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ABC’s A MILLION LITTLE THINGS is Going to Force Us all to Shed A Million Little Tears

A Million Little

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to the ABC line up this fall, and personally I can’t wait for all the new shows, is the first season of A Million Little Things.

 The series opener brings friends Jon Dixon (Ron Livingston), Rome Howard (Romany Malco), Eddie Saville (David Giuntoli) and Gary (James Roday).

What brings them together even more is that Jon decides to do something that is about to change their lives forever. Rome almost met the same fate as his friend as he hides his depression; Eddie tries to stay away from the bottle and is in love but not with his wife and Gary works days to day to keep the fear of cancer at bay.

Delilah (Stephanie Szostak) must come to terms with why Jon chose to leave his family, Regina (Christina Marie Moses) discovers that Jon believed to much in her that he had a surprise waiting, Maggie (Allison Miller) also deals with a threat in her life and Jon’s assistant Ashley (Christina Ochoa) is hiding secrets from them all.

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Filled with fear, doubt, love, uncertainty, friendship, change, secrets and surprises – these friends and their loved ones are on a journey to discover why Jon did what he did and what that means moving forward.

Livingston as Jon is going to be the ghost of the show in that we will only see him in the flashbacks of his family and friends. That doesn’t bother me in the slightest because Livingston is one of the most underrated actors we have today. His body of work has always kept me watching because he keeps taking on roles that challenge not only Livingston as an actor but me as a viewer.

Roday as Gary is the first character in a series that addresses the fears of cancer for men. He is the jokester of the group with his witty come backs and one-liners but, as with most funny people, there is a deep well of fear that is going to bubble to the surface with each episode. I am a bit fond of Roday’s character from the first episode and I’m not ashamed to admit it.

Malco as Rome is the character that is going to let us know that sometimes even the darkest places can have moments of light. Wanting to get a movie made, he is feeling his life out of control and confessing to his friends how he has been feeling, those same friends he was afraid to talk to will be the ones to reach out with a life preserver.

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Giuntoli as Eddie has a secret that is a big one and I have to say as the story of all the characters unfold, I can’t say his role in it all is going to come off so well. I’m not sure how I feel about it all but at the season progresses I’m sure I will have a lot to say about him.

Szostak as Delilah has so many questions about Jon yet the answers might be more than she can take. Raising a teenage daughter and young son, they also want to know why tragedy has struck their family and she is going to have some explaining to do.

Moses as Regina has a big dream that she believes in unattainable considering the circumstances she and husband Rome are in. It’s hard to be a chef and start a new restaurant but Jon believes in her and proves it. Miller as Maggie joins the group swift and hard capturing Gary’s attention straight out. The group takes to her right away and Delilah likes her immediately.

Ochoa as Ashley is going to be the keeper of all secrets I think and I don’t like the look of what she’s done in just one episode. Of course with any good employee there is going to be a modicum of protecting one’s boss but boy, she is going above and beyond the call of duty. As Truuvy would say, “I think there’s a story there!”

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From the first scene to the last, we are invited to talk about issues that still, to this day, remain hard to talk about or impossible in some cases. A Million Little Things isn’t about to let that stay the fact for long and I welcome it. If the stories of these characters open dialogue (as I hope it will) then trust when I say this series is well on its way to becoming a stand out favorite.

Hold onto your Kleenex boxes because this show is going to have us all understanding and embracing the complexities of these characters with occasional tears. Diving into their individual stories is going to be complicated and bringing us even more questions and personally – I can’t wait.

DJ Nash is the creator and executive producer of A Million Little Things. Also Aaron Kaplan and Dana Honor are executive producers of the show along with James Griffiths who also directs the pilot. The show is brought to viewers by ABC Studios and Kapital Entertainment.

 A Million Little Things premiers Wednesday September 26th at 10:00 p.m. on ABC!

 

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SINGLE PARENTS Brings the Realities of Parenthood with Twisted Comedy from ABC

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Jeri Jacquin

Coming to ABC beginning Wednesday, September 26 at 9:30 is a new comedy series that handles the realities of being a parent by helping us all laugh at it with Single Parents.

 It is the first day of class and Will Cooper (Taram Killam) is introducing himself as the classroom parent. The other parents including Angie (Leighton Meester), Douglas (Brad Garrett), Poppy (Kimrie Lewis) and Miggy (Jake Choi) are trying to find their place in the single parent world. Making it clear to Will that they aren’t about to be part of his clip-board vortex, they offer support with a little judgment attached.

Talking Will into dating to avoid volunteering for anything in the classroom, Angie and Miggy show up at his house only to discover it is all sadder than they could have possibly imagined. Working on his image for the date they’ve set up, Angie wants to scream and Miggy can’t get away fast enough. Douglas and Poppy try to figure out who has babysitting duties so the other can get out for the night.

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Will’s date brings the law, Angie and Miggy come to the rescue as Poppy and Douglas want to help with shoe jokes and a few dollars. How does one get out of it all? Well, a little help from boldness, friendship, and a Hawaiian girl who has us asking ourselves How Far I’ll Go.

That will smash any vortex you got!

Killam as Will is just a man trying to raise his daughter with the hope that his memories of marriage don’t squash him totally. Keeping himself busy with being a classroom parent doesn’t go over well with other single parents. He thinks that perhaps finally there are friendships to be had but sure takes a hard trip to find that out. I like Killam’s character of Will and see how sweet he is in the midst of figuring out adulthood and parenting.

Meester as Angie is tough and mouthy which can be cool if you have friends that are tough and mouthy but a little cutting when it comes to Will. He doesn’t quite have the thick skin she does – or does she? Lewis as Poppy is raising a child that might just be a tad cooler than she is but she isn’t about to let that mess with her appearance of having it all together.

Choi as Miggy is a man who is learning all about life when you have a child. Those expensive shoes aren’t what life is all about but that doesn’t mean he isn’t going to pretend it all isn’t happening.

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Garrett as Douglas has twin daughters who he teaches to be tough and if that doesn’t work – break out the Benjamin’s! He embraces his single life but the fact is that when it comes to friendship he might just be a bit softer than he wants to admit. I love Garrett in this role because he rolls his eyes a lot and yet embraces, in his own way, the role of a single dad of two very cool twin girls.

Other cast include Marlow Barkley as Sophie Cooper, Tyler Wladis as Graham, Devin Trey Campell as Rory, Mia Allan as Emma and Ella Allan as Amy.

Single Parents is a half hour look at the single life of parents by using comedy, caring, friendship, insanity, kids, love and all the things that life throws at them. I laughed from beginning to end and perhaps that’s because I understand every smart remark, every eye roll and every moment where you realize that being a single parent does have its moments worth smiling about.

The cast just seem to roll with the punches and are flawless together. The one-liners and zingers fly fast but each character also has a story to tell that explains who they are and how they are.

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It is going to be fun to get to know them each as Garrett, Choi, Killam, Meester and Lewis give us a look into their world and that is going to make it easier to live in ours. There is nothing better than hearing the characters of the series say out loud what many of us think on a daily basis.

The kids – Barkley, Wladis, Campell and the Allan twins are going to give as good as they get and remind us all that dang kids are getting smarter and smarter. They have such unique personalities and I already love them all.

Beginning September 26th, join a group that is a little bit off center and a lot funny with the new series Single Parents. Thanks for the laughs ABC!

In the end – we know them and we are gonna love them!

EMPIRE: The Complete Third Season Puts Family Drama in the Music Business

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Jeri Jacquin

Coming to DVD is the family that takes music and drama to another level as 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment brings it all together atop an EMPIRE: The Complete Third Season.

Hakeem (Bryshere Y. Gray) has left the altar and a fight between Anika (Grace Byers) and Rhonda (Kaitlin Doubleday) will lead to a life and a death. Empire-X-Steam is Lucious’ (Terrence Howard) creation but it’s causing problems within the family and the feds aren’t far behind. Knowing it’s time for a sit down to work out issues, a Lyons dinner is in order.

Jamal (Jussie Smollett) has decided to work toward a campaign for gun violence awareness with Councilman Angelo Dubois (Taye Diggs). Nessa Parker (Sierra A. McClain), a new talent, works with Hakeem on music while Lucious knows he must find a working peace with Cookie (Taraji P. Henson).

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Cookie is busy trying to get Jamal back to performing by pairing him up with Kitty (Mariah Carey). When Andre (Trai Byers) is falsely accused of charges, he believes it is due to racial profiling by the police but Tariq (Morocco Omari) uses this as a way to cause Andre to turn. Lucious is once again trying to get Empire but Cookie lets him know that he is all but declaring war.

Lucious gets Shyne (Xzibit) on a deal and sees Angelo as someone who can get in the way of his plans. He also lets Hakeem know that Andre is feeling some kind of way for Nessa and uses that to boost his sales with Empire-X. That all might be a mute point when it is discovered that the family is about to blow when Empire is hacked.

Cookie wants to make a good impression with Diana by having a family dinner and Lucious isn’t happy about anything that has to do with Angelo. Cookie and Lucious have done a good job teaching back handedness in the family when Jamal presents Cookie with a home video that just isn’t cool.

During Helene Von Wyeth’s (Gina Gershon) brings a big fashion event that gets Nessa time in the spotlight, Andre causes problems. Lucious better watch his back as Tariq enlists the help of Leah after making a deal with the feds. Cookie keeps busy with the concert to help Andre become mayor when she really should have been keeping an eye on Empire as the FBI freezes their assets.

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Between the FBI and the ex’s feuding, Andre and Shyne are planning something worse for Lucious. An even bigger shocker is who is actually after Lucious in an underhanded way. Cookie has a moment with Lucious and now begins to question her relationship with Angelo.

The family dynamic shifts and the power struggle takes a threatening turn between Empire and X-Stream. The secret between Lucious and Guilana (Nia Long) comes out giving Cookie a reason to glare in that way only she can. When her son is in the emotional crossfire, Diana (Phylicia Rashad) plans her own destruction for the Lyon family. The expansion into Las Vegas is giving everyone an in to cause problems beginning with Angelo and his mother. Lucious, Jamal and Cookie actually have a moment where they see eye to eye about the future of their business until an unexpected agency knocks on their door.

In the middle of family struggles with Bella, it is clear that the DuBois and Lyons are going for the jugular. While trying to discover how all of this has happened, they are shocked with what Diana reveals to them.

The Laviticus Casino opens but there is still the issue of Bella that needs to be taken care of. Cookie is thrown out of the club after causing her normal ruckus and she is on the rampage to bring Lucious big problems. Wanting Jamal to launch is album; she learns that he has done something unexpected. Tariq discovers what the DuBois have done but Leah (Leslie Uggams) stops him from telling anyone else.

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It all comes to an even bigger head when Lucious believes he has control of Leah and Cookie doesn’t trust Guliana for one second. The DuBois aren’t even close to being finished with their plans for the Lyon family when Shine turns Empire on its head!

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment brings award-winning global product and new entertainment to DVD, Bluray, and Digital HD. There amazing collection offers fans an opportunity to expand their own home libraries with the best films. To discover what other titles they have please visit www.fox.com.

The DVD of EMPIRE: The Complete Third Season includes the episodes Light in the Darkness, Sin that Amends, What Remains is Bestial, Cupid Kills, One Before Another, Chimes at Midnight, What We May Be, The Unkindest Cut, A Furnace for your Foe, Sound and Fury, Play On, Strange Bedfellows, My Naked Villainy, Love is a Smoke, Civil Hands Unclean, Absent Child, Toll & Trouble Pt. 1, and Toll & Trouble Pt. 2.

The Special Features include Uncut Music Performances and Studio Sessions that shouldn’t be missed and prepare for the fourth season of EMPIRE that is coming soon on Fox!

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EMPIRE: The Complete Third Season is an even more complex season than ever before. Mixing the family drama with outstanding music is what keeps this series high on the list of television watching. Of course Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson bring so much tension and down right shocking twists and turns that I watch just to see what these two characters are going to do next.

Now with the DuBois putting their proverbial hats into the ring to become the next twisted family on the block, I think this season had my jaw dropping harder and more often than the first two seasons.

So, before season four begins, it is time to revisit EMPIRE: The Complete Third Season because this family doesn’t miss a trick!

In the end – it is their reign and their rules!

FOX Brings High Tech to Crime with the Series APB: Speaking with Star Ernie Hudson

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Jeri Jacquin

On Fox Monday nights following 24: Legacy is the new police drama filled with everything high tech with APB.

The series tells the story of the Chicago Police Department and crime, shootings, corruption and under funding. Gideon Reeves played by Justin Kirk decides to help with technology and to help the police force rethink dealing with crime.

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Wanting to make the 13th District the best, he enlists the help of Detective Theresa Murphy played by Natalie Martinez. She sees the potential of the technology Gideon wants to bring. Adding to the team is Officer Nicholas Brandt played by Taylor Handley and Tasha Goss played by Tamberla Perry.

It is a very skeptical Captain Ned Conrad who is willing to do anything to help the community that is being hit hardest by crime. The role of the Captain is played by none other than the amazingly talented Ernie Hudson.

Hudson, a graduate from Yale School of Drama, began his career in the 1970’s dividing his time between film and television. Most of us came to know more of his work after his smash role in the 1984 film GHOSTBUSTERS and were thrilled at his return for a cameo in the 2016 retelling of GHOSTBUSTERS.

Hudson is keeping busy recently with his appearances on the Netflix series Grace and Frankie, the Epix series Graves with Nick Nolte and the high anticipated return of Twin Peaks. Now adding APB to his list of good work I had the opportunity to speak with him about the show and how his character evolved.

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Jeri Jacquin: Thank you for talking to me today, I am actually more excited than you know.

Ernie Hudson: Why thank you.

JJ: It must be said that in our home we are huge GHOSTBUSTERS fans and, of course, we use lines from the characters in everyday conversation. The line we take from Zeddmore is ‘that’s a big Twinkie’.

EH: That’s so funny and it is so great that after all these years people have made that film so iconic. I hear things like that all the time and it really does mean a lot to me to know so thank you.

JJ: You are in a new series called APB on Fox playing the role of Captain Ned Conrad; tell me about this television project?

EH: When I got the script I thought it was such a different take on this genre for television. I was really intrigued by the stories and what part Conrad had to play. The way technology is brought into police work is something needed and I think everyone should have made available to them. I think the technology is something that is very much needed in law enforcement and can really help greatly. I’ve watched this show come together in such an amazing way.

JJ: It’s interesting because it’s rare to hear someone say we need more technology, I’m so use to hearing that we need less.

EH: Well, we need less when I’m having dinner with someone and they pull out their cell phone! I think technology can cut to the truth of things ultimately. It’s a double edge sword like every advancement; it can be either really good or really bad. Of course technology in the hands of the wrong people can be bad. I think it can make things simpler and I love on the show that we use the app that people feel they can connect immediately. I think the things that technology can do can make us more honest and it can be something for the better.

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JJ: So you have this very interesting cast to work with and I see Captain Conrad as a bit of a father figure to the young officers. Does it feel a bit like that for your character?

EH: Yes, it really does because I have kids as well and I see how kids are into their toys and gadgets and it is part of their world. At the same time you want the young officers to know that someone is there for them. Also, there is a reason my character brings this old way of doing things because there is a protocol and it’s important that it’s understood. I also recognize that they have a different approach but it has to be set up because the Captain is preparing to turn things over to the group. They need to be aware of certain things before he does that, especially Gideon who has some issues. My character can’t let them use run amuck and do what ever they want without realizing that there are consequences. I think that’s how I see it anyway.

JJ: I see how you are trying to guide them with the technology, everyone has their own issue. I love when you rein them in and give them a shot of realism when they get too far.

EH: Good, I’m hoping the fans will see that as well and it can be seen in future episodes as well. I think we can’t write off the young people because they are coming through. We want to be able to share with them, connect with them and get as well as give respect. We want to make sure everyone is in a good place before they kick us out of the way.

JJ: How do you see your character moving forward?

EH: What was important to me, especially as the setting is in Chicago, we know they have issues that no one can understand. I don’t think there is any way to understand what is going on there. My character still lives in the community that is served by the police department. So in addition to him wanting to be a good law enforcement officer he also recognizes in a very real way some of the issues that are not working in his neighborhood. He also has the double edged sword in that he works for the police but also has children that have to live in this world. There is a reason why he wants it to work and a reason why he wants to be open to technology. For me as an African-American actor is the humanity of who he is as a human being. We only have a sense of that now and more will be written as the writers become more and more aware of who this guy is. We have an episode where he says criminals are criminals and we need to talk to these guys because of the damage they do but the Captain goes out of his comfort zone to try something different in handling them.

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JJ: But he always lets it be known that this is ‘my town’, but he says it in such a deep and respectful way. You get it that he’s not going to tolerate much.

EH: I would love to see that approach taken by a lot of other people. I mean it is ours and we should claim it. We should not just excuse it and let it slide but instead say no. I think for a lot of African-Americans who left the old neighborhoods and moved on we still need to go back and say ‘this is my neighborhood’. There are people still there that are working for the ones who are left behind that we need to support with either our presence or money or whatever we can do. This is our country and we need to claim it in a very personal way that we don’t write off whole sections thinking they deserve it. I think it is personal and I think we need to claim all of it. The problem is when you have the inside group it creates these outside groups and it happens when we want to make one better or demonize the other. The reality is that it is all ours and we need to be there for each other. Certain things are just not acceptable.

JJ: I really understand that, I’ve lived in California most of my life and there are areas where I feel there has been a mental fence built with an X on it saying ‘don’t go there’.

EH: Exactly, sometimes they just say it and don’t try to hide it at all. It’s as if the people that live there don’t deserve something extra and I say no. I think somehow we have got to find a way to make all of us feeling we have a better chance at life. I mean you can screw it up but at least if you try you have a chance; that is the American dream for me. To say these kids are never going to have jobs and even if they play by the rules there is nothing for them makes no sense. I don’t play any game that I don’t think I can win. I became an actor because I said ‘I can do this’. Unless we can be free to do that then we all lose.

JJ: Well put and I think your character just came through a bit.

EH: See, I’m bring me to the role and that’s important. I’ve done shows where I’ve portrayed different characters that have nothing to do with me personally but with APB I do think it’s personal.

JJ: I can honestly say in the years I’ve been doing this that I’ve heard even a few say that a role is personal to them.

EH: I think we sometimes want to separate it. The character isn’t me of course but the character is definitely personal.

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JJ: Because your role wasn’t specifically defined yet, do you think the writers let you create him?

EH: I think they were open to letting me show them what this character was. While we were there I had a cousin who was shot and see, that’s personal. You can’t come to Chicago and not know that you are making a statement about people in a place we are all impacted by. You have to take it seriously. You can’t just throw out stuff, you have to bring integrity to the writing and that’s important. I think being true and honest, it matters; especially now it matters.

JJ: There is a sadness, a heavy heartedness in Chicago.

EH: Yes, it’s deep in the spirit. We need to find a way to lift our spirits because this is us and I believe technology can help us do it.

JJ: Your show definitely has a lot to offer in the way of technology. One of the episodes the officers use a submarine and I can’t recall that in a police drama before either. More firsts for your show!

EH: They don’t use anything on the show that isn’t truly available. I want it to be available to the public and not just to corporations or wealthy people.

JJ: I’m hoping that comes through and that people get that about your show. Although your show does have a hacker of the technology and that character just gives me the skeevies.

EH: Yes, we do! You will have to watch the last two episodes of the season to find out how that all works out.

JJ: I am so honored to have talked to you today and thank you for continuing to bring amazing characters for us to enjoy. Congratulations on APB!

EH: Thank you Jeri. I appreciate that so much.

 

It must be said that talking to an actor I have enjoyed for years is such a thrill for me but talking to an actor whose work I’ve admired is a privilege. Ernie Hudson is such an actor who is a strong character in the new television series APB.

APB follows 24: Legacy Monday nights on FOX at 9 pm PT/ET, 8 pm CT. ABP is in its 11th week with the final episode of its first season on Monday, April 24.

In the end – police work isn’t rocket science, it’s harder!

MOTOWN 25: Yesterday Today Forever Is the Ultimate Box Set on DVD

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Jeri Jacquin

Coming to DVD from Time Life is one of the most talked about television specials that brings groundbreaking performances with MOTOWN 25: Yesterday Today Forever.

In May of 1983, NBC had no idea that what people were about to see on television would become legendary! MOTOWN 25: Yesterday Today Forever took to the airwaves bringing those who love the Motown sound on a journey like no other.

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It would be the show that introduced us all to the jaw dropping performance of Michael Jackson and the Moonwalk move. Also called ‘the six seconds that changed the world’, Jackson’s move was talked about for years after and imitated by many but never to the perfection of Jackson.

As someone who absolutely loves Marvin Gaye, his performance of What’s Going On is soulful and stunning. Smokey Robinson is right behind him as Tears of a Clown when no one else is around. Also, this DVD also allows us once again to dance the Miracles and the Supremes and laugh with Richard Pryor.

The collection is a six-disc set with extended version of the legendary concert with new 5.1 Surround Sound, over 14 hours of Bonus Features and an Exclusive 48-Page Collector’s Book.

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The Bonus Features include Signed, Sealed, Delivered – The Making of Motown 25 which tells the behind-the-scenes story of the making of the concert, and offers new insight into the rise of Motown and its roster of influential stars, Rare footage of Marvin Gaye ad-libbing at the piano prior to a soulful version of What’s Going On, Stevie Wonder rehearsal footage, Nine Featurettes, Including “What’s Going On: Marvin Gaye, Come and Get These Memories: Inside Hitsville and Dancing in the Streets: The History of Motown.

There is also A 2-Part Motown 25 Performers Roundtable featuring Smokey Robinson and Duke Fakir (Four Tops), Otis Williams (The Temptations) and Executive Producer Suzanne de Passe, taped at the location of the original concert, the Pasadena Civic Auditorium. A “Yesterday Today Forever” Production Roundtable with de Passe, Director/Producer Mischer and others, finally Over 25 exclusive interviews with performers and crew including Claudette Robinson (The Miracles), Martha Reeves (Martha & the Vandellas), Smokey Robinson, Nelson George, Gloria Jones, Adam Ant, Buz Kohan (Head Writer), David Goldberg (Executive in Charge of Production), Mickey Stevenson (Former Head of A&R Songwriter), Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis (Songwriters/Producers) and many more.

 Time Life has brought this never before released anywhere classic collection of the series to fans. For more of what Time Life has to offer fans of classic television visit www.timelife.com.

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TUBS OF POPCORN: I give MOTOWN 25: Yesterday Today Forever five tubs of popcorn out of five. Seriously? Did you think I’d give it any less? This is one of the most musically stunning box sets I’ve ever had the pleasure to watch and listen too.

 A live audience witnesses it first but this collection allows fans to witness it with so much more. There is over 20 additional minutes of footage not seen in the original broadcast that is extremely cool to watch.

What makes this collection even more special is the 48-page collection booklet that delves in deeper to the show, the artists and never-before-seen photos. The essays on the Motown performers is what intrigues me because it allows me greater insight to the music that I might not have considered before.

So push away the living room furniture, make room and prepare to put on your dancing shoes for MOTOWN 25: Yesterday Today and Forever!

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