Ahead of Its Time TV
ALMOST HUMAN: THE COMPLETE SERIES (2013-14) In the cyber-dystopian future we’ve all been promised (2048 to be precise), a worse-for-wear cop (genre superstar Karl Urban) teams up with a soon-to-be-decommissioned second-hand synthetic to fight a strain of urban crime that¹s evolved faster than the forces of law-and order. Detective John Kennex (Karl Urban) survives a catastrophic attack on the city¹s police, leaving him with an artificial limb and a hole in his memory. The transition back to active police work is made doubly difficult thanks to a new department policy that requires every cop be paired with a ‘bot. Due to his rather radical partner evaluation methods, Kennex ends up teamed with an outdated “Dorian” android ‹ outfitted with a dysfunctional ³Synthetic Soul² program that allows it to have emotional responses. It¹s this flawed humanity, however, that connects Dorian and John. And together, they set out to keep the city safe, uncover the criminal conspiracy that threatens to destroy their world and find their common humanity. Also stars Minka Kelly, Mackenzie Crook and Lili Taylor. From creator J.H. Wyman (Fringe) and J. J. Abrams’ Bad Robot. 3-disc, 13-episode collection. Special Features: Gag Reel; Unaired Scenes; 2013 Comic-Con panel. 16×9 Widescreen.
GOLDEN BOY: THE COMPLETE SERIES (2013) In this gritty character-driven drama from Greg Berlanti (Arrow) and Nicholas Wootton (Chuck), the audience bears witness to a hero-cop’s coronation as the youngest police commissioner in NYC history seven years in the future as the show asks the question, “What dark paths did this golden boy tread to get there?” Flashing back to the present, we witness the start of Walter William Clark Jr.’s (Divergent’s Theo James) rise, as he barters himself a place on one of the city’s premier homicide task forces. A product of the streets, Clark will do anything to keep from going back, just as he¹ll take any risk to crack a case – even if it¹s against the law. His off-the-cuff methods make his partner Detective Owen (Boston Public’s Chi McBride) nervous, and they don¹t sit well with Detective Arroyo (True Blood’s Kevin Alejandro), whose bald ambition is hard to ignore. Both compelling character portrait and street-savvy police procedural, the cases faced by this once and future Golden Boy create some of TV’s most compelling drama. 3-disc, 13-episode collection. 16×9 Widescreen.
JOE E. BROWN: The Mouth, The Mirth
BROAD MINDED (1931) The writers of Duck Soup send Joe E. Brown and William Collier, Jr. out on a cross-country, skirt chasing jaunt that bakes up a prime slice of sly and salacious pre-Code comedy pie. Collier plays feckless playboy Jack Hackett who promptly dumps his fiancée (Margaret Livingston) and takes off in a jalopy accompanied by his quarter-wit cousin (Brown). After a crack-up with a very angry motorist (Bela Lugosi!) the pair lose their wheels, but pick up a couple of cuties (Ona Munson of Gone with the Wind fame and the lovely Marjorie White). But when’s Hackett’s ex comes calling, all the amour threatens to go awry. Directed by Mervyn LeRoy.
LOCAL BOY MAKES GOOD (1931) Joe. E. Brown sets the template for a legion of movie comedy characters to come in this quintessential combination of high-caliber clowning and all-star athletics. While in real life, Brown turned down the Yankees to pursue entertainment, here he plays a proto-nerd botany student who accidentally sends a letter full of invented braggadocio to a local beauty queen played by Wheeler and Woolsey’s favorite gal pal, Dorothy Lee. But when she comes to the campus looking for her Lothario, the timid botanist finds himself faking it on the track and field – and he¹s not half bad! As sparks start to fly with girl-next-door Marjorie (Ruth Hall), our accidental athlete must save the field for Alma Mater and Alumnae. Directed by Mervyn LeRoy.
YOU SAID A MOUTHFUL (1932) Insipid inventor Joe Holt (Joe E. Brown) thinks he’s come up with the gizmo that will put to paid all the catcalls of his less-than-inspired co-workers – an unsinkable swimsuit! There’s one hitch to proving the efficacy of his aquatic livery – Holt can’t swim! As a series of circumstances and coincidences pile up on the hapless Holt, he finds himself confused for a swimming champ (Guinn “Big Boy” Williams), courting a debutante (Ginger Rogers), and entered into a Catalina swimming marathon. It’s a good thing Allan “Farina” Hoskins is on hand to give Holt some “dry” swim lessons. Directed by Lloyd Bacon.
ELMER, THE GREAT (1933) Joe. E. Brown plays rookie ballplayer Elmer Kane, a country mouse naïf whose ego may prove his undoing thanks to his city mouse teammates. Young Elmer only has eyes for his local sweetie Nellie (Patricia Ellis), so Chicago Cubs management keeps her love letters from their future MVP, lest he bolt the big city and head for home. When Nellie comes a callin¹ she finds Elmer in a seeming clinch with glam queen Evelyn (the luminous Claire Dodd) which sends Elmer off on a tailspin of gambling and gangsters. Down behind the eight-ball and nearly shoeless, the mob starts pressuring Elmer to throw the big game or else. What’s a boy to do? Directed by Mervyn LeRoy and co-starring Frank McHugh. Based on a play by Ring Lardner and George M. Cohan.
A VERY HONORABLE GUY (1934) Hapless man of honor Feet Samuels falls prey to gambling gangster The Brain (Alan Dinehart) thanks to a case of accidental arrest. Indebted to the gangster, Feet tries to gamble his way out with the expected results. With a girl interested only in moolah (Alice White) and a mob man due to come collecting, Feet sell his body to science, albeit pre-maturely. With his end a contracted done deal, Feet’s luck turns around and he¹s suddenly flush with cash. But the mad quack with the lien on his life (Robert Barrat) is not open to re-negotiation. At least Feet still has his honor … . Directed by Lloyd Bacon.