* The Rockford Files: Movie Collection, Vol. 1: It’s like I said in my review: if these movies aren’t necessarily up to the standards of the original series – and let’s face it: they often aren’t – it’s so good to see James Garner, Stuart Margolin, and Joe Santos back in their familiar roles that it hardly matters.
* The Shield: The Complete Series Collection: Similarly, I’ll let Jason’s review speak for this set. “From its great ensemble cast and the memorable group of characters they portrayed, to the writing team’s ability to consistently hammer out quality and controversial storylines, ‘The Shield’ is by far one of the best cop dramas ever produced. Nay, one of the best dramas, period. It may not have gotten the attention it deserved during its seven years on the air, but its release on DVD will ensure that the legacy lives on for many years to come. If nothing else, you can expect it to be heavily referenced when the next great cop drama arrives on television, because while ‘The Shield’ may not have invented the wheel, it definitely burned the rubber off the tires enough times for people to take notice.” I have no doubt that he’s right. And one of these days, maybe I’ll even get a chance to sit down and watch it myself.
* Will Ferrell: You’re Welcome, America – A Final Night with George W. Bush: Adam McKay described Ferrell’s one-man Broadway show as “one of those great projects where you really walk in not at all caring about what the critics are going to say.” That’s probably a good thing, given what Jeff Giles, has to say about it. (To be fair, though, even McKay admitted that, although “the director of our special, Marty Callner, did an amazing job, nothing ever matches the live experience. The people who saw it live had a totally different reaction to it.”)
* Mission: Impossible – The Final TV Season: By the time this, the show’s seventh season, rolled around, you needed a formal checklist to cite all of the people whose departure left fans saying that it “hasn’t been the same since.” There’s no Martin Landau, no Barbara Bain…even Leonard Nimoy was gone by this point. But, hey, the big three – Peter Graves, Greg Morris, and Peter Lupus – are still around, with Lynda Day George serving as the season’s predominant femme fatale. Now that the whole series is available, when are we going to get the 1988 revival released on DVD?
* Spin City: Season Three: Shout Factory must’ve blown its whole bonus-material budget for the show on the Season 1 set, because we haven’t seen a single special feature since, but at least the comedy keeps on coming.
* Star Wars: The Clone Wars – The Complete Season One: Your mileage on this show varies by how much you can stand of George Lucas’s prequels, but at the very least, it looks and sounds good.
* Walt Disney Treasures: Zorro – The Complete First Season / Walt Disney Treasures: Zorro – The Complete Second Season: Once upon a time, when Antonio Banderas was merely a twinkle in his father’s eye, Guy Williams was dressed in black and bringing a whole new meaning to the phrase “cutting Z’s.” As usual, you can count on Disney to hook you up with a plethora of classic bonus material.
* Doctor Who: The War Games / Doctor Who: The Black Guardian Trilogy: What the…? Our man Ross has written full-length reviews for both sets? I am shocked. Shocked. Sounds like “The Black Guardian Trilogy” might be pretty good if you just skipped over the middle part of the trilogy. As for “The War Games,” while Ross says it’s “difficult to recommend…to people unfamiliar with it,” it’s a fantastic set for fans, and “the transfer and restoration work are just freaking gorgeous.”
* Fraggle Rock: The Complete Series Collection: Dance your cares away, worries for another day, and let the music play down in Fraggle Rock for as long as you can stand to watch. But given that it’s a Jim Henson production, you can probably stand to watch for a very long time, indeed. Actually, this isn’t the first time we’ve been offered a complete-series set for this show, but as someone who owns the notebook-styled version that came out last year, where the DVDs fall out way too easily, I can assure you that you’ll be a lot better off if you pick up this one instead.
* G.I. Joe: Resolute: I haven’t seen this Cartoon Network series, nor have I seen the new movie, but I don’t think I’m going too far out on a limb to suggest that this might be better than the movie. Or, at least, that’s the buzz, anyway.
Other releases this week:
* Ruby-Spears Superman:
* Here’s Lucy: Season 2:
* The Donna Reed Show: Season 3
* Art 21: Season 5
* Edge of Darkness: The Complete BBC Series
And – ho, ho, ho! – a trio of holiday releases for the kiddies:
* Dora the Explorer: Dora’s Christmas Carol Adventure
* Thomas & Friends: Holiday Express
* Merry Sitcom! Christmas Classics from TV’s Golden Age