The Telefile

TV on DVD: Tuesday, November 5, 2013

by Ethan Alter November 5, 2013 6:00 am
TV on DVD: Tuesday, November 5, 2013

"Let me try that again. Not great Bob."

Mad Men: Season 6
Taken as a whole, Mad Men's sixth year was probably one of the show's weakest -- ranking towards the bottom alongside Season 2 -- with the show's characters and writing staff overwhelmed by the turbulent events of 1968. The challenges of confronting that year manifested themselves in such awkward episodes as the season premiere "The Doorway," where Betty drops in on some Greenwich Village squatters and "The Flood," which tackled the Martin Luther King, Jr. assassination. On the other hand, some of the individual installments rank alongside the best episodes the series has ever produced. Take "For Immediate Release," where Don and one-time nemesis Ted Chaough strike a grand bargain to merge their firms. Or how about "The Crash," where the entire office hilariously takes speed and Ken Cosgrove shows off his dance moves. And "Man with a Plan" depicts one of Don's darkest hours ever, one in which he locks poor Lindsay Weir in a hotel room to act out a cruel sex game. The finale, "In Care Of," is Draper-tastic as well, with the one-time ad-world Superman losing his might in the middle of a meeting. And we'd be crazy to omit Bob Benson, Peggy stabbing her dippy boyfriend in the gut and "Not great, Bob!" from the seasonal highlights reel. So does the entirety of Season 6 approach the perfection we've come to expect from Mad Men? No, but there's still plenty here to love.
Extras: Two featurettes (including one devoted to drug enthusiast, Timothy Leary, who probably would have approved of "The Crash") and an interactive gallery covering '68s infamous Summer of Love.
Click here to read our full Mad Men recaps
Click here to see the Season 6 deleted scenes we want to see
Click here to see what Mad Men might have looked like if it had aired on The WB

Under the Dome: Season 1
The bestselling Stephen King doorstop Under the Dome proved that it's still possible for network television to compete with cable during the hot summer months. From a ratings stand-point, that is. Creatively, Dome was a big ol' mess, understandably rewriting whole swaths of King's book in order to make it more TV-friendly, but frequently tripping up its own characterizations and internal logic in the process. The only thing that effectively survives the book-to-film translation is Dome's big bad, Jim Rennie, played to slimy perfection by Dean Norris. The supporting cast, which includes Mike Vogel and Rachelle Lefevre, is largely forgettable and the plotting (overseen by series developer Brian K. Vaughn) is haphazard at best, especially as the writers were forced to pad out the proceedings once CBS decided to order a Season 2. We'd rather see an Eyes of the Dragon miniseries instead. On HBO, natch.
Extras: Deleted scenes, a gag reel and five featurettes.
Click here to read our full Dome weecaps
Click here to see the other Stephen King works we want to see become TV shows

Clear History
Because HBO will basically let him do whatever he wants, Larry David passed up making another season of Curb Your Enthusiasm to instead write and star in this semi-improvised feature that has an A-list cast and C-list material. David plays a marketing guru who flees his corporate life following a boneheaded financial decision and takes up a blue collar lifestyle on Martha's Vineyard, hanging out with such guest stars as Danny McBride and Peter Farrelly. But then his old boss (Jon Hamm) turns up on the island with his gorgeous girlfriend (Kate Hudson) in tow and David decides that it's well past time for revenge, a scheme that requires him to enlist the participation of some criminal lowlifes played by Michael Keaton, Bill Hader and a hilarious Liev Schreiber. More or less an extra-long Curb episode (complete with side-digressions and arguments over nothing) with new, less funny characters, Clear History will not-so-fondly be remembered as a historical footnote to David's HBO series.
Extras: None.
Click here to read our original review

Farscape 15th Anniversary Edition: The Complete Series
Naked City: The Complete Series
Has it really been 15 years since the Sci-Fi Channel (as it was then known) introduced a little Aussie-shot space opera starring a galaxy-hopping astronaut, a ferocious female soldier, a living spaceship and an irascible Muppet? If so, there's never been a better time to revisit the glory that was Farscape, a genre-defying series that spun terrific stories without ever doing the safe or predictable thing. Though it never became a ratings powerhouse (one of the reasons for its premature cancellation), the show's cult of fans rival Browncoats in their devotion to creator Rockne O'Bannon's bold vision, not to mention the indelible characters created by stars Ben Browder and Claudia Black. All four seasons are housed in this collector's edition set, although you'll have to purchase the series-ending miniseries The Peacekeeper Wars separately. Another cult series receiving the comprehensive box set treatment is the late '50s cop drama Naked City, a spin-off of the 1948 movie, famous for shooting in many actual NYC locations, a practice that the series replicated. Taking place largely in and around Manhattan's 65th Precinct, the series focused on the crooks and the officers who pursued them. Besides its pioneering, semi-documentary techniques, the series is also notable for a guest list roster consisting of such before-they-were-famous actors as Gene Hackman, Dustin Hoffman, Dennis Hopper and an absurdly young Chris Walken. All four seasons are featured here, for 100 hours of vintage New York crime stories.
Extras: Farscape's roster of ported-over bonus features include 29 commentary tracks, 90 minutes of deleted scenes, design galleries, interviews, a feature-length making-of documentary and dozens of featurettes. Naked City offers original '50s-era commercials. What, Chris Walken didn't want to comment on his younger self's acting choices?

Also on DVD:
Starz ordered a sophomore year of its attempt at a Mad Men period piece Magic City: The Complete Second Season before the series premiere even aired, but issued a cancellation order during that second year when it became clear the ratings were going to stay in the commode. Nobody quacks Christmas like the men and women of Duck Dynasty, now featured in a standalone DVD Duck Dynasty: I'm Dreaming of a Redneck Christmas. Prepare for the arrival of a new Doctor (Peter Capaldi) by catching up on the adventures of the three previous ones courtesy of the Doctor Who: Series 1-7 Limited Edition Blu-ray Gift Set. And before the sequel series debuts next year, relive Cory Matthews journey to adulthood via Boy Meets World: The Complete Collection.

Think you've got game? Prove it! Check out Games Without Pity, our new area featuring trivia, puzzle, card, strategy, action and word games -- all free to play and guaranteed to help pass the time until your next show starts.




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