Chris Hicks: 3 popular police procedurals lead a bevy of TV series' new DVD releases
Some of TV’s favorite cops bust the bad guys in three police procedurals arriving on DVD this week.
“Blue Bloods: The Second Season” (CBS/Paramount, 2011-12, six discs, $64.99, 22 episodes, deleted scenes, audio commentaries, featurettes, bloopers). Although crimes are solved each week, the driving force and most compelling aspect of this series are the loving but complicated relationships between loyal members of a law-enforcement family — New York’s police commissioner (Tom Selleck), a district attorney (Bridget Moynahan), a veteran detective (Donnie Wahlberg), a rookie beat cop (Will Estes) and a retired police commissioner (Len Cariou).
The cast is great and the show is more sure-footed in this second season as pressures build, especially between Moynahan and Wahlberg, and as Wahlberg’s character struggles to keep separate his demanding job and his duties as a husband and father.
There is also a religious component as the members of this Catholic family go to church, say grace over their Sunday meal together (a weekly family ritual) and occasionally examine their faith.
“Castle: The Complete Fourth Season” (ABC, 2011-12, five discs, $45.99, 23 episodes, deleted scenes, audio commentaries, featurettes, bloopers). A crime novelist (Nathan Fillion) works as a consultant with the NYPD and has a tenuous relationship with detective Beckett (Stana Katic), which culminated at the end of this fourth season with their finally getting together romantically. Will that enhance or, as famously happened with Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd on “Moonlighting,” will it drain the energy? We’ll see when the show starts up again later this month. In the meantime, this is a terrific season, at its best when the comedy is strong, as in the hilarious ghost-hunter episode.
“Kojak: The Complete Fifth and Final Season” (Shout! 1977-78, six discs, $44.99, 22 episodes). Telly Savalas returns to wrap up his seminal cop series, and the final season is a good one. But it wasn’t really the end, as he continued to play the character in a series of TV movies (which are also on DVD). Guests this season include Armand Assante, Shelley Winters and Liberace, among others.
“30 Rock: Season 6” (Universal, 2011-12, three discs, $49.98, 22 episodes, deleted scenes/both East and West Coast versions of the live episode, audio commentaries, featurettes). Tina Fey is the anchor, Alec Baldwin is the scene-stealer and Tracy Morgan, Jane Krakowski and Jack McBrayer are quirky and funny in this offbeat sitcom set behind the scenes at a “Saturday Night Live”-type show.
“Up All Night: Season One” (Universal, 2011-12, three discs, $39.98, 24 episodes, deleted/extended scenes, music video). OK sitcom about the struggles of former hard-partying new parents, bolstered by the cast, Christina Applegate and Will Arnett as the parents and Maya Rudolph as their pal, a famous talk-show host. Guests include Jason Lee, Molly Shannon and Megan Mullally.
“Private Practice: The Complete Fifth Season” (ABC, 2011-12, five discs, $39.99, 22 episodes, deleted scenes, featurette, bloopers). Benjamin Bratt joins the practice this season, bringing new drama to the lives of the characters played by Kate Walsh, Tim Daly, Brian Benben, et. al.
“Absolutely Fabulous: 20th Anniversary Specials” (BBC, 2012, $24.98, three episodes). Edina (Jennifer Saunders) and Patsy (Joanna Lumley) are back for a trio of half-hour specials, followups to their funny but aggressively politically incorrect sitcom.
“Lewis Black: In God We Trust” (Comedy Central/Blu-ray, 2012, $22.98, featurettes, photo gallery). Black is a funny guy and his rants about everything from cellphones to “Jersey Shore” are very relatable, but this unexpurgated version of the Comedy Central special has plenty of foul language. (Also on DVD, $16.99.)
“Barbie: The Princess & the Popstar” (Universal, 2012, $19.98, webisodes, music video, outtakes). Animated musical for small fry has Barbie playing Princess Tori, who switches places with a pop star before you can say “The Prince and the Pauper.”
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