Note from me: I’ll let you in on a little secret in doing DVD reviews for CHUD. When dealing with TV DVD sets, which can have entire 24-episode seasons in one offering, making for many hours of watching, it helps to choose shows with which you’re familiar, so that you can bypass actually watching all the episodes because you’ve already seen them. I started on these DVD sets in preparation for receiving them for this column. Apparently, however, there’s been a slight snafu in the sewer and I won’t be getting them. No harm, no foul, no biggie. But see, the thing is, I’ve already pre-written 2/3 of a column, researched the special features, yadda yadda yadda. And I’ll be damned if I just hit the delete button on it. So here is the column as it stood when I got the bad news. Think of it as that unfinished George Washington painting, only not quite as historic. These are DVD reviews without the technicality of actually having seen the DVDs.
Here at CHUD, we get a lot of DVDs. Like, A LOT. We handle as many as we can, but sometimes, the discs pile up in the Sewer and with all the toxic waste down here, they can start to get a little…well…hot. When that happens, we gotta hit the purge button and clear them out before the whole joint melts down.
Pawn Stars – Volume 4 (Buy It Here)
I love Pawn Stars, what can I say? It’s about the only kind of reality TV I can stomach, even though it has some obviously produced / scripted segments for humor that can sometimes elicit a groan with their staged cheesiness. Still, the concept of three generations of pawn shop owners buying unusual, valuable and historic items started a trend, with shows like Hardcore Pawn, Auction Kings, Beverly Hills Pawn, Cajun Pawn Stars, etc. Pawn Stars is really the lightest kind of TV fare, always good to snack on like a bowl of popcorn. They always have something interesting coming into the store, and the bickering family of The Old Man (Richard Harrison), son Rick Harrison (who is the biggest laugher in the world), grandson Cory “Big Hoss” Harrison and the (either deliberately or pothead-inducedly) dense employee, Chumlee, provide some fun and laughs.
The show doesn’t need much set up. A customer brings in an item they think is going to score them some fast cash, Rick, The Old Man, Cory and/or Chumlee evaluate its historical or monetary significance, they haggle over the price and a deal is struck or not. When the item is outside the guys’ purview, they call in an expert, usually from the worlds of firearms, handwriting analysis, literature and cars and bikes (usually Danny Coker from Counting Cars). For general historical knowledge, their go-to guy is a bearded gentleman named Mark Hall-Patton who runs the Clark County Museum system and knows enough to clean out Jeopardy! on a nightly basis. When not in the shop, vignettes from the guys’ downtime and various adventures are shown, usually with them bickering good-naturedly with each other.
How Hot Is It?
There’s nothing particularly special about any one episode of this show. They’re pretty cookie cutter, and the History Channel reruns the heck out of it. So unless you’re specifically collecting the discs, you could generally skip these sets and just watch the show on TV. What’s more, this is only 16 episodes (i.e. about half a season, they do enough episodes to run two new every week practically), for half the price. Not sure why they can’t release a full season (rather than A “volume”).
Out of a Possible 5 Stars
Femme Fatales – Season 1 (Buy It Here)
I actually did quite a bit a bit of coverage on this show when I did a set visit in 2011 back during my Guy.com days (ah the good ole days…). The episode they were filming was titled “Libra” and featured actress Betsy Rue as a dark avenging superheroine looking for some payback. Check out here, here, here, here and here for a special feature on host Tanit Phoenix. Best way to describe Femme Fatales is that it’s a noir anthology show based on the pulp magazine of the same name, with plenty of Skinemax action going down. Phoenix hosts one-off stories of sex and dark doings as Lilith, and each story is guaranteed to involve a dangerous chick who ain’t ashamed of her bod if you get my drift. Plenty of sex, plenty of murder, plenty of everything else naughty. You can tell that the stories take beats and ideas from other noir and genre tales, but the episodes in general are not bad and there’s plenty of in flagrante delicto by very good looking people.
How Hot Is It?
The women or the DVD? Well, they’re both stacked. The DVD offers 14 episodes, with a bevy of special features including:
- Audio Commentary Tracks for every episode with the stars and creators.
- Never-Before-Seen Deleted and Alternate Scenes.
- Creating Femme Fatales
- Shooting Femme Fatales: The Making of Season One
- Making Love: Anatomy of a Sex Scene
- San Diego Comic-Con 2011 Panel
- The White Flower B&W Director’s Cut
- Blooper Reel
- Isolated Music Tracks
- Photo Gallery & More…
So yeah, a ton of good stuff on this, way more than I would’ve ever expected. Get it.
Out of a Possible 5 Stars