The Telefile

TV on DVD: Tuesday, June 18, 2013

by Ethan Alter June 18, 2013 6:00 am
TV on DVD: Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Before Under the Dome, catch up with three '90s era Stephen King TV vehicles.

Stephen King's Golden Years
The Stand
The Langoliers
Just in time for the launch of Under the Dome, CBS's big summer miniseries adapted from the Stephen King doorstop of the same name, here come new editions of three mid-'90s TV-based King adaptations. Actually, the first of the trio -- Golden Years, which hit the airwaves in the summer of '91 (a few months after the TV version of It and Tim Curry's scary-ass clown freaked the living hell out of everyone) -- isn't based on a published work, but rather an idea for a book that the prolific author subsequently adapted into a seven-episode series. Keith Szarabajka plays Harlan Williams, an elderly janitor at a top secret laboratory, who takes an accidental chemical bath that causes him to go all Benjamin Button. With the government now interested in his reverse-aging condition, Harlan hits the road to avoid capture and almost certain dissection. Three years after Golden Years, King took on the immense task of adapting his most sprawling (and, arguably, his best) after-the-plague novel The Stand to the small screen. And while the finished product isn't perfect, it's a better-than-decent translation, boasting an exceptionally talented cast (including Gary Sinise, Molly Ringwald, Rob Lowe and Ossie Davis) and a scope that manages to spill outside of the TV set. Last (and least) of the bunch is The Langoliers, which, admittedly, isn't based on one of King's finer efforts. Beginning as a kind of Left Behind scenario with a group of airline passengers awakening to find themselves alone in a seemingly abandoned world, the story then takes a detour into time travel territory, albeit in exceptionally convoluted fashion. And, this being King, monsters are inevitably involved -- monsters that look pretty dopey on a TV budget. Here's hoping that Under the Dome will be more like The Stand and less like The Langoliers.
Extras: Nothing much of note.

Wilfred: Season Two
Workaholics: Season Three
FX's cult comedy Wilfred continued its strange ways in Season 2, opening with Elijah Wood's central oddball Ryan seemingly doing time in a mental institution, where he's under the observation of Robin Williams in Good Will Hunting therapist mode. Turns out that's just another fantasy in his very overactive fantasy life, which, as you'll recall, also involves seeing his neighbor's mutt Wilfred as a dude in a dog costume. Ryan's misadventures continue over the course of the 13-episode season, which includes guest spots by such performers as Mary Steenburgen and Nestor Carbonell. Expect more kooky hijinks when the series returns for its third year on June 20. In other cable comedy releases, Workaholics -- Comedy Central's answer to The IT Crowd -- wrapped up its 20-episode third season back in March and now ports all those half-hours (newly uncensored, which means the cussing is bleep-free) onto DVD. Watch the three leads (who run the comedy outfit Mail Order Comedy in their spare time) deal with such office mundanities as pizza eating contests, ill-advised voicemails and a cybernetic Tom Green while you wait for the announced fourth season, coming sometime next year.
Extras: Wilfred includes three featurettes plus deleted scenes and a collection of bloopers. Workaholics comes with "Drunkmentary" tracks (no explanation needed) on all 20 episodes, bloopers, alternate takes and the entire batch of Other Cubicle episodes.

Also on DVD:
Drop Dead Diva: The Complete Fourth Season collects what was supposed to be the final season of the Lifetime series until the channel resurrected it for a fifth year. The limited series Recitfy kicked up a good amount of acclaim when it aired on the Sundance Channel in the spring. See what all the fuss was about now that the show is on DVD. Third time didn't prove to be the charm for Body of Proof: The Complete Third Season, which went through numerous retoolings during its three-season run before ABC finally cut their losses and cut it loose. Finally, Call the Midwife: Season Two collects the sophomore year of the '50s era British drama.

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