The latest season of “Justified” lands on Blu-ray and DVD this week, along with some British programs.
“Justified: The Complete Third Season” (Sony/Blu-ray, 2012, three discs, $75.99, 13 episodes, deleted scenes, audio commentaries, featurettes, outtakes). Timothy Olyphant and Raylan Givens are the perfect match of actor and character, as the brooding, take-no-guff U.S. Marshal deals with lowlifes in his Kentucky hometown.
Season 2 was so outstanding, with such a great villain at its center (Emmy-winner Margo Martindale), that it’s hard to imagine Season 3 could match it. And in truth, it doesn’t. But then, what could?
That does not mean, however, that “Justified” isn’t still a great, action-filled modern-day western in the unique style of its creator, Elmore Leonard — loaded with gritty characters to cheer and/or hiss, gripping melodrama that becomes quite involving, and terrific mysteries to be solved by Raylan and crew.
This season, Walton Goggins’ Boyd Crowder steals the show with his wide range of duplicitous dealings, but there are a lot of other colorful personalities on hand as well, led by a creepy, scary mob enforcer (Neal McDonough) who almost gets the better of Raylan. Almost. (Also on DVD, $55.99)
“Doctor Zhivago” (Acorn, 2003, two discs, $29.99, two episodes, featurette, filmography, photo gallery). This lavishly produced, location-filmed epic miniseries benefits greatly from Keira Knightley, who is very good as Lara, a role that came to her just as she was blooming into movie stardom (this miniseries was initially shown on the heels of the theatrical release of the first “Pirates of the Caribbean” film).
Sam Neill is appropriately nasty as Komarovsky (Rod Steiger’s part in the 1965 movie) and Hans Matheson (currently on the cable show “The Tudors”) is satisfactory in the title role. But despite the fact that its length allows portions of the book to be included that were not in David Lean’s film, it’s hard to beat that classic’s spectacle and gorgeous visuals, and, of course, Omar Sharif and Julie Christie.
“Lillie” (Acorn, 1979, four discs, $49.99, 13 episodes, essay, filmographies). Francesca Annis shines in this “serial” as Lillie Langtry, who rode her beauty to celebrity during the Victorian era, which came to her as much for her affairs with the rich and powerful as for her stage performances and commercial endorsements. (Annis played the same role in two episodes of the earlier British miniseries “Edward the Seventh.”)
“Trial & Retribution: Set 6” (Acorn, 2008-09, two discs, $49.99, four episodes). This gritty British police procedural about a pair of mismatched homicide investigators (David Hayman and Victoria Smurfit, both excellent) remains a fascinating blend of interesting mysteries comingled with the officers’ personal lives, which they have trouble keeping separate from the sordid aspects of their job.