V is for "Victim of Contemporary Television Economics"
V: The Complete Second Season
ABC's V remake debuted in November 2009 to the highest of expectations. Based on the hit '80s mini-series, the new V promised cutting-edge (for television) special effects and a cast populated by such sci-fi veterans as Firefly's Morena Baccarin, Lost's Elizabeth Mitchell and The 4400's Joel Gretsch. The show certainly opened to strong numbers (the pilot was the highest-rated premiere of that season), but by the end of the show's first year, viewership had fallen off precipitously. Still, the network opted to greenlight a 10-episode sophomore season and while the numbers held steady, they didn't increase to the point where continuing the show made financial sense. So what went wrong? Chalk it up to uneven storytelling -- which got even more uneven in Season 2 -- and the logistical challenges of producing a series on that scale. (This season, Fox finds itself in a similar situation with Terra Nova, another ambitious, expensive and creatively flawed sci-fi serial that's not exactly a ratings monster.) At least the show's fans can take solace in the fact that both seasons are now preserved for posterity on DVD. Those of us that adored FX's late, great Terriers can't say the same thing about our own favorite prematurely cancelled series.
Extras: A gag reel, deleted scenes and two featurettes.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars Complete Season Three
Kids today don't know how lucky they have it. When we were their age, the only Star Wars animated spin-offs around were Ewoks and Droids and even as dumb tykes that watched He-Man and Mister T un-ironically, we realized that both of those shows sucked hard. So while the animated Clone Wars series has its own dubious elements (Ziro the Hutt, anybody?), it's infinitely superior to what we had to grow up watching. The show's third year featured appearances by such established Star Wars favorites as Greedo and Chewbacca and also explored the origins of the prequels' greatest villain, Darth Maul. Thankfully there's not a Ewok in sight... at least, not yet.
Extras: Five making-of featurettes; the Blu-ray version also comes with the Jedi Temple Archives, a database of special effects footage and production art.
Little House on the Prairie: The Complete Nine Season Set
A seminal series for anyone that came of age in the '70s and '80s, Little House on the Prairie was adapted from Laura Ingalls Wilder's popular book series, which were based on her own late 19th century childhood growing up on the prairies of the American Midwest. Michael Landon headed up the small-screen Ingalls clan is patriarch Charles, while Melissa Gilbert played precocious Laura. The guest star roster reads like a Who's Who of '70s stars; everyone from Louis Gossett Jr. to Robert Loggia to Gil Gerard stopped along the prairie at some point during the show's epic nine-season run. All 203 episodes are spread across 55 discs, although it's unclear if the short-lived, Landon-less spin-off Little House: A New Beginning is part of that number.
Extras: The two-hour TV movie that served as the series pilot, audio commentaries with the cast and crew, new interviews and retrospective featurettes.
Also on DVD
Robert Wagner scored his first big TV gig on It Takes a Thief: The Complete Series, as the titular thief, Alexander Mundy, who agrees to lend his criminal talents to the government after they offer to spring him from prison. Cartoon Network's Thundercats reboot has been generating decent word-of-mouth during its freshman season. If you've missed having Lion-O in your life, catch up on the action via Thundercats: Season One, Book One. Following in the footsteps of Bravo's Real Housewives franchise, the Showtime reality series The Real L Word: Second Season depicts the everyday lives of actual L.A. lesbians, none of whom look like Pam Grier.
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