This week’s home entertainment offerings include the first Blu-ray edition of Star Trek: The Next Generation-Season 3, plus the Oscar-nominated drama Silver Linings Playbook, and a heartfelt film about 1960s rock-n-roll by the creator of The Sopranos and much more.


The “geek” release of the week is the new restored, high-def Blu-ray edition of Star Trek: The Next Generation Season 3 (Paramount, 1181 min., $129.98), which includes some great episodes such as “The Survivors,” “Sins of the Fathers,” and “The Offspring,” along with the first part of “The Best of Both Worlds,” which is one of the great cliffhanger episodes in TV history.  Both episodes of that cliffhanger have been edited into a feature-length presentation The Best of Both Worlds (Paramount, 84 min., BD $29.99) for those who can’t wait for Season 4.  The Season 3 set comes with a plethora of extras including trailers for all 26 episodes, a gag reel, plus features on the writer’s room, the Borg, and scads of audio commentaries.

Otherwise the top releases in this category are animated offerings including The Bugs Bunny Looney Tunes Comedy Hour: Sylvester & Hippety Hopper (Warner Bros., $19.98), which includes 18 classic Warner Bros. cartoons featuring Sylvester the cat and the mayhem-creating marsupial Hippety Hopper.  Are these the best cartoons that ever emanated from Termite Terrace?  Of course not, but seventeen of these cartoons have never been released on DVD before, which means that hardcore fans of Golden Age Warner Bros. animation will want to acquire this disc.  For My Little Pony fans there is My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic—Princess Twilight Sparkle (Shout Factory, 120 min., $14.97).

Also due this week is Iron Man: Armored Adventures—Season 2 (Gaiam, 600 min., $29.93), a four-disc collection of the final 26 episodes of the Marvel-based CGI animated series that aired first on Nicktoons in 2009 (and has been since rebroadcast on the CW).  In this Saturday morning version or the Iron Man saga Tony Stark becomes Iron Man as a teenager, though the design of the cartoon (especially in Season 2) does demonstrate the influence of the armor in the Iron Man live-action movies.  The four-disc box has a cool light-up panel that emulates the Triangle Unibeam from Iron Man’s costume, which should provide a nice bonus for collectors.  Gaiam is also issuing the single-disc Iron Man: Armored Adventures Season 2: Volume 4 (Gaiam, 150 min., $14.93).

This week’s best offering for adults is Maverick: The Complete 2nd Season (Warner Bros., 1300 min., $39.98), which includes 26 hour-long episodes of the classic western series that featured the delightful anti-hero antics of James Garner as the aptly-named Bret Maverick.  Unfortunately eight episodes into Season 1 Warner Bros. saw fit to bring in Bret’s straight brother Bart (Jack Kelly), who is a colossal drag.  In spite of the fact that Bart continued to swap episodes with Bret in Season 2, there is enough Garner to make this set well worth acquiring.

Other vintage series include the 1950s NBC western The Restless Gun: The Complete Series (Shout Factory, 1920 min., $59.97), which includes all 78 episodes of the half-hour, black-and-white western series that starred John Payne as an idealistic, but rootless gunfighter wandering through the West, the gritty World War II saga Combat: The Complete First Season (Image Entertainment, 1497 min., $39.98), and the inspirational hour-long drama series Touched By an Angel: Season 7 (Paramount, 1158 min., $59.98).

More recent offerings of interest include the innovative single-camera sitcom 30 Rock: Season 7 (Universal, $44.98), as well as the Blu-ray debuts of the popular 1990s sitcom Friends: The Complete First Season (Warner Bros., 576 min., $25.98), Friends: The Complete Second Season (Warner Bros., 576 min., $25.98)

Theatrical Movies

One of the more successful Oscar contenders, David O. Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook (Anchor Bay, “R,” $29.98, BD$39.99), the “R” rated comedy/drama starring Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper debuts for what will likely be a very successful run on disc.  This extremely well-acted drama about a mental patient who returns from a mental institution and attempts to re-enter “society,” earned a solid 92% positive rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes and solid word-of-mouth from theatrical viewers.

Other releases include the Russell Crowe/Mark Wahlberg neo-noir Broken City (Fox, “R,” $29.98, BD $39.99), one of the first 2013 films to be released on DVD.  Broken City, which earned $19.6 million, did slightly better with audiences than it did with the critics (only 30% positive on Rotten Tomatoes).

Gus Van Sant’s Promised Land (Universal, “R,” $29.96, BD $34.98) is a pretty daring movie about the process of “fracking” natural gas.   Based on a story by David Eggers about the conflict between a representative for a major energy company played by Matt Damon and an environmental activist (John Krasinski),  Promised Land doesn’t have any easy answers to the difficult choices presented by fracking—having to balance the economic hope offered by the development of new energy resources and the danger to elemental necessities like groundwater that the technology may pose.

Another interesting film that got short shrift at the box office, but which rock-and-roll fans will want to check out is Not Fade Away (Paramount, “R,” $29.99, BD $39.99), a 1960s rock-n-roll saga written and directed by David (The Sopranos) Chase and based on his early life growing up in New Jersey and playing in local bands.  This movie is clearly a labor of love from one of the most talented TV/movie writers of his generation.  E-Street Band guitarist Steven Van Zandt supervised the soundtrack, which bristles with authentic period rock-n-roll touches.

While Not Fade Away was a box office dud, it is still much more interesting than The Guilt Trip (Paramount, “PG-13,” $29.99, BD $39.99), a mild-mannered comedy that earned $37.1 domestically.  The movie stars Seth Rogen as a 30-something chemist who is forced to take a cross-country trip with his widowed mother played by Barbra Streisand--predictable, but mildly enjoyable humor ensues.

Those who like black comedies set in suburbia will want to check out The Details (Anchor Bay, “R,” $24.98, BD $29.98), a very dark film that stars Tobey McGuire in a very different sort of a role as a devious denizen of a particularly nasty patch of suburbia.

For those looking for inspirational stories there is Little Red Wagon (Phase 4, “PG,” $29.98), the latest film from the director of Rudy and Hoosiers, a “true story” of a boy whose determination to help homeless kids takes him on a fascinating journey.


New releases include the yaoi OVA collection Ai no Kasabi: The Space Between (Media Blasters, “16+,” 120 min., $19.99), which contains the first 4 OVA’s produced in 2012 by AIC, and other OVA collection, Hakuoki OVA: A Memory of Snow Flowers (Sentai Filmworks, “14+,” 150 min., $29.98), which includes 6 OVA episodes produced by Studio Deen in 2011 and based on the samurai-themed video game created by Idea Factory.

Other new releases include the always reliable Naruto Shippuden Box Set 14 (Viz Media, “16+,” 300 min., $44.82), which includes episodes #167-#179 of the long-running ninja series, the Psychic Detective Yakumo: Complete Collection (Sentai Filmworks, “14+,” 325 min., $49.98), which collects a 13-episode TV anime produced by Bee Train in 2010, the Qwaser of Stigmata II: Complete Collection (Sentai Filmworks, “17+,” 325 min., $49.98), which collects the 12 episodes of the breast milk-obsessed 2011 anime TV series from Hoods Entertainment that features plenty of fan service, and the Legendary Ninja Cats Complete Series (Eastern Star, $69.95), which presents all 54 episodes of the classic 1991 series that presents the original, uncut edition for the first time outside of Japan.

Also due this week are a number of series that have been released before including Rosario + Vampire: Complete Series (Funimation, “17+,” 325 min., $49.98), which collects the first 13-episode anime TV series, Rosario + Vampire: Capu2 Complete Series (Funimation, “17+,” 325 min., $49.98), which includes all 13 episodes of the second anime series based on the popular manga (published here by Viz Media), the powerful Eden of the East: Complete Series (Funimation, “17+,” 275 min., $34.98, BD $39.98), the classic mecha collection Patlabor OVAs (Maiden Japan, “14+,” 220 min., $29.98, BD $39.98), plus the Slayers Season 4-5: Revolution/Evolution-R (Funimation, “13+,” 650 min., $49.98, BD $54.98).

Tom Flinn

The opinions expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect those of the editorial staff of