Trae Patton, showtime
New TV shows on DVD this week are led by a couple of very adult series from cable channels Showtime and Comedy Central, respectively.
"Web Therapy: The Complete First Season" (eOne, 2011, two discs, $29.98, widescreen, 10 episodes, audio commentary, featurette, bloopers). Lisa Kudrow's post-"Friends" shtick seems to be casting herself as incredibly self-absorbed characters in awkward situations, exemplified by her role here as a therapist who prefers over-the-Internet three-minute chats to the traditional hourlong sessions where it's all about the patient.
Some of this is obviously improvised, which makes for hit-and-miss humor, and it may have been better suited to its original webisode format than as a half-hour sitcom.
When it works, it's funny, but be warned, the language is quite coarse. Victor Garber and Lily Tomlin co-star; guests include Courteney Cox, Alan Cumming, Steven Weber and Jane Lynch.
"The Sarah Silverman Program" (Shout!, 2007-10, seven discs, 32 episodes, $49.97, widescreen, original pilot, audio commentaries, featurettes, shorts). Speaking of female comics whose characters act inappropriately in awkward situations, Silverman is the queen of this sub-genre.
How you will take to her can be measured by your tolerance for gross-out humor, of which there plenty here. I find Silverman charming and funny in an offbeat way, but she goes way too far for my taste.
"Franklin & Bash: The Complete First Season" (Sony, 2011, three discs, $45.99, widescreen, 10 episodes, featurettes, bloopers). If you aren't weary of frat-boy humor you may enjoy this comedy-drama about two lawyers (Breckin Meyer, Mark-Paul Gosselaar) whose courtroom antics are not in the least bit grounded in reality but are occasionally amusing. Malcolm McDowell comes off best as their boss.
"Trial & Retribution: Set 5" (Acorn, 2007-08, two discs, $49.99, widescreen, four episodes). This gritty English cop series continues to be a compelling police procedural, though with occasional violence, nudity and language that put it in the very adult range.
DCS Mike Walker (David Hayman) and DCI Roisin Connor (Victoria Smurfit) investigate a man who may have been wrongly convicted of murder, among other feature-length stories here.
"The Code" (Athena, 2011, two discs, $39.99, widescreen, three episodes, featurettes, 12-page booklet). The creators of "The Story of Math" try to answer the big questions about the universe with mathematical formulas.
"This Is Civilization" (Athena, 2007, two discs, $39.99, widescreen, four episodes, text biographies, 12-page booklet). This documentary show is an update of the famed 1969 BBC series of the same title, here focusing on non-Western art and filmed on location in Europe and China, among other areas of the world.
"Saban's Power Rangers Samurai, Volume 1: The Team Unites" (Lionsgate, 2011, $14.98, widescreen, four episodes).
"Saban's Power Rangers Samurai, Volume 2: A New Enemy" (Lionsgate, 2011, $14.98, widescreen, four episodes). This "reboot" of the Power Rangers franchise begins with a new origin story before the team takes on villains who threaten to destroy the world.
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