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The Telefile

TV on DVD: Tuesday, August 30, 2011

by Ethan Alter August 30, 2011 6:00 am
TV on DVD: Tuesday, August 30, 2011

See Nikita. See Nikita run. See Nikita shoot her gun and run some more.

Nikita: The Complete First Season
The second TV series to be spawned from Luc Besson's popular 1991 action movie La Femme Nikita, The CW's Nikita surprised many by being 1) Pretty good and 2) A modest hit for the struggling network. Credit series star Maggie Q, one of our favorite undercover agents to grace the small screen since Sydney Bristow found her last Rambaldi artifact. And we're always happy to see folks like Xander Berkeley and Melinda Clarke getting work. As long as Nikita's mission to take the Division down lasts, we'll keep watching.
Extras: Commentary tracks on two episodes, unaired scenes, a two-part making-of documentary and a character profile gallery.

Prime Suspect, Series 1
With the American remake looming, now is a perfect time to revisit (or experience for the first time) the groundbreaking British series that -- and we're not exaggerating here -- changed the face of the police serial. Anchored by a phenomenal performance from Helen Mirren, the U.K. Prime Suspect explored the inner workings of a police force and the own troubled psychology of one of its lead detectives like no show before it. This first series, which aired in 1991, also includes supporting turns by Tom Wilkinson and a so-young-you-can't-stand-it Ralph Fiennes. 1992's Series 2 is also available in a new DVD edition. Enough talk -- just watch it.
Extras: None.

Sons of Anarchy: Season Three
It was a rough season for the members of the titular motorcycle gang and not just because of what happened to them onscreen. After two acclaimed years, this FX series took a critical drubbing during its junior year, while, over on Twitter, creator Kurt Sutter got more attention for running his (virtual) mouth than writing great television. Going into Season 4, Sutter has put the kibosh on his Tweeting career and the early buzz for this new batch of episodes seems positive. Hey, as long as Katey Sagal continues to kick ass, we're happy.
Extras: Commentary tracks on three episodes, extended scenes, extended episodes and a handful of featurettes.

Running Wilde: Season One
Detroit 1-8-7: The Complete First Season
On the heels of The Event and Off the Map last week, two other defunct series from the 2010-2011 season get a requisite DVD release. Long, long ago in September 2010, hopes were high that the long-awaited reunion of Will Arnett, David Cross and Mitch Hurwitz would make Running Wilde the funniest television comedy since the trio's previous show, Arrested Development. And even though a few individual episodes proved to be quite funny, the series was just never consistent enough to bring people back in week after week. Blame, in part, the awkward chemistry between Arnett and his co-star Keri Russell. (He's found a much better foil in Christina Applegate, who spars with him in this season's Up All Night.) Meanwhile, the police drama Detroit 1-8-7 had an appropriately gritty tone and gave its cops (including Michael Imperioli and James McDaniel) some good cases to crack, but with so many procedurals already cluttering up the airwaves, it was facing an uphill battle to nab eyeballs away from entrenched favorites like CSI and Criminal Minds. Now the curious can catch up with both shows on DVD and imagine the Season 2's that might have been.
Extras: That these shows are getting a DVD release at all is your only bonus.

Also on DVD:
With the ends for both series thankfully looming, House: Season Seven and Desperate Housewives: The Complete Seventh Season offers viewers the dubious opportunity to experience two once-great shows in the twilight of their existence. Meanwhile, a bumper crop of still-young series turn up in complete series packages this week as well, including The Vampire Diaries: The Complete Second Season, Cougar Town: The Complete Second Season, Parenthood: The Complete Second Season and 90201: The Third Season. Finally, if Prime Suspect, Series 1 whets your appetite for more Brit drama, the good folks at Acorn Media are releasing a slew of titles today, among them Murphy's Law: Series 4 & 5, Doc Martin: The Movies and Vera, starring Brenda Blethyn as a Jane Tennison-like investigator.

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