Must-See-TV DVDs: August 20, 2009

Must-See-TV DVDs: August 20, 2009

Sons of Anarchy – Season One
(Fox Home Entertainment)
Details: It’s my favorite new show in several seasons, and it’s one of those shows that’s so good that it only gets better on second viewing. Think The Sopranos as bikers instead of Jersey mobsters, with a definite Hamlet-y undertone, and that only gives you a hint of how good the writing, acting and storytelling is on the show, which was created by Sopranos producer/The Shield writer (really, can you have a better resume?) Kurt Sutter.

At least four cast members were deserving of Emmy nominations (though the show, incredibly, received none) for the premiere season: Undeclared and U.K. Queer as Folk star Charlie Hunnam as Jax, a new father and second-in-command of the SAMCRO motorcycle club, who’s growing suspicious of the intentions of his stepfather, SAMCRO leader Clay; Hellboy star Ron Perlman as Clay, the complicated man who loves Jax and his mom, but doesn’t always have the best intentions; Married … with Children‘s Katey Sagal as Jax’s mom/Clay’s wife Gemma, who’s every bit as smart, tough and conniving as any of the biker dudes; and CSI: Miami‘s Kim Coates as Tig, SAMCRO’s resident psychopath.

In short: Great performances? Check. Action? Check. Drama? Check. Dark humor? Check. Makes good use of its 10PM timeslot with naughty behavior and language? Check. Time to breeze through the season one DVDs before the show’s second season premieres on FX on Sept. 8? Check.

Bonus Features: Featurettes on the making of the show and casting the show, a gag reel, deleted scenes and audio commentary with the cast and Sutter

Greek: Chapter 3 (Buena Vista Home Entertainment)
Details: Casey finally ‘fessed up to her feelings for Cappie, setting up what should be a very interesting next season (which premieres on ABC Family on Aug. 31).
Bonus Features: Audio commentaries, bloopers and a “20 Questions with the Cast of Greek” featurette

Dexter: The Complete Third Season (Paramount Home Entertainment)
Details: In season three, serial killer Dexter finally had a best friend (guest Jimmy Smits) … and then he didn’t. Everything in between made for another great season of the show.
Bonus Features: Cast interviews, an excerpt of Dexter by Design, the latest Dexter novel by author Jeff Lindsey, and episodes of other Showtime series, including The Tudors and The United States of Tara

The Simpsons: The Complete Twelfth Season (Fox Home Entertainment)
Details: Among the season’s best episodes: “Insane Clown Poppy,” “The Computer Wore Menace Shoes” (where Homer starts his own gossip Website), “HOMR” (where a crayon is found to be the source of Homer’s, uh, Homer-ness), “New Kids on the Blecch” (where Bart and pals form a boy band and ‘N Sync guest stars) and, one of the best episodes ever, “Worst Episode Ever,” in which Comic Book Guy (my all-time fave Simpsons character) has a heart attack and Bart and Milhouse take over The Android Dungeon
Bonus Features: Audio commentary, deleted scenes, sketch gallery and Easter eggs, and, of course, the limited edition Comic Book Guy head packaging

Chris Isaak: Greatest Hits Live (Soundstage) (E1 Entertainment)
Details: Crooner Isaak, with his smooth vocals, catchy songs, groovy suits and playful stage presence, is one of the best live performers touring, and if you haven’t had the chance to see him in concert, this recording of his show from the PBS concert series will give you a good idea of what you’re missing.
TV Screener Tidbit: The concert includes a performance of “American Boy,” the infectious tune that was also the theme song of the funny, but sadly short-lived Showtime sitcom The Chris Isaak Show.

Simon & Simon: Season Three (Shout! Factory)
Details: One of the best detective shows of the ’80s, with odd couple brothers Rick and A.J. Simon (Gerald McRaney and Jameson Parker) teaming up to find baddies in San Diego.
TV Screener Tidbit: Look for a pre-teen Mario Lopez guest starring in the season three episode “Corpus Delecti.”

Hannah Montana: The Movie (Buena Vista Home Entertainment)
Details: When teen star Hannah (Miley Cyrus) starts to get too big for her britches, her dad whisks her away to their Tennessee hometown to remind her of her roots. OK, OK, some of Cyrus’ off-camera shenanigans are super annoying, but my nine-year-old niece Danielle worships her and told me in detail why that undeniably infectious song “The Climb” is “really a great song, Aunt Kim,” so that’s all I need to recommend how fun the movie is, especially through tween eyes.
Bonus Features: Music videos, cast bloopers, audio commentary and a featurette on how to do the “Hoedown Throwdown” dance

Gossip Girl: The Complete Second Season (Warner Home Video)
Details: It was slow-going in some parts of the show’s second season, but well worth it to see (finally) the Blair and Chuck hook-up at the end of the season.
Bonus Features: A tour of Gossip Girl haunts in NYC, an audiobook download for one of the novels on which the show is based, a gag reel, unaired scenes, a featurette on the show’s fashions and the “Chasing Dorota” Webisodes

Everybody Hates Chris: The Complete Series (Paramount Home Entertainment)
Details: All four seasons of the charming sitcom narrated by – and based on the teen years of – comedian Chris Rock
TV Screener Tidbit: The final scene of the show’s series finale cleverly spoofs the finale scene from The Sopranos series finale.

The Beast: Season One (Sony)
Details: Includes all 13 episodes of the Patrick Swayze FBI series, which won’t be returning for a second season.
Bonus Features: 13 behind-the-scenes featurettes

Dirty Sexy Money: The Complete and Final Second Season (Buena Vista Home Entertainment)

Eli Stone: The Complete Second and Final Season (Buena Vista Home Entertainment)

Everybody Hates Chris: The Final Season (Paramount Home Entertainment)

Man vs. Wild: Season Three (Discovery Channel)

Total Drama Island: The Complete Series (Warner Home Video)

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