This week’s home entertainment offerings include a slew of TV releases led by the latest seasons of the DC Comics-based The Flash and Lucifer, plus the R-rated comedy Tag, the underrated indie thriller American Animals, the revenge saga Upgrade, and a full slate of interesting anime series.


With the fall TV season just around the corner, the onslaught of small screen releases continues, though only a few of this week’s offerings merit serious coverage starting with The Flash: Season 4 (Warner Bros., 1380 min., $49.98, BD $54.98).  The second series in the CW’s “Arrowverse,” The Flash made a huge splash in its first two seasons, and attempted to return to character-driven storylines in Season Four with mixed results, though its engaging young cast led by Grant Gustin makes The Flash one of the most consistently watchable shows in the Arrowverse.

While The Flash will continue his hyperspeed antics in a Season Five, Lucifer, the devilish character created by Neil Gaiman in Sandman, a modern incarnation of the devil who forsakes hell for L.A. where he runs a nightclub and moonlights as a consultant for the L.A.P.D., was canceled after three seasons on Fox (though he will be back for a 10-episode “run” on Netflix due in 2019).  Available on Tuesday is the final over-the-air season, Lucifer: The Complete Third Season (Warner Bros., 1560 min., $39.99, BD $47.99), which was the most extensive of all with 26 episodes of a series with a small, but devoted audience.

Also due on Tuesday is the seventh and final season of the fantasy drama Once Upon a TimeOnce Upon a Time: The Complete Seventh Season (ABC, $45.99, BD $79.99) featured a big change from the first six seasons of the show, which were set in the fictional town of Storybrooke, Maine.  Season Seven takes place years later and is set in the Seattle neighborhood of Hyperion Heights.

Series of less immediate geek interest coming out this week include: the venerable police procedural Criminal Minds: Season 13 (Paramount, 929 min., $55.98); the military police procedural NCIS: Los Angeles; The Ninth Season (Paramount, 1018 min., $49.99); the police comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season Five (Universal, 496 min., $39.98); the first responders drama Chicago Fire: Season Six (Universal, 1085 min., $49.98); the medical drama Chicago Med: Season 3 (Universal, $44.98); and the police tactics series S.W.A.T. 2017: Season 01 (Sony, 944 min., $49.98);

Theatrical Movies

This week’s theatrical releases are a disappointing lot for this time of the year.  The R-rated comedy Tag (Warner Bros., “R,” 100 min., $29.98, BD $35.99), which is based on a real life, over-the-top game of tag that a group of friends play through adulthood, does have some laughs.  Though it failed to make much of an impression at the box office, Tag has an excellent cast that compensates, at least in part, for the film’s adolescent premise.

Also mildly interesting is Book Club (Paramount, “PG-13,” 103 min., $18.98, BD $24.98), a fairly successful bit of summer movie counter-programming that targeted (and largely pleased) an older female demographic.

This week’s most interesting non-documentary release is Bart Layton’s American Animals (Lionsgate, “R,” $19.33, BD $21.99), an intellectual thriller based on a true story about a group of college students who attempted to pull off one of the biggest art heists in American history.  Despite the ferocity of its title, American Animals is much more likely to appeal to those who like serious films (it has an 85% positive rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes) than those who enjoy typical action thrillers.

Those who enjoy revenge thrillers (like The Crow) might want to check out Upgrade (Universal, “R,” 100 min., $26.94, BD $34.98), an Australian/U.S. co-production directed by Leigh Whannell.  This science fiction saga follows a man who is brutally mugged, and then rebuilt (ala The Six Million Dollar Man) in such a way that he can turn the tables on his tormentors.

2018 has been a great year for documentaries, and one of the most successful (and best) of this year’s theatrical documentaries is RBG (Magnolia, “PG,” 98 min., $26.00, BD $29.98), a light, funny, and fast-moving look at the life and career of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.


There is a full slate of anime releases this week including Naruto Shippuden Uncut Set 35 (Viz Media, 350 min., $39.99), which includes episodes 445-458 of the 500-episode series from Studio Pierrot based on the martial arts manga by Masashi Kishimoto.

Among the many other options this week is the sexy harem comedy My First Girlfriend Is a Gal: The Complete Series + OVA (Funimation, “TV-MA,” 275 min., BD/DVD Combo $64.98, Ltd. Ed. $84.98), which includes the 11-episode 2017 series from NAZ plus an OVA.  This series attracted a lot of viewers when it was streamed, so Funimation has created a Limited Edition that contains an artbook with character art, a set of four lenticular cards, a glitter-encrusted rigid box, plus uncut and uncensored fan service footage that was not seen in the broadcast.

For mecha fans there is Knights & Magic: The Complete Collection (Funimation, “TV-14,” 325 min., $64.98), the story of an otaku, who is killed in a car crash and awakes in a world where magic exists, and where he can harness his otaku skills to build a giant mecha.

Also of interest are: 18if: The Complete Series (Funimation, “TV-MA,” 325 min., BD/DVD Combo $64.98), a 13-episode fantasy from Studio Gonzo set in an M.C. Escher-like dream world; and the teen slice-of-life/romance Convenience Store Boy Friends: The Complete Series (Funimation, “TV-14,” 300 min., BD/DVD Combo $64.98), a 12-episode Studio Pierrot series from 2017.

For those who love old school anime there is the Aura Battler Dunbine Complete Collection (Sentai Filmworks, “TV-14,” 1225 min., BD $99.98), a re-mastered high-def restoration of the 49-episode 1983 mecha fantasy from Sunrise.  This series has been out of print for quite some time, and has never been available in high def before.

This week’s anime movie release is No Game, No Life Zero (Sentai Filmworks,”TV-MA,” 105 min., $19.98, BD $29.99, Premium Ed. $49.98), a 2017 theatrical anime feature from Madhouse that functions as a prequel to the 2014 Madhouse No Game, No Life TV anime, which is based on the light novel series by Yuu Kamiya.