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The Telefile

TV on DVD: Tuesday, September 6, 2011

by Ethan Alter September 6, 2011 6:00 am
TV on DVD: Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Shake off your post-Labor Day blues with two of the best comedies on TV.

Community: The Complete Second Season
Parks and Recreation: Season Three
The two funniest shows on television (please don't ask us to choose between them) got even funnier during their second and third seasons respectively. The highlights of the Greendale gang's sophomore year include a Claymation-fever dream of a Christmas special, a memorable dinner with Abed and an epic two-part paintball finale. Along the way, there were lots of great guest stars (Betty White! Malcom-Jamal Warner! Josh Holloway!) and hilarious new supporting players (a hearty "Pop! Pop!" to you, Magnitude). But the brilliant core ensemble is what brings us back to this show again and again. And we can't wait to see what the fallout of Pierce's defection holds for this new season. Meanwhile, over in Pawnee, Lesley Knope and Ron Swanson brought their budget-slashed department back to life, while also contending with loves new (Lesley and Ben) and old (Ron and Tammy 2). Special shout-out to newlyweds Andy and April, whose quickie wedding resulted in what may just be the finest half-hour the show has produced to date. Thanks for the laughs Community and Parks and Recreation. Let's do it again this year.
Extras: The wonderful folks at Community have put together a set that will make the show's fans want to hold a spontaneous pep rally. For starters, every episode comes graced with a commentary track from assorted members of the cast and crew. There are also a slew of deleted scenes and outtakes, two featurettes (including one devoted to the paintball episodes) storyboards and animatics for the Claymation episode and remix of Season One put together by DJ Steve Porter. Parks and Rec is no slouch in the bonus features department either, offering cast and crew commentary (though not on every episode), deleted scenes and outtakes and a commercial for Pawnee's leading morning zoo team, Crazy Ira and the Douche.

The Office: The Complete Seventh Season
NBC's other Thursday night comedy came off a wildly uneven seventh season, that had some memorable highs (the long-awaited premiere of Threat Level Midnight, Michael's sweet farewell episode) and, sadly, many more lows (the Will Ferrell arc, the largely terrible finale). Still, we're hopeful that incoming star James Spader, who makes a brief appearance in the last episode, will give the series a much-needed shot-in-the-arm. And this set will also allow you to re-experience Erin and Gabe's Glee viewing party, which has all the awkwardness and cringe-worthy moments found in an actual episode of Glee's second season.
Extras: This set is almost worth picking up for the full, uncut version of Threat Level Midnight alone. Other bonus goodies include three webisodes, commentary tracks and almost two hours (!!) of deleted scenes.

The Good Wife: The Second Season
CBS' legal drama got off to a strong start, but really became must-see viewing during Season 2, as the romantic tension between Alicia and Will heated up and her cheating husband plotted his return to political life. A revolving door of great guest stars, including Michael J. Fox, Lili Taylor and America Ferrera, added to the drama. With the third season set to premiere on September 25, you've got three weeks to get caught up. Ready, set, go!
Extras: Deleted scenes, featurettes and Alan Cumming's personal behind-the-scenes videos.

No Ordinary Family: The Complete First Season
Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior: The DVD Edition
Continuing the parade of last season's leftovers, here comes DVD editions of the defunct superhero serial No Ordinary Family and the short-lived Criminal Minds spin-off, Suspect Behavior. Family had a promising pilot and a strong cast (we'll watching anything with Michael Chiklis in it), but this live-action Incredibles just never transformed into something all that... well, incredible. Meanwhile, the critically-trashed and low-rated Suspect Behavior showed that not every CBS procedural is franchiseable, even with a marquee attraction like Oscar winner Forest Whitaker at the helm. In other words, don't expect to see Blue Bloods: Dubuke popping up on the network's schedule anytime soon.
Extras: Family is extras free, but Suspect Behavior offers audio commentary on a few episodes and a handful of featurettes.

Also on DVD:
While the spin-off flopped, the Criminal Minds mothership continued to chug along nicely with Criminal Minds: The Sixth Season. And we never thought we'd say this, but way to go Fox for keeping a series alive despite crippling ratings. Fringe: The Complete Third Season didn't bring any new viewers to the show, but it delighted its small, passionate fanbase with lots of terrific parallel reality hijinks. Charlie Sheen's off-screen travails made Two and a Half Men: The Complete Eight Season a constant presence in the headlines. Surprisingly, Chuck Lorre still allowed the actor's face to grace the cover of the DVD set instead of replacing him with a picture of his replacement Ashton Kutcher or just a shot of a wild-eyed goat. Finally, in classic TV news, the '70s cop drama Police Story: Season One arrives on disc courtesy of Shout! Factory and the BBC digs into their archives for Diana Rigg at the BBC, an anthology of the award-winning actress' (and all-time best Bond Girl) most memorable appearances on the network.

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