Netflix revived “Gilmore Girls” last year for four feature-length episodes, and this week they’ve arrived on DVD.
“The Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life” (Warner, 2016, two discs, four episodes). It’s a difficult task to return to a beloved TV series that’s been off the air for nearly a decade and recapture the original magic. But for the most part, creator/writer Amy Sherman-Palladino comes through with these four connected Netflix movies. It’s fun to see nearly the entire cast of the original show reprising their quirky characters in the charming town of Stars Hollow — no small feat given the size of the cast. But things go awry in the treatment of Rory (Alexis Bledel), who once brought brains and maturity to her relationship with her fast-talking, pop-culture-referencing mother, Lorelai (Lauren Graham). In these episodes, Lorelai, her mother Emily (Kelly Bishop), her boyfriend Luke (Scott Patterson) and others in town have grown (or grow here), but Rory is, sadly, portrayed as immature and entitled.
“One Day at a Time: The Complete Series” (Shout!, 1975-84, 27 discs, 209 episodes, featurettes, 2005 TV special: “One Day at a Time Reunion”; 20-page booklet). This half-hour sitcom was one of CBS’s string of comedy series produced by Norman Lear that tackled serious social issues (alongside Lear’s other shows, “All in the Family,” “Maude,” “The Jeffersons,” etc.). Bonnie Franklin stars as Ann Romano, a divorced mother living in an Indianapolis apartment with her two daughters, good-girl Barbara (15-year-old Valerie Bertinelli) and rebellious Julie (16-year-old Mackenzie Phillips). Pat Harrington Jr. plays — very broadly — the building superintendent.
“Midsomer Murders: John Barnaby’s First Cases” (Acorn, 2011-12, seven discs, 14 episodes, audio commentary, featurettes). This set pulls together the first 14 cases of multiple murders in the various villages of Midsomer County, England, that are solved by Neil Dudgeon as Detective Chief Inspector John Barnaby (who succeeded John Nettles’ 14-year run as older cousin DCI Tom Barnaby). With a few character adjustments and the usual rotating sergeant sidekicks, the show has remained on an even keel with more light mysteries that are every bit as enjoyable as those popularized during the Nettles years. (This is a slim DVD set for fans).
“The 2017 World Series Collector’s Edition: Houston Astros” (Shout!/MLB, 2017, eight discs, seven games, ALCS game 7, four audio options; booklet). For those who want to relive every moment of this year’s World Series, here’s the set for you, which you can watch while listening to the television broadcast or the radio broadcasts of either the Astros or the Dodgers, and a Spanish-language audio track is here as well. (Also available is “The 2017 World Series,” the official documentary of the series with highlights and the World Series Parade.)
“Howard Lovecraft & the Undersea Kingdom” (Shout!, 2017, featurette, trailer). Young Howard travels to the Undersea Kingdom to free his captive family in this straight-to-video animated feature. The film is a sequel to last year’s cartoon “Howard Lovecraft and the Frozen Kingdom,” with a voice cast that includes Mark Hamill, Christopher Plummer and Ron Perlman. The films are adapted from a graphic novel series loosely based on the writings of H.P. Lovecraft.
“Digimon Adventure Tri. — Confession” (Shout!, 2017, in Japanese with English subtitles or English-dubbed, featurette). Izzy tries to determine what caused the infection of Meicoomon, leading to his betrayal, in this third animated movie from the Japanese anime series. Though they are being released straight to video in the United States, the films were shown theatrically in Japan.