New DVDs: TV Series, Nonfiction and Feature Length Films – June 2010

Affairs of the Heart: Series 2

Rakishness and romance are in the air in this second anthology of stories inspired by the timeless works of American-born British novelist Henry James, a writer who knew the power of a good plot twist fueled by character-driven drama. Eileen Atkins, Derek Jacobi, Sinéad Cusack and other recognizable names co-star in this selection of six hourlong episodes based on Daisy Miller, An International Episode and some of James’s lesser-known tales. (1974) Not Rated

The Big Bang Theory: Season 2

Two socially inept physicists realize how little they know about the real world when a beautiful woman moves into the apartment next door. Sheldon (Jim Parsons, in his first Emmy-nominated role) and Leonard (Johnny Galecki) try their best to impress Penny (Kaley Cuoco), who helps teach them about life outside their lab. In the second season of this witty sitcom, the geniuses and their equally awkward pals continue their education about the non-geek population.

The Book of Ruth: Journey of Faith

Tolerance, compassion and faith are the keynotes of this moving Christian drama that illustrates the biblical story of Ruth. After being widowed, Ruth (Sherry Morris) travels to Israel, a land in turmoil, and struggles to create a new life for herself. She marries Boaz (Carman), of the Royal House of Judah, and he leads her to a greater understanding of God’s love. Their son Obed will become King David’s grandfather and a herald for the Messiah. (2009) Not Rated

Celebrating Bird: The Triumph of Charlie Parker

In film clips, photos, and interviews, the life of virtuoso saxophonist Charlie Parker is traced from Kansas City to the New York jazz scene of the 1950s.

The Cinder Path

From Masterpiece Theatre, Englishman Charlie McFell (Lloyd Owen) wrestles with his demons — including a coldhearted wife (Catherine Zeta-Jones), economic hardship, the horror of the world’s first Great War and a painful secret he’d rather forget. But Charlie eventually comes out on top in this emotional, made-for-television miniseries based on Catherine Cookson’s best-selling novel. (1995) Not Rated


In the wake of a six-car crash that leaves two people dead, Detective Inspector John Tolin (Douglas Henshall) and Senior Investigating Officer Ann Stallwood (Kate Ashfield) launch an investigation that unearths dark personal secrets, corporate crime and even murder. Meanwhile, Tolin and Stallwood must deal with their own relationship and come to terms with their past in this Masterpiece Theatre program. Not Rated (2009)

The Commander: Set One

Follow the adventures of Scotland Yard’s Serious and Organised Crime Group Commander, Clare Blake (Amanda Burton), as she starts an affair with a recently released murderer (Hugh Bonneville), cares for her cancer-stricken sister and searches for London’s most dangerous killers. Always taking risks in her personal and professional lives, the unconventional Blake continually battles the attacks of her resentful co-worker, DCI Hedges. (2003) Not Rated

The Couple

Martin Landau heads the cast as Joseph Krauzenberg, an affluent Jewish industrialist who agrees to surrender all of his vast material wealth to the Nazis in return for his family’s safe passage out of German-occupied Hungary. But Krauzenberg’s decision puts his most loyal servants, the Vassmans (Kenny Doughty and Caroline Carver), in jeopardy. Judy Parfitt plays Landau’s stately wife in this somber World War II drama directed by John Daly. (2004) Not Rated


When a call girl witnesses a gangland hit, she becomes the mob’s next target, and the only people who can save her are mismatched cops Danny Tyler (Don  Wilson) and Phil Yordan (Olivier Gruner). The pair quickly become targets as well, and all three are soon on the run. But is one of them secretly tipping off their pursuers?  (2005) Rated R

Dalziel And Pascoe: Season One

Unusual methods aside, detectives Andy Dalziel (Warren Clarke) and Peter Pascoe (Colin Buchanan) have nothing in common — Dalziel is the loudmouthed copper to Pascoe’s genteel inspector — but together they crack Yorkshire’s most obstinate murder cases. The opening season of this BBC drama finds the pair investigating the death of a rugby player’s wife and the reappearance of a school principal’s body — and even taking a shine to each other. (1996) Not Rated

A Day in October

This compelling suspense drama follows the underground war-time evacuation of the Jews from Nazi-occupied Denmark to neutral Sweden. The Jewish Kublitz family lives quietly and comfortably in Copenhagen until a wounded Gentile resistance fighter, Niels (D.B. Sweeney) is saved from death by young Sarah Kublitz (Kelly Wolf) who gives him shelter in the Kublitz home. Sarah and Niels fall in love as the Resistance learns of the Nazis plan to arrest Jews. Sarah’s father, who works as a bookkeeper in a Nazi arms factory, must face some tough moral choices. (1991) Rated PG-13

The Deal

The head of Britain’s Labour Party has suddenly died. The two possible successors, political rivals Tony Blair (Michael Sheen) and Gordon Brown (David Morrissey), meet at a fateful 1994 dinner to debate the fate of the country, while flashbacks recount the story of their friendship. This absorbing political drama was meticulously adapted from real events by Peter Morgan and directed by Stephen Frears — the same team behind The Queen. Not Rated (2003)

The Diary of Anne Frank

From Masterpiece Theatre, teenager Anne Frank (Ellie Kendrick) and her Jewish family hide from the Nazis during World War II in this outstanding BBC production of the classic book. As time drags on, they deal with both the terrifying fear of their situation and normal family life. But the cramped quarters and tense situation sometimes cause tempers to flair. Presented in five half-hour episodes, the series intertwines some of Frank’s actual words within the action. (2009) Not Rated

Doc Martin: Series Three

Irascible and uptight as always, the good doctor Martin Ellingham (Martin Clunes) takes on challenges both medical and human in the third season of this British TV series set in the Cornish fishing village of Portwenn. The healer’s relationship with Louisa (Caroline Catz) is as dicey as ever, and he can’t seem to keep his foot out of his mouth. Meanwhile, the doc has acquired an aggressive new suitor in the form of hotel owner Carrie Wilson. (2007) Not Rated

An Englishman in New York

John Hurt plays celebrated, iconic gay author-artist Quentin Crisp (the subject of Sting’s song, “Englishman in New York”) in this pseudo biopic that chronicles Crisp’s high-profile move from London to New York’s Bowery in the 1980s. Cynthia Nixon, Swoosie Kurtz, Denis O’Hare and Jonathan Tucker also star in this long-anticipated sequel to the groundbreaking, made-for-television adaptation of “The Naked Civil Servant.” (2008) Not Rated

Everwood: The Complete Second Season

Just as Andy (Treat Williams) and his two kids, Ephram (Gregory Smith) and Delia (Vivien Cardone), begin to settle into their new home in Everwood, the widower doctor finds himself mired in turmoil when the town’s residents blame him for the death of Colin Hart (Mike Erwin). But things begin to look up for the family when Ephram finds love with a college student (Sarah Lancaster), and Andy begins to fall for Dr. Linda Abbott (Marcia Cross). (2003) Not Rated

Foyle’s War: Set 6

At the end of World War II, amid still turbulent times, Det. Chief Inspector Christopher Foyle (Michael Kitchen) solves the crimes that dog the British coastal town of Hastings, mysteries that have pulled him from retirement. In this three-episode set, a Russian POW’s escape leads to murder; racial tensions boil as African American soldiers await their departure home; and Foyle investigates an accused traitor too willing to meet his fate. Not Rated


David Suchet offers up an award-winning performance with his portrayal of Dr. Sigmund Freud in this 1984 BBC miniseries tracing the life and career of the founder of psychoanalysis, from his early professional days until his death. The production also features Michael Pennington as Freud’s nemesis, Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung; Helen Bourne as his wife, Martha Bernays; Suzanne Bertish as his sister-in-law; and Alison Key as his daughter, Anna. (1984) Not Rated

Lady Day: The Many Faces of Billie Holiday

This sparkling documentary features rare TV and movie clips, along with commentary by a stellar group of jazz instrumentalists and singers who knew her well.

Mad Men: Season 3

The martini-sipping, chain-smoking execs of New York ad agency Sterling Cooper — led by the dashing and mysterious creative director Don Draper (Jon Hamm) — wade deeper into the turbulence of the 1960s in the third season of this Emmy-winning series. The acclaimed ensemble cast features Elisabeth Moss as rising star Peggy Olson, John Slattery as slick senior partner Roger Sterling, and January Jones as Don’s beautiful but unhappy wife, Betty. (2009) Not Rated

MI-5: Season 7

Richard Armitage joins the cast of this award-winning British spy series as Lucas North, a former MI-5 agent who’s back on the job after spending eight years in a Russian prison — which makes him a perfect fit for Section D’s priority of the moment. But the question is, can he be trusted? His old friend Harry Pearce (Peter Firth) would like to think so but has his doubts. Alex Lanipekun, Hugh Simon and Gemma Jones co-star. (2008) Not Rated

Midsomer Murders: Set 15

The cozy villages of Midsomer County reveal their most sinister secrets in these contemporary British television mysteries. Inspired by the novels of Caroline Graham, modern master of the English village mystery, the series stars John Nettles as the unflappable Detective Chief Inspector Tom Barnaby, with Jason Hughes as his earnest, efficient protégé, Detective Sergeant Ben Jones.

Murphy’s Law: Series One

Murphy’s Law: Series Two

After the IRA murders his daughter, hard-boiled Detective Tommy Murphy (James Nesbitt) escapes to London. Guilt-ridden over her death, Murphy brings a bad attitude to his work as an undercover officer for the Metropolitan Police in this acclaimed British cop series. But with nothing left to lose, he throws himself into the job, diving deep into the city’s underbelly and taking on the most treacherous assignments. (2001) Not Rated

My Neighbors The Yamadas

This animated film follows the adventures of the quirky Yamada family, drawn with digital technology to resemble the watercolor look of the popular “Nono-chan” comic strips. Jim Belushi and Molly Shannon lend their voices to father-and-mother team Takashi and Matsuko, who do their best to handle two children (Liliana Mumy and Daryl Sabara), a live-in grandmother (Tress MacNeille) and Pochi, the family dog. (1999) Rated PG

New Tricks: Season One

Following her mishandling of a recent hostage crisis, Det. Superintendent Sandra Pullman is reassigned as the new head of the Unsolved Crime and Open Case Squad, a team of investigators charged with reexamining cold cases. Determined to not allow the reassignment derail her, Pullman sets out to make the UCOS a top-notch unit with the help of semi-retired detectives Jack Halford (James Bolam) and Gerry Standing (Dennis Waterman). (2003) Not Rated

New Tricks: Season 2

Retired detectives Gerry Standing (Dennis Waterman), Jack Halford (James Bolam) and Brian Lane (Alun Armstrong) are as creaky as the cases they’ve been called in to revive. The leads are bone cold, and their methods verge on eccentric, but their desire for justice hasn’t gone out of style. Season 2 of the BBC sleeper-hit series has the odd combo tracking down a missing greyhound and poking around a fishing pit, among other seriocomic pursuits. (2005) Not Rated

Nine Queens

Two small-time grifters (Ricardo Darin and Gastón Pauls) endure a series of tense negotiations when they attempt to sell a sheet of counterfeit stamps for a hefty sum, but the process is made more stressful when one of the con men’s estranged sister (Leticia Bredice) becomes involved. Fans of American writer David Mamet will appreciate the twists in this Argentinean caper from writer-director Fabián Bielinsky. Spanish dialogue, English subtitles. (2000) Rated R

Pie in The Sky: Series Two

Semi-retired cop Henry Crabbe (Richard Griffiths) pursues his lifelong dream of opening a restaurant, much to the chagrin of his boss (Malcolm Sinclair), who needs Crabbe on the force, and his accountant wife (Maggie Steed), who worries about the financial risks of Crabbe’s new business. Griffiths shines as the brainy, culinary-minded policeman in this deliciously quirky British crime drama from the 1990s. (1995) Not Rated

Place of Execution

Journalist Catherine Heathcote (Juliet Stevenson) solicits the help of investigator George Bennett (Lee Ingleby) for her documentary about the 1963 disappearance of a 13-year-old girl. But when Bennett abruptly stops cooperating, Heathcote begins to unravel some surprising truths. Now Heathcote may have to reevaluate her deep-rooted beliefs about justice. Based on the book by Val McDermid, this “Masterpiece” special co-stars Greg Wise.  (2009) Not Rated

Project Runway: The Complete Sixth Season

Sixteen new designers compete in Los Angeles, finding inspiration everywhere from Malibu’s beaches to the Getty Museum. Features all-new challenges, projects that should never have been made, and celebrity appearances, including Christina Aguilera, Eva Longoria Parker, and Lindsay Lohan. Rated TV-14

Rick Steves’ Italian Countryside

Includes all 6 half-hour Rick Steves’ Europe TV shows on Italy’s countryside, produced from 2000 to 2009: Cinque Terre (Italy’s Hidden Riviera), Siena and Assisi (Italy’s Grand Hill Towns), Tuscany’s Dolce Vita, Italy’s Amalfi Coast, and  The Best of Sicily.

Rick Steves’ Scandinavia

Includes all 4 half-hour episodes on Scandinavia from the Rick Steves’ Europe television program, produced from 2000 to 2009.  Copenhagen — Denmark Beyond Copenhagen — Oslo, Bergen and the Fjords — Stockholm and Helsinki.

Sharpe’s Challenge

Sean Bean reprises his role as Richard Sharpe eight years after his last go-around as the swashbuckling hero. Word that a local maharaja is threatening British interests sends Sharpe on his most dangerous mission yet. When the Indian warlord kidnaps the daughter of a general, Sharpe has not only her fate in his hands but that of an entire empire. Shot in India, and based on the popular adventure novels by Bernard Cornwell. (2006) Not Rated

Sharpe’s Peril

Sean Bean reprises his role as Lt. Col. Richard Sharpe in this made-for-TV adventure set in 1818, when Sharpe and Sgt. Maj. Patrick Harper (Daragh O’Malley) run afoul of a bandit leader while traveling with a disparate group of soldiers and traders to Madras. Desperate to defeat the wily outlaw, Sharpe trains his new, reluctant militia to fight as they traverse the hostile terrain, but discovers that the bandits aren’t their most dangerous enemy. (2008) Not Rated

Second Look: Adults with Autism

Third Look: Supports for Adults with Autism

Produced by the PA Department of Public Welfare, these DVDs look at social supports for adults with autism. Support professionals discuss the importance of assisting autistic adults in the development of social and life skills. Profiles a number of Pennsylvania residents with autism.

The 39 Steps

Richard Hannay (Rupert Penry-Jones) has his holiday interrupted when secret agent Scudder (Eddie Marsan) bursts into his apartment, staying alive just long enough to deposit a notebook. Pegged with murder, Hannay must decode the book and nab the culprits — before they find him first. In this nimble BBC update of John Buchan’s novel, German spies and British police give chase as Hannay races to deliver the coveted code and avert a world war. (2008) Not Rated

True Blood: Season Two

Telepathic waitress Sookie (Anna Paquin) attempts to solve a recent murder and sort out several issues with her vampire boyfriend, Bill (Stephen Moyer), including how to deal with his annoying teenage houseguest, Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll). Season two of this critically acclaimed vampire series features new characters, including Iraq war veteran Terry (Todd Lowe) and mysterious social worker Maryann (Michelle Forbes).

The United States of Tara: Season One

Steven Spielberg created this wry cable series that follows Tara (Toni Collette, in a Golden Globe-winning role), a wife and mother suffering from a dissociative identity disorder. As she wrestles with multiple personalities, Tara works to keep her dysfunctional family from falling apart. John Corbett co-stars as Tara’s husband, who finds ways of coping with his wife’s mutability. Keir Gilchrist and Brie Larson play the couple’s children. Not Rated

Wind at my Back: The Complete Second Season

Honey Bailey (Cynthia Belliveau) may have found love and security with teacher Max Sutton (James Carroll), but she still has her share of troubles in this dramatic series from the creators of “Anne of Green Gables.” In the show’s sophomore season, Honey’s sister-in-law Grace (Kathryn Greenwood) launches a radio advice program and becomes a local celebrity, and a ghost seems to be haunting New Bedford’s best hotel. (1997) Not Rated

Wind at My Back: The Complete Third Season

In the third season of this saga set against the backdrop of the Great Depression, life doesn’t get any less complicated for Honey, her children, their controlling grandmother or anyone else in the Bailey brood. As the season opens, the failure of the Silver Dome Mine is having far-reaching effects on the city of New Bedford, and May is more determined than ever to wrest back control of the mine and her town’s fortunes. (1999) Not Rated

Wind at My Back: The Complete Fourth Season

In 1930s Ontario, in the depths of the Great Depression, widow Honey Bailey continues to live with the terrible choice thrust upon her by her wealthy, controlling mother-in-law, trying her best to provide a life for the children she left behind. In the fourth season of this frequently heartbreaking melodrama, Honey has taken gravely ill and is consigned to a sanitarium, while the rest of the family deals with their own issues. (2000) Not Rated

Wind at my Back: The Complete Fifth Season

The popular series from the creators of “Anne of Green Gables” returns for a fifth and final season, continuing to chronicle the trials and tribulations endured by the ever-resilient Bailey family during the Great Depression. Following her stint in a sanatorium, Honey (Laura Bruneau) returns to New Bedford to find her family in flux. Max (James Carroll) considers a career in politics and Hub (Dylan Provencher) contemplates priesthood. (2000)