Disney kicked off the fall home entertainment series early this year with the release of Avengers: Infinity War, the biggest global hit of 2018 so far, more than 2 weeks before the traditional September date for the first big DVD release (and 2 weeks after Infinity War had been available via streaming), and there are other offerings of great interest including the latest season of Arrow, the first season of the excellent Stephen King-based Mr. Mercedes, the final season of SyFy’s 12 Monkeys, plus an intriguing post-apocalyptic anime movie, Planetarian.

Theatrical Movies

The biggest hit of 2018 so far, Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Infinity War (Disney, “PG-13,” $29.98, BD $34.98, 4K $44.98), which has earned over $2 billion at the global box office.  The third Avengers film is the first directed by Joe and Anthony Russo, who are fully up to the film’s epic crossover scope.  There are lots of interesting, fan-friendly bonus features in the high def releases including over ten minutes of deleted scenes and special background info on the film’s mighty villain, the Titan Thanos.

The rest of this week’s movie offerings is a decidedly mixed bag.  Producer-turned-director Dean Devlin’s Bad Samaritan (Sony, “R,” 110 min., $17.99, BD $19.99) features a strong performance from former Doctor Who David Tennant, but there’s very little else of interest in this film that posted the eighth worse debut ever for a movie debuting in over 2000 theaters; while director Marc Webb’s The Only Living Boy in New York (Amazon, 88 min., $17.99, BD $19.99) could manage only a 33% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes: and Rob Reiner’s misnamed docu-drama Shock and Awe (Lionsgate, “R,” 90 min., $18.98, BD $23.98), which tells the true and important story of a group of Knight-Ridder newsmen, who realized that the Bush Administration was steamrolling the U.S. into war with Iraq over very dubious claims of weapons of mass destruction, but unfortunately, Shock and Awe comes off as more of a political polemic than a compelling drama.


There are a bunch of offerings with serious “geek cred” this week including Arrow: Season Six (Warner Bros. $44.98, BD $49.98), the latest season of the series that launched the platoon of DC Comics-based shows that currently populate the CW network; the final season of the SyFy science fiction/mystery, 12 Monkeys: Season 4 (Universal, 522 min., BD $34.98); and the James Spader-starring crime/mystery series The Blacklist: Season 5 (Sony, 945 min., $44.99, BD $55.99).

Another really compelling release is the Stephen King-based Mr. Mercedes: Season 01 (Sony, 526 min., $26.99), which you might not have seen because it only appears on the Direct TV/AT&T Audience Network., Mr. Mercedes, which is based on the three novels in the Bill Hodges trilogy, and stars the estimable Brendon Gleeson, has a stellar 85% positive rating with the critics on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.

Also due on Tuesday are Alan Ball’s contemporary drama series, Here and Now: The Complete First Season (HBO, $29.98. BD $39.99); the Scott Bakula-starring NCIS: New Orleans: Season 4; and the CBS military action series starring David Boreanaz, SEAL Team: Season 1 (Paramount, 949 min., $49.99).


There are two interesting anime movie releases this week, Planetarian OVAs & Movie (Funimation, “TV-14,” 211 min. BD/DVD Combo $49.98), a post-apocalyptic saga set in a nuclear war-ravaged future that is based on a light novel inspired by a visual novel about a man who travels around with a planetarium projector to show surviving people the stars; and Eureka Seven: Hi-Evolution 1 Movie (Funimation, “TV-14,” 93 min., BD/DVD Combo $34.98), a 2017 Bones anime film that tells an original story set in the Eureka Seven world before and during the events in the first Eureka Seven anime series.

Also of interest is Classroom of the Elite: The Complete Series (Funimation, “TV-14,” 300 min., BD/DVD Combo $64.98), a 12-episode 2017 series from Lerche based on light novels written by Shogo Kinugasa about a special high school for gifted students who are being groomed to rule Japan--but the pressure to do well is strong and the consequences for failure are dire.

For kaiju fans there is the live-action Kaiju Mono (Sentai Filmworks, “TV-14,” 93 min., BD $19.9u8), which features a special formula that turns a mild-mannered professor’s assistant into a towering giant capable of taking on the kaiju known as “Mono.”