Must-See-TV DVDs: September 20, 2009

Must-See-TV DVDs: September 20, 2009

The best TV DVDs of the last two weeks …

MUST-SEE-TV DVDS OF THE WEEK:
One Foot in the Grave: The Complete Series
(BBC Video)
Details: This 12-disc set encompasses the entirety of a darkly hilarious series widely considered a British national treasure. Victor Meldrew (Richard Scott), involuntarily retired from his security job by a “box,” spends six delightful seasons delivering a bravura performance as a modern day Job. Victor’s every attempt to fill his days with useful pursuits are invariably thwarted by unthinking bureaucracies, idiot neighbors, and random chance, provoking side-splitting tirades at the unfairness of it all. Each of these is inevitably punctuated by Victor’s redeeming catchphrase “I don’t believe it!” Victor, you see, remains undeterred. It is that universally appealing quality which so endeared the show to the British public (the railway station site of Victor’s series-finale hit-and-run death was swarmed with actual floral tributes).

TV Screener Tidbit: Bill Cosby modeled his series Cosby on One Foot in the Grave, but, despite One Foot creator David Renwick‘s involvement, the sharp comedic edges were sanded down for the considerably less funny Cosby.

Fringe: The Complete First Season on Blu-ray (Warner Home Video)
Details: Twists, weird science, terrorism, family drama, hook-ups … this latest sci-fi drama from Lost/Alias/Felicity creator J.J. Abrams has got it all, and with its second season just kicking off on Fox, there’s still plenty of time to catch up with season one via this visually awesome Blu-ray version of the show’s first season.
Bonus Features: Phew, there’s a bundle, including audio commentaries, unaired scenes, a gag reel, Evolution: The Genesis of Fringe featurette, Behind the Real Science of Fringe featurette, A Massive Undertaking: The Making of Fringe (on select episodes), The Casting of Fringe featurette, Fringe visual effects featurette, producer Roberto Orci‘s production diary and a Gene the Cow montage.

BEST OF THE REST:
The Office: Season Five
(Universal Home Entertainment)
Details: While one relationship – the awkwardly sweet Michael and Holly – didn’t work out, Pam and Jim moved ever closer to the altar, and Michael actually managed to turn an unsuccessful venture starting his own company into a win at Dunder Mifflin.
Bonus Features: Deleted scenes, episode commentaries, Webisodes, promos, a gag reel and the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences’ panel discussion with the cast.

The Big Bang Theory: The Complete Second Season (Warner Home Entertainment)
Details: One of the rare shows that gets even better in its sophomore season, Big Bang Theory was rewarded with an Emmy nomination for star Jim Parsons for the second season (and co-star Johnny Galecki deserved one, too).
Bonus Features: Gag reel, a featurette on the show’s characters and the featurette Physicist to the Stars, about real-life physicist/UCLA professor David Saltzberg‘s consulting relationship with the show.

Harper’s Island: The DVD Edition (Paramount Home Entertainment)
Details: The 13-episode series was a fine horror/mystery series that just never caught on with a large audience. But the chance to watch them all unfold on your time table is worth the price of the box set. One warning: Do NOT watch the spoiler-heavy bonus features if you’ve managed to avoid the show’s many twists (especially the final one!) so far.
Bonus Features: Deleted scenes, Webisodes, featurettes and audio commentaries.

Important Things with Demitri Martin: Season One (Comedy Central)
Details: A second season is on the way (early in 2010), but once just wasn’t enough to savor the delightfully deadpan Demitri humor in season one anyway, so plenty of time to check it out all over again on DVD, from Devon Cottenfield, Emotional Escape Artist, to the “Coolness” episode with the ad agency that tries to help a nerd score on his big date.
Bonus Features: Deleted sketches, a tiny poster (you’ll see) and audio commentaries.

Sanctuary: The Complete First Season (E1 Entertainment)
Details: Dr. Helen Magnus’ (Amanda Tapping) monster-hunting adventures on SyFy is also on the cutting edge of technology as one of the only shows that shoots largely on green screen and uses a lot of visual effects and virtual sets to piece together action-packed episodes.
Bonus Features: Audio commentary on all 13 episodes, deleted scenes, three featurettes, Webisodes, bloopers and a season two sneak peek.

Fame: The Complete Seasons 1 & 2 (MGM Home Entertainment)
Details: 38 episodes of the 1982 TV adaptation of the 1980 movie (just in time for the Sept. 25 new Fame movie), with stars Debbie Allen, Lori Singer and Gene Anthony Ray.
Bonus Features: A Fame: Then and Now featurette.

Grey’s Anatomy: The Complete Fifth Season (ABC Studios)
Details: The drama continued off-screen with the show’s stars, and on-camera, there was Denny returning from the dead, sorta, a brain tumor, a Post-It Note wedding and the death of a beloved character.
Bonus Features: Unaired scenes, outtakes, 100th Episode: Tales from the O.R. featurette, extended episode and an interview with actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan about his character, Denny Duquette.

Primeval, Volume 2 (BBC Warner)
Details: Fun stories, cool special effects and fine performances make it a giant bummer that this British sci-fi series was canceled at the end of this collection of 10 episodes, but the whole series is still worth a look, open-ended cliffhangers aside.
Bonus Features: An interview with series star Douglas Henshall, a featurette on the show’s creatures and a clip video to help viewers catch up with the series.

Private Practice: The Complete Second Season (ABC Studios)
Details: The Grey’s Anatomy spin-off and its talent-packed cast – Tim Daly, Amy Brenneman, Taye Diggs, Paul Adelstein and Audra McDonald – continued to gel in the show’s sophomore season, as the titular practice dealt with financial issues, plenty of romantic drama, Dell’s custody issues, Addison’s playboy brother, and, of course, plenty of baby issues.
Bonus Features: Bloopers, extended scenes, deleted scenes, behind the scenes with the cast and audio commentary with series creator Shonda Rhimes.

AND THE REST …
Criminal Minds: The Complete Fourth Season (Paramount Home Entertainment)

Mr. Belvedere: Season Three (Shout! Factory)

Parks & Recreation: Season One (Universal Home Entertainment)

CSI: Miami: The Complete Seventh Season (Paramount Home Entertainment)

Crash: Season One (Anchor Bay/Starz)

My Name Is Earl: Season Four (Fox Home Entertainment)

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