My Two Cents
Tuesday, 06 September 2016 19:15

Star Trek turns 50 this week, plus Café Society, Outlander: S2, Warner Archive, Olive’s November & more

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All right, as many of you know, Thursday marks the official 50th Anniversary of the Star Trek franchise. Star Trek: The Original Series debuted on NBC TV way back on September 8, 1966.

As is probably true for many of you, Star Trek’s played an enormous role in my life. It was my first favorite TV show as a very young child, certainly my first exposure to science fiction of any kind, and it’s not an exaggeration to say that my moral compass – the very principles I believe in (a more optimistic future, the idea that we’re stronger working together, that exploration is one of the most noble things Humanity can do, that it’s our differences that make us greater, etc) – all come from classic Star Trek. The series certainly fostered my curious nature and lifelong interests in science, astronomy, writing, and spaceflight technology. Over the past decade, my love of the franchise led to the discovery of Patrick O’Brian’s “Aubrey-Maturin” series of historical novels, which begin with Master and Commander (upon which the 2003 Russell Crowe film was based) – they’re essentially Star Trek stories set in the 19th Century.  [Read on here…]

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Indeed, my Trekker cred is rock solid. That’s me in 1973 on the left there (below), clearly annoyed at having my picture taken with the U.S.S. Enterprise model I’d made out of whatever craft materials were on hand at the time (specifically, two paper plates, a pair of empty paper towel rolls, a toilet paper roll, and two Popsicle sticks, plus a copious amount of tape). That’s me again on the right (paint rollers in hand) – with high-school friends – in a 1985 spoof fan film, one of thousands of made by Trek fans over the years.

Bill Hunt, Digital Bits editor and lifelong Star Trek fan

Recently, my relationship with Trek led me into a rather unique position: I spent much of last year writing the screenplay for the now (shall we say) infamous Axanar feature film. And having fed such ambitious creative energies, I’m now working on an original science fiction novel of my own. The sci-fi novel I hope to release sometime next year, but the Axanar script is obviously in limbo given recent events. Still, I’m enormously proud of it. It is, in many ways, my love letter to Star Trek and writing it was a joyful experience for me. I hope one day you’ll all get the chance at least to read it, if sadly perhaps not see it.

In any case, I know that many of our readers share our love of all things Trek-related here at The Bits. So to celebrate this momentous occasion, our own Michael Coate is preparing an in-depth retrospective look back at the Star Trek franchise as part of his regular History, Legacy, and Showmanship column here at The Digital Bits. We expect to have that available here for you all tomorrow sometime, so I encourage you to check back then.

Meanwhile, we do have some new Blu-ray and DVD announcement news for you today, after the long Labor Day holiday weekend...

Lionsgate has just announced Woody Allen’s Café Society for Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital HD release on 10/18.

The studio has also just announced the Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital HD release of Renny Harlin’s Skiptrace on 10/25. The film stars Jackie Chan and Johnny Knoxville.

Lionsgate has set Hannibal: The Complete Series for Blu-ray and DVD release on 10/11 (SRP $39.97 and $29.47) too, as well as Greenleaf: Season One for Blu-ray and DVD release on 9/6.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has set Outlander: Season Two for Blu-ray and DVD release on 11/1.

Sony has also set a re-release of the Hell on Wheels: The Complete Series box set on Blu-ray and DVD for 11/1 (SRP $159.99 and $149.99), as well as a re-release of the Breaking Bad: Complete Series box set on Blu-ray and DVD on 10/4 (SRP $160.99 and $149.99).

We may have mentioned this before, but Warner Home Video has recently set David Yates’ The Legend of Tarzan for Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D, DVD, and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray on 10/11.

Universal is releasing a new 8-disc Back to the Future: The Complete Adventures box set on 11/29 (SRP $79.98) including all of the films on BD, The Animated Series on DVD, and a bonus disc with 2 hours of additional content, as well as a 64-page book.

Universal has also set Bad Moms for Blu-ray and DVD release on 11/1.

Olive Films has announced its November Blu-ray and DVD slate, which is set to include Coffee and Cigarettes (2003), J’accuse (1938), Pimpernel Smith (1941), One of Our Aircraft Is Missing (1942), Houdini (1953), Carrington (1995), and Lulu Belle (1949), all on both formats on 11/15.

And Eureka Video is releasing Stanley Kubrick’s Paths of Glory on Blu-ray in the UK on 9/19 (or 19 September, as they write it across the pond) – part of their Masters of Cinema series.

Also, some of you may be aware that the Warner Archive is working on an update to their website that they expect to launch later this year. The update will include an expanded library of content, smoother and faster streaming with an updated video player, and new and better apps for Apple, Android, Roku, and more. I’ve had the pleasure of checking out a Beta version of the new site recently, and it looks pretty snazzy. Here’s a peak at what you can expect when it launches this fall…

Warner Archive update BETA

Finally, here’s a look at new Blu-ray cover artwork for many of the titles mentioned above, with pre-order links if available...

Cafe Society (Blu-ray Disc)   Outlander: Season Two (Blu-ray Disc)   Hannibal: The Complete Series (Blu-ray Disc)

Child's Play: Collector's Edition (Blu-ray Disc)   Greenleaf: Season One (Blu-ray Disc)   Paths of Glory (UK Region B Blu-ray Disc)

Back tomorrow. Stay tuned!

- Bill Hunt (@BillHuntBits)


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