by the short story “The Prize” by Alan Zweibel, Here Today is directed by Crystal and also stars Penn Badgley, Laura Benanti, Louisa Krause, Anna Deavere Smith and Nyambi Nyambi.

Also this week, action comedy sequel The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard becomes available for digital purchase Friday, July 23, before its DVD and Blu-ray debut Aug. 17.

The horror film The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It will arrive for premium digital ownership July 23, before it arrives on Blu-ray Disc, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Aug. 24.

A complete list of new disc and digital releases, compiled each week by the Media Play News market research team, can be found here.

Paramount, CBS Celebrating 55th Anniversary of ‘Star Trek’ With New Blu-ray, 4K Releases

To celebrate the 55th anniversary of the “Star Trek” franchise, Paramount Home Entertainment will release a new Blu-ray Steelbook collection of the original series, as well as a boxed set of the first four “Trek” movies on 4K Ultra HD for the first time.

The first episode of the original “Star Trek” series aired Sept. 8, 1966. The sci-fi adventure chronicled the adventures of the starship Enterprise in the 23rd Century and starred William Shatner as Capt. James T. Kirk, Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock, and DeForest Kelley as Dr. McCoy.

CBS Home Entertainment is re-releasing the remastered Blu-ray editions of the show’s three seasons (1966-69) in collectible Steelbook packaging. The 20-disc Star Trek: The Original Series — The Complete Series set also includes nine hours of cast and crew interviews, commentaries, documentaries and archival materials. (Update 8/2/21: The set had been slated for Sept. 7 release but has been pushed back to Oct. 26 due to manufacturing delays, according to CBS.)

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Meanwhile, Paramount Sept. 7 is releasing the new Star Trek: The Original 4-Movie Collection boxed set containing 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray versions of 1979’s Star Trek: The Motion Picture, 1982’s Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, 1984’s Star Trek III: The Search for Spock and 1986’s Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. Newly remastered from original elements, each film is presented with Dolby Vision and HDR 10. The set also comes with a digital copy of each film, and a regular Blu-ray copy of each film with hours of previously released bonus content.

Each of the original four “Star Trek” films will also be available individually on Blu-ray.

In Star Trek: The Motion Picture, the U.S.S. Enterprise boldly debuted on the big screen with the cast of the original “Star Trek” series, including Shatner, Nimoy, Kelley, George Takei, Nichelle Nichols, Walter Koenig and James Doohan. When an unidentified alien intruder threatens Earth, Kirk returns to duty in command of a newly transformed U.S.S. Enterprise. This is the original theatrical cut and features Jerry Goldsmith’s iconic overture.

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan includes both the original theatrical and director’s cuts. In the film, on routine training maneuvers, Admiral Kirk seems resigned that this may be the last space mission of his career. But an adversary from the past has returned with a vengeance. Aided by his exiled band of genetic supermen, Khan (Ricardo Montalbán) — brilliant renegade of 20th century Earth — has raided Space Station Regula One, stolen the top-secret device called Project Genesis, wrested control of another Federation starship, and now schemes to set a most deadly trap for his old enemy Kirk.

In Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Kirk’s defeat of Khan and the creation of the Genesis planet are empty victories. Spock is dead and McCoy is inexplicably being driven insane. Then a surprise visit by Spock’s father provides a startling revelation: McCoy is harboring Spock’s living essence. Kirk attempts to steal the U.S.S. Enterprise and defy Starfleet’s Genesis planet quarantine to search for his friend, but the Klingons are planning a deadly rendezvous.

In Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, when a mysterious alien power threatens the atmosphere of Earth in the 23rd century, Kirk and his crew must time travel back to 1986 San Francisco to save mankind. Exploring this strange new world, they encounter punk rock, pizza and exact-change buses that are as alien as anything in the far reaches of the galaxy.

To mark the 35th anniversary of Star Trek IV, Fathom Events will bring the film to select movie theaters nationwide on Thursday, Aug. 19, and Sunday, Aug. 22, with 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. local screening times. This special 35th anniversary screening will also include the featurette “Three Picture Saga,” which traces the unofficial “Star Trek Trilogy” storyline that begins in Star Trek II, continues in Star Trek III and concludes in Star Trek IV. A list of participating cinemas and tickets are available at www.fathomevents.com.

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In addition, Paramount and the Paramount+ streaming service have announced that a full restoration of Star Trek: The Motion Picture — The Director’s Edition is underway.

To meet its release date in December 1979, the filmmakers behind Star Trek: The Motion Picture were famously behind schedule in completing post-production work, preventing director Robert Wise from fine-tuning the final cut. Later, a television version added scenes back in, but some containing unfinished visual effects.

In 2001, Wise was given the chance to re-edit the film and replace several visual effects shots for a DVD director’s edition, but the final master was completed in standard-definition.

Thus, the restored version of the director’s edition will be prepared in 4K Ultra HD with Dolby Vision high dynamic range and a new Dolby Atmos soundtrack. The restoration will be overseen by producer David C. Fein, restoration supervisor Mike Matessino and visual effects supervisor Daren R. Dochterman, all of whom worked previously with Wise, who died in 2005.

The restoration is expected to take six to eight months and is expected to launch in 2022 with an exclusive window on Paramount+.

Star Trek: Lower Decks — Season 1

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Paramount/CBS;
Animated Sci-Fi;
$27.99 DVD, $34.99 Blu-ray, $41.99 BD Steelbook;
Not rated;
Voices of Tawny Newsome, Jack Quaid, Eugene Cordero, Noël Wells, Dawnn Lewis, Jerry O’Connell, Fed Tatasciore, Gillian Vigman.

A glimpse into the lighter side of “Star Trek,” “Lower Decks” offers a comedic take on the franchise, using animation in the vein of “Rick and Morty” to present the adventures of the kinds of crew members who usually don’t get much screen time.

The series borrows its concept and name from an episode of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” that similarly focused on the lives of ordinary Starfleet officers serving on the lower rungs of the chain of command. It is set aboard the U.S.S. Cerritos, which itself is sort of a second-tier starship, sent in to clean up after better-known ships such as the Enterprise have their fun.

Though set in the “Star Trek” universe, the show is as much a parody of the franchise’s tropes as it is an addition to the canon. The animated aesthetic lets it cheat a bit in that regard, as it gets away with a perspective that would be hard to accept from a live-action “Trek” series. This is essentially “Star Trek” turning a satiric lens on itself much in the same way “The Orville” can only do as an homage.

“Lower Decks” is the brainchild of Mike McMahan, who wrote and produced for “Rick and Morty” and brings much of that sensibility here. The 10 episodes of the first season are peppered with references to earlier “Trek” series, including a number of obscure references to the 1970s animated “Trek” series. The series presents its main characters as essentially fans of ships such as the Enterprise, essentially making them in-universe “Star Trek” fans who get to make fun of the canon even as they actively play around its edges. The meta-commentary reaches its peak in the ninth episode, which is basically just a spoof of “Star Trek” movies, from horn-heavy music to a saturation of lens flares a la J.J. Abrams, presented within the world of the show through the holodeck.

While it’s hard to take the episodes too seriously as legitimate “Star Trek” plots, many of the resultant jokes can be rather funny, particularly to “Trek” fans who have enough knowledge of the franchise to appreciate them. To outsiders, the show would probably seem more like a wannabe “Futurama.” Still, it’s the best “Trek” series of the so-called new era that includes “Discovery” and “Picard,” which isn’t saying much.

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The Blu-ray and DVD editions of the series offer about two hours of behind the scenes material, the bulk of which are presented under the “Lower Decktionary” banner. In total, this is a 10-part documentary that runs about an hour — or, at least, it would be if it were presented in a more logical manner, to borrow a phrase from the Vulcans. Each part of “Lower Decktionary” is presented as a bonus feature with a particular episode — though more often than not the topics reflect the series as a whole and might point to that episode as an example. Also, the video quality of these featurettes is spotty at best, likely owing to editing together interviews from the cast and production team members that was culled from Zoom videos during the pandemic.

There are two additional standalone featurettes. The 24-minute “Faces of the Fleet” focuses on the development of the characters, while the seven-minute “Hiding in Plain Sight” discusses several of the references built into the show.

A couple of the episodes also include deleted sequences in animatic form (sketches rather than finished animation), while a full-length animatic version of the first episode also is available.

Rounding out the extras is a fake trailer for the fake movie at the center of episode nine.

 

Charts: ‘SpongeBob,’ ‘Star Trek’ Rule on Paramount+

The Paramount+ subscription streaming service is just 8 days old, and thus far consumers have climbed Paramount Mountain to access “SpongeBob” and “Star Trek,” according to new data from JustWatch.

The analytics company posts an international streaming guide that helps more than 20 million users monthly across 46 countries find content on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, Hulu, Paramount+, HBO Max and Peacock, among other streaming platforms.

The most popular movies in the first week were predominantly Hollywood classics, but interestingly, new release, The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run, topped the list.

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‘Star Trek: Lower Decks’ Season 1 on Disc May 18

CBS and Paramount Home Entertainment May 18 will release Star Trek: Lower Decks — Season One on Blu-ray Disc and DVD, as well as a limited-edition Blu-ray Steelbook.

The animated comedy series, which debuted on CBS All Access last year and will continue on Paramount+, chronicles the adventures of the U.S.S. Cerritos in the year 2380, with a focus on the crew members who usually do the dirty work.

Created by two-time Emmy Award winner Mike McMahan (“Rick and Morty,” “Solar  Opposites”), “Lower Decks” features the voices of Tawny Newsome as Ensign Beckett Mariner, Jack Quaid as Ensign Brad Boimler, Eugene Cordero as Ensign Samanthan Rutherford, Noël Wells as Ensign D’Vana Tendi, Dawnn Lewis as Capt. Carol Freeman, Jerry O’Connell as Cmdr. Jack Random, Fred Tatasciore as Lt. Shaxs, and Gillian Vigman as Dr. T’Ana.

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The Blu-ray and DVD offer all 10 half-hour episodes, plus nearly two hours of exclusive special features, including:

  • “Faces of the Fleet” featurette, a deep dive into the crew of the U.S.S. Cerritos , alongside producers, writers and the cast of “Star Trek: Lower Decks,” highlighting character backstories and their behind-the-scenes development;
  • “Hiding in Plain Sight” featurette, a look at canon and hidden Easter eggs throughout the series, including freeze frame images and insightful commentary from producers, creatives and cast;
  • Trailer for Crisis Point: The Rise of Vindicta, the holodeck movie from the episode “Crisis Point”;
  • A Full-Length Animatic;
  • Deleted and extended animatics;
  • “Lower Decktionary,” a series of featurettes covering each episode, such as:

○ “Joining Starfleet” (episode 1) — Producers and crew discuss the development of season one from storyline to visual artistry;
○ “Aliens Among Us” (episode 2) — Dives into the different aliens encountered on the journey to the Tulgana 4 planet;
○ “The Animation Process” (episode 3) — A look at the efficiency and creativity needed to put together an episode of “Lower Decks”;
○ “The Main Titles” (episode 4) — A look at the graphic design and thematic music developed for the show through the lens of creating title sequence;
○ “Art Design” (episode 5) — A look at characters’ style and the sets that elevate the animated on-screen adventures of the U.S.S. Cerritos;
○ “The Holodeck” (episode 6) — The cast and creative team discuss uses for the holodeck, which can simulate nearly any environment or situation;
○ “Division 14” (episode 7) — A look at the Starfleet branch tasked with dealing with the unexpected mishaps that plague starship crews.
○ “Deck Dynamics” (episode 8) — A dive into how the relationship between the upper and lower decks an their comedic interactions contribute to the storyline  throughout season one;
○ “The Music of Lower Decks” (episode 9) — An exploration about how traditional themes have been integrated into the show and the episode’s in-story “Crisis Point” movie;
○ “All in the Family” (episode 10) —  A look at evolution of the crew and their relationships over the show’s first year, and how “Lower Decks” fits into the “Star Trek” family as a few legacy characters appear.

 

‘Star Trek: Lower Decks’ season one Steelbook

Shout! Factory Sets Feb. 16 Home Date for Doc on ‘Star Trek’ Actress Who Brought Diversity to NASA

Shout! Factory has announced the Feb. 16 release of Woman in Motion: Nichelle Nichols, Star Trek and the Remaking of NASA, a documentary on the inspiring true story of Star Trek actress Nichelle Nichols and how she pioneered the NASA recruiting program to hire people of color, and the first female astronauts, in the late 1970s.

The documentary will be released through digital retailers and VOD. Fans who preorder form Apple also have access to exclusive bonus features, including an extended “The Story Behind the Story” featurette, deleted scenes, trailers and teasers.

Woman in Motion: Nichelle Nichols, Star Trek and the Remaking of NASA will also be screened in select movies theaters on Feb. 6. Information on participating cinemas, and how to get tickets, can be found here.

Nichols transformed her sci-fi television stardom into a real-life science career when, in 1977, she embarked on a campaign to bring diversity to NASA. Nichols formed the company Women In Motion, Inc. and recruited more than 8,000 African-American, Asian and Latino women and men for the agency. Her program continues to influence the younger generation of astronauts as well, including Mae Jemison, the first female African-American astronaut in space. Despite an uphill battle against a bureaucracy that was hesitant to let her get involved, Nichols persevered and is credited by NASA for turning it into one of the most diverse independent agencies in the United States Federal Government.

In addition to Nichols, Woman In Motion features notable celebrities, activists, scientists and astronauts including Neil deGrasse Tyson, George Takei, Pharrell Williams, Martin Luther King III, Al Sharpton, Vivica A. Fox, Walter Koenig, Rod Roddenberry, Michael Dorn, Guy Bluford, Charles Bolden, Ivor Dawson, Frederik Gregory and Benjamin Crump.

Shout! Factory Bringing William Shatner’s ‘Captains Collection’ to Blu-ray

Shout! Factory Oct. 20 will release The Captains Collection, bringing together for the first time on Blu-ray four documentaries by William Shatner that take fans behind the scenes of the “Star Trek” franchise. The documentaries will also be available for digital purchase.

The documentaries, which were previously released on DVD, include 2011’s The Captains, 2012’s Get a Life!, 2013’s The Captains Close Up, and 2014’s Chaos on the Bridge: The Untold Story Behind Trek’s Next Generation.

In The Captains, Shatner, who famously starred as Capt. James T. Kirk on the original “Star Trek,” interviews five other performers who played the headlining captains on various “Star Trek” shows and movies up to that point: Patrick Stewart of “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” Avery Brooks of “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine,” Kate Mulgrew of “Star Trek: Voyager,” Scott Bakula of “Star Trek: Enterprise,” and Chris Pine, who plays a younger alternate reality Kirk in the 2009 Star Trek movie and its sequels.

The Captains Close Up is a five-episode miniseries featuring expanded interviews from The Captains.

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In Get a Life!, Shatner explores “Star Trek” fandom and his own influence on it. The title is based on a famous “Saturday Night Live” sketch in which Shatner jokingly implores the crowd at a “Star Trek” convention to stop bothering him with mundane questions about the series and “get a life.”

Chaos on the Bridge recounts the story of making “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” featuring interviews with several of its creators and producers.

The Captains Collection will be widely as a standard four-disc set. Extras include trailers, additional stories, “The Making of the Captains” featurette, and a “Ponder The Mystery” music video.

The ShoutFactory.com store is also offering an exclusive special-edition version with a fifth disc containing the 2009 documentary William Shatner’s Gonzo Ballet for the first time on home video.

William Shatner’s Gonzo Ballet chronicles a ballet called “Common People” that was set to the music of a 2004 album called Has Been by William Shatner and Ben Folds. “Common People” was one of the songs on the album and is a cover of a song from the 1995 Different Class album by the band Pulp.

The Shout! Exclusive bonus disc also offers an additional hour-and-a-half of interviews, including bonus episode “Still Kicking: A Conversation Between William Shatner and Christopher Plummer.” Extended interviews from The Captains include Walter Koenig, Grace Lee Whitney, Gary Lockwood and Sally Kellerman from the original series. The disc also includes extended interviews from Chaos on the Bridge, including former CBS president Les Moonves.

The special-edition Blu-ray is limited to a run of 2,000 copies.

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The ShoutFactory.com store also has an exclusive bundle, limited to 1,000 units, pairing the special-edition Blu-ray with the Has Been album on vinyl — a  variant featuring a green, yellow and black splatter design.

James Cameron’s Story of Science-Fiction

DVD REVIEW: 

Street Date 7/28/20;
RLJ;
Documentary;
$34.97 DVD or Blu-ray;
Not Rated.
Featuring James Cameron, George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, Christopher Nolan, Ridley Scott.

This six-episode documentary series hosted by filmmaker James Cameron should prove a fascinating viewing experience for any fan of the title genre, primarily due to the high-caliber talent on display sharing their insights on the topic.

The series is structured with each episode taking on a different topic within the genre: “Alien Life,” “Space Exploration,” “Monsters,” “Dark Futures,” “Intelligent Machines” and “Time Travel.” They run a shade over 40 minutes each on disc, long enough to fill an hour-long time slot when commercials are added in (the series originally aired on AMC in 2018).

Much of the series follows a typical documentary format tracing the history of the episode’s topic, with analysis from various talking heads in the form of critics, authors, actors and filmmakers. Particular emphasis is placed on the various social, political and philosophical underpinnings of various sci-fi stories throughout history. One primary thesis that arises is the notion that science-fiction isn’t about predicting the future, it’s about choosing our future — an observation that demonstrates why there’s still considerable value to older sci-fi tales that might otherwise seem outdated.

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But the heart of the program involves Cameron sitting for a series of one-on-one interviews with other high-profile directors as they discuss each others work (with no shortage of praise for one another, as could be expected). The stories the directors tell range from the oft-repeated tales that every fan knows, to interesting insights into what guided certain filmmaking decisions, such as how Steven Spielberg adapted much of his childhood into Close Encounters and E.T.

The discussion with George Lucas raises some eyebrows during the A.I. episode, when Cameron says so many movies depict the machines as bad guys, leading to Lucas stating that’s why he decided to depict robots as the good guys in “Star Wars” — the pair apparently sidestepping the fact that Lucas made three “Star Wars” films in which the good guys fought entire armies of evil robots.

Still, the conversations are fun to watch and the various TV and movie clips offer enough nostalgia that any viewer should find something to like.

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The bonus section includes extended interviews with Spielberg, Lucas, Ridley Scott, Christopher Nolan, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Will Smith and Sigourney Weaver. These run about three to four minutes each.

New ‘Star Trek: Prodigy’ Animated Series Announced for Nickelodeon

Nickelodeon and CBS Television Studios July 23 announced a new animated series called “Star Trek: Prodigy” to debut in 2021. The title and logo were revealed during an online Comic-Con@Home panel.

The CG-animated series will air exclusively on Nickelodeon and follows a group of lawless teens who discover a derelict Starfleet ship and use it to search for adventure, meaning and salvation.

The series is being developed by Emmy winners Kevin and Dan Hageman (“Trollhunters” and “Ninjago”) and overseen for Nickelodeon by Ramsey Naito, EVP of animation production and development at Nickelodeon.

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The series will be from CBS’s Eye Animation Productions, CBS Television Studios’ new animation arm; production company Secret Hideout, which oversees the “Trek” franchise; and Roddenberry Entertainment. Alex Kurtzman, Heather Kadin, Katie Krentz, Rod Roddenberry and Trevor Roth will serve as executive producers alongside Kevin and Dan Hageman. Aaron Baiers will serve as a co-executive producer.

“Star Trek: Prodigy” is being billed as the first “Trek” series aimed at younger audiences for Nickelodeon. It will be the third animated “Star Trek” series, following the 1973-74 FIlmation series featuring the cast of the original series, and “Star Trek: Lower Decks,” which arrives on the CBS All Access Streaming Service Aug. 6.

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Current CBS All Access live-action series include “Star Trek: Discovery” and “Star Trek: Picard.” Series in development for the streaming service include the Capt. Pike spinoff “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds,” as well as a series based on Section 31, the enigmatic Starfleet intelligence service.

First Season of ‘Star Trek: Picard’ on Disc Oct. 6

CBS and Paramount Home Entertainment will release Star Trek: Picard — Season One on Blu-ray and DVD Oct. 6.

Patrick Stewart reprises his role as Capt. Jean-Luc Picard from “Star Trek: The Next Generation” on the CBS All Access original series. Set 30 years after “Next Generation,” the new show finds Picard’s retirement disturbed by a young woman (Isa Briones) who seeks his help after being attacked by Romulans as part of a conspiracy involving androids and artificial intelligence.

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