Must-See-TV DVDs: October 11, 2009

Must-See-TV DVDs: October 11, 2009

The best TV DVDs of the last two weeks …

MUST-SEE-TV DVDS OF THE WEEK:
The Wizard of Oz 70th Anniversary Ultimate Collector’s Edition on Blu-ray (Warner Home Entertainment)
Details: OK, so technically, it’s not a TV thang, but those of us under the age of 80 probably associate The Wizard of Oz with TV, as we’ve been watching it on the tube since we were kids. Even if you’ve been watching it every year since you can remember, though, you’ve never seen Dorothy, Tin Man, The Cowardly Lion and their cohorts like this, in full Blu-ray glory.

What was a painstaking process – the box set is a celebration of the movie’s 70th anniversary, after all – of restoration led to a print that is vibrant, sharp and even more fun in its new Blu-ray state. This new print, in fact, is the best reason so far to start a Blu-ray collection if you haven’t yet. Bottom line: You need to see Munchkinland in Blu-ray. You just do.

Bonus Features: There’s a watch in this box set … a watch. And not the plastic, cereal box kind; it’s an actual timepiece, a stylish watch with a color photo of the cast on the rectangular face, crystals and an emerald green faux leather wristband, packed in an embossed Wizard of Oz tin. Other goodies in the set: a replica of the original movie budget; a reproduction of the 1939 campaign booklet, full of suggestions for how theaters could promote the movie (including coloring pages contests and ideas for displaying the Oz book inside theaters); a digital copy of the movie; and a 52-page coffee table book, Behind the Curtain, packed with photos and interesting tidbits on the movie and its stars (didja know The Wicked Witch was a kindergarten teacher in Cleveland?).

As for bonus video material, there’s two discs worth, including a new sing-along track, commentary by Oz stars and their offspring, music and special effects track, multiple making-of features, the 2001 TCM documentary Memories of Oz, the 1990 TV special The Wonderful Wizard of Oz: The Making of a Movie Classic, the home movies of Oz composer Harold Arlen, deleted scenes, outtakes, a featurette on the movie’s tornados, radio shows, photo galleries and six movie trailers.

This Blu-ray edition also comes with two bonus discs of material that aren’t in the two-disc special edition release, and those discs include new-to-DVD features Victor Fleming: Master Craftsman, Celebrating Hollywood’s Biggest Little Stars, The Dreamer of Oz TV special (with John Ritter starring as Wizard of Oz author L. Frank Baum), The Magic Cloak of Oz, The Patchwork Girl of Oz and the MGM: When the Lion Roars documentary.

Ally McBeal: The Complete Series (Fox Home Entertainment)
Details: It’s 32 discs worth of McBeal, including all five seasons of the 1997-2002 Fox dramedy. From career breakout performances by Calista Flockhart, Portia di Rossi and Jane Krakowski and memorable turns by Robert Downey Jr., Josh Groban and Taye Diggs to great comedic performances by Peter MacNicol, Lucy Liu and Greg Germann and quirky touches like the Barry White tunes, the Vonda Shepard theme song and, of course, the dancing baby, Ally McBeal was not only an Emmy/Golden Globe/Screen Actors Guild/Peabody Award-winning series, but one of the biggest pop culture TV hits of the last few decades, and now it’s available on DVD, with all the original music intact.
Bonus Features: A best-of Ally McBeal soundtrack disc; a new featurette, Bygone Days: An Ally McBeal Retrospective, with the cast; the Life and Trials of Ally McBeal TV special; a behind-the-scenes featurette and the 1998 episode of The Practice that featured an Ally crossover.

BEST OF THE REST:
Cagney & Lacey: The Menopause Years (S’more Entertainment)
Details: A collection of four Cagney & Lacey reunion flicks, beginning with 1994’s Cagney & Lacey: The Return, and also including the reunion movies Cagney & Lacey: Together Again (1995), Cagney & Lacey: The View Through the Glass Ceiling (1995) and Cagney & Lacey: True Convictions (1996).
Bonus Features: Interviews with Emmy-winning stars Sharon Gless and Tyne Daly, and producers Barbra Corday and Barney Rosenzweig, whose 2007 memoir Cagney & Lacey … and Me: An Inside Hollywood Story OR How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Blonde is a must-read for Cagney & Lacey fans. PS – Rosenzweig is also married to Gless.

Day Break: The Complete Series (Mill Creek Entertainment)
Details: Try as networks might, they still haven’t found the perfect vehicle for Taye Diggs (and I’d argue that Private Practice still isn’t it). This short-lived, 2006 ABC drama was yet another attempt, with Diggs starring as Brett Hopper, a detective who’s framed for the murder of an assistant district attorney. The show unfolded with a Groundhog Day-ish gimmick, wherein Hopper keeps reliving the day he’s framed for the murder, trying to ferret out more and more clues each time and change the outcome. The box set contains all 13 episodes of the show, including the six that aired before ABC yanked it from its schedule and the seven remaining installments that were available at ABC.com.
Bonus Features: Audio commentaries for each episode, interviews with cast and crew and behind-the-scenes features.

How I Met Your Mother: Season Four (Fox Home Entertainment)
Details: That Supporting Actor Emmy still eludes him, but season four of HIMYM provides yet more evidence of why Neil Patrick Harris keeps earning the nominations, with his scene-stealing role as ladies man Barney Stinson. Among Barney’s season four storylines: He realizes he has feelings for Robin, he gets a new assignment working for GNB bank, he sleeps with his 200th woman and Robin finds out he likes her and returns his feelings.
Bonus Features: Audio commentaries, gag reel, the Barney music video and the A Night With Your Mother panel discussion from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.

C.S.I. NY: The Complete Fifth Season (Paramount Home Entertainment)
Details: Includes all 25 episodes from season five, including Lindsay and Danny’s pregnancy, Stella’s trip to Greece and the show’s clever 100th episode, “My Name Is Mac Taylor,” where Mac and team had to rush to find a killer whose victims were all named Mac Taylor. Guests for the episode included Chris Daughtry, Scott Wolf, Julia Ormond, Nelly and Rumer Willis. Other season five guest stars: Pete Wentz, Maroon 5, Devon Gummersall, Mykelti Williamson, Ed Asner, Charles S. Dutton, Mare Winningham, Thad Luckinbill and Craig T. Nelson.
Bonus Features: A featurette on celebrating the show’s first 100 episodes, and features on the pre-production, production and post-production process of a murder scene.

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe: The Complete Series (Mill Creek Entertainment)
Details: The collection features all 39 episodes of the fantastic 2002 restart of the 1980s ‘toon.
Bonus Features: Morals for each episode, interviews with toy artists, audio commentaries, episode scripts and a PDF comic book for the unproduced 40th episode.

Life on Mars: The Complete Series (Buena Vista Home Entertainment)
Details: The ABC remake of the British series lasted, sadly, for just 17 episodes, but it is good enough and different enough to warrant a look on DVD. Jason O’Mara, as NYPD detective Sam Tyler, who gets hit by a car in 2008 and is sent time travelling back to 1973, led an excellent cast that also included Harvey Keitel, Michael Imperioli, Jonathan Murphy, Maggie Siff, Lisa Bonet, Dean Winters and Gretchen Mol.
Bonus Features: A tour of the set with Lee Majors and Jason Mara, bloopers, deleted scenes, audio commentary and featurettes on the show’s set and time-travelling storyline.

Superman/Batman: Public Enemies Special Edition on Blu-ray (Warner Home Video)
Details: This gem, based on the opening arc of the Superman/Batman comic, features the best superhero voice talent – Tim Daly as Superman, Kevin Conroy as Batman, Clancy Brown as Lex Luthor and John C. McGinley as Metallo – in the story of President Lex Luthor! Yep, Lex has been elected POTUS, and his first order of business is to turn the country against superheroes Superman and Batman. He puts a bounty ($1 billion) on Superman’s head, and with the other superheroes all on Lex’s payroll, will this finally spell doom for the Man of Steel, or has Lex ensured his own doom by pushing Superman too far?
Bonus Features: A digital copy of the movie, bonus cartoons, a sneak peek at Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths and featurettes A Test of Two Minds: Superman and Batman, a dinner with DCU and Kevin Conroy, behind-the-scenes of Blackest Night and a look at four other DC Universe animated flicks.

Medium: The Complete Fifth Season (Paramount Home Entertainment)
Details:
All 18 episodes of the show’s fifth season are included in this five-disc set of Medium‘s final season on NBC (season six is airing on CBS’s Friday night line-up). Changes for season five: Psychic mom Allison is back working with D.A. Devalos and Detective Scanlon, hubby Joe has started his own company and Allison’s oldest daughter, Ariel, started to have trouble with the “gift” she inherited from her mother, as she started to have troubling visions about her schoolmates.
Bonus Features:
A Jake and Patricia Q+A and featurettes The Making of Medium: Season 5, Script to Screen: Apocalypse … Now? and Curious Maria.

The Mary Tyler Moore Show – The Complete Fifth Season (Fox Home Entertainment)
Details: Gems of the season: “Neighbors,” in which Mr. Grant becomes Mary’s neighbor when he moves into Rhoda’s old apartment; “An Affair to Forget,” in which Ted tells everyone he and Mary are dating, and no one will believe her when she denies it; and “A New Sue Ann,” in which a fan of Sue Ann’s (Betty White) goes all All About Eve on her.
TV Screener Tidbit: This season of the classic sitcom won the Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series, while Ed Asner won the Supporting Actor Emmy, Betty White won the Supporting Actress Emmy and the show won the Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series Emmy for the season premiere installment, “Mary Richards Goes to Jail.”

AND THE REST …
Stargate Atlantis – The Complete Series Collection (MGM Home Entertainment)

The Unit: The Complete Giftset (Fox Home Entertainment)

Kings – Season One (Universal Home Entertainment)

Man vs. Food: Season 1 (Image Entertainment)

Mister Ed: The Complete First Season (Shout! Factory)

The Patty Duke Show: Season One (Shout! Factory)

Bones: Season Four (Fox Home Entertainment)

The Hills: Season Five, Part One (Paramount Home Entertainment)

Nip/Tuck – Season Five, Part Two (Warner Home Video)

Prototype This: Season One (Discovery Channel)

The Real Ghostbusters: Complete Collection (Time Life)

Traffik: Remastered 20th Anniversary Edition (Acorn Media)

Ultraman: The Complete Series (Mill Creek Entertainment)

    • Aro said at October 13, 2009 at 1:40 pm
    • Reply
    1

    Great! The best voice of Superman, aka Mr. Tim Daly, is back. I’m definitely buying this.

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