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The Week in Stuff: July 13, 2010 – Lucille Ball, Tori Amos and Some Sharks (Not a Carnac Joke)

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The Lucy Show Season 2 DVD Cover Art
Brewster McCloud DVD Cover Art
Saving Grace Final Season DVD Cover Art

[ad#longpost]When you think of Lucille Ball, you tend to think of I Love Lucy, which makes sense–it was her signature role in her signature series. It’s classic stuff. However, for the longest time that’s all I knew her for, and didn’t realize she went on to star in two additional series, The Lucy Show and Here’s Lucy. I don’t think I’m alone in my ignorance because all this was before my time and my exposure to the original classic series was via reruns. But ah, the glory of DVD. Paramount is putting out official complete seasons of Lucy Show and here’s the second season. Even better, whereas most television shows from Paramount just hit with the episodes, here you’ve got actual bonus bits. You get all twenty-eight episodes across four discs, plus bonus clips, new interviews, vintage openings and closings, bios, commercials, plus The Lucille Ball Comedy Hour with Bob Hope. So it’s actually pretty stacked, all things considered. And for Lucy fans, these episodes don’t appear to be airing anywhere, so anyone who wants them will have to snag them here. And at $28.49 (as I write this) you’re getting the episodes for about a $1 a piece. Excellent price, especially with bonuses factored in. Fans will want to purchase, but bear in mind: this show is not I Love Lucy. Make sure you know what you’re dealing with an rent if you’re unaware. (Click here to snag it from Amazon.)

Brewster McCloud is yet another film to be released by the technology of print-on-demand, or burn-on-demand in this case. The Warner Archive is a series of DVDs for films that are simply easier to be released in this way. And this Robert Altman film–in which Bud Cort lives underneath the Astrodome and is assisted by Sally Kellerman as he tries to create a pair of wings for himself–is quirky enough where this is a good outlet for it. Also in the cast are Rene Auberjonois, Margaret Hamilton, Stacy Keach and Shelley Duvall. It’s available directly from the Warner Archive WBshop.

The final season of Saving Grace, starring Holly Hunter, hits DVD thanks to Fox. It’s all nineteen episodes across five discs. There are no bonus features, but the show–which, as you might imagine, since I don’t watch television, I have to go on what I know about such things–appears to have at least had time to wrap itself up. As to whether or TNT is airing the series currently–good question. One page of their official site says yes, the other site says no. So I can’t help you there. I can tell you that it’s going for $31.99 on Amazon currently, which is about $1.70 an episode–so that’s not terrible. And the good news is for fans that there’s probably not going to be a better version released later–not counting Blu-Ray, of course. So fans that want to snag can do so feeling secure, in my opinion. Non-fans should rent if they want to check it out. (Click here to snag it from Amazon.)

Tori Amos: Live From the Artists Den DVD Cover Art
Shark Week Jaws of Steel Collection Blu-ray Cover Art

Live From the Artists Den is a show on PBS in which they pair performers with not necessarily traditional performance venues. In this case, you’ve got Tori Amos and the Veterans Room at the Park Avenue Armory in New York City. This is a limited edition DVD out from Artists Den that includes twelve tracks (two not on the show that aired on TV), a twenty-minute interview with music journalist Alan Light, a tour of the facility with Tori, and a thirty-four page scrapbook that contains photos and more info on the facility. I can’t speak to the scrapbook, but the DVD does contain some classic Tori that I love, including “China,” “Bells For Her” and “Girl.” This is available as a Barnes & Noble exclusive currently and there’s no plans to release this material in any other form, so it’s up to the Tori fan to decide if it’s worth grabbing for themselves. But $20 for this package isn’t bad, I have to say. (Click here to snag it from Barnes & Noble.)

As we approach another Shark Week, Discovery Channel and Gaiam have released the Jaws of Steel Collection, i.e. the 2009 series episodes, on a two-disc Blu-Ray set. Each disc contains three specials from the series of shows plus two bonus programs. Now, as we’ve outlined in our own Shark Week, this series in general takes a very antagonistic bent towards sharks: “our finned foes” and whatnot. Of course, that’s what sells, but still. And granted, I don’t trust sharks either, but I at least have the good sense not to go bother them where they live. The set here does look great on Blu-Ray but it does run you $21.99 at the moment, which is, counting the bonus bits, $2.75 a special. If you’re a shark fiend, only you know if that’s worth it. (Click here to snag it from Amazon.)

The Girl By the Lake DVD Cover Art
Zift DVD Cover Art

Last but not least, we have a pair of releases from IFC Films hitting DVD. Both are thrillers. The first, The Girl By the Lake, is an Italian murder mystery in which the titular girl in question is actually a dead girl and an inspector is called in to investigate. The second, Zift, is a noir thriller from Bulgaria in which a man goes to prison in 1944 and comes out in 1960s Bulgaria to a different world–except for the fact there are still bad guys and the femme fatale he left behind. The draw of these two films is the way it works with most foreign film: if you want to see how another country plays in a familiar genre, then you can check them out here. Both films come with the film’s trailer and that’s all. This is a shame, since once you’ve dipped your toe in another country’s genre fun you want to hear about what went into it, but they’re worth rentals each if you would like to try them. (Click here to buy Girl on DVD; click here to buy Zift on DVD.)