DVD weekly: Harry Pearce, Mildred Pierce and Merlin's peers

Matt Looker

28th November 2011

Here are all the new releases on DVD and Blu-ray, just begging you to buy them. Go on, this shit makes for great Christmas presents and looks a lot better than giving your mum the latest Steven Seagal film to open.

Released: Monday 28th November 2011

Spooks: Series 10 (DVD)
Buy the DVD on Amazon

Is anyone else finding it hard to believe that Spooks is a decade old? Granted, I only became a fan a few years back but it still seems unlikely that a whole 10 years has passed since Harry Pearce and the MI-5 team first graced our screens and showed the real-life, factual, unexaggerated life of a modern-day British spy (I refuse to believe that any of it is fiction).

And now it's over. This, the tenth and final series, has suitably rounded off the whole show nicely by exploring the background of Spooks' only 10-year-old constant: Harry Pearce. With a surprisingly personal story that runs throughout all six episodes, it seems like even more is at stake this time round and, in a show that frequently offs its main characters with a bomb or a deep-fat fryer, there's no telling who is going to survive to the final scene.

And this is what has always made Spooks one of the most consistently exciting shows on TV. Like no other programme, it has never been afraid to introduce shocking twists or sudden character deaths and then just roll with the military-precision punches. Whereas, in the past it may have been a new spy recruit that bites a silenced bullet, or one of the more familiar cast members, this time all eyes are on Harry. As revelations about his past come out in the open and he gets framed, turns rogue and plans to retire all at the same time, the only question you'll be asking is: surely he's got to cop it, but how and by whom? There's no point in second-guessing the show though - it's always three steps ahead of its audience.

Of course, with all spywork that has a heavy political bent to it, Spooks can be a little hard to follow at times. Thankfully though the depths and breadths of international diplomacy during the Cold War are given less weight in each episode than, say, a stand-off at gunpoint or the need to diffuse a bomb. Frankly, who cares how the Prime Minister will smooth things over with the yanks when you've just seen an agent THROWN OUT THE BACK OF A SPEEDING VAN?

And so it's with tremendous sadness that we say goodbye to Spooks, a show that almost always equalled, and occasionally bettered, the closest of its US counterparts: 24. With this slick, generously budgeted, sharp-scripted and compelling show gone for good, there's only one way left to turn: back to series 1.
Mildred Pierce (DVD & Blu-ray)
Buy the DVD on Amazon

This year, when Kate Winslet wasn't busy rescuing Richard Branson's mother from a burning building or trying to save the world from the Gwyneth Paltrow AIDS monkey in Contagion, she was busy making this period-set mini-series.

Earning huge critical acclaim and many, many awards, this is exactly the kind of well-made, brilliantly acted show that I record with every intention of seeing but never quite finding the time. Cos that's the kind of TV critic I am. I'm sure it's very good, it's just old re-runs of South Park always take precedence.
Merlin: Series 4 Part 1 (DVD)
Buy the DVD on Amazon

I recently had the pleasure of meeting two of the knights from Merlin (Sir Percival and Sir Lenny, or Leon, or something) as they answered fan questions from my work Twitter account, And if I learned anything from the experience, it's that Merlin is MASSIVE. I mean seriously. There were crazy fans from all over the globe obsessed with these guys' manly arms and chainmail.

Personally, I've never seen it, but my mum loves it. I didn't tell the knights this. But...erm...yeah. Thousands of mental losers can't be wrong, can they?
Also out this week

Criminal Minds Season 6 DVD
Mr Bean Ultimate Collection DVD

Follow us on Twitter @The_Shiznit for more fun features, film reviews and occasional commentary on what the best type of crisps are.
We are using Patreon to cover our hosting fees. So please consider chucking a few digital pennies our way by clicking on this link. Thanks!

Share This