Colin Hutton, Colin Hutton
Mystery and action dominate these newly released TV shows on DVD this week.
"Sherlock: Season Two" (BBC, 2012, two discs, $29.98). This is the three-episode season that aired on PBS earlier this month, which begins with a resolution to Season One's cliffhanger and follows up with more adventures in modern-day London as a 21st century Holmes and Watson use up-to-date technology, including social media, which is cleverly displayed on the screen.
Benedict Cumberbatch is perfect as demanding perfectionist Holmes, matched by Martin Freeman as the good doctor/blogger who chronicles his friend's exploits. And the tales — adapted from the popular Arthur Conan Doyle stories "A Scandal in Bohemia," "The Hound of the Baskervilles" and "The Final Problem" — have been tweaked and updated in very clever, stylish ways.
As someone who has never warmed to the recent Robert Downey Jr. films about Holmes, I've been delighted to see this series blossom into something that can please both longtime fans and Holmes neophytes as an intelligent, thrilling, amusing and highly entertaining series of feature-length thrillers.
Extras: widescreen, three episodes, audio commentary, featurette (also on Blu-ray, $39.98)
"Rizzoli & Isles: The Complete Second Season" (Warner, 2011, three discs, $39.98). Angie Harmon is Rizzoli, the tough homicide detective from a rough-and-tumble blue-collar family, and Sasha Alexander is Isles, the coroner from a privileged background who is stylish, girly and a bit uptight. Together they have wonderful comic chemistry in this seriocomic police procedural set in Boston, bantering and bickering as they solve crimes together. (Season 3 begins on TNT next month.)
Extras: widescreen, deleted scenes, featurettes, bloopers
"S.W.A.T.: The Final Season" (Shout! 1975-76, six discs, $31.93). This second and final season of the action series about an elite Los Angeles police force stars Steve Forrest as the team commander and Robert Urich, before he became famous with "Vega$" and "Spenser: For Hire." Guests include Susan Dey, Sal Mineo, Phil Silvers and Lesley Ann Warren in the two-episode season opener, as well as Susan Sullivan, Aldo Ray, Anne Francis, Frank Gorshin, Rose Marie, Stuart Whitman, Leslie Nielsen, James Darren, Donna Mills, Tom Skerritt and Robert Loggia.
Extras: full frame, 24 episodes
"Teen Wolf: The Complete Season One" (Fox, $39.98). Unlike the cheesy 1980s comedies "Teen Wolf" (with Michael J. Fox) and "Teen Wolf Too" (Jason Bateman), this spinoff is a dramatic, dark and edgy horror show. Think "The Vampire Diaries." Tyler Posey is an awkward teen bitten by a werewolf, giving him powers over which he has no control. Not bad. (Season 2 begins next month on MTV.)
Extras: widescreen, 12 episodes, deleted/alternate/extended scenes, audio commentaries, featurettes, bloopers
"Dark Blue: The Complete Second Season" (Warner Archive, 2010, three discs, $29.95). The second and final season of this police procedural continues the stories of a team of misfit undercover cops in Los Angeles led by Dylan McDermott ("The Practice," "American Horror Story"). Grim but well played by a capable ensemble.
Extras: widescreen, 10 episodes (available at www.WarnerArchive.com)
"Doctor Who: Nightmare of Eden" (BBC, 1979, $24.98).
"Doctor Who: Dragonfire" (BBC, 1987, $24.98).
"Doctor Who: The Happiness Patrol" (BBC, 1988, $24.98). Vintage "Doctor Who" multi-episode stories: "Eden" stars Tom Baker as the good doctor; "Dragonfire" and "Happiness" feature Sylvester McCoy. These are aimed at fans, those accepting as much of lesser stories as the best, and both are represented here. But the real draw is the bevy of bonus features, interviews and behind-the-scenes explorations of the series' long-running success and events surrounding these particular episodes.
Extras: full frame, four episodes ("Eden"), three episodes ("Dragonfire," "Happiness"), deleted/extended scenes, audio commentaries, featurettes, photo galleries, isolated scores, PDF materials, production notes
"Carol Channing: Larger Than Life" (eOne, 2011, $24.98). This captivating documentary celebration of 91-year-old Channing's unique talent — primarily on Broadway (she's most famous for "Hello, Dolly!") — is nonetheless disjointed and almost entirely anecdotal. But fans won't care and it still makes for highly entertaining theater, if you will, with lots of vintage film clips and celebrity endorsements from Lily Tomlin, Chita Rivera, Debbie Reynolds, etc.
Extras: widescreen, featurettes
"Worried About the Boy" (eOne, 2012, $19.98). Less captivating is this look at George O'Dowd's early years before he became popular 1980s pop phenom Boy George. It probably doesn't help that I didn't get him then and I don't get him now.
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