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Headsup: Can I Borrow Your Towel? This Post Just Hit a Water Buffalo.

An ongoing attempt to make sense of the onslaught of new swag that people want you to buy. Should you? I’ll try and help.

The Fletch Collection DVD Cover Art
The Love Boat Season One Vol. 2 DVD Cover Art
Battle 360: The Complete Season One DVD cover art

The Fletch Collection are both of the films starring Chevy Chase, one of which was actually quite damn funny and the other one which quite damn wasn’t. In fact, what’s startling about looking back at Fletch Lives is not just that it was a bad movie, but that it was so eminently forgettable. I know that I saw the movie. In fact, I’m fairly certain I caught it at the cinema. But it’s like I blocked it from my memories like I did with my third grade year. The downside is that watching it again is like reliving the nightmare for the first time. When I saw this arrive, my question was–since we seem to be seeing a lot of repackaging jobs–I wonder, is this a repackaging job? Slice open the plastic and…why, yes. Yes it is. The Fletch disc says “The Jane Doe Edition” on it. Fletch Lives I haven’t owned, but considering it’s the same lack of features, I’m assuming it’s the same disc as before on that one too. There’s really only two featurettes on here and it’s equally priced as I write this with the Jane Doe version. Honestly, I would tell you to go get that one instead, to spare you the second film. Click here to buy the Collection from Amazon. If you must.

[ad#longpost]It’s hard to explain The Love Boat to people who weren’t around to watch it and Fantasy Island, two shows I watched often when they first aired. Create a frame story with a supporting cast and inject celebs of various levels into it each week. Same basic principle of Fantasy Island as well. Of course, my favorite variation on this theme was Masquerade, which I bet is funny as hell if you were to watch it now. This release from Paramount comes with the second round of twelve first season episodes, plus The New Love Boat TV movie. I don’t know that this is airing anywhere (seems like it would be a natural for some cable channel), so this appears to be the best way to catch it. Worth it for fans, rent it if you haven’t seen it before. (Click here to buy it from Amazon.)

When I first heard about Battle 360, I thought perhaps we were dealing with an Americanized version of the nifty Brit series, Time Commanders, which featured civilians taking the part of generals in a number of historically relevant battles. But while this is recreations, it’s specifically of the U.S.S. Enterprise and its battles during World War II, using an array of CGI, talking heads (both experts and veterans), and historical footage. It’s clear why the Enterprise was the focus of the series, because it was pretty much the focus of the naval war–it was like that guy who came to my college to lecture on music in the 60s…the carrier managed to be everywhere and everywhen significant. The show is better than your average History Channel presentation (which tend of late to be more leaning towards the entertainment value than the educational value) and serves as a good primer to get people interested in WWII and the Pacific Theater. Released with ten episodes across four discs, it’s worth at least a rental. (Click here to buy it from Amazon.)

Dexter Season 2 DVD cover art
Street Kings DVD cover art
One Tree Hill: Season 5 DVD cover art

It’s the return of America’s friendly neighborhood serial killer, Dexter. Yes, we’re turning characters that would normally be villains into heroes. Next up: a series that does this with a dentist. Or would that be going too far…? Michael C. Hall continues to completely nail the titular role in these twelve second season episodes across four discs. It’s a shame that this Paramount release couldn’t get the treatment received by Burn Notice where there’s scene specific commentary by the cast and crew. Instead, we’ve got two episodes of Brotherhood on the discs and other episodes from other Showtime series along with Michael C. Hall content available online using a computer. This, in a word, sucks. I don’t want to have to go from my television and DVD setup to my computer setup in order to be able to view stuff that should be on the discs. And the focus is too much on other series from Showtime that, if we were interested, we would already be watching them. It’s a tough call on whether or not to tell you to buy: the discs themselves are bare bones, so I would say if you’re a big fan and completist, do it. Otherwise if you just want to watch it once, catch it on cable or rent it. (Click here to buy it from Amazon.)

Street Kings looks promising, since it’s got Hugh Laurie and Forest Whitaker, two actors who we always like to see drawing down a paycheck. And it also has Keanu Reeves with a gun, a setup that worked for Speed. But can James Ellroy’s story give Keanu something believable to do when his character’s been framed for murder? That you must decide. This two-disc special edition is stacked, but it’s just as stacked as the single disc. I shall explain. You’ve got a director’s commentary, three featurettes, a scad of deleted scenes with optional director’s commentary, alternate takes and more. That’s disc one. Disc two is strictly for the digital copy, which means if you do you want to purchase this–which you will if you’re a cop movie completist or a huge Keanu fan–then you save $5 by snagging the single disc, unless you actually need the digital copy. And these days $5 can buy an eighth of a gallon of gas. So. (Click here to buy it from Amazon.)

Taking a page from JMS, One Tree Hill decides to jump forward in time over four years, probably to catch up with the actors’ actual ages if nothing else. Eighteen episodes are here (including a digital copy of all of them) across five discs. Fans will be interested in the set, because it’s not bare bones. Warner Brothers has provided unaired scenes, featurettes, the usual frightening music videos, running audio commentary on two episodes and a gag reel. Fans of the show will want to pick it up, especially if they’re trying to get into the new season which just started on the CW network. (Click here to buy it from Amazon.)