THE ADVENTURER: THE CURSE OF THE MIDAS BOX (Image Entertainment): Agreeable family fare in the Harry Potter vein, based on GP Taylor’s best-seller, with young Aneurin Barnard as a teen in 1885 London who encounters magic, mysticism and considerable peril when his parents are abducted. The polished cast is a plus: Michael Sheen, Lena Headey, Ioan Gruffudd, Keeley Hawes and Sam Neill, a hoot as the heavy. Rated PG.
“BEING HUMAN”: THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON (Entertainment One): Sam Witwer, Meagan Rath and Sam Huntington play roommates – each with a supernatural secret – trying to live normal lives in all 13 episodes from the 2013 season of the award-winning Syfy series, based on a popular British series of the same name. The DVD boxed set retails for $39.98, the Blu-ray boxed set for $49.98.
“BURN NOTICE”: SEASON SEVEN (Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment): Subtitled “Final Notice,” this DVD collection ($49.98 retail) includes all 13 episodes from the 2013 (and final) season of the award-winning USA Network espionage series starring Jeffrey Donovan as an ex-spy still caught up in international intrigue, aided and abetted by Gabrielle Anwar and Bruce Campbell. Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment has also released the self-explanatory “Burn Notice: The Complete Series” as a DVD boxed set ($149.98 retail).
CONTEST (Arc Entertainment): Tepid teen comedy with Daniel Flaherty as a high-school student mysteriously befriended by his jock tormenter (Kenton Duty) prior to competing in a cooking contest. Katherine McNamara plays the object of Flaherty’s affections, and an unbilled Robert Wuhl turns up as a teacher. Rated PG.
“FARSCAPE – THE SECOND SEASON:
15TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION” (Cinedigm): American astronaut Ben Browder’s adventures on the other side of the universe in all 22 episodes from the 2000-’01 season of the award-winning SyFy (then the Sci-Fi Channel) series produced by the Jim Henson Company, which remains a favorite among fantasy fans. The DVD boxed set retails for $39.95, the Blu-ray boxed set for $49.95. Both contain special features including audio commentaries, director’s cuts and retrospective interviews.
“FLASHPOINT”: THE FINAL SEA- SON (CBS DVD/Paramount): Toronto’s Strategic Response Unit calls it a day after 13 episodes from the 2012-’13 season of the award-winning Canadian crime series, broadcast by CBS in the US, with Enrico Colantoni, Hugh Dillon, David Paetkau and Amy Jo Johnson comprising the crack team. The DVD boxed set retails for $42.99.
“THE JERRY WARREN COLLECTION” (VCI Entertainment): The low-rent cinematic hackwork of writer/producer/ director Jerry Warren (1925-’88) – who specialized in picking up cheap exploitation films and incorporating new, equally cheap footage is, well, “commemorated” in this pair of DVDs, amusingly touted as “Positively No Refunds Triple Features”: Volume 1 includes Warren’s debut Man Beast (1956), The Wild World of Batwoman (1966) and John Carradine in 1964’s Curse of the Stone Hand; Volume 2 includes House of the Black Death (1965) with Carradine and Lon Chaney, Attack of the Mayan Mummy (1964) and Creature of the Walking Dead (1965). Each volume retails for $19.93.
LAUGHING TO THE BANK (One Village Entertainment): Crass, scattershot comedy about the personal and professional travails of actor Brian Hooks, who also wrote, directed, edited, produced and executive-produced. A few laughs but hardly enough. Rated R.
“L.A. LAW”: SEASON ONE (Shout! Factory): One of the most acclaimed legal series’ of all time makes it DVD debut, in a boxed set ($29.93 retail) containing all 22 episodes from the inaugural 1986-’87 season of the NBC drama created by Steven Bochco, starring Harry Hamlin, Jimmy Smits, Susan Dey, Corbin Bernsen, real-life couple Jill Eikenberry and Michael Tucker, Richard Dysart, Michele Greene, Alan Rachins and Susan Ruttan. Winner of five Emmy Awards including Outstanding Drama Series, Outstanding Directing in a Drama Series, Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series and Outstanding Guest Performer in a Drama Series (Alfre Woodard), with an additional 15 nominations including Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series (Bernsen), Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series (Dey and Eikenberry), Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series (Smits and Tucker), and Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series (Ruttan).
“MAMA’S FAMILY”: THE COMPLETE SEASON THREE (Star Vista Entertainment/Time Life): Vicki Lawrence returns as the ever-cranky Mama Harper in all 25 episodes from the 1986-’87 season of the situation comedy spun off from “The Carol Burnett Show.” Canceled by NBC, this marked the first season broadcast in syndication – where it lasted four more years.
Other regulars included Ken Berry and Dorothy Lyman, with guest appearances by Betty White, Lewis Arquette, Dr. Joyce Brothers and Brent Spiner. Emmy nomination for Outstanding Costume Design for a Series. The DVD boxed set retails for $29.95. StarVista/Time Life also offers the self-explanatory boxed set “Mama’s Family: The Complete Series” ($199.95 retail) available exclusively through MamasFamilyDVDs.com.
“THE RETURNED”: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON (Music Box Films Home Entertainment): The residents of a remote French alpine village are shocked when the dead return to life and try to reintegrate themselves into their former lives, in all eight episodes from the inaugural 2012 season of the acclaimed French TV series (AKA Les Revenants), based on the 2004 thriller They Came Back, and broadcast in the US on the Sundance Channel. Winner of the International Emmy Award for Best Drama, the cast includes Anne Consigny, Frederic Pierrot, Clotilde Hesme and Celine Sallette. In French with English subtitles. The DVD collection retails for $29.95, the Blu-ray collection for $34.95.
“VEEP”: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON (HBO): Julia Louis-Dreyfus reprises her Emmy-winning role (Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series) as the nation’s vice-president in all 10 episodes from the 2013 season of the critically-acclaimed HBO comedy series, for which Tony Hale also won the Emmy (as Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series), with three additional nominations including Outstanding Comedy Series and Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series (Anna Chlumsky). The DVD boxed set retails for $39.98, the Blu-ray boxed set for $49.99.
“WHITE HOUSE REVEALED” (Inception Media Group): Martin Sheen narrates this Smithsonian Channel documentary ($12.98 retail) about the history of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. !
MARK BURGER can be heard Friday mornings on the “Two Guys Named Chris” radio show on Rock-92. ‘© 2014, Mark Burger.