The Telefile

TV on DVD: Tuesday, July 30, 2013

by Ethan Alter July 30, 2013 6:00 am
TV on DVD: Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Cinemax screams like a Banshee.

Banshee: Season One

HBO's often overlooked sibling, Cinemax, has tried to make some noise within the past year with the debuts of these action-heavy serials. First hitting the airwaves back in January, Banshee finds an ex-con (Antony Starr) turning up in the titular backwater Pennsylvania town and assuming the identity of its recently killed sheriff, Lucas Hood, in order to have a cover while he searches for his former partner-in-crime (and partner-in-love), Anastasia, who has also been living under an assumed name for the past 15 years. Meanwhile, both of them are trying to remain undetected by crime boss Mr. Rabbit (Ben Cross), who is all-too-eager to find his former employees. Renewed for a second season despite middling reviews, Banshee didn't exactly become the breakout hit Cinemax had hoped for, but it does fit squarely into the anti-hero mold pay cable loves so much. The British-made Hunted, meanwhile, is a more traditional spy serial starring Melissa George as a covert operative who bounces back from an attempt on her life that was likely orchestrated by her employers and heads back into the field, all the while trying to get to the bottom of her almost-assassination. Overseen by X-Files veteran Frank Spotnitz, Hunted obviously exists in the shadow of Alias (on which George disastrously co-starred back in Season 3), Covert Affairs and, especially, Nikita, but it works hard to establish its own spy mythology. Plans to continue the show are currently up in the air, but these 8 episodes offer a fairly satisfying single-season story arc.
Extras: Banshee includes commentary tracks, deleted scenes, three featurettes and two episode-specific documentaries. Hunted is a bare-bones release.

Star Trek: The Next Generation -- Season Four
Star Trek: The Next Generation -- Redemption
The fourth season of TNG opens by resolving the killer Year 3 cliffhanger, which found Patrick Stewart's Picard being assimilated by the Borg, forcing his No. 2, Riker (Jonathan Frakes), to fire on his boss. That's the thrilling beginning to one of the series' best seasons, which featured some notable additions (longtime Trek scribe Brannon Braga joined the franchise) and departures (walking punchline Wesley Crusher left the bridge once and for all), as well as such memorable episodes as "Family" (a change-of-pace hour that explores the familial relationships of several key crew members), "The Wounded" and the Worf-centric season finale, "Redemption, Part 1" which marked the show's 100th episode. And if you can't wait for the Season 5 box set to see the conclusion to that particular arc, you can pick up the standalone Redemption DVD, also out today, which puts both parts on a single disc.
Extras: TNG's Season 4 set includes audio commentaries on two episodes ("Brothers" and "Reunion"), deleted scenes, a gag reel, a video Q&A with the show's art department and a new retrospective documentary about all the familial bonding that went on aboard the Enterprise. Redemption comes with its own commentary track anchored by the episodes' writer Ronald D. Moore, vintage promos and a featurette.

Also on DVD:
The third (!) reality series featuring the former Playboy Playmate, Kendra on Top: Season One depicts Kendra's attempts to balance her work and home life. A relic of the early '90s, Samurai Pizza Cats: The Complete Series is the English-dubbed version of a then-popular Japanese anime about a trio of feline ninja robots who deliver pizzas in between fighting bad guys. Man, what were people smoking in the '90s?

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