TV trumps movies in new DVDs
TV shows are the best bets in this week's DVD releases.
The Mortal Instruments, City of Bones, Grade C-plus: In a world where there is no Twilight, Underworld, Stargate, or Star Wars, the film would be an interesting look at a magical universe where turmoil is divided between a war with demons and the battle for young love. But those films do exist, and that leaves City of Bones feeling mundane.
Director Harald Zwart, the man who gave us the abomination Pink Panther 2, shows an inability to blend big action with emotion, which should support each other, not feel like they're from two different scripts. Even the attempts to add a touch of humor - like suggesting a werewolf would feel more comfortable hanging his head out of a car window - don't come across as connected to the rest of the film.
Hot in Cleveland, Season 4, Grade B: Valerie Bertinelli, Jane Leeves, Wendie Malick, and Betty White continue to be the funniest comedy ensemble working in TV, network or cable. This season's series of adventures includes a work love triangle, landing movie roles, and preparing for a secret wedding. The DVD set features the live episode and the Mary Tyler Moore Show reunion with Valerie Harper, Cloris Leachman, and Georgia Engel.
Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, Grade A-minus: It's been 37 years since this syndicated series debuted and it remains as crisp and funny as ever because of the wicked writing used to poke fun at the soap opera world through the often foggy eyes of Mary (Louise Lasser).
This is a series that can go from a police investigation about a flasher to Hartman falling into a funk about how her floors don't seem to have the proper shine. Norman Lear's daytime TV sendup works on every level because of the strong supporting cast - Mary Kay Place, Greg Mullavey, Debralee Scott, and Dody Goodman. Included are all 325 episodes.
Also new on DVD:
The Smurfs 2: Gargamel creates troublesome Smurf-like creatures called the Naughties.
Drinking Buddies: Olivia Wilde and Anna Kendrick star.
The Wolverine: Hugh Jackman reprises his role as the blade-fisted hero.
All the Boys Love Mandy Lane: Amber Heard stars.
Galactic Adventures, 3D Sun/Mars 3D: Double feature that looks at the universe beyond Earth.
Boston Red Sox 2013 World Series Collector's Edition: Includes all six games of the Series and the pennant-clincher, ALCS Game 6.
Doctor Who - The Doctors Revisited, Ninth-Eleventh: Features Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant, and Matt Smith as the Doctor.
Duck Dynasty, Seasons 1-3: The first three seasons of the series.
Good Ol' Freda: Secretary Freda Kelly tells her stories of the Beatles for the first time in 50 years.
Hawaii Five-O, The Complete Series: Jack Lord stars in the cop drama that ran 12 seasons.
Civil War Double Feature: History Channel productions about the bloodiest war in U.S. history.
Power Rangers Legacy, The First 20 Seasons: DVD collection is limited to only 2,000 copies.