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TV on DVD: Tuesday, January 7, 2014

by Ethan Alter January 7, 2014 6:00 am
TV on DVD: Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Kevin Bacon probably regrets passing on that Footloose remake for The Following.

The Following: The Complete First Season
Taking a chance on the limited-run series format, Fox scared up a decent-sized hit with The Following, a Kevin Williamson-created serial killer tale that pitted screwed-up detective Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon) against his own personal Hannibal Lecter: an author, scholar and absurdly creative murderer named Joe Carroll (James Purefoy). After a solid start with an enjoyable pilot episode that toyed with the genre's conventions in a manner not unlike Scream -- the movie that put Williamson on the map -- The Following unfortunately got very stupid very quickly (just like the Scream sequels!) as ridiculous plot twist piled on top of ridiculous plot twist and the blunt-force use of network-permissible graphic violence became a crutch that the writers kept falling back on. (In contrast, the many and varied deaths on Bryan Fuller's equally bloody Hannibal is downright elegant.) Here's hoping that the minds behind the series have crafted a stronger arc for the show's second year, which kicks off on January 19.
Extras: Commentary tracks on the pilot episode and season finale, deleted scenes and five making-of featurettes.
Click here to read our full weecaps

Top of the Lake
A decade after the failure of In the Cut essentially exiled her from Hollywood (and four years after Bright Star died an undeservedly quiet death at the box office) Jane Campion finally reappeared on the pop culture landscape with this gripping miniseries, shot on her home turf of New Zealand. Mad Men's Elisabeth Moss (whose shaky Kiwi accent is among the show's few flaws) stars as an emotionally troubled detective who returns to her small hometown for a family visit that turns into something more complicated when a pregnant pre-teen girl goes missing in the wilderness. While trying to crack the case -- and solve the mystery of who might be the girl's baby daddy -- Moss is also forced to confront a violent incident from her own past, one from which the scars still linger. Deservedly nominated for a slew of Emmys (of which it won only one, for Outstanding Cinematography) and two Golden Globes (Best Miniseries and Best Actress in a Miniseries), Top of the Lake's narrative is messy at times -- several of the supporting characters feel more like distractions than organic parts of the show -- but it holds you in its grip throughout.
Extras: None.

House of Lies: Season 2
Aside from the fact that it provides Don Cheadle and Kirsten Bell with steady work in between movie roles, it's hard to come up with a reason why people should care about House of Lies, the Showtime comedy about management consultants that's never has hip, cool or funny as it seems to think it is. After short-circuiting a hostile takeover -- and putting pleasure before business by sleeping with Bell's Jeannie -- in the Season 1 finale, Cheadle's fast-talking Marty seeks to leave the past in the past and move onto the next batch of clients they "helpfully" advise. Very little actual hilarity ensues, but the cast (which also includes Ben Schwartz and Josh Lawson) does their damndest to pretend that they're having a good time. With Masters of Sex and select episodes of Homeland, Showtime's drama department is doing HBO-level work; time for the comedy folks to get on the ball.
Extras: Commentary tracks on select episodes.

Enterprise: The Complete Third Season
Coming off of a disjointed Season 2 that cost the Star Trek prequel series a healthy chunk of its audience (including more than a few loyal Trekkies), the minds behind Enterprise attempted a different approach for the show's third year, structuring the entire 24-episode run around a single story arc. That arc involves a probe that attacks Earth and claims some seven million lives, forcing the Federation to send a newly-armed Enterprise out into the cosmos to track the vessel back to its source… a journey that comes to involve alternate timelines and a previously unexplored frontier known as the Delphic Expanse. Unfortunately, the switch to a serialized narrative didn't win back the rapidly fleeing viewership… maybe because the serialized narrative wasn't particularly good. Things reverted to the episodic norm for the show's fourth and final season, which, if nothing else, was one more season than The Original Series received.
Extras: Vintage and new Commentary tracks on select episodes, deleted scenes, a three-part documentary and two featurettes.

Also on DVD:
Forget the recent headlines… can we all just agree that A&E's realitycom Duck Dynasty: Season 4 is one of the least essential hit shows on the air? Now that they have breakout hit Orphan Black, BBC America didn't require the services of the period cop drama Copper: Season Two anymore, shuffling the series off to an early retirement where it won't be missed. While FX shuffled their other comedies off to sister network FXX, the animated cult hit Archer: Season 4 is staying put on the mothership. Syfy's remake of the British supernatural hit Being Human: The Complete Third Season keeps chugging along in its third year. Travel back to the late '80s, when a newly grown-p Goku pursued those all-important Dragon Balls in the sequels series Dragon Ball Z: Season 1. Decades after the original series concluded, Raymond Burr returned to the role of DA Perry Mason for a successful run of TV movies, the first batch of which are collected in the new box set Perry Mason Movie Collection, Vol. 1.

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