The Telefile

TV on DVD: Tuesday, September 3, 2013

by Ethan Alter September 3, 2013 6:00 am
TV on DVD: Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Kerry Washington's D.C.-set soap is so much fun, it's scandalous.

Scandal: The Complete Second Season
Ditching the boring procedural element that defined much of its shortened first season, Shonda Rhimes's D.C.-set serial went full-on soap in Season 2 and improved immeasurably for it. Using the affair between Beltway fixer Olivia Pope (the oh-so-fashionable Kerry Washington, a master of the lower jaw tremble) and the President of the United States himself (actor/director Tony Goldwyn in what may become his defining role) as a jumping-off point, Scandal embarked on a series of wild twists and turns marked by conspiracies-within-conspiracies, sexual skullduggery, mysterious pasts and election-fixing. It's a crazy ride, one which we hope Rhimes and her crew of writers can sustain in Season 3, which kicks off October 3, giving you plenty of time to catch up on all the sudsy melodrama you've been missing.
Extras: An extended cut of the amazeballs season finale, deleted scenes, outtakes and two featurettes.
Click here to see why more people should be watching Scandal

Revolution: The Complete First Season
With its potent sci-fi hook -- what would the world be like if the power went out for good? -- Revolution premiered to gangbuster, Lost-like ratings at the beginning of the previous fall TV season. But by the time it wrapped up its freshman year, viewership had fallen off precipitously, due both to timeslot competition and the fact that, having established this premise, the series seemed uncertain where to go next. The fact that the cast was packed with so many dead weight characters -- most notably glum Katniss wannabe Charlie (Tracy Spiridakos), who hits the road with her mysterious uncle Miles (Billy Burke) on a rescue mission that eventually morphs into a… well, revolution -- didn't help matters. On the other hand, the final batch of episodes left things in an interesting place and the presence of Giancarlo "Gus Fring" Esposito as the main heavy will encourage us to stick with the series when it returns for a make-or-break Season 2 (now on Wednesday nights) starting September 25.
Extras: Deleted scenes, a gag reel, a making-of documentary focusing on the pilot episode, five webisodes and footage from the Revolution crew's appearance at PaleyFest.
Click here to read our full weecaps of Revolution
Click here to see our biggest burning questions about the show

The Vampire Diaries: The Complete Fourth Season
There's more vampish doings in the bloodsucker-ridden town of Mystic Falls in the show's fourth season, which marks the Elena's last year in high school and her last as a flesh-and-blood, what with her ongoing transition to vampirism. Good thing she has Damon around to school her in the ways of vamping out. Beauty pageants, holiday parties and an eventful trip to Nova Scotia are among the season's highlights, as is the backdoor pilot for the spin-off, The Originals, which joins The CW's line-up this fall. That's just one way the network is ensuring that they'll be in the vampire business for years, nay centuries, to come.
Extras: Six featurettes, unaired scenes, a gag reel and a gallery of fan-made art.
Click here to read our full recaps of The Vampire Diaries
Click here to see the dead Mystic Falls residents we want to stay dead

The Office: Season 9
Parks and Recreation: Season 5
Two seasons after it should have departed the airwaves, The Office closed up its Scranton branch for good last spring and the overwhelmingly emotional payoff of the series finale itself made up for some of the final year's many sins, ranging from the introduction of Brian the Boom Guy to the tedium of Jim and Pam's marital problems to Andy's steady descent into assholery, climaxing in a cringe-inducing (and not in a good way) audition for an American Idol knock-off. Clearly, the writers were just saving their best material for last, as the final episode offered lots of crowd-pleasing cameos and callbacks and warm, funny resolutions to long-running storylines. (The one off note? Ryan and Kelly abandoning his baby, allowing Nellie to spirit the poor kid out of the country.) All in all, it was a satisfying end to a series that had been unsatisfying for a good long while. Although the fifth year of The Office's Thursday-night mate Parks and Recreation still brought a significant amount of funny, the season also suggested that the series has reached the wheel-spinning phase of its existence, making big advancements in storylines like Leslie and Ben's romance (they finally get hitched!), but struggling to give the supporting players (especially Rashida Jones, who'll be departing midway through this season) much of interest to do. Even the ever-reliable Ron Swanson lost a bit of his luster, being paired off with Lucy Lawless in a plotline that hasn't resulted in any truly memorable comic moments. But it also seems a tad churlish to complain when Parks brought us such highs as Patton Oswalt's extended Star Wars story pitch, Leslie meeting dreamboat Joe Biden, a four-way bachelor party and Jerry's pseudo-retirement. Here's hoping that, unlike The Office, the municipal employees of Pawnee will know to turn off the lights and lock the doors before the show loses its mojo completely.
Extras: The Office comes with two hours of deleted scenes, audition tapes, a blooper reel, videotaped farewells from the cast and footage from the table read of the final episode. Parks and Rec sports extended cuts of several episodes, an uncensored gag reel, deleted scenes, webisodes and Oswalt's unedited rant.
Click here to read our full recaps of The Office
Click here to see our ideas for Office spin-offs
Click here to see how we though the series might end prior to seeing the finale
Click here to see our picks for the show's worst post-Michael Scott episodes
Click here to see our Parks and Recreation File

It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia: Season 8
The League: Season 4
The crown jewels in the newly-created FXX channel (a comedy-centric spin-off of FX) line-up, these long-running, improv-heavy comedies are raucous, dark-hearted and generally hysterical good times. The eight season of It's Always Sunny… found the gang getting involved in a city-wide garbage strike, dealing with Charlie's mom's cancer and eating at an Italian restaurant. But don't get hung up on the (lack of) plot: Sunny is all about the severely messed-up relationships between these horrible, but hilarious people. Over on The League, meanwhile, Kevin and Jennie had a baby and proceeded to seriously screw up his circumcision, a tailgating party brings the gang into contact with their high school nemeses and Jeff Goldblum returned as Ruxin's eccentric (what did you expect? This is Jeff Goldblum after all) dad. And, of course, there was just enough of Jason Mantzoukas's Rafi to keep us wanting more. Both shows return on FXX on September 4 and we fully anticipate them to keep bringing the pain… and the laughs.
Extras: Sunny offers commentary tracks on four episodes, a gag reel, deleted scenes, a guide to being a warthog and two featurettes. The League includes deleted scenes, a gag reel, and holiday hints from Rafi.

Also on DVD:
The bloody good swords-and-sandals epic Spartacus: War of the Damned – The Complete Third Season ended its run with a strong final season that left us wanting more. The Twitter phenom Sharknado gets a DVD release for those of you who skipped all of its Syfy airings. The CBS procedural Person of Interest: Season Two held up nicely ratings-wise during its sophomore season and we'd watch it any day over CBS's Criminal Minds: The Eighth Season, which is still finding new ways to kill people eight years in. Despite Syfy barely acknowledging its existence, Haven: The Complete Third Season got another year on the air. And finally, make your dad's day with the entire run of Tom Selleck's adventures as Jesse Stone with the massive box set, The Jesse Stone Collection.

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