Must-See-TV DVDs: September 4, 2009

Must-See-TV DVDs: September 4, 2009

The best TV DVDs of the last two weeks (just in time for Labor Day weekend marathon viewing) …

thirtysomething: The Complete First Season
(Shout! Factory)
Details: Yuppie angst? And how! But this seminal drama – from the producers who would later give us TV gems like My So-Called Life and Once and Again – was delving deeply into the emotional lives of its Big Chill-ish group of thirtysomething (hey, the title doesn’t lie) friends long before shows like Brothers & Sisters and Grey’s Anatomy were doing it.

The show had a cult following during its four seasons on ABC, as viewers identified with the main characters, who were juggling their personal and professional lives and the changing roles of men and women in both. thirtysomething won an Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series one time, and it was for this premiere season.

Bonus Features: Plenty, including commentaries by the cast and crew, an interview with show creators Marshall Herskovitz and Edward Zwick, and featurettes on creating the show, the show’s couples and thirtysomething‘s cultural impact

Samantha Who?: The Complete Second Season (Buena Vista Home Entertainment)
Details: One of the most disappointing network decisions last spring was ABC’s cancellation of this funny, charming comedy featuring Christina Applegate as nasty Samantha, who was in an accident, slipped into a coma and woke up with a case of amnesia that left her of no memory of just how nasty she had been.

Season two continued to find Sam delving into her past and trying to make sure her future included her being a better person, to her friends, her family and her live-in ex-boyfriend Todd. Applegate was at her best, so good, in fact, that I hope she’s shopping around for another series in which to display her considerable comedic chops. Ditto Jean Smart as her kooky, competitive mom Regina; in fact, dream scenario: the two find another sitcom to co-star in.

Bonus Features: Deleted scenes, bloopers and a set visit with Applegate

Supernatural: The Complete Fourth Season
(Warner Home Entertainment)
Details: Sam was dead … then he wasn’t. And both Winchester boys (Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles) had some, well, issues, with the ladies. Won’t spoil the major season ender for those who somehow have managed to avoid it via recaps, but suffice it to say that this is one of the most action-packed, clever dramas on network TV, and season four is Supernatural‘s best season yet. If you’ve never seen the show at all, go back to season one and catch up. It’s worth it.
Bonus Features: Audio commentaries, a gag reel, deleted scenes, extended scenes and featurettes on the show’s mythologies

Pooh’s Heffalump Halloween Movie (Disney)
Details: Roo and his new BFF Lumpy are excited about Halloween in the Hundred Acre Woods, because it’s the first time they’re going trick-or-treating. Pure kiddie viewing fun, but even we grown-up types can appreciate the cute story about friendship and the excitement of the holiday.
Bonus Features: Especially if you’re buying this as a gift, spring for the limited edition, which comes with an adorable, soft and cuddly plush Pooh … wearing a Tigger costume! So. Freakin’. Cute.

Scrubs: The Complete Eighth Season (Buena Vista Home Entertainment)
Details: Season seven, especially with that fairy tale episode … not so much. But the show was back in good form in season eight, with episodes that focused on the Sacred Heart doctors’ relationships, always the richest source of Scrubs‘ trademark quirky comedy and heart. And it all wrapped up with a very sweet, heartfelt finale (don’t lie, you cried, too) that closed the door on life at Sacred Heart as we had known it for the show’s first eight years.
Bonus Features: Bloopers, deleted scenes, series creator Bill Lawrence answering fan questions and a featurette on the cast’s trip to the Bahamas for the episode in which The Janitor married Lady

Smallville: The Complete Eighth Season (Warner Home Entertainment)
Details: Lex and Lana bolted after season seven, but Justin Hartley joined the cast full time as Oliver Queen and the show continued to grow darker and darker and further and further away from its freak-of-the-week beginnings. Not that that’s a bad thing, at all. The main theme of the season: Clark’s embracing of the idea that he’s going to being living a double life.
Bonus Features: Episode commentaries and unaired scenes, plus two featurettes: In the Director’s Chair: Behind the Lens and Calling the Shots with Allison Mack and Smallville’s Doomsday: The Making of a Monster

Desperate Housewives: The Complete Fifth Season (Buena Vista Home Entertainment)
Details: The mystery with wacky Dave grew tiresome by the end of the season (as the DH mysteries always do), but kudos to creator Marc Cherry for his decision to jump the action ahead five years (something, to be fair, One Tree Hill had already done), a plot that did serve to rejuvenate the entire series (which, overall, had become tiresome). It was sad to see Edie go, since she was always one of the more interesting, layered characters, but the teen version of Lynette’s twins brought the ruckus and the humor to the dramedy.
Bonus Features: Audio commentaries, bloopers, deleted scenes and a chat between Marc Cherry and star Teri Hatcher

Wiseguy: The Complete First Season (Mill Creek Entertainment)
Details: Before The Sopranos, there was this mobster series, about an FBI agent (Ken Wahl) who goes undercover to bust organized crime operations. The fantastic drama, co-created by Stephen J. Cannell (The A-Team), was also groundbreaking for its story arc plotting, in which storylines lasted only as long as it took for them to play out, not for a whole season if it wasn’t warranted.
TV Screener Tidbit: Season one featured the famous Mel Profitt story arc, with future Oscar winner Kevin Spacey as Profitt, a crazy, heroin-addicted billionaire arms dealer who may have been involved in an incestuous relationship with his sister.

One Tree Hill: The Complete Sixth Season (Warner Home Entertainment)
Details: Worth the cost of the DVD box set just for the scene where a dog eats Dan’s donated heart. And for the Peyton/Lucas hook-up.
Bonus Features: Gag reel, audio commentary, unaired scenes and a featurette on slamball

Brothers & Sisters: The Complete Third Season (Buena Vista Home Entertainment)
Details: Justin and Rebecca became a couple (and it wasn’t as creepy as it promised to be); sister Sarah becomes involved with a new business (and was better at it than she thought she would be); and the late William Walker, we all learned, was keeping a lot more secrets from his family
Bonus Features: Bloopers, deleted scenes and interviews with Sally Field and scene-stealer (and three-time thirtysomething Emmy winner) Patricia Wettig

NCIS: The Complete Sixth Season (Paramount Home Entertainment)
Details: The series continues to fly under the radar of a lot of viewers, even though it’s one of the best-acted, best-written on CBS. And the sixth season is the series’ best, full of so many twists that even fans who’ve already watched it could benefit from a second viewing.
Bonus Features: Cast and crew commentaries, a cast conversation about season six and featurettes on the company that creates the show’s dead bodies

The Untouchables – Season Three, Vol. 1 (Paramount Home Entertainment)
Details: Elliot Ness (Robert Stack) and his men continued to try to take down mobster Frank Nitti and his men, in fictionalized accounts that were based on the memoir of the real-world Elliot Ness.
TV Screener Tidbit: The show’s third season features guest gigs by future stars Leonard Nimoy and Ed Asner, as well as celebs like Peter Falk, Telly Savalas, Lee Marvin, Martin Landau and Cloris Leachman

Booker: Complete Series (Mill Creek Entertainment)

Californication: The Complete Second Season (Showtime Home Entertainment)

House: Season Five (Universal Home Entertainment)

Lie to Me: Season One (Fox Home Entertainment)

Rescue Me: Season 5, Vol. 1 (Sony Home Entertainment)

Heroes: Season Three (Universal Home Entertainment)

CSI: The Complete Ninth Season (Paramount Home Entertainment)

Rob Dyrdek’s Fantasy Factor: Season One (MTV Home Entertainment)

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