This week’s home entertainment releases include the potent second season of the DC Comics-based #1 show on the CW network, the latest seasons of long-in-the-tooth geek staples South Park and Supernatural, plus two great 1980s offerings, George A. Romero’s Tales from the Darkside, and the animated Dennis the Menace series, and Whit Stillman’s masterful Jane Austen adaptation Love & Friendship.


This week’s top release is The Flash: The Complete 2nd Season (Warner Bros.,1056 min., $49.99, BD $54.99).  With its talented young cast led by Grant Gustin, Carlos Valdes, Danielle Panabaker, and Tom Cavanagh, The Flash became the CW network’s #1 show in its second season, which saw an explosion of narrative possibilities as a singularity opened up above Central City creating a portal to parallel universes and introducing a large mainstream audience to some of the complexity of the DC Comics universe.  This set includes 23 one-hour (actually 42 minutes without the commercials) episodes plus the two-hour Flash/Arrow crossover.  The set also includes three hours of bonus material including “The Many Faces of Zoom” and “Chasing Flash—The Journey of Kevin Smith” featurettes plus coverage of the Flash at Comic-Con and PaleyFest, deleted scenes, and a gag reel.

Other releases of special interest to geek viewers include the dependably hilarious and iconoclastic South Park: The Complete 19th Season (Paramount, $29.99, BD $42.99); the long-running CW series Supernatural: The Complete 11th Season (Warner Bros., $49.99, BD $54.99); and the Star Trek: 50th Anniversary TV and Movie Collection (Paramount, $208.99, BD $225.99), yet another repackaging of vintage material which contains all three seasons of the original series, the animated series and the first six Star Trek movies; and the syndicated Canadian/American Friday the 13th: The Series—The Complete Series (Paramount, $49.98), which includes all 72 episodes of the 1987-1990 series.

One of the most talked-about TV shows of the past year was American Crime Story’s recreation of the trial of O.J. Simpson.  American Crime Story—Season 1: The People vs. O. J. Simpson (Fox, $39.98, BD $49.98) contains all ten episodes of the well-produced docu-drama. 

Other contemporary productions include CSI Cyber: Season Two (Paramount, 753 min., $45.98), and the initial season of the now-cancelled movie-based series Limitless.  Limitless: Season 1 (Paramount, 880 min., $55.98) contains all 22 episodes of the comedy drama about a man with a pill that unlocks the full potential of the human brain. Also due Tuesday is the Sundance Channel series Rectify: The Complete 3rd Season (Starz, 275 min., $29.98), a slow Southern Gothic about the return to his home town by a man who was convicted of the murder of his girlfriend and freed after 19 years in prison by DNA evidence.

Vintage TV offerings include Charlie’s Angels: The Complete Series (Mill Creek, 5,754 min., $69.99), Coach: Season One (Mill Creek, 309 min., $9.98), and the excellent football drama Friday Night Lights: The First Season (Mill Creek, 999 min., $14.98).

Two vintage releases from the 1980s deserve special mention.  Tales from the Darkside: The Complete Series (Paramount, 3,550 min., $39.98), collects all 90 episodes from the horror anthology series created by George A. Romero (Night of the Living Dead) in 1983 that adapted works by Stephen King, Frederik Pohl, Robert Bloch, Harlan Ellison, John Cheever, Clive Barker, and Michael Bishop (to name a few).  This series was released back in 2010, but is now available for a much lower price.

The other series that will be of interest is DIC’s animated Dennis the Menace: The Complete Series (Mill Creek, 1,796 min., $29.98), which includes all 78 episodes of the show based on Hank Ketcham’s classic comic strip.  The first 65 episodes of the series have been released previously (in two volumes), but the final 13 episodes are now available on DVD for the very first time.

Theatrical Releases

This week’s top release is Whit Stillman’s excellent Jane Austen adaptation Love and Friendship (Sony, “PG,” 93 min., $25.99, BD $30.99).  Based on an early epistolary novel, which is not as polished as Austen’s masterpieces, Love and Friendship is nevertheless a truly delightful film thanks to a whip smart performance by Kate Beckinsale as the charming and scandalous Lady Susan, who is the constant center of attention in what has to be the best period comedy film in years.  Love and Friendship really deserves its 99% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Another film the critics loved that is due on Tuesday is The Meddler (SPE, “PG-13,” 103 min., $25.99, BD $26.99), a relationship-heavy, slice-of-life film about a widow (Susan Sarandon) who moves to Los Angeles to be close to her daughter, and proceeds to live up to the film’s title.  The plot of this comedy drama is definitely the stuff of sitcoms, and the fact that it has an 84% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes testifies to the extent that it was able to overcome the limitations of its narrative with warm and winning performances. 

Other new releases include one of this past summer’s failed sequels, Now You See Me 2 (Lionsgate, “PG-13,” 94 min., $29.98, BD $39.99) just doesn’t have the power of the 2013 original Robin Hood caper film because the target of the first film (big banks) was so in need of a good thrashing considering the financial sector’s culpability in the economic crisis of 2008, and Jodie Foster’s Money Monster (Sony, “R,” 99 min., $30.99, BD $34.99), a well-made film with excellent performances from George Clooney and Julia Roberts that manages to work both as a thriller and (at least in part) as an indictment of some of the financial abuses behind the 2009 collapse.

It has been a great summer for horror movies, but unfortunately the good ones aren’t coming out on Tuesday, instead it’s The Darkness (Universal, “PG-13,” 93 min., $22.98, BD $29.98), which wastes a good cast (Kevin Bacon, Radha Mitchell) in a slow-moving ghost story.  There are a couple of good shocks, but most of the time The Darkness makes Poltergeist look like Citizen Kane.

Brad Bird’s The Iron Giant was one of the best animated feature films of the 1990s (or any other decade), and now The Iron Giant Signature Edition (Warner Bros., “PG,” $7.98, BD $14.98) presents the movie in high definition for the first time and with two new scenes as well as a new documentary about the making of the film and lots of other extras.


Among this week’s releases are two anime science fiction films of note, one of which is of recent vintage, (Funimation, 119 min., $29.98, BD/DVD Combo $34.98), a 2015 feature from Studio 4*C that takes place in a dystopian future, when after nuclear war, society has been re-established in a more utopian form thanks to nanotechnology—but at what cost to free will and liberty?

The other anime movie, Mobile Suit Gundam: Char’s Counterattack (Right Stuf, 125 min., $29.99, BD $34.99), a true anime classic from 1988.  Written and directed by Gundam creator Yoshiyuki Tomino, Char’s Counterattack was the first Gundam theatrical release and presented a narrative conclusion to the rivalry between Char Aznable and Amuro Ray that built through the original Mobile Suit Gundam series and continued in Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam and MSG Double Zeta.

Anime TV series due this week include the third season of the fan-service-filled harem comedy High School DxD.  The High School DxD BorN: Complete Collection (Funimation, $64.98) includes the 12-episode 2015 series from TNK plus 6 “Maximum Titillation” OVAs.  Also due on Tuesday is Fairy Tail: Part 21 (Funimation, 325 min., BD/DVD Combo $54.98) contains 13 episodes featuring the all-out conflict between the Fairy Tail gang and the Tartaros.

For fans of Rumiko Takahashi (Ranma ½ ) this week’s top release is Rin-Ne: Collection 2 (Sentai Filmworks, 300 min., Subtitles Only, $49.99, BD $59.99), which collects the final 12 episodes of the first season of the anime series from Brains Base that is based on the supernatural romantic comedy manga that has sold 3 million volumes in Japan.

The Gundam Build Fighters Try Complete Collection (Right Stuf, 625 min., $59.99, BD $74.99) includes the 25-episode 2014 series that is the sequel to the 2013 Gundam Build Fighters series about a tournament in which Gunpla models are built and battled.