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Headsup: Looney Tunes & Danny Trejo …Sadly on Separate Releases

There’s a lot of stuff that comes out, wanting you to snag them. Take this as your quick reference guide that will help you with answering the all important question: Should I spend my money on it? If you find the info here to be of use, do us a favor and purchase stuff from Amazon through us. Especially if you were going to buy the stuff anyway. That gives us kickbacks, which help pay for things. Like the server. And coffee. And therapy. Thanks.

Looney Tunes Super Stars: Foghorn Leghorn and Friends
Looney Tunes Super Stars: Tweety and Sylvester
Futurama, Vol. 5 Blu-Ray

[ad#rightpost]We kick off with an interesting pair of releases from the “Looney Tunes Super Stars” series, the anemic replacement from Warner Brothers for the Golden Collection of Looney Tunes releases, which were pretty fantastic. Instead of cartoon shorts with tons of extras, you get fifteen cartoons on both of these releases: Foghorn Leghorn & Friends and Tweety and Sylvester. The Foghorn release has only one cartoon that previously appeared on the Golden Collections–the other fourteen are new to DVD, as I understand it. That’s almost exactly the opposite case with the Tweety release: every single one of those shorts appeared in the Golden Collection. So you’ve got a choice between spending $15 on these volumes with roughly $1 per cartoon (and no features) or dropping between $25 and $40 for the Golden Collections and getting a lot more. The only use here is that the Foghorn can serve as a supplement to the Golden releases for its content. The Tweety should be avoided. Hopefully Warner Brothers will release these to Blu-Ray in a chronological format with new supplements–but until they get smart, here’s where we are. (Click here to order the Foghorn release from Amazon; click here to order the Tweety release from Amazon; click here to order from the Golden Collections available at Amazon)

Futurama returns with a fifth volume to DVD, yet another animated series brought back from death by sheer popularity (read: sales, etc.). I never was huge into the series during its first incarnation, so I’m not the best judge of whether or not the resurrected version will please the average fan. I trust that if someone is a fan, they probably caught these episodes during their original television run and already know if the main body of content on this thing is going to make them happy or not. What I can speak to is that the array of features is pretty much exactly what one would want: commentaries on each episode (I, being a commentary fiend, am pleased). There’s also a video comic book, a Bender music video, a Billy West music featurette, “Previously on Futurama” bits, deleted scenes, and quite possibly my favorite thing (apart from commentaries) to see on an animated release: a table read. The Blu-Ray we’re looking at here does have BD-Live capability with, at the moment, a Season 7 preview. That, and the video and audio, are the only difference between the Blu-Ray and DVD. I will say that if you have the capacity to watch this in hi-def, being an animated show originally broadcast in hi-def…well, the difference in price is only about $6. So you be the judge. (Click here to snag it from Amazon.)

Big Love: The Complete Fourth Season DVD
Enemy at the Door: Series 2 DVD
Mannix: The Fourth Season DVD

Big Love is getting ready to end and HBO put out Season 4 in advance of the new and final season. This is the season in which, among a bunch of other plotlines, Bill Paxton‘s character (also Bill) ran for the State Senate with aims to show the world a legitimate polygamic family. The thing I’ve been most happy about with this series is that Paxton is working–any project that gives that man a check is all right in my book. All nine episodes are here across three discs. The only bonus feature is a short “Inside the Episode” bit with the creative team where they get to talk about what went into the making-of. At $35.99 (what it’s priced when I write this), that’s about $4 an episode. The only question I have about this is replay factor: if you did buy this, how often would you want to rewatch it? If you’re a series fan of the show, then this is obviously the only way to own it–but anyone else should probably Netflix it before taking the plunge. Or, for that matter, it’s available from Amazon Video on Demand for only $1.39 an episode. (Click here to buy it on DVD.)

Enemy at the Door concludes in this second series set from Acorn Media. All thirteen episodes are across four discs. The premise of the series is one that is not very known to people on this side of the pond: namely that the British Empire’s holdings, the Channel Islands (located between Britain and France) were more or less given up to the Germans to occupy. And they did. This series tells the story of the Islanders and the Germans. The only feature here is historical info on the Islands. The price is not terrible: a little over $3 an episode to have this on your shelf. It does not appear to be airing anywhere, so the only other option to catch the first series and this (beyond buying) is Netflix. As above, replay factor is the main thing when actually dropping coin to acquire a set like this: if it’s something you want to add to your library, this is your best bet for owning it permanently. (Click here to buy it from Amazon.)

Mike Connors returns as Mannix for this fourth season release from Paramount. Mannix is a detective in Los Angeles fighting crime with the help of his secretary, Peggy. All twenty-four episodes are here across six discs. Guest stars from this season include Darren McGavin, Rich Little and Diane Keaton. There are no bonus bits, but the trick with Paramount is that most of their older shows aren’t playing anywhere–so while Netflix is great for checking out the show, this is the only way to own it. And if you wanted to, there’s no shame involved since it’s about $1.50 an episode–not bad. And you don’t have to worry about a double dip special edition–this is probably the best version of this you’re going to see until it finally hits Blu-Ray. (Click here to buy it from Amazon.)

Machete Blu-Ray
Chainsaw Sally Show: Season One
ER: Complete Fourteenth Season DVD

First up, the film that everybody wanted: Machete. Is this the first film in history to be spawned by a fake trailer inside another film? And even if it’s not, it’s surely the first film in history to be spawned by a fake trailer inside another film…and wind up more profitable than the film that spawned it. This amuses me to no end. Of course, it also stars Danny Trejo–and anytime cinema’s #1 badass thug can wind up the starring role in a film with DeNiro? It just gets better and better, friends. This release seems very light–it feels like the original Sin City DVD release: something to get it in the hands of fans quickly. Hopefully a better version will arrive just like one did for that film. Here you’ve got an “audience reaction track,” which tries to give you a cinema experience and is…well, quite silly, really. Unless you literally have a home cinema where you’re not reminded of the various noises and, for example, your dog coming up and demanding attention–you’re not going to get lost in the “cinema moment.” Sorry. There’s a series of deleted scenes, and one for BD-live, and that’s it. If this film really cranks your tractor, then I think you can have no qualms about plonking down coin because the more you support this sort of thing, the more we get it. I’m looking at you, Edgar Wright. (Click here to buy Machete on Blu-Ray.)

Man, I love Troma. One of the high points of my improv career was turning Toxic Avenger (the, ah, I guess you would say walkaround character version), Lloyd Kaufman and Toxie’s mop into the raising of the flag at Iwo Jima. Troma is always close to my heart. And of course, Herschell Gordon Lewis is an executive producer on this thing (he brought you Blood Feast). Between that and the cover art, I’m not entirely sure how anyone could mistake this for anything other than what it is: a twisted gore-infused low-budget romp, designed for people who love such things. The ambivalent need not apply. The premise is simple: by day, Sally is a mild-mannered librarian. By night (mostly), she grabs her weapon of choice and goes apeshit on people who she feels has transgressed. All eleven episodes are here across two discs, plus a special “Groundhog Day” sixty minute movie. There’s commentaries on some episodes, and behind-the-scenes featurettes (one showing you the process of a kill sequence) make up the core of the bonus bits. Fans of ludicrous gore will want to check it out, but owning it will be up to the individual. (Click here to buy it from Amazon.)

I went from a machete to a chainsaw to the ER. Yeah, well, it’s late when I’m writing this folks–that’s what passes for clever. Here we are with the penultimate season of the show, with all nineteen episodes across five discs. Warner Brothers actually gives a decent array of features for a late boxed set of a television series: you get unaired scenes, highlights from the 300th episode tribute, and a gag reel. For that number of episodes, the price point for each is a little over $1.75…which isn’t bad. But again, if you’re a hardcore fan, then this is probably your best bet at owning the episodes. They don’t appear to be airing anywhere…which is odd. But regardless, even when it eventually hits Blu-Ray…which it will…I think you’ll probably still be contented with this set if you do want to buy. (Click here to buy it from Amazon.)

Funny or Die Presents: The Complete First Season DVD
There's Nothing Out There DVD

The Internet website spawns a sketch comedy show: that’s the premise of Funny or Die Presents. Its first season is here from HBO with all twelve episodes across two discs. When I first heard about this, my initial thought was: they’re just going to take stuff from the website and port it to television? Not exactly, no. Like a lot of sketch comedy shows, you get a buffet of stuff, so it’s up to the individual viewer if it works well enough to warrant inclusion on your shelf. Season 2 is currently airing on HBO and the website for the show has video samples, so you can get a feel for it before you take the plunge. But it’s always a replay factor for me, as you know: if you think you’ll want to catch this over and over, at about $1.80 an episode, it’s not bad–but bear in mind there’s no features. (Click here to buy it from Amazon.)

There’s Nothing Out There is primarily known for being, first and foremost, a horror film that has awareness that it’s a horror film. This before Wes Craven turned the same notion into a franchise that quickly cratered itself. Here, though, an alien is running around wasting males and wanting to mate with the ladies. The film is known secondly for being a Fun Bad Movie. This two-disc Troma 20th Anniversary Edition won’t make the film any better, but if you do like low budget bad horror, then this is like a Criterion Collection-level showing. The set comes with intros from both the director and Lloyd Kaufman and a commentary with director and cast (along with a brand new commentary with just the director). In addition, there’s a music video, screen test footage with optional director’s commentary, pre-production and test footage, rehearsal and blooper footage, and two early films by the same director, plus more. The set is pretty stacked for $12, but you have to be a serious fan of the genre in order to own this–if you’re maintaining a library of this sort of thing, then this would be the way to own it. If you’re uncertain rental or Netflix would be the way to go instead. (Click here to buy it from Amazon.)