Monday, 23 August 2010

DVD & Blu-ray Round Up: Going Postal

I'm finding it hard to pick a release of the week on DVD or Blu-ray this time around. As far as movie releases go it's a very underwhelming week indeed. Lebanon is an interesting indie flick, and Dear John is a half-decent weepy, while Jude Law continues his dodgy choice of roles starring in the sci-fi oddity that is Repo Men. Nothing that stands out though, so I'll have to turn to the TV releases instead.

Plenty to choose from on that front, but, because I like to champion quality British releases, I'll have to plump for the adaptation of Terry Pratchett's Going Postal, which aired on Sky back in May of this year. As usual with these things there's a cast of familiar faces, rather than superstar names. Richard Coyle takes up the lead role as Moist von Lipwig, a small-time confidence trickster whose unusual punishment is to be made Postmaster of Ankh-Morpork, and charged with reviving the city's defunct Postal Service. There are parts along the way for Great British institutions such as David Suchet, Andrew Sachs and Charles Dance, as well as newer stars like Tamsin Greig and League of Gentlemen's Steve Pemberton.

Coyle has made a career out of his likeable screen presence, and he's very much in that mode here as the affable rogue looking to make amends for his past crimes, and win the girl into the bargain. To do either though, he has to overcome the dastardly Reacher Gilt (Suchet, hamming it up wonderfully) who runs the 'clacks', the telegraph towers that rendered the Postal Service obsolete in the first place. Needless to say our anti-hero comes out on top when he realises he can use some of his conman skills for good.

Going Postal is a massive production by British television standards, it had to be to recreate Pratchett's Discworld universe with any degree of success. They've done a good job though, working closely with Pratchett himself (he even has a cameo role right at the show's climax), and it feels like a faithful adaptation of the much loved novel.

Elsewhere, there's a plethora of US shows getting releases this week, the first series of The Vampire Diaries is out, while the evergreen Grey's Anatomy is on series five, and Tony Shalhoub's obsessive compulsive detective Monk is on series seven (with the eighth and final series already in the can). Not to be outdone by the Yanks though, the BBC has released series nine of the timeless Morecambe and Wise Show. Good on the Beeb, show 'em who's boss.

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