It's Lena's world and we just live in it.
Girls: The Complete Second Season
Enlightened: The Complete Second Season
Lena Dunham's much buzzed-about (on both coasts, anyway) serio-comedy returned from its first season a better, stronger and smarter show… well, at least until the disappointing finale. But prior to that thud of a finish, Girls was filled with a string of excellent episodes that included Hannah's brief encounter with a handsome Park Slope doctor (Patrick Wilson), Ray and Adam's trip to Staten Island and a close encounter with a Q-tip that still has us cringing. In addition to the writing, the ensemble's performances proved much improved during the sophomore year, with Allison Williams and Jemima Kirke both getting lots of opportunities to shine (Zosia Mamet, on the other hand, hit most of the same beats… though she hit them pretty well). Here's hoping that the show's third season takes its cue from the first nine episodes, rather than the finale. If Dunham fell short in the home stretch, Mike White brought his short-lived series Enlightened to a rousing finish, one that found that right middle ground between a period and an ellipses. Anchored once again by Laura Dern's bold performance, the show's second year introduced Molly Shannon into the mix and White continued to demonstrate an admirable resistance to falling back on formula. While it's unfortunate that the show's over, it's two-season, twenty-episode run plays like an exquisite ten-hour independent movie.
Extras: Girls includes deleted and extended scenes, inside the episode featurettes, two interviews with Dunham (one by Charlie Rose, the other with Emily Nussbaum), a gag reel and a table read of the fifth episode. Enlightened offers commentaries and inside the episodes featurettes.
Click here to see how Lena Dunham could ruin Season 3 of Girls
Click here to see the new friends Hannah should meet in Season 3
The Mindy Project: Season One
Though it was far from the worst new series that premiered last fall (Guys with Kids probably holds that title), The Mindy Project was probably the most disappointing mostly due to the disconnect between the talent involved behind-the-scenes and finished product. Created by and starring longtime Office staffer Mindy Kaling, the series struggled to define itself throughout the season, adding and shedding cast members and continuously tweaking the tone. On the plus side, Kaling is an appealing heroine and her chemistry with Chris Messina (who plays her non-love interest in a relationship that we dearly hopes remains platonic) is off-the-charts funny. But the minuses include story lines that range from mediocre to flat-out dumb, the mostly annoying supporting cast surrounding Kaling and the show's uncertainty about whether it's a workplace or relationship comedy. Of course, The Office didn't exactly get off to the strongest start either, so it's entirely possible that The Mindy Project will undergo its own self-improvement project between seasons. It sure as heck couldn’t get any worse… we hope.
Extras: Just a batch of deleted scenes.
Click here to see how we'd give The Mindy Project a makeover
ABC's bit of fairy tale theater took a major ratings hit midway through Season 2, even as the show's creators raided their parent company's (Disney, natch) back catalogue to add new characters the already sizable supporting cast. Mulan, Captain Hook and Princess Aurora a.k.a. Sleeping Beauty were just some of the Mouse House favorites who popped up during the course of OUAT's sophomore year, which means it's only a matter of time until the Aristocats patter onto the scene to hum a tune or two. With an Alice in Wonderland spin-off launching this fall, the network isn't going to abandon the franchise anytime soon, but here's hoping the writers pay less attention to which Disney character they can pilfer next and more to the actual storylines.
Click here to read our full Once Upon a Time recaps
Click here to see the most infuriating moments of Season 2
Also on DVD:
R.I.P. Southland: The Complete Fifth & Final Season, a cop drama too good for either network or cable airwaves. The original Captain Kirk chats with some of his fellow Starfleet captains in the miniseries The Captains Close-Up. After seven seasons of putting up with his hippie parents, '80s Republican Youth Alex P. Keaton prepared to leave the nest in Family Ties: The Seventh and Final Season, but found the launch a little rougher than he expected.
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