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The Telefile

TV on DVD: Tuesday, June 25, 2013

by Ethan Alter June 25, 2013 6:00 am
TV on DVD: Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Hey hey hey! It's Faaaaat Albert!

Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids: The Complete Series
A childhood staple for anyone who grew up in the Golden Age of Saturday morning cartoons (i.e. the '70s and early '80s), the Bill Cosby-created half-hour cartoon Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids is one of those nostalgia pieces that's hard to be completely objective about. Is the animation stiff, the vocal performances goofy and the storytelling cheesy by contemporary standards? Hell yes. But there's also a sweetness and good cheer to the series that still makes it a pleasure to watch. This five-disc set collects all 110 episodes from the three incarnations of the show, starting with the initial 1972-1976 run, followed by its one-season revivals from 1979-1980 and 1984-1985 respectively. (The only piece of memorabilia not included here is the 1969 live-action/animation primetime special that introduced the character to television audiences.) That's a lot of Fat Albert to digest and obviously judicious breaks are required -- as are explanations of some of the dated cultural references (i.e. the "Brown Hornet") to younger viewers. But don't be surprised if "Hey hey hey" becomes a catchphrase around your house after a few episodes spend in the company of these Cosby kids.
Extras: A documentary exploring the origin and lasting legacy of the series. Distinctly not included is the ill-fated live action movie version, but that's really the best for everyone involved.

CSI: NY - The Final Season
And then there was one. Once a mighty three-series franchise, CSI is now just back to its original Las Vegas flavor, with the nine-season New York edition joining the ten-season Miami division in cancellation heaven. The final batch of forensic investigations headed up by Gary Sinise's Mac Taylor and Sela Ward's Jo Danville are collected here for posterity. Cases include a kidnapping modeled after the infamous case of Etan Patz, a steroid-laced mystery and a gun created by one of those 3D printers, while the roll call of guest stars ranges from Rob Morrow to CSI's D.B. Russell in a crossover episode. It all ends with a bottle episode inside the unit's police station and an apparent happily-ever-after for Mac. We're just glad that "Baba O'Riley" can go back to being just a kick-ass Who tune again rather than a theme song for a fading procedural.
Extras: Four featurettes, deleted scenes and a gag reel. Wait... you mean, super-serious Gary Sinise actually knows how to smile?

Killing Lincoln
The unlikely team-up of Bill O'Reilly, Tom Hanks, Ridley and Tony Scott and National Geographic resulted in this made-of-TV adaptation of O'Reilly's bestselling book, dramatizing the circumstances leading up to the assassination of America's revered 16th president. In a decent performance that won't cause Daniel Day-Lewis to lose any sleep at night, Billy "The Rocketeer" Campbell plays Lincoln while less-distinguished thespian Jesse Johnson portrays his killer, John Wilkes Booth. (Hanks doesn't appear in the movie proper, but lends his dulcet tones to a voiceover track.) Pitched halfway between TV drama and recreated documentary, Killing Lincoln is far less revelatory than it bills itself as being, but O'Reilly fans and Civil War completests will probably feel obligated to check it out.
Extras: A commentary track with writer/executive producer Erik Jendresen, a video interview with O'Reilly, a making-of featurette and several promotional ads.

Also on DVD:
A supernatural high-school comedy from our neighbor to the North, Todd & the Book of Pure Evil: The Complete Second Season details the exploits of a group of high-school outcasts who do battle with various demonic forces a la the Scooby Gang. Cancelled after this second and final season, the show's creators launched a crowdsourcing campaign to raise the cash to make an animated finale. Late '90s nostalgia alert! Mad TV: Season 3 rewinds the clock to 1997-1998 when Fox's sketch-comedy series was hosted by such then-pop culture luminaries as Kerri Strug, Jerry Springer, Anna Nicole Smith and Jennifer Love Hewitt in her I Know What You Did Last Summer days. The show still isn't all that funny, but man is it an amazing time capsule.

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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