Why does it take so long for things to be released on DVD? Why are some TV shows not released here at all, even though they are available in Australia? Unfortunately New Zealand’s DVD zone is at the end of the release market for a lot of material and, faced with such a small market, procedural costs often become prohibitive to warrant general release by a commercial distributor.
We love TV shows at Wellington City Libraries, and we know you do too. Which is why we have initiated ‘The Ratings Project’, an ongoing mission to bring you the shows that you want to watch by submitting titles to the Film & Video Labeling Body for classification.
With ‘The Ratings Project’ we aim to give you the complete ‘TV’ experience, whether we provide you with full run of your favourite TV shows, or surprise you with something new & different. We hope you find something you enjoy and feel free to send us any feedback and suggestions…
This month’s titles range from comedy to drama, from foreign to action and back again, with something for everyone’s taste…
George Gently. Series 5.
“It’s 1968 and the swinging sixties have made their way up North and in to the life of Inspector George Gently. Joined by his sharp tongued partner DS John Bacchus, Gently finds himself on the case of a miner’s daughter, a kidnapped orphan and a murder that may have been a race-hate crime. The late sixties are a turbulent time in Britain and Gently’s investigations are complicated by class tensions, a dark undercurrent of racism and the outmoded shame of single motherhood, not to mention the threat of past grudges rearing their head. There are also signs of change though as Gently witnesses the coming of age of a younger, more tolerant generation and their increasing social consciousness. And, of course, there is Northern Soul. Filled with suspense, humour and Soul, Series Five of Inspector George Gently is more than just a detective procedural. A nostalgic treat for anyone who was there and something unseen for anyone who wasn’t, it is a time capsule of an imperfect but exciting and hopeful time that resonates right through to the present…” (Container description from Syndetics)
Waking the dead. The complete series two.
“The Cold Case squad is a crack team of three detectives, a forensic expert and a psychological profiler. Their job is to reopen the files on unsolved murders. In this season, a psychotic killer is the key to an investigation when a victim who survived is harassed by a copycat assailant; a deathbed confession appears to link the hanging of an East End gangster and the assassination of the jury who found him guilty; the team come up against a wall of Whitehall secrecy when a petty burglar is acquitted of murdering a prominent Home Officer advisor; and DCI Boyd makes terrible mistakes while under pressure to discover the truth behind the disappearance of an 18-year-old girl…” (Container description from Syndetics)
Numb3rs. The final season.
“Drama about an FBI agent who recruits his mathematical-genius brother to help the Bureau solve a wide range of challenging crimes in Los Angeles. The two brothers take on the most confounding criminal cases from a very distinctive perspective. Inspired by actual events, the series depicts how the confluence of police work and mathematics provides unexpected revelations and answers to the most perplexing criminal questions…” (Container description from Syndetics)
Parenthood. Season 2.
“NBC’s Parenthood encompasses such a sprawling cast that the action can get a little hectic at times, but the show always delivers in the more dramatic moments. In the second season, the Bravermans are all jockeying for position. Patriarch Zeek (Craig T. Nelson) has come to an understanding with his wife, Camille (Bonnie Bedelia), but still tries to control situations with his kids when cooperation would make things easier. His oldest son, Adam (Peter Krause), on the other hand, gives up some of his turf when he offers his sister, Sarah (Lauren Graham), a job at his shoe-manufacturing firm, where she enters into a relationship with his boss, Gordon (guest star William Baldwin). Adam’s 16-year-old daughter, Haddie (Sarah Ramos), meanwhile, struggles to assert her independence, but her father and mother, Kristina (Monica Potter), make it difficult when it comes to a school election and a potential love interest (Michael B. Jordan, from creator Jason Katims’s Friday Night Lights). Her younger brother, Max (Max Burkholder), who has Asperger’s syndrome, also contributes to their rapidly escalating stress levels….It might not seem fair to single out one cast member, but Graham continues to do some of the best work, largely because her character, a single mother, has the most to lose…” (Abridged from Amazon.com review)
Parenthood. Season 3.
“In many respects, the third season of NBC’s Parenthood revolves around new starts. In the wake of his layoff, Adam (Peter Krause) and Kristina (Monica Potter) have their third child, while he looks for work. Meanwhile, Crosby (Dax Shepard) and Jasmine (Joy Bryant) pursue new relationships, Amber (Mae Whitman) gets a job with a political candidate (Jonathan Tucker), and Julia (Erika Christensen) and Joel (Sam Jaeger) try to find a way to add to their family after the disappointments of the previous year. These developments present opportunities as Adam and Crosby open up a recording studio and Julia and Joel arrange an adoption with Zoe (Rosa Salazar, very good), a young woman without the financial means to provide for a child, but the unintended consequences include sibling rivalry and a series of inappropriate employer-employee situations. Adam and Kristina also decide to mainstream Max (Max Burkholder), who has Asperger’s syndrome, by sending him to public school, which presents a whole new set of challenges. Unlike the other Bravermans, Sarah (Lauren Graham) revisits her past when she reunites with her ex-boyfriend, Mark (Jason Ritter, who took time off for The Event). …The year ends on an optimistic note with a wedding and another new addition. If the musical selections tend to err on the sappy side, the writing and acting continue to elevate Parenthood above most other domestic dramas…” (Abridged from Amazon.com review)
Parenthood. Season 4.
“Family dynamics are shifting for all three generations of The Braverman clan in the critically acclaimed fourth season of Parenthood. Everything changes for Adam and Kristina as they receive shocking news, while Sarah contemplates how her priorities affect her future. As Julia and Joel adjust to life with their adopted son, Crosby and Jasmine settle into their roles as husband and wife. Featuring guest stars Ray Romano (Everybody Loves Raymond) and Jason Ritter (The Event), watch all 15 smart, funny and heartwarming episodes about life’s unexpected hurdles and those who help us conquer them: family…” (From Amazon.com review)
Psych. The complete fifth season.
“With his uptight father (Corbin Bernsen) in charge of the Santa Barbara Police Department’s consultants, incredibly charming and talented phony psychic Shawn (James Roday) must now work extra hard to land new investigation gigs for him and his trusty partner Gus (Dulé Hill). Season 5 of this quirky crime show finds the private detectives searching for a kidnap victim, probing an alien abduction and infiltrating a street-racing gang…” (Publisher’s description from Amazon.com)
Flashpoint. Season one.
“The Canadian police drama series Flashpoint examines the day-to-day triumphs and tragedies of an elite tactical squad as it responds to an array of high-intensity situations in this first-season boxed set. Character actor Enrico Colantoni (Veronica Mars) is the cool-headed leader of the Strategic Response Unit (SRU), a crack team of young officers skilled at handling dangerous situations beyond the ken of the police, including hostage situations, bomb threats, and robberies….At first blush, it’s standard-issue cop show fare, with plenty of well-executed action sequences filmed in tight, often claustrophobic setups to ratchet up the tension. Thankfully, the producers of Flashpoint are equally interested in the emotional and physical tolls experienced by the team…We also get to see how extreme moments have lasting effects: Lane is twice dragged into investigations over his use of force in the first season, while other officers deal with post-traumatic stress when situations go wrong and good people die, despite their best efforts. Such elements help to elevate Flashpoint beyond the realm of TV shoot-’em-up, and if the end results aren’t on par with The Wire or Homicide: Life on the Street, the show deserves some credit for aspiring to those levels of quality…” (Abridged from Amazon.com review)
Flashpoint. Series two, Volume one.
“Inspired by the real-life Emergency Task Force of Toronto, Flashpoint is a riveting, suspense-filled police drama. Focusing on the psychological and moral dilemmas involved in elite crime work, Series Two ups the stakes for the Strategic Response Unit (SRU). The show features a host of top US and Canadian talent, including Enrico Colantoni, Hugh Dillon, Amy Jo Johnson and David Paetkau. All cast members deliver subtle, nuanced performances that lift Flashpoint well above the ranks of other police dramas. Addictive, intelligent and action-packed, Flashpoint is world-class television…” (Product description from Fishpond.co.nz)
Flashpoint. Series two, Volume two.
“Focusing on the high stakes operations of a Strategic Response Unit (SRU). Flashpoint is the hit series enthralling audiences worldwide. Specialising in volatile, high risk situations. SRU’s Team One is an elite task force whose highly trained recruits are required to make split second decisions that can mean the difference between life and death…” (Product description from Fishpond.co.nz)
The IT crowd. Version 4.0.
“Banished from the ivory towers of Reynholm Industries, the IT crowd lurk below ground, avoiding work and social contact in equal measure… Another series of The IT Crowd renews our acquaintance with Roy (Chris O’Dowd), Moss (Richard Ayoade) and Jen (Katherine Parkinson), the co dependant trio who continue, against all odds, to operate under the obscene rule of Douglas (Matt Berry). Their seemingly fragile friendship is reinforced when are confronted with naked aerobics, bunking off work, marriages and divorces. The Fourth series sees each character taking on new challenges; Jen wants to stretch herself in the workplace so applies for the post of ‘Entertainment Manager’, Moss beats all records on a popular spelling show, Roy spends a disproportionate amount of time trying to convince an old friend that he is not a window cleaner and Douglas joins the ‘spaceologists’. Written by Graham Linehan (Black Books, Father Ted), Executive Produced by Ash Atalla and Produced by Richard Boden, this persistently hilarious Rose D’or, BAFTA and International Emmy-winning sitcom is about to be upgraded to version 4.0…” (Product description from Amazon.co.uk)
Inspector Montalbano. Volume 4.
“It is no wonder that Inspector Montalbano is Italy’s favourite detective, both in print – in Andrea Camilleri’s award winning novels – and now on television as inhabited by actor Luca Zingaretti in a role that rivals the finest detectives America and Europe has to offer. In these four irresistible tales, the Inspector is forced to contend with not only murderers, criminals and errant husbands who will do everything to avoid his detection, but local politicians, police bureaucracy, unreliable judges, lethally argumentative mafia families, hysterical wives, psychic and psychotic sisters and so much more. From a discovered body in a buried crime through corrupt charities saving immigrant women, kidnapped horses and dark sexual compulsions, Montalbano has a lot on his plate. But not so much that there isn’t room for something sweet, whether in his favourite restaurant or in the privacy of his own home…( Publisher’s description from Amazon.co.uk)
Covert affairs. Season three.
“Everything changes for savvy CIA operative Annie Walker (Piper Perabo, Looper) in season three of the hit series Covert Affairs. Reassigned to a new and even more covert division of the Agency, Annie takes on missions that become personal and finds herself on dangerous forays into inhospitable territory, while a series of explosive revelations force her to question her role and what (and who) matters most. From the producers of The Bourne Trilogy and co-starring Christopher Gorham (Ugly Betty), Kari Matchett (Leverage), and Peter Gallagher (The O.C.), watch all 16 action-packed episodes back to back and uninterrupted of the pulse-racing series that “will keep you at the edge of your seat” (Jeanne Jakle, San Antonio Express News). International shooting locations this season include Moscow, Paris, Barcelona, Morocco and Puerto Rico…” (Publisher’s description from Amazon.com)