It may not win the awards that go to “Modern Family,” but “The Middle” is one of the best family comedy shows on TV, and the third season is finally on DVD this week, along with Season 7 of “Psych.”
“The Middle: Season 3” (Warner, 2011-12, three discs, $44.98, 24 episodes, deleted scenes, bloopers; four-page episode guide). This domestic sitcom is the funniest and most honest portrait of blue-collar families on television, and I find it dismaying that every year it seems to be on the bubble (considered for cancellation). If you aren’t watching it, you’re missing a treat.
All the characters in this Midwestern family are perfectly drawn, from the harried, distracted, financially strapped parents (Patricia Heaton, Neil Flynn) to the supremely self-centered older teenage son (Charlie McDermott) to the impossibly optimistic and dorky younger teenage daughter (Eden Sher) to the developmentally struggling but highly intelligent youngest son (Atticus Shaffer).
The situations always ring true and the laughs come with an air of recognition. For some reason, this season wasn’t released on DVD last year, so Season 4 has yet to be made available on DVD, although Season 5 is now airing.
“Psych: The Complete Seventh Season” (Universal/USA, 2013, three discs, $59.98, 14 episodes, deleted scenes, podcasts, bloopers). Shawn (James Roday) and Gus (Dule Hill) are back as the Santa Barbara, Calif., crime-fighters, with Shawn using his observational skills to validate his fake persona as a psychic. This show’s still very funny as the pop-culture references fly by at breakneck speed. Great supporting cast, too.
“In the Flesh” (BBC, 2013, $19.98, three episodes). Thoughtful, offbeat monster satire is an allegory on prejudice as zombies are rehabilitated and returned to society as sufferers of PDS (Partially Deceased Syndrome), facing suspicion from their neighbors and finding it necessary to take medication to keep from going “rabid.”
“The Secret of Crickley Hall” (BBC, 2012, $19.98, three episodes). Ghostly series has a couple whose son disappeared the year before moving into the title countryside home, a former orphanage that appears to be haunted. Then the mother begins to feel that her missing son may be “lost” among the spirits of children who died there.
“The New York Yankees 2000 World Series Collector’s Edition” (MLB/A&E/Lionsgate, 2013, five discs, $29.98, five games, radio calls; insert with game notes/stats). The Yankees vs. the Mets in New York City for the title series.
“The Detroit Tigers 1984 World Series Collector’s Edition” (MLB/A&E/Lionsgate, 2013, five discs, $29.98, five games, radio calls; insert with game notes/stats). The Detroit Tigers vs. the San Diego Padres for the title series.
“Tigers Hometown Heroics” (MLB/A&E/Lionsgate, 2013, $14.98, National Baseball Hall of Fame speeches). A best-of collection of moments from various Detroit Tigers games.
“St. Louis Cardinals Championship Collection” (MLB/A&E/Lionsgate, 2013, two discs, $24.98, seven official World Series Films). Comprehensive highlights from World Series games featuring the Cardinals.
“AAAHH!!! Real Monsters: The Complete Series” (Nickelodeon/Shout!, 1994-97, eight discs, $29.93, 52 episodes). Animated Nickelodeon cable series follows three young monsters studying how to frighten humans.
“Phineas and Ferb: Mission Marvel” (Disney, 2013, $19.99, double-episode feature, eight bonus episodes; comic book, pull-out poster). Crossover two-episode story from the “Phineas and Ferb” animated series is a mash-up yarn that features Spider-Man, Iron Man, Thor and Hulk, among other Marvel characters.Comment on this story
“Monster High: 13 Wishes” (Universal/Blu-ray, 2013, $26.98; Blu-ray, DVD, digital versions; three animated shorts, trailer). Animated feature spinoff of the fashion doll franchise has little sister Howleen Wolf looking to gain popularity with the help of a genie. (Also on DVD, $19.98)
“Bratz Go to Paris: The Movie” (Lionsgate, 2013, $14.99, five “Bratzilla” episodes). Another fashion doll-inspired animated feature, this one is a superspy adventure in Paris.
Chris Hicks is the author of "Has Hollywood Lost Its Mind? A Parent’s Guide to Movie Ratings." His website is www.hicksflicks.com