Must-See-TV DVDs: September 27, 2009

Must-See-TV DVDs: September 27, 2009

MUST-SEE-TV DVDS OF THE WEEK:
30 Rock – Season Three (Universal Home Entertainment)
Details: Third season, third Outstanding Comedy Series Emmy. Among the highlights of the third season: Guest appearances by Oprah Winfrey, Salma Hayek, Jennifer Aniston, Steve Martin, Rip Torn, Peter Dinklage, Elaine Stritch, Alan Alda and Mad Men hunk Jon Hamm; Liz Lemon’s (Tina Fey) ongoing obsession with having a child; Liz’s doomed flings with Dinklage and Hamm; Liz’s downtime after being suspended from work; Jack’s (Alec Baldwin) affair with Elissa and his search for his dad; Tracy’s (Tracy Morgan) ever-wackier shenanigans; and Kenneth the Page’s (Jack McBrayer) sweet devotion to the TGS gang, including his trip to Queens to retrieve Liz’s cell phone.
Bonus Features: Good stuff, including audio commentary with Fey, Hamm, Alda and McBrayer, deleted scenes, the cast table read for the season finale and a making-of documentary for the “He Needs a Kidney” episode.

SpongeBob SquarePants: The First 100 Episodes (Paramount Home Entertainment)
Details: They had me at the lenticular cover. The 14-disc box set featuring the porous Nickelodeon hero in his first 100 Bikini Bottom adventures (which covers the show’s first five seasons and breaks down to more than 200 cartoon segments) is also packed with special features, including audio commentary, the “Kick-Wham-Pow-Bob” music video and two featurettes, Life Lessons from Bikini Bottom and Help Wanted – The Seven Seas Edition.
Bonus Features: The best reason, aside from the original eps, of course, to pick up the box set: the awesome documentary Square Roots – The Story of SpongeBob SquarePants, a 43-minute trek through SS history, featuring interviews with voice talent, writers and the cartoonists, including their take on that infamous controversy about the alleged homosexuality of SpongeBob.

BEST OF THE REST:
The Mentalist: The Complete First Season (Warner Home Video)
Details: It was one of the only true breakout hit series of last season, and The Mentalist is already off to another good start in its new, Thursday-night season-two home. The main reason for the show’s success? The supporting cast is fine, the premise – a more dramatic spin on USA’s Psych – is good, too, but it’s really all about leading man Simon Baker, whose charm, good looks and playful approach to using his character’s observational skills to help the California Bureau of Investigation solve its cases makes the show a standout in the crime procedural genre.
Bonus Features: Deleted scenes, a gag reel, a featurette on whether psychic/mentalists are real and Evidence of a Hit Series, a documentary with the cast and crew discussing the creation of the show and its first-season success.

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles – The Complete Second Season (Warner Home Video)
Details:
Many fans were sad that this TV entry into the Terminator universe was cancelled after two seasons, especially since season two was such a twisty, turn-y, action-packed drama. Giving specifics on the storylines, particularly on the tragic season/series finale, would spoil too much for viewers who plan to check the series out on DVD, and yes, despite the fact that you know this is the end of the road for the show, it is worth watching both Sarah Connor Chronicle seasons on DVD, though the promise of what was to come will definitely bum you out.
Bonus Features: Almost five hours of extras, including cast and crew audio commentaries, an eight-part featurette gallery, unaired scenes, a featurette on storyboarding the show’s action sequences, a Cameron vs. Rosie fight rehearsal featurette and a gag reel (especially welcome given how intense the show is).

Castle: The Complete First Season (Buena Vista Home Entertainment)
Details: At last, Firefly and former daytime soap hunk Nathan Fillion gets another series of his, one worthy of his leading man talents. In this, one of the few shows to make it to a sophomore year from last season, Fillion is Rick Castle, a very rich and famous crime novelist who gets mixed up with cops when a real-world killer starts to copycat his books. Castle soon realizes the new relationship has benefits for him, too – cop work provides him with fodder for his future works, especially since he’s battling a case of writer’s block – and the single dad ladies man isn’t unhappy that his new partnership will pair him with the attractive Det. Beckett (Stana Katic), too.
Bonus Features: Bloopers, deleted scenes, audio commentaries, a feature on series guest star and real-life mystery writer/TV legend Stephen J. Cannell, a featurette with the show creators on their inspiration for the often lighthearted tone of the mystery-drama and Write-Along with Nathan Fillion, a featurette in which the funny, charming Castle star shadows a real mystery writer for a day.

Brotherhood: The Final Season (Paramount Home Entertainment)
Details: Part Sopranos, part The Wire, the drama unfolded the story of Irish-American brothers Michael (Jason Isaacs) and Tommy Caffee (Jason Clarke), a mobster and a politician, respectively, whose morals don’t always match up to their positions. The Showtime series never got the love it deserves, always taking a back seat to shows like Dexter and Weeds, but if you’re looking for a good drama to sink your teeth into on DVD, Brotherhood won’t disappoint.
TV Screener Tidbit: Among the series’ great supporting cast: Kevin Chapman (a scene stealer as Garrity’s brother Terrance on Rescue Me) as Michael’s gangster boss Freddie; Annabeth Gish as Tommy’s wife; and Fionnula Flanagan (who Lost fans know as Eloise Hawking) as the Caffee brothers’ manipulative mama, Rose.

Ghost Whisperer: The Complete Fourth Season (Paramount Home Entertainment)
Details: Again, to go into specifics would be to spoil the season for those who plan to watch it, but suffice it to say that the series went in a direction that included a different path for one of its main characters, and that “path” was so extreme that it excites some fans and provided a bit of rejuvenation for the show in its fourth season, while others called the storyline the show’s jump-the-shark moment.
Bonus Features: Webisodes, featurettes on the season and three interactive featurettes: Grave Mistakes (show trivia), Interactive Haunted Dollhouse (you have to help the disembodied spirit of Melinda’s Jim) and Interactive Fashion Style Guide (a look at the show’s costuming department, and your chance to whip up your own ghost duds).

Ugly Betty: The Complete Third Season (Buena Vista Home Entertainment)
Details: Betty Suarez (America Ferrera) moves to the big city just as the show’s production moved to New York City, which made for a nice bit of symmetry with the show’s third season, when change was a major theme: Betty’s move for independence and to see if she really had the chops to make it in Manhattan, MODE mag’s future up in the air with financial dramas, the Meades vs. Wilhelmina, Ignacio’s heart attack, guest appearances by Lindsay Lohan … and, as always, the Betty crew manages it all with humor, sometimes over-the-top drama and well-placed doses of heartfelt sweetness.
Bonus Features: “Betty bloops” bloopers, deleted scenes, a featurette on the Ugly Betty production move from Los Angeles to NYC, Webisodes, audio commentary, a primer on the first two seasons and a great pop-up video commentary feature with series stars Michael Urie and Becki Newton.

AND THE REST …
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit – The 10th Year (Universal Home Entertainment)

Taxi: The Complete Fourth Season (Paramount Home Entertainment)

Star Trek The Original Series: Season Two (Blu-ray) (Paramount Home Entertainment)

Friday the 13th: The Series – The Final Season (Paramount Home Entertainment)

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