‘Following’ shows networks still capable of riveting TV
The good, the bad and the sexually crazed are featured in this week’s new DVD releases.
• “The Following: The Complete First Season,” A: It was beginning to look like cable was the only place to find great drama, with shows such as “Breaking Bad” and “American Horror Story.” But Fox showed in “The Following” that there is still some creative life in the networks.
Kevin Bacon stars in his first TV series, playing burned-out FBI agent Ryan Hardy. He’s on the track of an escaped killer who has a huge cult following.
The thriller is the most addictive network show to come along since “Lost.” But while the mystery is as thick, it certainly isn’t confusing. This is just a smart story about the battle between good and evil. It should be your next TV addiction.
• “Closed Circuit,” B: Two barristers must defend a man accused of masterminding a bombing. Eric Bana stars.
A director’s done a proper job when bringing a pitcher of water and glasses into a room triggers thoughts of subterfuge, espionage and sinister actions. That’s what John Crowley has accomplished in his legal/spy thriller “Closed Circuit.” His deft ability to build suspense is Hitchcockian in nature, from the explosive opening to the unexpected ending.
Give partial credit to writer Steven Knight for creating a smart tale that’s amplified by the way Crowley put the movie together. His use of footage from cameras that hang over London streets accents the movie’s main theme that someone is always watching. The problem is that it’s often impossible to tell who’s being watched and who’s doing the watching.
• “Thanks for Sharing,” B: Most of the story is told through Adam (Mark Ruffalo), a successful businessman who has been “sexually sober” for five years. It’s not been easy. His battle with his urges are so tough that he can’t even have a television in his room out of fear he will watch – and react – to inappropriate material. His battle has been so consuming that he’s had little time for a social life.
It’s a challenge to start from a point of disgust and win over an audience. But director and co-writer Stuart Blumberg does it by telling rich and powerful stories that cast a harsh light on the realities of addiction. He shows that there are never any true winners, just those who manage not to fail.
Also new on DVD Jan. 7:
“House of Lies: Season Two”: Don Cheadle stars in the Showtime series.
“Being Human: Complete Third Season”: Syfy series about very weird housemates.
“To Love and To Cherish”: Modern woman tries to keep her marriage alive.
“Linsanity”: Portrait of NBA player Jeremy Lin.
“Copper: Season 2”: BBC America crime drama set in the 19th century.
“Archer: The Complete Season Four”: FX’s animated spy series.
“In Sickness and in Health”: The perfect bride is hiding a serious secret about her health.
“The Act of Killing”: Filmmakers examine Indonesian death squad leaders.
“The Virginian”: Trace Adkins stars in this made-for-TV Western.
“The Unstoppable, Unpoppable Bubble!”: Second release in the “Tickety Toc” series.
“Pit Stop”: Two gay men searching for love cross paths at the local gas station.
“Duck Dynasty: Season 4”: More adventures of the Robertsons.
“Murph: The Protector”: Documentary on Navy SEAL Lieutenant Michael Murphy.
“Badges of Fury”: When a series of eerie murders erupt in Hong Kong, two troublemaking cops get the case.
“I’m So Excited!”: Comedy about a flight crew and passengers headed to Mexico City.
“Scooby-Doo! 13 Spooky Tales: For the Love of Snack!”: Thirteen escapades centering on food.