Richard Cartwright, Abc
A mid-season series that just finished its abbreviated initial outing leads these TV programs new to DVD.
"Scandal: The Complete First Season" (ABC, 2012, two discs, $29.99, widescreen, seven episodes, featurettes). Kerry Washington is very good in this uneven thriller as Olivia Pope, a "fixer" whose team of Washington, D.C., lawyers resolves in a stealth manner a variety of crises involving the rich and powerful. And sometimes taking clients who have been wronged by the rich and powerful.
It's a wild-eyed premise with Olivia being portrayed as a strutting know-it-all who insists she works "from my gut," as she repeatedly says, deciding what cases to take by intuiting whether the potential client is lying or telling the truth. But her instincts backfire in the first episode, taking her down a peg, which helps, along with Washington's natural warmth, to humanize her.
The show is fast-paced and holds attention, though the dialogue flies by so fast it's easy to miss things, making these first episodes a bit of a bumpy ride. But it's been renewed for a second season so, hopefully, the kinks will be ironed out when it returns.
"Doctor Who: The Seeds of Death: Special Edition" (BBC, 1969, two discs, b/w, $34.98, full frame, six half-hour episodes, deleted/extended scenes, audio commentaries, featurettes).
"Doctor Who: Resurrection of the Daleks: Special Edition" (BBC, 1984, two discs, $34.98, full frame, two 45-minute episodes, deleted/extended scenes, audio commentaries, featurettes). These vintage episodes of the seminal British sci-fi/time travel series boast much-improved picture quality and the discs are loaded with special features, including never-before-released material.
"Seeds of Death" is a black-and-white, six-episode tale with the Second Doctor (Patrick Troughton) taking on a Martian invasion of Earth, which marks the series' second appearance of the Ice Warriors. "Resurrection of the Daleks," a color show with the Fifth Doctor (Peter Davison), takes place largely in modern-day London (circa 1984) as he battles his oldest enemy, the Daleks.
"The Sarah Jane Adventures: The Fifth Season" (BBC, 2012, $19.98, widescreen, three stories, six episodes, featurettes). This final season of the award-winning sci-fi "Doctor Who" spinoff is aimed at youngsters, with fantasy-laden stories in two-part episodes, beginning with Sarah finding a child abandoned on her doorstep.
"Tosh.0: Hoodies" (Comedy Central, 2012, $19.99, widescreen, 10 episodes, extended segments, bloopers). Daniel Tosh's cable series, which has him commenting on viral videos and performing goofy skits, is strictly for fans of the aggressively politically incorrect comic. (Also on Blu-ray, $22.98)
"Top Gear 18: The Complete Season 18" (BBC, 2012, three discs, $24.98, widescreen, seven episodes, "India" special, featurettes). After a visit to India, the Top Gear gang drives supercars across Italy, makes a movie car chase, looks at NASCAR and the Chinese auto industry, among other adventures.
"Brad Meltzer's Decoded: Season Two" (History, 2011, four discs, $29.95, widescreen, 13 episodes). Metzler looks for more conspiracies from the codes and symbols he's uncovered about Fort Knox, the Vatican, Mount Rushmore and such celebrated figures as Leonardo Da Vinci, Gen. George S. Patton and Harry Houdini.
"Dog the Bounty Hunter: Taking It to the Streets" (A&E, 2010, $19.95, widescreen, four episodes). Dog and friends track a meth dealer through the Colorado high plains, chase a fugitive into Hawaii's jungles, etc.
"Gene Simmons Family Jewels: Season 6, Volume 1" (A&E, $19.95, 2011, three discs, $19.95, widescreen, nine episodes, seven previously unreleased Season 5 episodes).
"Gene Simmons Family Jewels: Season 6, Volume 2" (A&E, $19.95, 2011, two discs, $19.95, widescreen, nine episodes, deleted scenes). KISS rock star Simmons and his partner Shannon spend the first nine episodes separating and reuniting, then in the last nine they finally prepare to tie the knot, with bachelor/bachelorette parties, etc., leading up to the two-episode nuptials.
"My First Collection, Vol. 3, Featuring Chicken Little" (Scholastic, 2012, three discs, $24.95, 13 stories, featurettes, read-alongs). This set repackages three previously released discs of animated stories for children ages 2-6: "Chicken Little," "Katie Loves the Kittens" and "Bark, George."
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