As the new TV season gears up for fall returns, DVD and Blu-ray sets of previous seasons have arrived to prime audience interest in “Parks and Recreation,” “Haven,” “Scandal” and “Person of Interest.”
“Parks and Recreation: Season Five” (Universal/NBC, 2012-13, three discs, $39.98, 22 episodes, deleted scenes, extended episodes, webisodes, featurettes, bloopers). After winning the City Council seat, sunny Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) leaves the parks department and finds running a city has its own set of problems. She also gets married this season.
Poehler is very funny in her own cheery, deadpan way, and the supporting cast is made up of the usual sitcom weirdos, some more tolerable than others. (Season 6 starts Sept. 26.)
“The Office: Season Nine” (Universal/NBC/Blu-ray, 2012-13, five discs, $59.98, 23 episodes, Blu-ray and digital versions, deleted scenes, featurettes, music video, bloopers, audition tapes). Steve Carrel, absent since late in Season 7, makes a cameo appearance in the final episode, but the focus this season is primarily on Pam (Jenna Fischer) and Jim (John Krasinski), though all of the story arcs are neatly wrapped up, including the airing of the long-gestating documentary that accounts for the show’s “mockumentary” style. (Also on DVD, $49.98)
“Haven: The Complete Third Season” (eOne/Blu-ray, 2012, four discs, $49.98, 13 episodes, deleted/alternate scenes, audio commentaries, featurettes, bloopers; 16-page comic book). More quirky goings-on in Haven lead to some answers but also raise more questions in this dark fantasy starring Emily Rose. The long story arcs are never as interesting as the explorations of residents’ supernatural “troubles,” and this season’s cliffhanger proves that even when our heroes succeed in doing what they think is right, the result isn’t what it should be. The comic book offers a transition story to bridge Seasons 3 and 4. (Also on DVD, $39.98) (Season 4 begins Sept. 13.)
“Scandal: The Complete Second Season” (ABC, 2012-13, five discs, $45,99, 22 episodes, deleted scenes, extended episode, featurettes, bloopers). Kerry Washington is very good as the ultimate “fixer” (as in crisis management) who just happens to be the mistress of the U.S. president (Tony Goldwyn) in this overheated action/soap opera set against D.C. politics and filled with labyrinth plot twists and deep secrets — but it takes a tremendous amount of suspension of disbelief to stay with it. “Star Trek” is more realistic. (Season 3 begins Oct. 3)
“Person of Interest: The Complete Second Season” (Warner/Blu-ray, 2012-13, four discs, $69.97, 22 episodes; Blu-ray, DVD, digital versions; audio commentary, featurette, bloopers). Jim Caviezel and Michael Emerson continue to try and stop crimes before they happen in this sci-fi/thriller series about offbeat vigilantes, with Taraji P. Henson and Kevin Chapman as NYPD detectives warily along for the ride. Paranoia conspiracies play a big part in this season. (Also on DVD, $59.98) (Season 3 begins Sept. 24)
“Blandings: Series 1” (Acorn, 2013, two discs, $39.99, six episodes). This half-hour British sitcom is an adaptation of P.G. Wodehouse’s “Blandings Castle” stories, with Timothy Spall and Jennifer Saunders starring as brother and sister in the titular castle and environs. Spall is happy to work with his prize pig Empress but zany family members continually disrupt his desire for peace and quiet.
“Ancient Aliens: Season 5, Volume 1” (History/Lionsgate, 2012-13, three discs, $19.98, 12 episodes). Popular documentary series explores theories of aliens on Earth dating back thousands of years, suggesting “evidence” of abductions being documented in the Bible, in Egyptian hieroglyphics and miles-long markings in Peru, etc.
“MLB 256: Greatest Postseason Home Runs” (A&E/Lionsgate, 2013, $14.98, extended interviews). Hourlong documentary looks at the title subject, ranging from Frank “Home Run” Baker in 1911 through David Freese in the 2011 World Series. A half-hour bonus feature extends comments by Derek Jeter, Joe Carter and others.
“Curious George: A Halloween Boo Fest” (Universal, 2013, $14.98). New straight-to-video cartoon with the monkey and the Man in the Yellow Hat looking for a scarecrow that steals hats.
“Barbie Mariposa & the Fairy Princess” (Universal/Blu-ray, two discs, $26.98; Blu-ray, DVD, digital versions; outtakes, music videos, episodes of “Barbie Life in the Dreamhouse” and “Polly Pocket”). New made-for-DVD animated feature has the two title characters learning lessons about friendship. (Also on DVD, $19.98)