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The best shows of the year have been recently launched in DVD. We’ve culled some of the best…
The Mentalist may fall into the “Crime/Drama” genre, but it doesn’t try to emulate the successful shows wearing the same tag. Instead of becoming a dark, moody show that examines the underbelly of crime, The Mentalist succeeds at being quirky study of human behaviour.
The characters, led by Patrick Jane (Simon Baker), each have their humorous and identifiable qualities which gives the show some levity.
The series follows Jane, a former TV psychic who ended that ruse when a serial killer – Red John – murdered his wife and daughter. Now, Jane assists
the California Bureau of Investigation with murder cases, using his innate ability to read people and divulge the truth – which is why he was such a convincing psychic. The surrounding cast is wholly enjoyable and adds equal doses of humour and warmth.
This show has been a revelation. With a predominant Canadian cast, including Hugh Dillon (Durham County and musician) and Enrico Colantsoni (Zone of Separation), Flashpoint delves into the difficult and adrenaline-filled world of the Strategic Response Unit (inspired by Toronto’s real life Emergency Task Force).
When the SRU responds to life threatening situations everyone knows the issue will end – whether by negotiation or lethal means.
For the officers in the unit, they daily have to live with the choices they’ve made- pulling the trigger, watching someone die, failing to act quick enough – and the viewer gets a glimpse at the difficulty of their task. They must connect with the subjects they deal with and find a way to identify with the brokenness of people. It’s a difficult job and Flashpoint remarkably conveys all of this with realism.
FRINGE – SEASON ONE (Warner)
Mind control. Teleportation. Spontaneous combustion. Someone is using the world as its laboratory, learning how far they can go with these “fringe science” experiments.
Agent Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv) becomes part of a special FBI task force to understand these events and bring down the people behind them. However, to get to the core of these issues, she needs the help of Dr. Walter Bishop (John Noble) and his son Peter (Vancouver’s Joshua Jackson).
Dr. Bishop used to study fringe science, but was committed to an institution after his assistant died in a fire at his lab. Persuaded by Dunham, Peter gets his father out so they can help the FBI with their ongoing investigation.
Noble is incredible as Dr. Bishop – full of idiosyncrasies and at a loss at times due to years of institutionalization.
Together, the three of them see the unimaginable and begin to uncover something that’s much bigger than first thought.
This is creator JJ Abrams’ most dynamic small screen series yet.
One of the funniest shows on television continues its comedic reign.
Alec Baldwin grows in his role as television executive Jack Donaghy – finding new ways to put himself first, avoid his mother and make Liz Lemon’s (Tina Fey) job as head writer of TGS (a Saturday Night Live-esque variety show) that much more difficult.
And the show-to-show happenings grow in their hilarity as the season evolves. Lemon tries to avoid jury duty by dressing up as Princess Leia, Tracy Jordan (Tracy Morgan) is convinced his two sons are trying to kill him for his money and Jenna (Jane Krakowski) starts filming a biopic about Janis Joplin that’s not allowed to use Joplin’s real name or songs. 30 Rock plays with sitcom clichés and conventions, making fun of its own form and turning it into one of the best things on television.
If you’re not already a fan of the show, the set up is this: Charlie Harper is a womanizing, wealthy though lazy jingle writer who has taken in his much nicer younger brother after his brother was cleaned out in a divorce. With the brother comes the nephew, Jake, who is a pudgy under-achiever — and possibly the funniest member of the cast, which makes up one of the funniest shows on TV.
This season shows Charlie’s sudden change of heart towards monogamy as he starts to commit to his well-endowed girlfriend, Chelsea. Chelsea quickly moves from girlfriend to live-in girlfriend to fiancé in just a couple of episodes. With uneven success, Charlie tries to fight his pig-headed ways to make Chelsea his one and only.
Another noticeable progression in this season that of Jake, who quickly evolves from making lame fart jokes to dating their neighbor’s teenaged daughter, clearly having learned a lot from good old uncle Charlie.
And for the movie lover….
ROCKY – THE UNDISPUTED COLLECTION (MGM)
It’s hard not to cheer for Rocky. From a “nobody” to a “somebody,” Rocky (Sylvester Stallone) battles and overcomes adversity in each of the six films included in this Blu-ray collection. From Mr. T to Hulk Hogan, Dolph Lundgren to Tommy Morrison, Rocky has to fight his way through a multitude of battles to make it to the top. The box set includes over 3 hours of special features, a three-part Making-Of documentary, commentary with Stallone and lots more. This is the ultimate collection for any fan.