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The Telefile

TV on DVD: Tuesday, September 11, 2012

by Ethan Alter September 11, 2012 6:00 am
TV on DVD: Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Live from New York, it's another 30 Rock live episode!

30 Rock: Season Six
Up All Night: Season One
The Big Bang Theory: The Complete Fifth Season
We had written 30 Rock off following two lackluster seasons, but in its penultimate year, Tina Fey's sitcom regained some of its freshman year swagger with fun ongoing story arcs (like Jack's attempts to free his wife from her North Korean captors), hilarious stunt episodes (like the cameo-packed live half-hour) and great guest stars, including Kristen Schaal and Chloƫ Grace Moretz. If they can keep the quality up for this final season of 13 episodes, we'll actually exit 30 Rock wanting more. The show's Thursday night comedy mate Up All Night had a more uneven first season, with a strong first half followed by a wheezy middle section and then a burst of strong episodes leading into the finale. The big problem? Uncertainty over whether the series wanted to be a domestic comedy about two new parents (Christina Applegate and Will Arnett) or a workplace comedy about the wacky behind-the-scenes happenings at a daytime talk show hosted by Maya Rudolph's Oprah-meets-Whitney Houston celebrity. It sounds like the producers have finally made a decision, though; when Up All Night returns for its second season, the talk show will have been kicked to the curb, although Rudolph will still be hanging around. The combined ratings for both of these NBC series can't equal the Nielsen might of CBS's The Big Bang Theory, which continues to chug along nicely in its fifth year of geek-related humor. This batch of 24 episodes includes Penny and Leonard's romantic reconciliation, Raj wondering whether he should take that bold step forward into (arranged) marriage and the voice of Leonard Nimoy emanating from a Spock action figure. What more can you ask for? (Well, maybe a Chekov cameo too.)
Extras: 30 Rock offers a commentary track on one episode with assorted cast and crew members, deleted scenes, both the East Coast and West Coast versions of "Live From Studio 6H" and a behind-the-scenes featurette about that episode as well. Up All Night includes deleted and extended scenes and a music video starring Rudolph. And The Big Bang Theory comes with a gag reel and three featurettes, including one celebrating the show's 100th episode.

Terra Nova: The Complete Series
Fox's sci-fi series debuted to much hype and sky-high expectations when it premiered last fall, due to its seemingly can't-miss premise (people living alongside dinosaurs!) and extravagant budget. Too bad the producers spent more money on the sets and effects than they did on the cast or the scripts. It's easier to forgive the cheesiness in the two-hour premiere, which at least balances the stiff acting and writing with cool dino action. But once the series began in earnest, much of that money fell away and viewers were stuck watching annoying characters dealing with personal problems we couldn't care less about and a mythology that was at once both overly complex and completely boring. To the surprise of no one, the show was axed after its 13-episode run and heads off into the dinosaur graveyard, this DVD set serving as its headstone.
Extras: An audio commentary on the series finale with star Stephen Lang and showrunners Brannon Braga and Rene Echevarria, a gag reel and deleted scenes, two featurettes and behind-the-scenes diaries shot during the production of the pilot.
Click here to read our Terra Nova recaps

Blue Bloods: The Complete Second Season
Castle: The Complete Fourth Season
Friday night is typically a TV dead zone, but CBS has managed to come up with a winner for the night in the form of its popular police procedural/family drama Blue Bloods, starring Tom Selleck, Tom Selleck's mustache and Donnie Wahlberg as two generations of NYC cops. You don't tune in to a show like this expecting big plot twists and daring creative choices -- it's CBS crime comfort food, which is why it'll probably stay on the air until Selleck's mustache finally turns grey. (Just kidding -- that thing hasn't changed color for thirty years and it won't start now.) Now in its fourth year, ABC's Castle offers the same weekly dose of chicken soup for the procedural fan's soul, mixing crime stories with the ongoing will-they-or-won't they flirtation (which resulted in a full-on kiss during the season finale) between the titular crime novelist (Nathan Fillion) and his cop gal pal Beckett (Stana Kanic). If it manages to stay on the air another two years -- an outcome that seems all but certain -- it'll hit 100 episodes, which is 87 more than Firefly ever got.
Extras: Blue Bloods comes with select audio commentaries, deleted scenes, a gag reel and four featurettes, including one that checks in with legendary singer Tony Bennett, who guest-starred on a Season 2 episode. Castle offers deleted scenes, outtakes, featurettes and a lone commentary track.

The Vampire Diaries: The Complete Third Season
Few shows around manage to pack as many awesome twists, turns and cliffhangers into a single episode, let alone an entire season, as The CW's bloody great vampire soap. Some of our favorite "WTF!" moments from the show's junior year included a flashback to Stefan and Klaus's days in '20s-era Chicago, Esther's attempts to murder her bloodline, Caroline's father torturing his daughter to get the bloodlust out of her. We have no idea how the show plans to top itself this year, but then again we say that at the start of every season and are always surprised.
Extras: Three featurettes, deleted scenes and a gag reel.
Click here to read our Vampire Diaries recaps
Click here to read our gallery of Season 3's best moments

Also on DVD:
Absolutely Fabulous: 20th Anniversary Specials reunites Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley two decades after their so-bad-they're-good alter egos Edina and Patsy last terrorized audiences on both sides of the pond. After losing its original leading man to cancer, the Starz series Spartacus: Vengeance: The Complete Second Season re-cast the title role and churned out another season filled with spectacularly gory action and heaving chests of both the male and female variety. Private Practice: The Complete Fifth Season marks the last appearance of Tim Daly on the Grey's Anatomy spin-off (he was dropped from the series to save on budget) so soak up all the Daly-ness while you still can courtesy of this box set.

Think you've got game? Prove it! Check out Games Without Pity, our new area featuring trivia, puzzle, card, strategy, action and word games -- all free to play and guaranteed to help pass the time until your next show starts.

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