HK and Cult Film News's Fan Box

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Acorn’s Brit Alternatives to Summer Reruns – Star-studded U.S. Debuts w/ Patrick Stewart, Iain Glen, and Amanda Redman – Summer DVD Calendar

"Acorn Media, chief curators of the best Brit TV" --TIME Magazine

Acorn (British TV) and Athena (Documentaries) DVD Release Calendar:

May 28:

George Gently, Series 5 (U.S. Debut) – “Great, bordering on brilliant” (Esquire) – Available to U.S. audiences for the first time with its release on DVD and Blu-ray, the fifth series of the acclaimed BBC mystery series features an upstanding detective in 1960s England. Award-winning actor Martin Shaw returns as Inspector George Gently, a former Scotland Yard detective now tackling crime in the north of England. Shot in stunning high-definition, these powerful dramas boast clever scripts, stylish direction, and distinguished casts, and unfold against the beautiful backdrop of rural Britain. George Gently has run for five series, with a sixth series in production. (Blu-ray 2-disc, DVD 4-disc set)

George Gently Collection: Series 1-4 – The first value-priced collection of the popular BBC detective drama featuring Martin Shaw as an incorruptible cop transplanted from London to Northumberland in the mid-1960s. These 11 feature-length mysteries teem with intrigue, wit, and style. (DVD 11-Disc Collector’s Edition, Blu-ray 6-Disc Set)

June 4:

Vexed Series 2 (U.S. Debut) – “Moonlighting 2.0, but with a much sexier male lead...witty and irreverent British hit” (Advocate) – Toby Stephens (Jane Eyre, Die Another Day, and the lead in Michael Bay’s upcoming STARZ series Black Sails) and Miranda Raison (MI-5, My Week with Marilyn, Sugartown) star in charming British cop drama. The series features sharp scripts, strong performances, and an enjoyable mix of comedy and crime solving with a twist. As partners on the London police force, the two detectives bicker and banter as they learn to work together, despite their very different styles. Broadcast on BBC Two in 2012, Series 2 has not aired in the U.S. and is available to U.S. audiences for the first time with this DVD release (DVD 2-Disc Set, 6 episodes).

The First Churchills – The landmark BBC miniseries that launched Masterpiece Theatre as the venue for acclaimed British productions. Based on Sir Winston Churchill’s biography of his ancestors the first Duke and Duchess of Marlborough, this addictive BBC drama was Emmy®-nominated for Outstanding Drama Series (1971). The classic miniseries follows the couple from their budding romance in the bawdy court of King Charles II through five tumultuous decades and five Stuart monarchs. The series stars John Neville (The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, The X-Files), Susan Hampshire (Monarch of the Glen, The Pallisers) in an Emmy®-winning performance, and Margaret Tyzack (I, Claudius) in a BAFTA-winning role. Now with SDH subtitles and slimmer packaging (DVD 3-Disc Set, 12 episodes).

The Politician’s Wife – “One of the best dramas the Masterpiece Theatre ever produced…Brilliant” (The Boston Globe) – Award-winning psychological drama of politics, lust, and revenge seen on PBS, stars Juliet Stevenson (The Hour, Bend it Like Beckham), Trevor Eve (Kidnap and Ransom), and Minnie Driver (Good Will Hunting). The best drama winner at the International Emmys® and the BAFTA awards in the mid-1990s, the miniseries stars features a betrayed wife who publicly stands by her man while secretly orchestrating a political power play against him. Broadcast on Masterpiece Theatre in the U.S. in 1996, the DVD includes the complete U.K. broadcast edition. Milne also recently wrote The Politician’s Husband starring David Tennant and Emily Watson, which premiered in the U.K. in April 2013.

June 18:

Springhill Series 1 (U.S. Debut) – From the creators of Shameless, State of Play, and Queer as Folk – A British family faces dark secrets in this soapy British drama mixed with mysterious, supernatural elements. The series is created by Paul Abbott (Shameless, State of Play, Cracker) and Frank Cottrell Boyce, veterans of Britain’s Coronation Street, and buoyed by strong screenwriters including Russell T. Davies (Doctor Who, Queer as Folk). Springhill melds elements of Twin Peaks and EastEnders as it follows the Freemans family’s shocking revelations and electrifying confrontations, with few taboos left untouched. Broadcast in 1996-1997 in the U.K., the program has not aired in the U.S. (DVD 4-Disc Set, 26 episodes)

Understanding Art: Hidden Lives of Masterpieces (U.S. Debut) – View masterpieces as you’ve never seen them before. New, captivating documentary puts masterworks under the microscope and offers an entertaining and accessible look into their fascinating histories. This exceptional series documents the Louvre’s study days, in which works by major artists were collected, removed from their frames, and set on easels, replicating the feel of an artist’s studio. Curators, historians, restorers, and scientists from around the world came to examine and discuss them in total freedom. Featuring expert commentary and engaging animations to explain and simplify complex language and concepts, the documentary showcases the works of Rembrandt, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Watteau, and Poussin. (DVD 2-Disc Set, 5 episodes)

June 25:

Jack Taylor Set 1 (U.S. Debut) – Iain Glen (Game of Thrones, Downton Abbey) stars in the gritty Irish detective drama based on the bestselling crime fiction by Ken Bruen. A noir thriller in the vein of Case Histories and Single-Handed and filmed on location against the rugged backdrop of western Ireland, the program follows a forty-something ex-cop trying to earn a living as a private detective in his native Galway. Self-destructive, pig-headed, and overly fond of the bottle, Taylor has burned a lot of bridges, but he still has a knack for uncovering ugly truths. Broadcast on in the U.K. in 2013 with new episodes in production (DVD 3-Disc Set, 3 mysteries).

New Tricks Season 9 – Retired cops solve cold cases in Britain’s highest-rated TV drama. The series has enjoyed ongoing broadcast exposure in North America on PBS; however the DVD set features the unedited UK edition. For eight years, the old dogs of the Unsolved Crime and Open Case Squad—veteran detectives Jack Halford (James Bolam), Brian Lane (Alun Armstrong, Garrow’s Law), and Gerry Standing (Dennis Waterman, The Sweeney)—have been a close-knit team led by Amanda Redman. Then Jack drops a bombshell: he’s retiring. Before long, they find a replacement in retired detective Steve McAndrew (Emmy® nominee Denis Lawson, Bleak House, Star Wars). (DVD 3-Disc Set)

Honest (U.S. Debut) – Featuring sharp scripts, an outstanding cast, and a deft mix of comedy and drama, this critically acclaimed British dramedy follows the fortunes of the criminally minded Carter family after their patriarch is sentenced to four years in jail for robbery. Amanda Redman (New Tricks) stars as the beleaguered mother determined to keep her family out of trouble. The compelling cast also includes Danny Webb (The Bill), Sean Pertwee (Cold Feet), Matthew McNulty (The Syndicate), and Laura Haddock (Upstairs Downstairs). Honest aired in the U.K. on ITV in 2008, but never aired in the U.S (DVD 2-Disc Set, 6 episodes).

July 2:

Falcón (U.S. Debut) – Marton Csokas (The Lord of the Rings) and Hayley Atwell (Captain America) star in new cinematic crime thriller making its U.S. debut. Featuring compelling characters, an outstanding ensemble cast, and complex, haunting mysteries, the critically acclaimed new crime series is based on the bestselling novels by Robert Wilson. Set in the magnificent Spanish city of Seville, Falcón follows a smart, intuitive detective bent on exposing hard truths and corruption. The British production features a seductive beauty and sinister undercurrent all to its own, along with stunning cinematography and stylish direction. The series co-stars Emilia Fox, Santiago Cabrera, Charlie Creed-Miles, and Kerry Fox with guest stars Bernard Hill, Robert Lindsay, Bill Paterson, and Rosie Perez. The two feature-length mysteries premiered in the UK in Nov. 2012 but have not aired in the U.S. (DVD 2-Disc).

Patrick Stewart in North & South (U.S. and Home Video Debut) – The classic BBC miniseries makes its long-awaited home video and U.S. debut. The outstanding BBC period drama stars Patrick Stewart (X-Men, Star Trek, I, Claudius) in a classic British romance in the vein of Pride and Prejudice and Middlemarch. This popular program is based on the celebrated novel by Elizabeth Gaskell (Cranford, Wives and Daughters) and depicts the tensions of the Victorian era, as traditional society clashed with the coming of the modern world. Both a slow-burn romance and a clear-eyed view of the Industrial Revolution, North & South captivates with a magnetic performance from future star Patrick Stewart. Though broadcast on the BBC in 1975, the series likely never aired in the U.S., so this release is the first opportunity for U.S. audiences to see the miniseries (DVD 2-Disc, 4 episodes).

July 16:

Joanna Lumley’s Nile – A fascinating four-part documentary hosted by the witty and enthusiastic Joanna Lumley, half of the iconic duo from Absolutely Fabulous. Traveling by fishing boat, ferry, cruise ship, plane, train, car, and Zapcat, Joanna follows the world’s longest river from mouth of the river in the Mediterranean Sea to its source in Sudan. Along the way, Joanna visits five African nations and some of the most inhospitable landscapes on Earth. The ideal travel companion, she’s game for almost anything—from sleeping on a crowded deck to slogging through mud and judging an “Ancient Egypt Night” contest. Featuring a deft mix of education and entertainment, the program premiered in 2010 on ITV and has since aired on public television in the U.S. (DVD 2-Disc Set, 4 episodes).

Bill Moyers: On the Hudson – Called “Surprising and delightful” (The New York Times), this fascinating PBS documentary explores the history of the mighty Hudson River. Legendary journalist Bill Moyers discusses the river’s 315-mile course from its source in the Adirondack Mountains to its outlet at New York harbor—and its impact on much of the nation’s history, literature, and art. On the Hudson debuted on PBS in 2002 and is Athena’s sixteenth release from Moyers’ acclaimed library of programs (DVD 2-Disc Set).

July 30:

Midsomer Murders Series 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 in individual season sets – Now in original U.K. broadcast order, the first five series of the beloved, star-studded mystery series are available in collectible, repackaged individual series sets with SDH subtitles ($59.99 each set). The English village mystery gets a contemporary spin in this hit British television series that has earned a worldwide following. Bucolic settings harbor macabre crimes and eccentric characters that are no match for nice-guy detective Tom Barnaby (John Nettles, Bergerac) and his eager assistant, Sergeant Troy (Daniel Casey). Continually among Acorn’s best-selling series, Midsomer Murders premiered in the U.K. in 1997 and more than ninety feature-length episodes have aired with new episodes still in production. The first five series have featured a wide array of famous faces, including Orlando Bloom, Emily Mortimer, Honeysuckle Weeks, Toby Jones, Imelda Staunton, Trudie Styler, James Bolam, Samantha Bond, Anthony Bate, Kenneth Colley, Celia Imrie, and Hugh Bonneville (Downton Abbey). (DVD 2 or 3-Disc Sets)

Coming in August/September:

Foyle’s War, Set 7 (DVD debut of three new episodes), Smiley’s People on Blu-ray, Midsomer Murders Set 22, star-studded Tales of the City: 20th Anniversary Collection, Trial & Retribution: Complete Collection, Blandings, War and Peace, Line of Duty Series 1, and Prime Suspect: The Complete Collection on Blu-ray.


Earlier 2013 Releases Still Available

From Acorn: The Syndicate Series 1 (U.S. Debut, adapted as Lucky 7 by ABC), The Scarlet Pimpernel, The Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries: Complete Collection, Doc Martin Special Collection: Series 1-5 + The Movies, A Fine Romance: Complete Collection, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries Series 1 (U.S. Debut, DVD/Blu-ray), new, glamorous “lady detective” series; Midsomer Murders: Tom Barnaby’s Last Cases; Dirk Gently (U.S. Debut), based on the novels by beloved author Douglas Adams (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy); Sugartown (U.S. Debut), charming BBC comedy; Foyle’s War: The Home Front Files, Sets 1-6, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (Long-awaited DVD Debut) starring Geraldine McEwan (Agatha Christie’s Marple), Garrow’s Law: The Complete Collection, Maigret Complete Collection starring Michael Gambon, Murdoch Mysteries Collection: Seasons 1-4 (Blu-ray and DVD), Murdoch Mysteries, Season 5 (U.S. Debut, Blu-ray, DVD), Murdoch Mysteries, Season 2 (Blu-ray debut), No Job for a Lady: The Complete Collection (DVD Debut), Chance in a Million Complete Collection, A Mind to Kill Complete Collection, Agatha Christie’s Partners in Crime: The Tommy & Tuppence Mysteries, Agatha Christie’s Poirot & Marple Fan Favorites Collection, Wodehouse Playhouse Complete, Above Suspicion Set 2 (U.S. debut) starring Kelly Reilly and Ciaran Hinds, Testimony of Two Men (DVD Debut), Doctor Zhivago starring Keira Knightley, Trial & Retribution, Set 6 (U.S. Debut), Lillie starring Francesca Annis, and Midsomer Murders Set 21 (U.S. Debut, Blu-ray and DVD).

From Athena Documentaries:

Broadway Musicals: A Jewish Legacy (DVD Debut), Bill Moyers: Beyond Hate, Shakespeare: The King's Man (U.S. Debut, Athena), a captivating 2012 BBC documentary exploring Shakespeare’s later plays; Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth with Bill Moyers – 25th Anniversary Edition, Missions That Changed the War: The Doolittle Raid (DVD Debut) narrated by Gary Sinise, She-Wolves: England’s Early Queens (DVD debut), The Story of Math Collection, and Bill Moyers: Becoming American

Best British TV streaming service Acorn TV is featuring a free 30-day trial for complete access to the 18 different series plus marathons. Thereafter, a subscription is just $2.99/mth or $29.99/yr. Each week three new seasons are added and three are removed. The press login/password for complete access is readily available upon request. Currently streaming programs include: the U.S. premiere of Falcón, a new cinematic crime thriller set in Spain and starring Martin Csokas (Lord of the Rings) and Hayley Atwell (Captain America; Wired, an edge-of-your-seat financial thriller starring Toby Stephens (Jane Eyre, Die Another Day, and the lead in Michael Bay’s upcoming series Black Sails), Upstairs, Downstairs spinoff Thomas & Sarah; the U.S. premiere of Springhill, from the creators of Shameless, State of Play, and Queer as Folk; The Norman Conquests, based on the celebrated plays by Alan Ayckbourn; and the star-studded documentary Playing Shakespeare featuring Judi Dench, Ian McKellen, Ben Kingsley, Patrick Stewart and David Suchet; the complete series of the Pie in the Sky mystery series (40 episodes) starring the Richard Griffiths (Harry Potter films); the U.S. premiere of Honest starring Amanda Redman (New Tricks); black comedy Dirty Tricks starring Martin Clunes (Doc Martin); Australian drama Cloudstreet starring Essie Davis (Miss Fisher); the star-studded drama The Sinking of the Laconia; the romantic afterlife series Shades; Callan starring Edward Woodward (The Equalizer); a marathon of the hit Victoria-era detective series Murdoch Mysteries (65 episodes); among many others. Press access readily available upon request.

An RLJ Entertainment, Inc. brand (NASDAQ: RLJE), Athena releases provide an authoritative and entertaining learning experience through high quality, informative, non-fiction programming. Athena’s 2013 releases include: Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth: 25th Anniversary Edition, She-Wolves: England’s Early Queens, Missions That Changed the War: The Doolittle Raid, Shakespeare: The King’s Man, The Story of Math Collection, and Broadway Musicals: A Jewish Legacy.

An RLJ Entertainment, Inc. brand (NASDAQ: RLJE), Acorn specializes in the best of British television on DVD/Blu-ray. 2013 releases include: Jack Irish starring Guy Pearce, BBC’s The Syndicate, The Fall starring Gillian Anderson, North & South starring Patrick Stewart, Falcón starring Marton Csokas, Jack Taylor starring Iain Glen, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, Doc Martin Special Collection, Helen Mirren’s Prime Suspect and Smiley’s People on Blu-ray, Douglas Adams’ Dirk Gently, star-studded Tales of the City: 20th Anniversary Edition, and more episodes from Foyle’s War, George Gently, New Tricks, Murdoch Mysteries, Midsomer Murders and Vera.

Acorn’s and Athena’s DVD sets are available from select retailers, catalog companies, and direct from Acorn Media at (888) 870-8047 or and Select series are streaming at Acorn TV, the first British TV-focused streaming service, at


No comments: