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The weekend’s here. You’ve just been paid, and it’s burning a hole in your pocket. What’s a pop culture geek to do? In hopes of steering you in the right direction to blow some of that hard-earned cash, it’s time for the FRED Weekend Shopping Guide - your spotlight on the things you didn’t even know you wanted…

(Please support FRED by using the links below to make any impulse purchases - it helps to keep us going…)

Many folks are enamored with Funko’s Pop figures, but I’ve always found their stylistic sameness and beady Coraline eyes to be both boring and disturbing. For my money, I’ll go with the Q-Figs from Quantum Mechanix ($14.95 SRP each). Not only are the stylization of the designs infinitely more appealing to me, but they also allow for much more dynamic poses. These are beautiful pieces that look perfect on a desk or shelf. Just take a gander at the cross-section of pieces below, from Spider-Man’s mid-photo street lamp dangle to Mr. Freeze’s frustrated attempt to eat an ice cream cone, these are just spectacularly fun. Come on, look at how dynamic that Harry Potter is! I can’t wait to see where this line goes from here… And I hope some classic-costumed members of the Fantastic Four - and a Doctor Doom! - are in the offing soon.

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I continue to follow Game Of Thrones and a I stuck through an increasingly-baffling Westworld, but the real joy of the HBO year is the one-two return of Veep & Silicon Valley (HBO, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$24.99 SRP each), which also means the welcome arrival of their respective previous season box sets just before the new seasons hit. And considering the density of the writing on both, it’s quite enjoyable to have a refresher binge. While Silicon Valley only sports some deleted scenes, Veep packs on both deleted scenes and audio commentaries, every one of which is worth a listen.

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Over the course of 25 volumes released over the past 13 years, Fantagraphics has done a truly incredible job presenting the complete 50-year run of Charles Schulz’s Peanuts. It was no small amount of surprise and delight that they tacked on a 26th volume of The Complete Peanuts (Fantagraphics, $29.99 SRP), which gathers together rare comics, advertising art, and drawings produced during the strip’s half-century run. A lovely end for a brilliant presentation of a legendary strip.

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When Thinkgeek designs products in-house, it’s a fair bet that the final result will be something you didn’t even know you wanted until you saw it, and then you must absolutely have it. Case in point are a pair of cookery items sure to make the kid - or adult - enamored with all things Pokemon absolutely giddy. Have a party coming up? Use the Pikachu Cake Pan (Thinkgeek, $19.99) to bake an electrifying treat. Or, if you’ve come in from a hit day of wandering the wastelands to fill out your Pokedex in Pokemon Go, chill your drink with ice cubes made from a Pikachu Silicon Mold (Thinkgeek, $9.99). See? How can you resist ‘em!

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Generational nostalgia is a linear beast, which means everything will eventually get its moment, which brings us to the release of the complete first and second season of Nickelodeon’s beloved Rugrats (Nickelodeon, Not Rated, DVD-$14.98 SRP each). The shows have never looked better on home video, and while there are sadly no bonus features to speak of, it’s nice to have them available.

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The plate may now be empty, but there was once a glorious confection of a British import that you can savor again with the release of The Great British Baking Show: Seasons 1-3 (PBS, Not Rated, DVD-$19.99 SRP each). While the future holds a radically different program, we can still taste the sweetness of the original version.

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I’m a sucker for ephemera books - you know, the kind that feature reproductions of rare historical materials - and in their eternal quest for new revenue streams, we get Monty Python’s Flying Circus: Hidden Treasures (Abrams, $40 SRP), featuring tons of the aforementioned ephemera to delight fans.

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Sure, there’s a fair bit of Saturday Night Fever (Paramount, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$16.99 SRP), but the remastered director’s cut proves that the aspirational tale remains timeless and Travolta’s performance is still a career-defining marvel. Bonus materials include an audio commentary, featurettes, and a deleted scene.

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While I’m not particularly enthusiastic about Pixar’s vehicular franchise, I very much adore the Art Of books that the company does with the fine folks at Chronicle, the latest of which is The Art Of Cars 3 (Chronicle Books, $40 SRP). As usual, it’s positively packed with concept art and behind-the-scenes insight.

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In an age where facts are being assailed and history denied, now more than ever we need the objective, quality programming being produced by PBS. You can do that by catching up on the scores of excellent documentary and news programs they’re releasing on home video. For the politically and socially minded, there’s Frontline: Divided States Of America (PBS, Not Rated, DVD-$24.99 SRP) about the polarization in the U.S., a sobering look at the rise of 45 in Frontline: President Trump (PBS, Bot Rated, DVD-$24.99 SRP), Frontline: Battle For Iraq/Hunting ISIS (PBS, Not Rated, DVD-$24.99 SRP), the battle against the film The Birth Of A Nation in Birth Of A Movement (PBS, Not Rated, DVD-$24.99 SRP), The Talk: Race In America (PBS, Not Rated, DVD-$24.99 SRP), John Lewis: Get In The Way (PBS, Not Rated, DVD-$24.99 SRP), American Experience: Ruby Ridge (PBS, Not Rated, DVD-$24.99 SRP), and the history of modern martial justice in Dead Reckoning (PBS, Not Rated, DVD-$24.99 SRP). For the science-minded, you’ve got storms galore in Wild Weather (PBS, Not Rated, DVD-$24.99 SRP), plant behavior in Plants Behaving Badly (PBS, Not Rated, DVD-$24.99 SRP), engineering the Ultimate Cruise Ship (PBS, Not Rated, DVD-$24.99 SRP), Nova: Search For The Super Battery (PBS, Not Rated, DVD-$24.99 SRP), the Himalayan archeological mysteries in Nova: Secrets Of The Sky Tombs (PBS, Not Rated, DVD-$24.99 SRP), the applied science of Nova: The Origami Revolution (PBS, Not Rated, DVD-$24.99 SRP), and the fascinating medical advances of Military Medicine (PBS, Not Rated, DVD-$24.99 SRP).

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Sketch comedy is hard to do, and when you set the bar as high as Amy Schumer had with the first three seasons of Inside Amy Schumer (Comedy Central, Not Rated, DVD-$19.98 SRP), not hitting that high-water mark is more easily noticed. That’s the case with the often strained but still funny 4th season. Bonus materials include a writers room featurette and outtakes.

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The 1957 police drama Decoy (Film Chest Media, Not Rated, DVD-$19.98 SRP) was significant for a trio of firsts - the first police drama to shoot in NYC, the first to feature a police woman as the main protagonist, and the first to feature stories based on real-life subjects. Starring Bevery Garland as Office Casey Jones, you can now rediscover this forgotten series via this set, featuring all 39 episodes.

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The nicest thing I can say about Vin Diesel’s pet resurrection of a franchise, XXX: Return Of Xander Cage (Paramount, Rated PG-13, UltraHD 4K-$49.99 SRP), is that he’s really, really good as Groot in Guardians Of The Galaxy. As for this - I’m still trying to figure out who was asking for it, and why. I assume it was Vin. It was probably Vin. Bonus materials include featurettes and a gag reel.

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There’s a lot of tension to be found in the drama of a diamond-dealing family dragged into the underworld in Ice (eOne, Not Rated, DVD-$40.99 SRP), but the real draw of watching the show is its cast, which features Donald Sutherland, Ray Winstone, and Jeremy Sisto. Bonus materials include featurettes and a music video.

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There’s a lot of fun to be found in Warners new franchise push - DC Superhero Girls: Intergalactic Games (Warner Bros., Not Rated, DVD-$19.98 SRP), which finds the female superheroes in friendly competition that runs afoul of a bevy of baddies. Bonus materials include 7 featurettes and a music video.

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So there you have it… my humble suggestions for what to watch, listen to, play with, or waste money on this coming weekend. See ya next week…

-Ken Plume

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