It's a major week for DVD and Blu-Ray releases, with a variety of shows/seasons now available for your living room viewing pleasure.
Which are worth your time and money? And which can you win a free-signed copy of via our simple giveaway form? The answers await...
Banshee Season 1: A mysterious loner (Antony Starr) shows up in the town of Banshee, PA, takes over life of the incoming sheriff (who nobody has met yet) and, along with the man’s former lover/partner in crime (Ivana MiliÄeviÄ‡) and a complicated Amish community, the adventure begins.
The fantastic extras for the first season Banshee release take us inside the opening sequence so you can uncover the clues with an interactive feature, the feature “Reveal The Code,” and the Banshee: Origins comic book where you get the whole story o Starr'sf Lucas Hood. You’ll also be treated to commentaries on select episodes by producers, directors and cast, episode recaps, deleted scenes and a second season trailer to get excited for what’s to come next.
More good news? The fine HBO/Cinemax folks sent over three DVD copies signed by cast members Starr, MiliÄeviÄ‡, Hoon Lee, Lili Simmons, Creator/showrunner Greg Yaitanes and Creator/Writer Jonathan Trooper. We'll select three (3) winners who will be sent one (1) signed DVD each. Just follow any or all of the following steps to be entered. The giveaway ends on Monday, August 12. Good luck!
As for what else is available…
Duck Dynasty Season 3: For reasons unbeknownst to anyone, The Robertson family of A&E’s Duck Dynasty have grabbed the hearts and attention of American TV viewers, making it one of the biggest hits on cable. The two-disc DVD release contains all 13 episodes of the third season including bonus, never-before-seen footage. Poo-poo reality TV all you want, but if you’re looking at the ones that are captivating (even when you’re not sure why) Duck Dynasty leads the pack.
The Thick Of It (Series 1-4): If you didn’t know the name Peter Capaldi before he was announced as the new Doctor Who, you sure do now... and what great timing for the four series of Capaldi’s sitcom – which inspired HBO’s hit, Veep, which creator Armando Iannucci also created – to come to DVD. Like Veep, The Thick Of It follows the inner workings of a country’s government, this time the UKs with the same hilarity. This release comes with all 24-episodes on 7 discs, specials “Rise of the Nutters” and “Spinners and Losers” and more that will give you an idea of what Mr. Capaldi may bring to Doctor Who.
Smash Season 2: This ambitious drama will go down in TV history as one that failed to meet its ambitions. That said, the second (and final) season of the behind-the-scenes look at Broadway isn’t without some merit. Great guest stars like Sean Hayes, Liza Minnelli, Bernadette Peters, Jennifer Hudson, Daniel Sunjata brought a shine to the show but other elements – like resting so much of the story on the challenged acting styles of Katharine McPhee – killed any momentum that the show would have had if it had focused more on Megan Hilty and pretty much anyone else in the cast. Still, the second season is not a total disaster and all 17 episodes are out on DVD and Blu-ray for you to fast forward through the not-so-good parts to jump to the elements of the show that deserved much better.
Political Animals Complete Series: When we talk about series that died too young, this Greg Berlanti-created drama about life for the fictional family in the White House will probably be in the mix. Clearly inspired by Hillary Clinton, Sigourney Weaver’s Elaine Barrish does a solid job as a former First Lady and, now, Secretary of State. But this is a family drama with Elaine’s ambitious son (always terrific James Wolk), drug-troubled gay son (the fabulous Sebastian Stan), wacky mother (the always fabulous Ellen Burstyn), blowhard ex-husband (a grating Ciaran Hinds) and the ambitious journalist (Carla Gugino). Produced as a 6-hour limited series, USA decided not to continue the story even though fans clearly loved the show (though ratings were not exactly off the charts). The six episodes are now available on DVD on two discs and are definitely worth the watch.
The Dick Van Dyke Show Season 5: If you grabbed the fourth season, which just came out, keep your collection going with the fifth season of the classic sitcom. The Blu-ray release contains all 31 episodes in High Def pulled directly from the 35mm negatives. This release includes a TV Academy tribute to creator (and comedy great) Carl Reiner, network promo spots, commentary from star Dick Van Dyke and Reiner as well as clips from the TV Land Awards when the show was honored. Fabulous!
Jim Halterman is the West Coast Editor of TV Fanatic and the owner of JimHalterman.com. Follow him on Twitter.