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Headsup: Hulk in a Box and UNCLE in a Box

There’s a lot of stuff coming out each week. We know. We get a lot of it here. And these people want you to buy their stuff. Should you? I’ll try and help you out.

Incredible Hulk: Complete Series DVD cover art

Alongside the fifth season of the series, Universal has put out the complete series–all eighty-two episodes across twenty discs. The good news is that the box is actually pretty cool: the cover has HULK on it in bubbled-up text where left to right you see Banner turning into the Hulk. And it’s wide enough so that you can fit two stacks of slimline cases in it. The bad news is that once you open the box you see they’ve done nothing but put two stacks of slimline cases in it. In fact, it’s just the same discs from the five season boxed sets. So there’s no bonus discs or anything new under the sun. Or the box lid, as it were. In fact, for example, it’s a bit weird to have a bonus bit from the first season discs–like a bonus episode from the second season. Especially since we’ve got the episode already on the second season discs. You do get some commentaries from Kenneth Johnson, series creator. There’s a retrospective featurette and more. The major benefit to this set is that if you haven’t already bought the individual season sets then this is not a bad deal. As I write this, all five sets if you bought them individually are about $146.95, whereas this set is currently $111.99. (Click here to buy it from Amazon.)

The Man From UNCLE: The Complete Collection

[ad#longpost]Now this is a cool set right here: not just every episode of the series across forty-one–count em–forty-one discs. But you also get them in an attaché case that holds all four season boxed sets featuring Robert Vaughn (most recently in Hustle) and David McCallum (most recently in NCIS). This was formerly a Time-Life exclusive now readily available. In addition to the episodes, you have a boatload of features. First, featurettes: ongoing bits about the guest stars on the show, a historical featurette, a tour of museum pieces regarding spy gear and the show, a featurette on shooting with MGM, and various bits covering the spy game in general, the gadgets, the car, the fandom and more. You get the original color pilot, “Solo,” which would eventually morph into the show we know. There’s also the film One Spy Too Many, which is basically two episodes edited into a feature film. There’s a slew of interviews, not only with McCallum and Vaughn reuniting, but writers, producers and director Richard Donner. McCallum is on hand to narrate some home movies he took from the set. And ridiculously, there’s more: appearances on awards shows, a Tom & Jerry cartoon parody, along with galleries for documents, memorabilia, images and more. It really is mightily stacked. Now, should you buy? Obviously if you have no idea what the proto-spy TV show is about, then you should sample it with a rental first. But for the fan of the show, it’s a no brainer. Currently running $149.99 at Amazon, that’s less than $1.50 an episode and less than $4 a disc. So it really can’t be beat. (Click here to buy it from Amazon.)

The Happening DVD cover art
The Incredible Hulk DVD cover art
The New Adventures of Old Christine: The Complete Second Season DVD cover art

The Happening is the latest from M. Night Shyamalan that didn’t get a lot of people saying nice things about it, but let’s face it. The thing made money. $48M production budget and made $168M worldwide. (Source: Box Office Mojo.) So Night’s going to continue to receive checks. The premise is simple: something unseen is screwing with people’s heads and causing them to bump themselves off as quickly and conveniently as possible. Thus begins a rush to get away from It–whatever the hell It is–and find safety. This is out from Fox and comes with deleted scenes with intros provided by Night, five featurettes and a gag reel. No commentary. I think for most of you, you’ll find it a decent rental, although if you are a fan of Night, then the film currently is going for $19.99 on Amazon. (Click here to buy it from Amazon.)

You want to know something amazing about The Incredible Hulk (the movie version)? Granted, you might already know this if you’ve seen the film, but just in case…please forgive my surprise when I join countless others in stating–and you’ll just have to imagine my amazed tone of voice on this: “Wow. That didn’t suck.” It’s a shame that this film had to contend with its Dolph Lundgren as Punisher-level bad predecessor, because this really could have been a huge event for Marvel instead of it being used to salvage the character from the hell Ang Lee cast it into. Norton is a fantastic Banner, Liv Tyler is a believable Betty, Tim Roth is a believable badass, and William Hurt (since they didn’t include any of his scene-eating from the deleted scenes) is an excellent Ross. While it doesn’t hit the heights of Iron Man, it is fairly worthy stuff. First up, it’s really a two-disc set: the third disc is the now-obligatory digital copy disc that’s just in a sleeve inside the case, so it’ll be easier to lose. The commentary track provided is the director and Roth. You’ve also got an alternate opening–which is a bit odd, admittedly, scads of deleted scenes (some of which could have been used in the film, others–as stated above–whew, glad they’re gone), a making-of featurette, a Hulk design featurette, an Abomination creation featurette, a transformation featurette, and more. Expect a better version of this set when either the next Hulk movie hits or a boxed set of all the Marvel films leading up to the Avengers. But you’re talking 2011 or 2012 for that, so if you really want to buy, for $22.99 (current price), it’s not a bad deal. (Click here to buy it from Amazon.)

The New Adventures of Old Christine is a return to television–well, successful television–for star Julia Louis-Dreyfus. She did get an Emmy off of the gig and said gig has its fourth season going so more to her. She’s playing a single mom, divorced, whose ex started dating a new Christine–both new in the novel sense and newer in the age sense. So hijinks inevitably ensue. This four disc set has twenty-two episodes on it, and comes with unaired scenes and a gag reel. It’s $31.99 as a I write this on Amazon, so that’s less than $1.50 an episode–and you’d pay more than that to download and watch an episode legally. So rent it if you want to try it, and if you want to own it–despite the dearth of features–I don’t think you’d be too distraught over the purchase. (Click here to buy it from Amazon.)

Looney Tunes Spotlight Collection, Vol. 6 DVD cover art
Looney Tunes Golden Collection, Vol. 6 DVD cover art

The final round of Looney Tunes are hitting DVD: the sixth volumes of both the Spotlight Collection and the Golden Collection. My understanding is that they’re reworking the DVD releases going forward–hopefully they’re going to switch to Blu-Ray and then release them in chronological order. Why they didn’t do that to begin with, no clue. But regardless: the Spotlight Vol. 6 comes with thirty-eight shorts on it. Yes, I know that the cover says thirty but there are “four bonus shorts” per disc. And I have never figured out why that’s a bonus–it’s just more shorts. The Golden Collection has seventy-five shorts–again, sixty “normal” and fifteen “bonus” spread across four discs. Now you know you need to buy one version of this–because it is Looney Tunes, after all. The question is which. When you just compare the two, you’re looking at the Spotlight for $19.99 or the Golden for $44.99. So twice the shorts and more than twice the cost? Is it worth it? I’m saying yeah. Oh yeah. Commentary tracks for twelve of the shorts, a Mel Blanc docu, two television specials, some shorts from Friz Freleng at MGM, and then a series of featurettes on Leon Schlesinger. So yes, the shorts are all brilliant and look great–but it’s the bonus bits that put it over the top. Seriously, go for the Golden version. (Click here to buy the Spotlight Collection, Vol. 6 from Amazon or click here to buy the Golden Collection, Vol. 6 from Amazon.)