The Telefile

TV on DVD: Tuesday, August 20, 2013

by Ethan Alter August 20, 2013 6:00 am
TV on DVD: Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

Revenge: The Complete Second Season
Talk about your sophomore slumps. After a freshman season as ABC's newest soapy delight, the Hamptons-set Count of Monte Cristo disciple Revenge hit a 22-episode rough patch in its second year, during which Shonda Rhimes' ascendant Scandal deservedly stole much of its thunder. The problems started early on, with the return of Emily/Amanda's mom (Jennifer Jason Leigh), and just got more redonkulous from there… and not in a good way. The list of the show's crimes against its fans grew to include The Initiative nonsense, the non-starter of a Padma/Nolan relationship, everything involving Declan and Charlotte (at least the former will no longer trouble us going forward, biting the bullet in the season finale) and Conrad's deathly dull political campaign. The season's travails eventually cost creator and showrunner Mike Kelley his job, which is probably just as well. Can we start the "Shonda for Season 3" campaign now?
Extras: Commentary tracks, deleted scenes, a gag reel and three featurettes.
Click here to read our full Revenge recaps
Click here to see how we'd make Revenge even worse

The Good Wife: The Fourth Season
Parenthood: Season Four
Two of network's televisions most-acclaimed (but with mediocre ratings) dramas managed to avoid cancellation for a fourth year, during which they treated viewers to typically strong seasons. Granted, The Good Wife took a little while to get going thanks to all the screen time given to Kalinda's tortured relationship with her abusive husband, until that dude was thankfully sent packing to a new location six feet under and the dramatic spotlight was directed towards more interesting places, including machinations at Alicia's firm and her combustible chemistry with Peter. Meanwhile, Parenthood came out of gate strong and built to an emotionally resonant finish though such story lines as Kristina's battle with breast cancer, Sarah's relationship with Hank (a superb Ray Romano) and Max hits his teenage years… hard. Honestly, we're just glad these shows have made it this far despite ratings challenges. Here's to what we hope will be equally great fifth (but hopefully not final) seasons.
Extras: The Good Wife includes deleted scenes and four featurettes. Parenthood is a bare-bones release.
Click here to read our full recaps of The Good Wife
Click here to see our Good Wife Season 4 superlatives
Click here to read our Parenthood File
Click here to see why we wanted a fifth season of Parenthood

Boardwalk Empire: The Complete Third Season
Although HBO's epic, expensive Prohibition-era gangster series Boardwalk Empire has been supplanted by Game of Thrones on the Buzz-O-Meter, the Martin Scorsese-backed show continues to maintain critical and commercial consistency. Picking up on New Year's Eve 1922, the third season finds good ol' Nucky (Steve Buscemi) dealing with a violent new wanna-be bootlegging kingpin, while on the home front he reels from the discovery that his wife has pledged millions of his ill-earned dollars to a higher power. Meanwhile, with Paz de la Huerta's Lucy thankfully gone, her baby daddy Van Alden is still on the run for killing his fellow federal Prohibition enforcer. The season builds to an all-out civil war for control of the Atlantic City boardwalk. See, this is when having dragons would come in handy.
Extras: HBO's typically lavish collection of bonus features includes cast and crew commentaries on six episodes, an interview with Scorsese, a guide to the new characters introduced in Season 3, a tutorial with regular episode directors Tim Van Patten and Allen Coulter, historical newsreels, and an interactive guide to Prohibition.
Click here to read our full Boardwalk Empire recaps

NCIS: The Complete Tenth Season
NCIS: Los Angeles -- The Fourth Season
Sure, CBS's planned third NCIS series didn't get the green light, but the other two franchises are doing just fine, thanks. The flagship series, NCIS, celebrated its tin anniversary with yet another high-rated season, one that features a recurring story arc involving an attempt to capture a rogue Mossad higher-up that ends with Gibbs being arrested and the entire NCIS operation in danger of being shut down. Yeah… like that's gonna happen. Meanwhile, out on the West Coast, NCIS: LA team leader Callen also finds himself in hot water after he's accused of murder. Fortunately, that mess is quickly cleared up and the team gets back to fighting the real bad guys: international crooks and wanna-be terrorists. Can't believe NCIS has been around ten years? Just blink and it'll be 20.
Extras: NCIS comes with an interview with the actual NCIS Director, Mark D. Clookie, as well as commentary tracks, deleted scenes, two ten-year retrospective featurettes and five additional behind-the-scenes mini-docs. NCIS: LA offers cast commentaries on select episodes and four featurettes.

Also on DVD:
Melissa McCarthy has become such a big movie star, it's hard to remember that she's got a hit TV show as well… mainly because that TV show isn't very good. Still, look for CBS to keep Mike & Molly: The Complete Third Season going until McCarthy's agents can figure out a loophole in her contract. Being Human: Season 5 marks the final season of the cult British sci-fi series that has since been translated to the America's Syfy network. After a solid freshman year, the Star Trek prequel series Star Trek: Enterprise – The Complete Second Season dropped out of warp speed during the second season as the writers flailed about trying to pen interesting story lines and characters with actual personalities. The show would get worse -- much worse -- in Season 3 before its modest recovery in the fourth and final year, but Season 2 represents the death knell of Trek on TV.

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