It’s safe to say inventor Thomas Alva Edison changed the way humanity heard and saw the world, thanks to his revolutionary contributions to sound recording (the phonograph), electric light, and motion pictures. The documentary American Experience: Edison (PBS Distribution, 120 minutes), written and directed by Michelle Ferrari, is an engaging and illuminating look at the “wizard of Menlo Park.”
Earth A New Wild, a series that details humanity’s intricate connection with wildlife and Mother Nature, hits Blu-ray ($34.99) and DVD ($29.99) on February 10 via PBS Distribution.
Hosted by conservation scientist Dr. M. Sanjayan, the series, shot in 29 different countries, is a joint collaboration between National Geographic Studios and Passion Planet.
“The pristine views of epic nature shows always leave something out of the picture: us,” said Sanjayan. “I traveled the world to film some of the wildest places. What I found were amazing stories that reveal a new paradigm about us and the planet we live on – that when we save wild nature we really are saving ourselves.”
Humpback whales, African lions, and Arctic reindeer are just a few of the animals spotlighted on Earth A New Wild, which is broken down into five episodes that spotlight a different section of our world’s expansive terrain (Home, Plains, Forests, Oceans, Water).
Ricky Jay is the subject of the Season 29 premiere of American Masters, as Ricky Jay: Deceptive Practice premieres Friday, January 23 at 9 p.m. (PBS).
Known for his lifelong collaboration with director/writer/playwright David Mamet (House of Games, The Spanish Prisoner) and his recurring role on HBO’s Deadwood, Jay has carved out a successful career as a magician, bestselling writer, history and actor.
Ricky Jay: Deceptive Practice, narrated by Dick Cavett, features rare performance footage of Jay and new interviews with his friends and collaborators (Mamet is also interviewed in the special).
“I am truly honored to be included in this iconic series, and grateful to be able to introduce viewers to the great sleight-of-hand artists who were my mentors and my inspiration,” says Jay.
For more info, please check out: http://pbs.org/
Downton Abbey Season 5 makes its Blu-ray and DVD debut (via PBS Distribution) on January 27, 2015.
Season 5 features returnees Maggie Smith, Hugh Bonneville, Michelle Dockery, and Elizabeth McGovern, along with new characters played by Richard E. Grant (Girls), Anna Chancellor (The Hour), and Rade Sherbedgia (24). Harriet Walker and Peter Egan also reprise their roles as Lady Shackleton and Lord Flintshire.
Forty minutes of extra video, along with the full season, are featured on the Blu-ray ($54.99) and DVD ($49.99) versions (the show will also be available as a digital download).
Season five of Downton Abbey premieres on Masterpiece (PBS) starting January 4, with the season finale airing March 1.
Also airing on January 4 is The Manners of Downton Abbey, a one-hour documentary that has on-set historian Alastair Bruce, along with members of the Downton Abbey cast and crew simulate the social etiquette of the day. The special also includes interviews with Bonneville and Dockery, as they talk about the challenge and joy of playing characters from a different time period. The doc will also be available on Blu-ray ($29.99) and DVD ($24.99) on January 6.
During its illustrious run, Downton Abbey has garnered 11 Emmys, two Golden Globes, and two Screen Actors Guild Awards.
It’ll be a “White Christmas” for millions of people this holiday season, and in celebration of the holidays (and a great artist), the documentary American Masters: Bing Crosby Rediscovered premieres tonight at 8 pm on PBS (check local listings).
The installment, which serves as the series’ Season 28 finale, centers on Crosby’s illustrious career and his family life (the movie is also available on DVD per PBS Distribution). The documentary also has a holiday encore presentation on Friday, December 26 on PBS at 9 pm.
Narrated by Oscar nominated actor Stanley Tucci (The Lovely Bones), the project features interviews with Cosby’s widow Kathryn, daughters Mary and his sons Harry and Nathaniel.
The project doesn’t sugarcoat the entertainer’s personal life, as it details his own struggles with his first wife Dixie and their sons Gary (he penned the 1983 memoir Going My Own Way), Dennis, Phillip, and Lindsay. Entertainers Michael Feinstein, Tony Bennett, biographer Garry Giddens, and record producer Ken Barnes are also interviewed for the doc.
“I’ve never seen an entertainer more comfortable in his own skin, more certain of who he was,” says Emmy-winning filmmaker Robert Trachtenberg, whose previous American Masters documentaries include Mel Brooks: Make a Noise, On Cukor, Gene Kelly: Anatomy of a Dancer and Cary Grant: A Class Apart. “With the new material I’ve found, I think the breadth, depth and candor of his story will hopefully allow people to see him in a new light.”
During his career, Crosby amassed almost 400 hit singles, starred in the popular “Road” films with comedian Bob Hope, and won the Oscar for the 1944 flick Going My Way.
For more info, check out the official site for American Masters.