"No, Ricky! I'm not going to star in The Invention of Lying: Part 2!"
Life's Too Short: Season One
Twenty Twelve: The Complete Series
Ricky Gervais isn't technically the star of his latest mockumentary series, which premiered on the BBC before its stateside run on HBO -- that would be actor and famous little person Warwick Davis (best known to the '80s generation as the title character in Willow), who plays a loose version of himself, one who can't seem to find a job. That's where Gervais and his comedy partner Stephen Merchant come in; they're the guys Davis visits whenever he's in need of career advice or another role. The trio's scenes together (especially when they're joined by surprise guest stars, like Liam Neeson, who turns up wanting an impromptu lesson in improv comedy) are the highlight of what's otherwise a too-bitter, too-scattershot show. Davis seems like a nice bloke, which makes him the wrong sort of performer to build this kind of show around. A far funnier British-made mockumentary is Twenty Twelve, which depicts London's run-up to the 2012 Summer Games through the eyes of the commission responsible for organizing it. Downton Abbey's Hugh Bonneville stars as the long-suffering head of the Olympics Deliverance Commission and his employees include such ace comic performers as Jessica Hynes, Olivia Colman and Karl Theobald. It's one of the best workplace shows of its type since Gervais's original Office series.
Extras: Life's Too Short includes additional deleted scenes and outtakes, behind-the-scenes clips and a making-of featurette. Twenty Twelve only comes with behind-the-scenes interviews, which is a shame... we're betting there's some great stuff on the cutting room floor.
Men of a Certain Age: Season Two
Strong reviews and the considerable star power of the show's three leads -- Sam Waterston, Ray Romano and Andre Braugher -- granted this TNT drama about the travails of being a guy well on the north side of 40 a stay of execution after a low-rated first season. But viewers stayed away during Season 2 as well, forcing the network to bring down the axe once and for all in 2011. Two years later, the finale 12 episodes have found their way to DVD at last for those interested in catching up after the fact. And don't feel too badly for these actors of a certain age -- all have found gainful employment on other shows (including Parenthood and Last Resort) since this one ended.
Extras: Commentaries on every episode, deleted scenes, a gag reel, behind-the-scenes clips and a featurette.
House of Cards Trilogy
Before Netflix changes the TV industry forever by launching David Fincher and Kevin Spacey's political thriller House of Cards all in one go in February, its British predecessor gets the high-def treatment in a new Blu-ray release that collects the original 1990 miniseries, as well as its two sequels. Each installment chronicles the games politicians play at the highest levels of power, with stage and screen veteran Ian Richardson always occupying center stage as Conservative Party whip, Francis Urquhart (the role Spacey will take on in the American version). Let's hope that this particular remake comes off better than the whole State of Play debacle.
Extras: A commentary track on the first episode of each series and two featurettes.
Also on DVD:
A week after the second season of the American remake hit DVD, the original British sci-fi serial Being Human: Season 4 unleashes its fourth year, along with the penultimate season of the fantasy series Merlin: The Complete Fourth Season. In animated releases, The Amazing World of Gumball: Volume 2 continues the exploits of the Cartoon Network favorite, while Jackson 5ive: The Complete Animated Series collects the entire run of the oh-so-'70s Saturday morning cartoon show starring Michael and his brothers.
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