First up, Blue Planet from the BBC. The only trouble with watching documentaries on the BBC is that once you get used to the level of quality they provide, you’ll never go back to watching one of those subpar bits from the History Channel. Might be harsh, but it’s too true. That’s why you see stuff like this and like Planet Earth getting so much play over here. Because it’s damn good. In fact, between this set and Planet Earth, you have a commercial for hi-def televisions just waiting to happen. I’ve reviewed some of the original discs before here and the book that accompanied the series here. Now, previously, I would have thumped anybody who didn’t own this. But if you held out, now’s the time to give in. There’s a bonus fifth disc which contains four new bits of programming that haven’t been released before. Click here to buy it from Amazon.
We go from the wholesome fun of comedy in drag to an animated comedy in which nothing, I mean nothing, is wholesome. The second season of Drawn Together, from Comedy Central and Paramount. I will say up front that this show isn’t for everyone. In fact, it isn’t for anyone, honestly, but most of us watch it anyway because we’re depraved. But how can you resist a show that sends up both reality television and various animation tropes all at once? I can’t. Even if after watching this I felt like I had to shower afterwards. Creator and some cast commentary comes on four episodes, and one episode gets a commentary on the commentary. Just run with it, it’s cool. There’s also interviews and more. Click here to buy it from Amazon.
Roots: The Next Generations is one of those rare things: a worthy sequel. It’s also a slice of television history, because they just don’t make bigass network miniseries like this anymore. I mean, check out this cast: Henry Fonda, 80s TV demigod Marc Singer, Ruby Dee, Olivia de Havilland, Richard Thomas, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Ossie Davis, Pam Grier, Robert Culp, Paul Winfield, James Earl Jones, Marlon Brando, and scads more. Over eleven hours long, and spread across four discs, it also comes with a behind the scenes docu, “The Legacy Continues.” This is out from Warner Home Video. Click here to buy it from Amazon.
Next, the short lived Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, which was Aaron Sorkin’s followup to the “Man, that’s a shame they let a good series go downhill like they did” West Wing. Good performances from the cast (which includes our personal favorites: Matthew Perry, Bradley Whitford, D.L. Hughley and Steven Weber) punctuate yes another high profile series that got axed quickly into its run, pissing off a lot of fans. The fans will have to contend themselves with this Warner Home Video release. To their credit, though (WB’s, not the fans’) the show isn’t completely bare bones. You have a commentary on the pilot episode from Sorkin and Thomas Sclamme, plus a featurette for “The Evolution of Studio 60.” Of course, it’s evolution that kills off some things and spares others…like TV shows, for example. Click here to buy it from Amazon.
Well, everybody knows the basic story of Eliot Ness and Al Capone. Well, anybody you would want to spend any time talking to, that is. Whether they know that story from Ness’ actual book or the Brian DePalma film with Costner and Connery that we all know and enjoy, either way they know it. However, if you weren’t around at the time, you might not know that for four seasons, from 1959 to 1963, it was also a television show. Hell, I didn’t know that until just recently. But yes, Robert Stack was on hand to play Ness. This is out from Paramount, and the one bonus feature you get is an episode of The Lucy Show (because this, like Untouchables was a Desilu production) where Stack is on hand to act his Untouchable character perfectly. Fans of the show are going to want this. Anyone who hasn’t seen it before should at least rent. Click here to buy it from Amazon.
The Upright Citizens Brigade are four very talented improvisational comedians: Matt Walsh, Ian Roberts, Matt Besser and Amy Poehler. Just like their strange Illuminati-esque characters they portray in framing sequences, they seem to subversively show up everywhere, if you know who to keep an eye out for. Here we get the second and final season of their Comedy Central show of whacked out shenanigans, and we can comfort ourselves with the amount of bonus features on this Paramount release: commentary on every episode, two episodes have live commentary from the UCB theater, there’s a Q&A with the UCB crew and the audience, deleted scenes and some early live performance footage. Click here to buy it from Amazon.
We seem to have a lot of shows that fans would consider having ended before their time. Veronica Mars is yet another, here with its third and final season. Before the show started hitting DVD, I was only vaguely aware of it (because I never watch television); in fact, I ran into Kristen Bell in Deadwood before I ever saw her in this. She was in Pulse, too, so better luck next time, I guess. Anyway, this Warner Home Video release is definitely what fans are going to want to snag (if they haven’t already): additional scenes, gag reel, a webisode gallery, a featurette gallery and, to rub salt in the wound, a featurette for pitching the fourth non-existent season. Maybe he’ll pull a Joss Whedon and do a Season 4 in comic form. Who knows? Click here to buy it from Amazon.
So the American version of Whose Line is it, Anyway? is back now in an uncensored version (and only an uncensored version, thank you very much) with the final ten episodes of the first season. Yes, Drew Carey is still there (whether you want him to be or not), but the Whose Line All-Stars are back as well: Wayne Brady, Colin Mochrie, Greg Proops and Improv God Ryan Stiles. Also, A Very Special Episode of the show has Stephen Colbert on the panel. Nice. If that wasn’t enough (and it never is), then bonus footage and gag reels come on both discs in this two-disc set. Keep buying these things and they’ll keep releasing them (and the UK version, too!). Click here to buy it from Amazon.