Top Picks: The Forsyte Saga in a box set, the Blank on Blank podcast, and more
A webcam observes bears looking for a meal, "Jaws" arrives on Blu-ray, and more top picks.
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Jaws, the sly summer shark-attack thriller that launched the modern blockbuster in 1975, arrives on Blu-ray and DVD Aug. 14. The rerelease of this modern classic coincides with multiple sightings of great whites off the coast of Massachusetts where "Jaws" was filmed – which gives the home theater experience that little extra zing of realism.
Before Downton, the Forsytes
For fans of the inimitable "Masterpiece Theatre" classic The Forsyte Saga, now the updated version that ran in two separate miniseries in 2003-04 is coming out in a five-disc box set Aug. 14. This is one of the top-rated stories ever on PBS, ranking No. 2 in a poll that spans 35 years of programming. The series stars Damian Lewis as the scion of the Forsyte family as it crosses three generations, leaving behind Victorian England and moving into the modern age.
Bear-watching from a safe distance
Like your Internet animals a little bigger than cats? The website Explore, which has video, live cams, and photos from all over the world, has set up a live feed showing brown bears at the Brooks River in Katmai National Park in Alaska, where more than a hundred bears feed on salmon each year. Check it out at http://bit.ly/bearscam.
A fab collection
It's hard to imagine a collection of Beatles' songs unworthy of our attention, but whatever motivated EMI to assemble 15 of their rockingest tracks into a new iTunes package called Tomorrow Never Knows – they did good! Familiar songs "Revolution" and "Back in the USSR" are included, as well as underrated gems such as "Hey Bulldog," and the centerpiece, Revolver's "Tomorrow Never Knows." One can debate the necessity of yet another Fab Four compilation, but $7.99 is pretty cheap for some of the greatest pop music ever made.
Reporters know all too well that there are plenty of great anecdotes that don't make the final cut because they didn't fit the scope of a story. The weekly Internet podcast Blank on Blank revives these lost stories. It petitions journalists to send in old tapes of interviews with famous people, then edits them into short stories, such as Caroll Spinney telling how he came up with Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch from "Sesame Street." Available on iTunes or at blankonblank.org.
You can take the girl out of the farm, but in the case of Wisconsin teen D.J. Schwenk, you won't want to once you get to know the feisty, funny, and ultimately heroic protagonist of the Dairy Queen trilogy, by Catherine Gilbert Murdock. Stuck all summer laboring on the family dairy farm on Friday nights, D.J. finally decides it's time to put all her hard work to good use – as a linebacker on the boys' football team! Murdock's charming coming-of-age series consists of three titles: "Dairy Queen," "Off Season," and "Front and Center."