A sizable stack of TV shows will be on video on Tuesday.
They include Mike & Molly: The Complete Second Season (Warner, 23 episodes, $44.98 DVD); the third season begins Sept. 24. Revenge: The Complete First Season (ABC Video, 22 episodes, $45.99 DVD) precedes the second-season premiere on Sept. 30. NCIS: The Ninth Season (CBS/Paramount, 24 episodes, $64.99 DVD) and NCIS: Los Angeles: The Third Season (CBS/Paramount. 23 episodes, $62.99) set the stage for their new seasons on Sept. 25.
There are also sets of the final seasons of two other shows in House: Season Eight (Universal, 22 episodes, $59.98 DVD, $74.98 Blu-ray) and The Closer: The Complete Seventh and Final Season (Warner, 21 episodes, $59.98).
Extras vary from set to set, and it’s not always clear what they are. The Mike & Molly box, for example, includes a piece called Mike & Molly’s Wedding Video, which blends aspects of a wedding video with pieces about the making of the show’s second season. It’s especially odd when the actors, out of character, offer best wishes to the couple.
More interesting are round-table discussions, each running more than 40 minutes, with cast members of NCIS in its box, and cast and crew of The Closer. There are plenty of good stories about the making of the series in the Closer discussion, but it’s rather formal in comparison to the casual, joking atmosphere of NCIS, which includes a lot of banter with co-star Michael Weatherly and a nod to co-star David McCallum’s movie credits.
Other available extras include a House retrospective in its box, six featurettes in the NCIS: Los Angeles set and a Revenge piece on the show’s fashions.
Many of you are getting the kids ready to go back to school, and it seems as if Disney wants you to have one more chance at movie nights at home before things get too busy again. New releases include Blu-ray combo packs of the nature film Chimpanzee as well as animated fare The Aristocats, The Tigger Movie and Lady and the Tramp II (each set $39.99). There are also double-feature packs of The Rescuers/The Rescuers Down Under and Pocahontas/Pocahontas II ($39.99 for the Blu-ray combos). All sets come with extras; there are other versions of the releases available in standard DVD or with fewer bonuses.
Speaking of school, a new addition to Blu-ray is Good Will Hunting: 15th Anniversary Edition (Miramax, $14.99), the award-winning drama starring Matt Damon and co-written by Damon and Ben Affleck. The release adds some extras, including a four-part retrospective piece.
Sacha Baron Cohen’s comedy The Dictator comes in a “banned & unrated” edition (Paramount, $29.99 DVD, $44.99 Blu-ray/DVD combo) that includes the 83-minute theatrical version and a 98-minute unrated cut. I looked at the uncut version which was, not surprisingly, crude and deliberately offensive, but only occasionally funny.
More interesting is Bernie (Millennium, $28.99 DVD, $1 more for Blu-ray), an odd little based-on-a-true-story film starring Jack Black. It’s worth seeing just for Black’s performance, including his joyous singing along to a gospel song in his car. The movie has a 91 percent positive rating on the Rotten Tomatoes review- collecting site, but you probably missed it in theaters; according to Box Office Mojo, its widest release was about 332 screens, one-tenth of what most big releases get. And that should explain why home video is so important to movie fans.
This baseball season has already included three perfect games; the one pitched by the San Francisco Giants’ Matt Cain will be in the new DVD Baseball’s Greatest Games: San Francisco Giants First Perfect Game (A&E, $14.95 standard DVD). In addition to the TV broadcast, it includes optional radio audio from the game in both English and Spanish.
Down video road: Heaven’s Gate has been restored for release on Blu-ray and DVD by Criterion on Nov. 20. The 1970 art-house sensation End of the Road will make its DVD debut on Sept. 18, from Warner Home Entertainment; the package will include a new documentary by Steven Soderbergh. Sunset Boulevard makes its Blu-ray debut on Nov. 6. Wes Anderson’s acclaimed Moonrise Kingdom comes to DVD and Blu-ray from Universal on Oct. 16.
Rich Heldenfels writes about popular culture for the Beacon Journal and Ohio.com, including in the HeldenFiles Online, www.ohio.com/blogs/heldenfiles. He is also on Facebook and Twitter. You can reach him at 330-996-3582 or firstname.lastname@example.org.