The Telefile

TV on DVD: Tuesday, January 10, 2012

by Ethan Alter January 10, 2012 6:00 am
TV on DVD: Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Barkeep! Another round!

Boardwalk Empire: The Complete First Season
It's a little odd that HBO held off on releasing Season 1 of one of their signature shows Boardwalk Empire until after its recently-concluded sophomore year. But hey, it's their franchise, we guess. In case you aren't already following our recaps, Empire takes place in Prohibition-era Atlantic City and stars Steve Buscemi as local political and criminal mover-and-shaker Nucky Thompson. The rest of the star-powered cast includes the four Michaels -- a.k.a. Michael Shannon, Michael Pitt, Michael Kenneth Williams and Michael Stuhlbarg -- Paz de la Huerta, Kelly MacDonald and Dabney Coleman. Season 1 has its slow spots, but it's worth sticking with as a primer for the much-improved Season 2... which, at this rate, will be out on DVD in 2014.
Extras: HBO has made up for the wait by packing this set with lots of goodies, beginning with several behind-the-scenes featurettes, one of which is details the construction of the show's replica of Atlantic City's famed boardwalk. There's also a character dossier to keep up with the sizeable cast of low-lifes and hoods, a 30-minute documentary about Atlantic City in the '20s, a tour of some famous Chicago and New York speakeasies and audio commentaries on six episodes.

An Idiot Abroad
No, this isn't a documentary about Ricky Gervais's boneheaded decision to return as host of the Golden Globes for another year. (Please Ricky -- it's gone from being a sick joke to just being sick.) Instead, Gervais and his Office collaborator Stephen Merchant dispatch their podcast pal, the supreme ignoramus known as Karl Pilkington, on a trip around the world to see the sights and get some knowledge into that thick skull of his. What could be a snide, snarky show is actually quite a fun travelogue, thanks to Pilkington's naïve, but curious persona. Memo to Gervais: Spend more time making stuff like this and less hosting dumb awards shows that obviously piss you off.
Extras: A photo gallery, deleted scenes and a preview show.

Also on DVD:
Here's how bad cable TV in the '90s was: a series about bike-riding beach cops somehow managed to run for five seasons. Pacific Blue: The Complete Series collects all 101 episodes of the former USA show, whose cast including a post-Saved by the Bell Mario Lopez. Since this show somehow managed to stay on the air, it's amazing nobody ever made a series about Segway-riding police officers. Primeval: Volume Three offers up the third series of the British sci-fi series in which a team of investigators are tasked with solving "temporal anomalies." Too bad they never crossed over with Terra Nova. Three years after the original '80s G.I. Joe animated series ended its run, a cartoon sequel hit the airwaves with a new crop of super-soldiers. G.I. Joe Series 2: Season 1 collects the first half of that show's 44-episode, two-season run.

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