Thanks to some of Lifetime’s more melodramatic efforts and some of Syfy’s more ridiculous ones, the television movie and miniseries genre doesn’t have the best reputation. Now and again, that less than flattering reputation proves warranted, but in the case of HBO, more often the premium cable network’s productions actively fight against the stereotype and leave fans more than satisfied.
Two recent examples of that success are Parade’s End and Behind The Candelabra. The former, a five part miniseries, was put together as a co-production between HBO and BBC and won rave reviews. The latter, a standalone film, was financed by HBO and debuted in May. If you missed either or both the first time around or have interest in checking them out again, they’ll be released by HBO Home Entertainment separately on Blu-ray/ Digital and DVD combo packs on September 17.
Behind The Candelabra tells the story of world-renowned entertainer Liberace during the final ten years of his life. In 1977, he meets the much younger Scott Thorson. The two quickly become lovers, and the pianist embarks on a strange scheme to turn the new man in his life into a younger version of himself. Michael Douglas and Matt Damon play the two leads, and with the steady helming hand of director Steven Soderbergh, the production is pretty damn impressive.
Unfortunately, it’s far more impressive than the Blu-ray/ DVD/ Digital copy itself because that will only come with a Blu-ray, a DVD and a Digital copy. Of all movies, this one seemed like it would be primed for at least a special feature or two about the flamboyant entertainer and his eccentric life, or at least some features about getting into character or maybe Liberace’s incredible influence. If the press release the network released is to be taken at its word, though, none of this exists.
Sadly, Parade’s End isn’t full of many special features either. It too will come with a Blu-ray, a DVD and a Digital copy. In addition, it will feature an interview conducted by NPR with screenwriter Tom Stoppard. The seventy-six-year-old is probably best known for writing Shakespeare In Love, as well as contributing to the Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade script. It’s unlikely Parade’s End will wind up being what people remember him for, but at the very least, it’s a welcome addition to his catalog.
The miniseries, which stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Rebecca Hall, is based off a series of novels by Ford Madox Ford. The material was condensed into five episodes by Stoppard and directed by Susanna White. It follows a love triangle during World War I involving a soldier, his manipulative wife and a suffragette in the midst of dramatic changes in English society. No doubt you’ve gotten a chance to see Cumberbatch’s talent in either Sherlock or Star Trek, but if you’re looking for more reasons to fall in love, consider this beauty.
To preorder over at Amazon, you can get Behind The Candelabra here or Parade’s End here.