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…right here and here.

Double duty,

-Shady

…that he had big plans in store for Alice, the psychopathic sweetheart portrayed by Ruth Wilson on the show.

Today, that news broke. Check it out here.

Suck on that, Nikki Finke,

-Shady

…but of course, if you’re familiar with “The Blarg” you should already know that.

BBC Home Entertainment has a slew of new DVD/Blu-ray releases out this month, and I was fortunate enough to check out a handful of them.

First up, series one and two of “Luther,” which I already admittedly already love. There isn’t much more that I can say about this series that I haven’t already said before, but I’m so happy that I’m now able to own both of these two series on DVD. Of course, owning them on Blu-ray would be even better, but beggars can’t be choosers, right?

Idris Elba and the rest of the cast are simply as good as they come in this cop drama/thriller. If you’re not watching this show, you should be. The DVDs aren’t loaded up with a bunch of extras (I guess that’s just one of the rubs of having the show put out on DVD and not Blu-ray), but to be honest I’ve never been one for extras. I’m more interested in owning the show I loved than the extras that inspired or influenced it.

Luckily, the BBC decided to collect the first six episodes (also known as the first series) of “The Hour,” their 1950s-based show on television journalism, on Blu-ray. Collected here is the entire run of the 2011 debut of the show, along with a handful of extras including a behind-the-scenes featurette and an outline of how they recreated the era.

“The Hour” was met with some mixed reviews because of its pacing, and I admit I wasn’t crazy about it when it first debuted. But I think a big problem is that it was a slower-paced show that was released once a week. Watching all of the episodes back-to-back gave me an overall appreciation of the series.

Unfortunately, the BBC’s series “The Fades” didn’t hold up as well. I really loved the concept of the show (a teenager tormented by post-apocalyptic dreams who begins to see the dead), but the idea doesn’t translate as well as it should. Like “The Hour” before it, “The Fades” offers a six-episode arc that should be more than enough to both capture one’s interest and offer enough information to keep viewers from feeling unfulfilled, but the reality is that everything about “The Fades” feels more thin in story than most other offerings from BBC.

The collection offers a few extras including a behind-the-scenes featurette, outtakes and deleted scenes, but they weren’t enough to keep me interested in the next six episodes.

Still, even with its misses, BBC continues to impress me in ways that American network television fails to time and time again. So if you’re looking for something new and fresh to revitalize your television viewing interest, try out some TV programming that was created across the pond.

Pimp-worthy,

-Shady

…for this piece in “Variety.”

Four of four,

-Shady

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I love free stuff. Who doesn’t? But a recent batch of items that found their way into my mailbox are some of the best yet.

Let’s start off with music, shall we?

Last month, Masterworks Jazz released their final installment of albums celebrating the 40th anniversary of CTI/Kudu Records. The release included four classic reissues of jazz albums that had been previously unavailable on CD.

First up is Esther Phillips’ 1974 album “Performance.” Phillips’ lyrical style is often compared to Nina Simone, and rightfully so. Her blend of classic blues and jazz mixes well with the pop and disco sensibilities of the era in which the album was released. The album features the seven original tracks (including a cover of Isaac Hayes’ “Can’t Trust Your Neighbor With Your Baby”) as well as an eighth bonus track/cover of Jerry Jeff Walker’s “Mr. Bonjangles.”

Horn player Hank Crawford’s “Don’t You Worry ‘Bout A Thing” (named after and featuring a cover of the Stevie Wonder tune of the same name) follows. The disc offers up only five songs, but those handful of tracks showcase a group of emerging jazz artists who years later would become masters of the genre. With a taste of funk and soul thrown in for good measure, “Don’t You Worry ‘Bout A Thing” gives a new take on the old idea of what jazz was at the time.

If you’re a sucker for the organ (which I admittedly am, mostly because of my old rollerskating days spent at Rollaero in Milwaukee), you’ll love “Wild Horses Rock Steady” by one of the masters of the craft, Johnny Hammond. Named after (and also featuring covers of) The Rolling Stones’ “Wild Horses” and Aretha Franklin’s “Rock Steady,” Hammond and his band of musicians dish up organ-driven versions of tracks like Cat Stevens’ “Peace Train” and “I Don’t Know How To Love Him” from “Jesus Christ Superstar.” Hammond’s band is equally as impressive, with the likes of Grover Washington, Jr. on saxophone and Ron Carter on bass.

And wrapping up the releases is Lonnie Smith’s “Mama Wailer,” an album that features two original compositions (the title track and “Hola Muneca”) and two covers (Carole King’s “I Feel The Earth Move” and Sly and the Family Stone’s “Stand”). While Smith is known for his work on the Hammond B-3 organ, the album’s title track finds him on clavinet. Grover Washington, Jr. also appears in Smith’s backing band, as does Billy Cobham and Airto Moreira.

If you’re a fan of early seventies jazz, especially if you’ve been waiting all this time for these albums to be released on CD, pick them up now. If you have no idea what early seventies jazz (as influenced by the funk and soul of the era) sounds like, try and remember back to the music you heard on “Sesame Street” growing up. That’s a pretty good description of what most of the tracks on these albums sound like.

Learn more about the releases here.

I was also fortunate enough to have the BBC send over DVDs of two of their best television shows. I have to admit that I’ve been bored lately with a lot of American television and, as such, have been more interested by what the BBC has to offer.

First up is the first season (or “series” as they say in the United Kingdom) of the crime thriller “Whitechapel.” What’s great about most BBC shows is their brevity. Seasons are usually limited to a handful of episodes rather than stretching them out for sixteen, twenty-two or twenty-four episodes. Because of this, they’re forced to trim all the fat and tell a precise story. “Whitechapel” is a perfect example of that. In just three hour-long episodes, the season tells the story of a gang of cops working in the East End of London who are on the trail of a Jack the Ripper copycat killer. It manages to squeeze in thrills, action and character development in just three hours. When you’re dealing with such a short amount of time to tell your story there is very little room for excess. I’m not really sure how they’ll be able to stretch this out into a second season (you’ll have to see how it ends to understand), but I loved the first season’s story arc and am looking forward to seeing what’s next.

And finally, the Neil Cross-created cop drama “Luther” which, if you know me at all you know I absolutely love. (And I’m not just saying that because “The Roberts” popped up in the season finale.) Idris Elba, Alice Morgan and the rest of the show’s cast reprise their roles from the first season here, titled “Luther 2,” a new four-episode story arc that follows detective John Luther as he hunts down a masked serial killer and psychopathic twins. I’ve said time and again that the first season of “Luther” is one of my favorite pieces of television ever, and this second season doesn’t miss a beat from where the first one left off. Elba is one of the best in the business, and creator/writer Neil Cross knows how to turn the old “serial killer-hunting cop” standard into something that exists far beyond that of “Criminal Minds.” Again, this is some of the best television out there, folks, so if you haven’t checked out “Luther” yet, do yourself a favor and seek out the first season immediately. And then buy this DVD set of the second season. You’ll thank me.

Learn more about the BBC DVD releases here.

Since we’re on the topic of “Luther,” here’s a bit of a “Blarg” spoiler for you: Stay tuned for details about an interview I recently conducted with Neil Cross. A link to it will be appearing here shortly.

Ever since the days of “Tastes Like Chicken” I’ve always loved getting free stuff, but nine times out of ten the stuff we got for review didn’t excite me one bit.

This is not one of those times.

Now that “Breaking Bad” is over, the second season of the BBC series “Luther” is easily my favorite show on television.

Want proof? Over the past year I’ve written posts about the show here and here and here.

So imagine my surprise when a few images from “The Roberts” (the graphic novel I wrote and my good friend Erik Rose illustrated) popped up in the finale of the show’s second season.

While watching the finale (or episode four if you’re interested in tracking it down for yourself), about twelve minutes into the episode, I noticed one illustration in particular that struck me as familiar. In the scene, John Luther (played by the amazing Idris Elba) is going through a serial killer’s apartment looking for clues. Hanging there on the wall to the left of his face was Erik Rose’s illustration of one of the Boston Strangler’s victims.

Here’s a pulled back shot. The image you’re looking for is of the face-up woman directly across and to the left of Elba’s head.

Here’s a closer look. His eyes are directly across from hers.

And finally, even closer.

In the book, it was the right side of this two-page spread.

I also caught one other illustration from the book in the shot. Just to the left of Elba’s fingertips in this screen cap is one of Erik’s illustrations of the Zodiac Killer. It’s kind of hard to see, but he’s pointing a gun at the viewer.

In the book, it looks like this.

I’ve got to say, I’ve been flattered by a lot of things over the years, but this was pretty damn cool. Especially considering I caught it myself.

If you have never seen “Luther” watch it now. The first season is six episodes, the second season only four, so you have no reason not to.

So happy it didn’t show up on “2 Broke Girls,”

-Shady

…also known as my second-favorite show on television, for this article in “Variety.” My piece is about halfway down the page.

Can’t wait for season two,

-Shady

…and I can’t wait.

Best show on television,

-Shady

Jump on this train of thought: KB and I watch an amazing show on BBC called “Luther.” (You should, too.)

The opening credits of “Luther” uses Massive Attack’s song “Paradise Circus,” which features guest vocalist Hope Sandoval of Mazzy Star fame. Check out the intro here:

While looking around at other videos for “Paradise Circus” I came across the official video for the song. Simply put, it’s amazing. However,  you should know this going into it: This video is not on YouTube and hard to find for a reason.

The reason: It’s extremely graphic, and by “graphic” I mean “shows footage of hardcore sex.”

Yes, there is full-frontal. Yes, there is penetration. Yes, there is even a bit of oral sex thrown in for good measure. But while the video is pornographic in nature, it is not exactly pornography. You’ll get what I mean after you watch it.

But you’ve been warned, folks, so don’t send me any emails crying about how you got busted for watching it at work, or how your kid walked into the room while you had it full-screen! Still, it’s a pretty great piece of documentary film.

Dig it here (hit pause and let it load fully before playing; it takes awhile):

Vodpod videos no longer available.

I’ll never look at porno the same way again… okay, that was a lie,

-Shady

Old Poop!