Kelsey Grammer rides in a limo... like a boss.
Boss: Season 2
Starz was so confident that they had found a breakout hit in the political drama Boss, which cast Kelsey "Frasier" Grammer wildly against type as a corrupt Chicago mayor, that they ordered up a second season before the series premiere even hit the airwaves. Turns out their enthusiasm was a bit premature. While the series got solid critical notices, ratings were low from the get-go, no doubt because most home viewers are still unaware that there even is a network called Starz. Needless to say, Season 2 was not preceded by an automatic Season 3 pick-up and, in fact, the show's sophomore year proved to be its last. These final 10 episodes confirm that while Grammer was unexpectedly great in the role (Emmy voters overlooked him, but he did pick up a Golden Globe nomination) and the use of actual Chicago locations lent the show great production value, the series never lived up to its full dramatic potential. Still, there's a chance that Boss will find a more receptive audience on DVD, where viewers can blow through all 18 episodes in a weekend, House of Cards-style.
Extras: Commentary tracks on select episodes and a behind-the-scenes featurette.
Howdy Kids! A Saturday Afternoon Western Roundup
Continuing their line of retro kid-friendly TV collections that recreate the days of the black-and-white boob tube for modern pre-adolescents, Shout! Factory releases this Western-themed 3-disc collection that includes select episodes from such vintage oaters as The Lone Ranger, Annie Oakley, Sky King and The Cisco Kid. Some 10 hours of '50s TV is featured here altogether, minus -- sadly -- the vintage commercials. It's the perfect gift for the parent or grandparent looking to spend a Saturday wallowing in nostalgia, while their descendants grab the communal iPad and marathon Yo Gabba Gabba episodes.
Extras: Sorry pardner -- nothing to see here.
Family Ties: The Sixth Season
Speaking of nostalgia, the penultimate season of the classic '80s sitcom is collected on a 4-disc set that covers its 1987-1988 year. Kicking off with the introduction of Alex's new girlfriend, played by Courteney Cox, other highlights include the appearance of an absurdly young Joseph Gordon-Levitt as an elementary school bully who torments the littlest Keaton, Andy; Michael J. Fox dressing up as a mall Santa for the Christmas episode; and Mallory's boyfriend Nick (who had headlined an unsuccessful spin-off series, The Art of Being Nick before Season 6 began) teaching a kiddie art class. Sing it with me now, "What would we do baby, without us/Sha la la la."
Also on DVD:
Merlin: The Complete Fifth Season collects the final year of the popular British fantasy serial, while Leave It to Beaver: 20 Timeless Episodes includes twenty half-hour installments of the vintage '50s family comedy for when those folks who pick up Howdy Kids! get tired of Westerns.
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