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Philanthropist: Complete Series [DVD] [2009] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

4.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

Dispatched from and sold by passionFlix UK.
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Product details

  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Classification: NR (Not Rated) (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002TQKL7A
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 84,784 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Customer Reviews

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This American TV series stars smooth-talking Brit thesp James Purefoy but hasn't made it on to UK screens. The premise of a billionaire playboy turning to philanthropy is an interesting one and he goes on missions to some of the world's more colourful, though troubled, regions, including Haiti before the recent earthquake. It is a touch preachy in parts but on the whole very entertaining.
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This series looks at a number of contentious political situations around the world and through the character of Teddy Rist, the viewer is shown how everything can be negotiated, if the level of power, influence or money exerted has been assessed correctly.

'Money talks' is the initial feel for this action packed political drama but, as Teddy's experiences in these real world situations awaken his sense of morality and release his deeply buried guilt and grief for the loss of his young son and the subsequent breakdown of his marriage, the once selfish, and unsubtle businessman emerges from his money orientated cocoon and is transformed into a vulnerable, selfless and admirable humanitarian.

Politicians take note!
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the bag the DvD came in was 2 big for the dvd so it shook all the plastic that hold your discs down had all broken so the discs had been flying about it was a christmas present but not now
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x93d9a720) out of 5 stars 67 reviews
69 of 72 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x93db1ef4) out of 5 stars creative giving, that touches the heart . . . 8 Mar. 2010
By trebe - Published on
The Philanthropist (2009), with its central theme of trying to affect change for the better, is a welcome alternative to the sea of forensic procedural dramas, and other crime and action based programming that have predominated for the last few years. The series had a limited run on NBC during the summer of 2009, and the eight episodes in this set are all that were produced. This is unfortunate, as with all the negative things happening in the world, a little good news and optimism, however slight, is not a bad thing.

The Philanthropist stars James Purefoy as billionaire Teddy Rist, co-CEO of Maidstone-Rist, a conglomerate involved in natural resource ventures worldwide. Rist's marriage breaks up after the death of his young son. Previously something of a playboy, this loss changes his outlook on life, and he now looks to use his influence and power, to improve the lives of others. The business is headquartered in New York City, but Rist is often overseas, working on some deal. Teddy's partner and best friend is Philip Maidstone (Jesse L. Martin), his wife Olivia (Neve Campbell), heads the company's non-profit foundation. Also helping Teddy get things done, are AJ Butterfield (Lindy Booth), and his bodyguard Dax (Michael K. Williams).

The adventures take place in various places, delivering a positive message of hope. A wrong is revealed, a crisis arises, or someone with a need is discovered, and the story becomes about finding a solution, no matter how difficult this may appear. Wherever he may be, Rist uses his personality, smarts, charm, and money, to get things done. There are some light moments, but for the most part, the focus is on what Teddy or the team, must do to avoid a crisis. Rist prefers to negotiate, maneuver, or buy, his way out of trouble, rarely resorting to violence. He quickly learns, that in order to accomplish tasks, he must often do them himself, usually at great personal risk. Following his conscience, Teddy is up for almost anything, rarely ever backing down.

The series makes the point that one person caring, can make a difference, that people do matter, and that making money is not the most important thing, if people are hurt in the process. This kind of idealism may not be particularly realistic, in a world concerned mostly about the bottom line. In the real life, someone would probably shoot Teddy Rist for his cash, watch, or car, and that would be the end of it. That kind of violent realism, we already have in abundance. What The Philanthropist offers, is a little refuge from that, and some small hope for a better world, in a package that features adventure and excitement, exotic locations, and a taste of other cultures. These are journeys well worth taking, that make you think, and may have you shedding a tear or two.

The stories are very well written, with attention paid to detail. Production values are high, with great editing and cinematography. Set in various places across the globe, the episodes are titled after the location featured in the story, and are usually told using flashbacks, with Teddy narrating.

Things begin in 'Nigeria (Part 1)', with the loss of his son still a fresh memory, Teddy saves the life of a young Nigerian boy during a flood. He returns, keeping a promise to deliver a much needed vaccine, to a beautiful doctor working in a remote area.

Teddy is shocked, when he learns that his company is affiliated with a company in 'Myanmar' (Burma), that is engaged in questionable human rights practices. The country is under the rule of a military junta, but Teddy arrives and boldly meets with a political leader living in exile. Meanwhile back home, one of the stockholders is making a move to kick Teddy out of the company.

Teddy encounters the latest in 'customer service' in 'Paris', as women are being trapped into prostitution, to serve the clientele of a high class hotel. When a friend of Olivia is killed, Teddy is determined to break up the ring, and bring the killer to justice.

In 'Nigeria (Part II)', when his doctor friend is taken as a hostage, Teddy tries to effect her release, with a bold gamble that involves pressuring the government. Back home, Philip is dealing with his own episode of philanthropy. Both men learn that helping is not always a simple matter, as some will take advantage of the situation.

Distrust between people, threatens to halt Maidstone-Rist's plans to build a factory in 'Kosovo'. Philip is injured in an act of deadly terrorism. Krista Allen makes an extended appearance as Teddy's ex-wife Julia, as the couple make some progress in dealing with the death of their son.

Teddy is on the trail of a mysterious impersonator, who is doing good deeds using his credit card in 'San Diego'. Rist could easily cancel the card, but his curiosity gets the better of him, and he almost takes a beating, going to bat for a stranger.

'Kashmir', features Teddy recounting his adventures there, while a guest on a talk radio program. A college friend of Teddy's and Phillip, has a plan to help provide water to an area of India suffering from drought. But there are those who prefer the status quo remain, and will kill to maintain it. With India and Pakistan threatening war, Teddy works to forge a peace along the border.

Teddy, Philip, and Olivia, are in Haiti to try and provide relief during a food shortage. Philip's brother is a Senator there, but he is resistant to accepting outside aid. Teddy comes face to face with slavery, encountering a woman who's son has been sold by his father to pay off debts, and young girl who is a 'restavec', living as a servant slave, raised experiencing abuse. The series closes, asking for ideas how people can help.

Teddy Rist isn't perfect. He has a stubborn streak, a weakness for beautiful women, and drinks a bit, but for the most part, he is a guy with a good heart, who puts his life on the line for his beliefs. Handsome and classy, James Purefoy brings a sincerity and caring to the role of Rist, that makes him believable as a charismatic, wheeler-dealer type, who is refocusing his skills in a new direction. Teddy's dedication and tenacity, provides the impetus for this thoughtful series. The rest of the cast receive limited screen time, but Jesse L. Martin and Neve Campbell, shine when given the opportunity. Unfortunately Lindy Booth, isn't given more screentime.

Few of us can make a difference the way Teddy Rist can, and there are seldom easy answers to complex problems, but there are things that each of us can do, to make a better world, if we just give it a little thought, and make an effort.
31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x94704170) out of 5 stars Teddy Rist, We Hardly Knew Ye 22 Feb. 2010
By Mark J. Fowler - Published on
One of the greatest strengths of the short-lived "The Philanthropist" is the ability of the writers to recognize the potential for the lead character to become a superficial, cloying caricature and to skillfully guide the writing away from the caricature and towards the Character - with a capital C. Teddy Rist is played by James Purefoy, and he is introduced as a billionaire casanova who is prompted by a life-changing event to turn into a crusader for good. Without much modification he could easily be Bruce Wayne or Tony Stark, but we're reminded several times that he's no super-hero, and in hand to hand combat Teddy is the one who winds up beaten, tied up and with a gun pointed at him.

Teddy and his best friend Phillip (played by Michael Kenneth Williams) have established Maidstone-Rist, an international conglomerate specializing in trade and utilization of natural commodities. Teddy's job gives him opportunities to fly to places like Paris, but the series makes a realistic attempt to give Maidstone-Rist a reason to also go to world geo-political hot spots. Neve Campbell plays Olivia Maidstone, Phillips wife and the head of the company's charitable arm. Michael Kenneth Williams has the largest supporting role as Dax, a Marine veteran now working as Teddy's bodyguard.

Why is the show good? Why does it work? I grew up watching television shows like "Little House on the Prairie" and "Perry Mason" that always - and I mean always - ended "Happily ever after", and the happy endings were not always honestly earned. A contrived ending would miraculous change the hearts or misfortunes in the final five minutes of "Little House" and at the end of "Perry Mason" the "real bad guy" would break down at the end and blabber "you're RIGHT! I DID IT!" in the same way that every episode of "Scooby-Doo" ended with the villain confessing, then complaining "and I would have gotten away for it too, if it weren't for you darn kids!"

But "The Philanthropist" exists in a relatively "real" world - it is definitely a post 9/11 world. It is a world where age-old enemies can't be reconciled with a smile, or a bribe. Teddy and his company run into drug dealers, human traffickers, corrupt government and military officials, and they don't always "win".

Teddy lost his son to tragedy while off on some jet-setting mission, and as the show opens we see the events that led him to stop looking for ways to exploit the world financially and instead to look for ways to help his fellow man - while still making a buck. (In one episode it is clear that the Board of Maidstone-Rist wouldn't hesitate to sack Teddy if he weren't also turning a profit.) So while MR is looking into natural resources scattered around the globe Teddy is also looking into easing tensions on the border of India and Pakistan and bringing cholera vaccine into Nigerian villages.

Roger Ebert has written that what a movie is about isn't as important as how the movie is about that thing. If "The Philanthropist" was about a Billionaire Playboy flying into Nigeria and heroically delivering vaccine without getting his hands dirty it would be as shallow as a desert brook. But because these characters run into realistic obstacles, and often don't get their way, it becomes something deeper. It's about trying to do good under difficult circumstances, not because it increases your own importance to try, but because it's worth trying.
41 of 48 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x942a7dec) out of 5 stars Another Victim of The Jay Leno Effect 31 Jan. 2010
By Jason Sum - Published on
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Tom Fontana was 1/2 of the Team Behind the TV Masterpiece known as Homicide: Life on the Streets

Tom Fontana was also one of the People behind Creating this Show.
So you'll get the Feeling that The Philanthropist was something very Special

The Show itself was amazing (But, it was put on during the summer?!?!?!)
Which is a Bit Strange
The Show wasn't given a Chance to breathe and gain a fan base (Because of the time Frame) Plus The Fall Line up would be A Huge disaster for the NBC Network and would Drastically Change NBC Universal Forever

I Highly Recommend this Show
Everything about it was Very Good It was Shot more Like A Major Motion Picture Some of the Locations Alone were very Unique and add alot to the Story
The Writing was very "Real" and Believable......
I Guess you could say it opens your eyes to all the bad things going on through-out the world
It will bring tears to your eyes But, also give you Hope!
The Cast was Perfect

To Bad TNT or USA didn't pick up the Show
It had major potential of growing and getting better with time but, in this day and age seems like nothing new is Given a Fair Chance to find any audience it has to have Huge Rating by the second Episode
This show is major prof why All the Good TV is on Cable (FX, USA, Sci-Fi, TNT, AMC, BBC-America)
Network TV has Lost it's Originality and Edge
A real Shame it wasn't picked up!
Check it out 9.5/10
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x947a8f3c) out of 5 stars Best character-driven, emotional drama series in years 30 April 2010
By David Haakenson - Published on
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When "The Philanthropist" debuted as a limited summer series on NBC, commercials for it seemed to paint the show as a frolicking pseudo-adventure similar to "Chuck" with an equally giddy male lead. I almost didn't watch it (even though I like "Chuck").

But I'm glad I did. This was the finest hour on television I've seen in years, a perfect blend of acting, character-driven drama rich with emotion and film-quality location photography. Tom Fontana ("Homicide: Life on the Street") did a great job with this series.

When have you ever heard writing this rich in a TV drama, coming from a sorrow-ridden lead character's voice, over an tragic scene he's witnessing and struggling to thwart: "As I've travelled the world, I've seen my share of horrific sites. I'm always stunned, not so much by the horror itself, but by the fact that one human being is doing something unspeakably horrible to another. A woman is dead, other women are being raped emotionally, physically. ... How can any real man not feel violated by that?"

In another episode, the lead character enters a Chinese gem mine where woman and children are forced to work under harsh conditions. He has used his influence and money to secure escape for one person. As they depart, he tries to help an old woman hit with the butt of a gun, but soldiers prevent him. As he slowly walks out of the mine, the sad eyes of those forced to work meet his. With a broken voice, he softly uttered, "I'm sorry", over and over as he passed each captive as he leaves.

This show was a kick in the emotional gut that forced you to think about your place in the world, and whether you're caring enough about others living in it.

Do yourself a favor and watch it. Then marvel at how this gem ever found its way onto television and quickly departed with virtually no one watching it.
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x93db5438) out of 5 stars The Philanthropist 26 Dec. 2010
By Hope from California - Published on
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Because I didn't enjoy the main character(the billionaire philanthropist)or the way he was presented as a breezy playboy, I gave this a three. The stories were interesting, but the way most of them were resolved seemed implausible to me. The series seemed a little flat, perhaps because it seemed tongue-in-cheek for serious subjects, and I grew tired of it after Disk 1. I still recommend it for the $10 price if you want a sort of unrealistic look at a TV program's view of resolving humanitarian issues.

If there is a book based on the actual facts of this philanthropist's life and his giving to others, I'd like to read it. I am unsure of how true the TV series was able to be to his experiences.
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