'Trek' on TV on DVD
The "Star Trek" universe is getting Cumberbatched on the big screen, but small-screen "Trek" is about rolling out more of the various series on Blu-ray. "Star Trek: The Next Generation" Season 3 is now available on Blu-ray, featuring one of the series' best episodes, the season finale cliffhanger in "The Best of Both Worlds," and bonus material like new cast interviews about the changes that occurred during the season (like the addition of Ronald D. Moore to the "Trek" universe), a look back at the return of Gates McFadden's Beverly Crusher, and anecdotes about the season.
Paramount also recently released "Star Trek: Enterprise — Season One" on Blu-ray, featuring Scott Bakula as Capt. Jonathan Archer, the man who would lead interstellar travel 100 years before Kirk and company. In fact, that was one reason "Quantum Leap" star Bakula agreed to join the "Trek" universe.
"I (had) a production deal at Paramount, and the guys there had been buddies of mine since 'Quantum Leap.' They'd run Universal Television when I was over there. They invited me into the office one day and said, 'Hey, listen, we're doing a new 'Star Trek' series and we want you to be a captain.' I immediately thought, I don't want to do that. … At the time, it was following Janeway and 'Voyager,' and I just thought, 'No, that doesn't sound good,'" Bakula tells Yahoo! TV. "Then they said, 'It's going to be 100 years before Kirk.' That was the big hook that lured me in, and I was extremely excited to have a shot at leading the whole series out, and so I took it."
Bakula, who says he became a Trekkie in college, joined his former co-stars and the "Enterprise" crew to make "To Boldly Go: Launching Enterprise," a new three-part documentary exclusive to the Blu-ray set. The feature includes Bakula and company discussing the development of "Enterprise," as well as the way the first season unfolded, and is the highlight of bonus material that also includes audio commentaries, deleted scenes, and new interviews.
[Photos: Hot Scotts on TV]
Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice!
How do you summon Beetlejuice? Repeat this: "Though I know I should be wary, Still I venture someplace scary, Ghostly hauntings I turn loose, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice!" Or, you can delve into Shout! Factory's new "Beetlejuice: The Complete Series," which collects all 94 episodes of the 1989-91 animated series based on Tim Burton's movie. The series, which won a 1990 Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Animated Program, maintained the humor of the movie and even kicked it up a notch with a lot of sight gags, wordplay, and pop culture spoofs.
Goth teen Lydia, as in the movie, is front and center in the series. She and BFF Beetlejuice hang out in the real world (the town of Peaceful Pines) and his alt-reality "Neitherworld." Beetlejuice often tries the patience of those around him, but Lydia is beloved in The Neitherworld, where Beetlejuice scams people with "baby-sitting" gigs (in which he, literally, sits on babies).
Shout! Factory will also release individual seasons of the series, one of the few shows to run on two different networks at the same time; "Beetlejuice" debuted on ABC's Saturday morning lineup and then began airing on Fox's weekday afternoon schedule.
There Will Be 'True Blood'
"True Blood: The Complete Fifth Season" (HBO) is the final season of the show headed by series creator Alan Ball, and it's one of the show's best seasons among the past few. Full of turns and great guest appearances (Christopher Meloni and Scott Foley), the season also ended with a cliffhanger that set up what promises to be a fun sixth season, even without Ball.
The Blu-ray boxed set is the way to go for the most devoted fan, as the set includes digital copies of all 12 episodes in Season 5, as well as audio commentaries with cast and crew, an interactive guide to Bon Temps residents, "Inside the Episodes" interviews with show writers, and enhanced viewing mode, which provides character bios, vampire backstory, flashbacks and flash-forwards, and series trivia while you're watching the episodes.
Other noteworthy TV DVD releases, including many more Father's Day gift options:
"Longmire: The Complete First Season" (Warner Home Video)
Robert Kelly ("The Matrix") is terrific as Wyoming Sheriff Walt Longmire in this A&E western-meets-cop drama, which kicks off its second season this week. In these 10 episodes, Longmire is still dealing with the death of his wife a year earlier, but a new deputy (Katee Sackhoff), his friend Henry (Lou Diamond Phillips), and his daughter help him embrace the duties of his position and try to fend off the ambitions of another deputy who wants his job. Bonus material in the boxed set include features on filming the series' beautiful Wyoming scenes (it's shot in New Mexico) and "Longmire Justice: Exploring the Cowboy Detective."
"30 Rock: The Final Season" (Universal)
The seventh season DVD set is appropriately packed with bonus goodies, like 10 deleted scenes, five audio commentaries from Tina Fey, Jane Krakowski, and producers Robert Carlock, Tracey Wigfield, and Jeff Richmond, and a set tour by Fey, who shares trivia along the way. The set also includes the "For a Song" episode of the animated Web series "The Donaghy Files," in which Jack (Alec Baldwin) auditions performers for the Super Bowl halftime show and makes Cee Lo Green, Michael McDonald, Ryan Adams, and Donald Glover sing the theme songs from old NBC shows like "Saved by the Bell" and "B.J. and the Bear."
"China Beach: The Complete Series" (StarVista Entertainment)
Fans have been anticipating the 1988-91 drama hitting DVD forever, and this collection was worth the wait. Twenty-one discs include all 62 episodes, plus a wealth of bonus material, including video of a cast reunion, audio commentaries, a 36-page collector's booklet, and interviews with producer John Wells and stars Dana Delany, Marg Helgenberger, and Robert Picardo. There's also behind-the-scenes footage from the series finale, roundtable discussions with the cast, and cool packaging that features a set of dog tags that can be removed. For an additional $75, fans get a 25th anniversary collector's edition that includes three original scripts from the show and photos from the series and "China Beach" reunion.
"Doctor Who: Series Seven, Part Two" Blu-ray (BBC Home Entertainment)
Still puzzled about what, exactly, that season finale meant? You're not alone. Perhaps a second viewing of the second half of Season 2 will offer some Doctor and Clara clarity.
"K-9: The Complete Series" (Shout! Factory)
And speaking of "Who"-ville, this 2009-10 kiddie series revolved around K-9, the robotic pooch who originated in the 1977 "Doctor Who" episode "The Invisible Enemy." The one-season series found a revamped K-9 in future London, teaming up with humans to thwart alien baddies. All 26 episodes produced are included in the set, along with a making-of featurette and an interview with K-9.
"Roseanne: The Complete Series" (Mill Creek Entertainment)
"That '70s Show: The Complete Series"
"3rd Rock From the Sun: The Complete Series"
Look past the no-frills packaging for these sets, which include the entire run of the comedy series at not-ridiculous prices. For "Roseanne," which remains one of the most underrated sitcoms in TV history, that means 27 discs, 222 episodes, and bonus material like cast and crew interviews, bloopers, and video commentaries. "That '70s Show" features 200 episodes and loads of bonus material like interviews and set tours, while "3rd Rock" includes all 139 episodes of the multiple Emmy winner, along with cast interviews, bloopers, audio commentaries, and the alternate series finale ending. Each set has a list price of under $70, so it's worth the price to own the entire series if these are among your favorite shows.
"Kenya Moore: Booty Boot Camp" (Acacia)
"Phine Body by Phaedra & Apollo Donkey Booty Extreme" 2-DVD Set (Watch It Now Entertainment)
It's "The Real Housewives of Atlanta" booty battles! Phaedra Parks and husband Apollo are offering a donkey booty, while former Miss USA Kenya Moore promises the chance to shape a stallion booty. Both fitness releases offer challenging workouts and are easy to follow, so where you find your inspiration and booty workout instruction will probably be with the "Housewives" star you're willing to spend an hour with each day.
"Covert Affairs: Season Three" (Universal)
Annie (Piper Perabo) gets assigned to a new, more covert division in Season 3 — and a potential new relationship with a surprise kiss in the season finale. Catch up in time for Season 4, which premieres on USA on July 16.
"Fringe: The Complete Fifth Season" Blu-ray (Warner Home Video)
Also known as the final season of the show that brought beloved "Dawson's Creek" star Joshua Jackson back to primetime. The action-packed and emotional (Peter! Walter! Etta!) last season includes 13 episodes, plus bonus material like deleted scenes, audio commentary, an interview with series creator J.J. Abrams, a gag reel, the cast's 2012 Comic-Con panel, digital copies of all 13 episodes, and a script of the series finale.
"Doc Martin Special Collection: Series 1-5" (Acorn)
In this British dramedy, the titular Doc is Martin Ellingham (Martin Clunes), a London surgeon who has to give up his job when he develops a fear of blood. He retrains to become a general doctor and moves to a small seaside town, where his lack of bedside manner (think "House") offends everyone. The boxed set includes all five seasons of the show, as well as two "Doc Martin" movies.
"Gunsmoke: The Eighth Season, Vol. 1 and 2" (Paramount)
Season 8 of the classic western series includes 38 black-and-white episodes and features the series' debut of town blacksmith Quint Asper, played by Burt Reynolds.
"Have Gun Will Travel: The Sixth and Final Season, Vol. 1 and 2" (Paramount)
Another classic western series saved one of its best episodes to open the final season: "Genesis," which unfolds the backstory of how hired gun Paladin (Richard Boone) became Paladin.
"Max & Ruby: A Bunny for Every Season" (Nickelodeon)
The cute Nick series about bunny siblings Max and his big sis, Ruby, gets a fantastic boxed set treatment, as 48 stories are collected on four season-themed discs, including "Springtime for Max & Ruby," "Summertime with Max & Ruby," "Perfect Pumpkin!" and "Everybunny Loves Winter!"
"James A. Michener's Texas" (Paramount)
Miniseries have made a comeback on TV recently, so it's fun to have the chance to look back at a gem like this one, a 1994 adaptation of the James Michener novel about the war for Texas independence. Among the famous names in the movie: "Dallas" star Patrick Duffy as "Father of Texas" Stephen Austin and "Dukes of Hazzard" and "Smallville" alum John Schneider as Davy Crockett, plus Ricky Schroder, "Melrose Place" star Grant Show, and Benjamin Bratt.
"Missions That Changed the War: The Doolittle Raid" (Acorn)
Gary Sinise narrates this compelling Military Channel series about the historic mission, led by aviator Jimmy Doolittle, that changed the outcome of World War II. The daring mission, ordered by President Franklin Roosevelt in response to the attack on Pearl Harbor, is recalled through historic footage, interviews with four of the crewman involved, maps, commentary by experts, and an interview with Doolittle's official biographer.
"Naked City: 20 Star-Filled Episodes" (Image)
This 1958-63 ABC police drama was inspired by the 1948 "Naked City" movie and unfolded in the documentary-ish style of the movie. The series was also one of the first to be filmed on the streets of New York City and, as this collection emphasizes, was a magnet for guest stars who would go on to major Hollywood success,. Guest celebs in this five-disc set include Robert Redford, Gene Hackman, Robert Duvall, Dustin Hoffman, James Caan, William Shatner, Christopher Walken, Dennis Hopper, and "All in the Family" stars Jean Stapleton and Carroll O'Connor.
"West Point: The Complete TV Series" (Timeless Media)
Another blast-from-the past gem, this 1956-57 anthology series aired for 40 episodes and unfolded stories about real-world dramas at West Point (with the full cooperation of the U.S. government), with guest stars like Larry Hagman, Steve McQueen, Clint Eastwood, Leonard Nimoy, and Barbara Eden, and with nine episodes written by a pre-"Star Trek" Gene Roddenberry.
"Johnny Sokko and His Flying Robot" (Shout! Factory)
The set includes all 26 episodes of the 1967-68 campy live-action series about young Johnny and his Flying Robot, which Johnny controlled with his voice, turning Flying Robot on all the baddies with plans to destroy Earth.
"Rocko's Modern Life: The Complete Series" (Shout! Factory)
All 52 episodes of the cult favorite 1993-96 Nick 'toon are collected in this set, a must-own not just for the "Rocko" devoted, but also fans of the show's trademark clever, irreverent brand of humor (think "SpongeBob" and "Phineas and Ferb").
"Ripper Street" on Blu-ray (BBC Home Entertainment)
Season 2 will come next year, so catch up now with this cop drama about the seediest streets of Victorian London, where Inspector Edmund Reid (Matthew Macfayden) tries to keep people safe after failing to catch the notorious Jack the Ripper.
"Pioneers of Television: Season Three" (PBS)
Kelsey Grammer narrates PBS's terrific documentary series about the history of TV. Included in this season are episodes on "Funny Ladies" (Carol Burnett, Mary Tyler Moore, and more), "Prime Time Soaps" ("Dallas," "Knots Landing," and "Dynasty"), "Superheroes" ("Batman"), and "Miniseries" ("Roots" and "The Thorn Birds").
"Mystery Science Theater 3000: XXVI" (Shout! Factory)
The four previously unreleased episodes in this set include "The Magic Sword," "Danger!! Death Ray," "The Mole People," and "Alien From L.A.," plus bonus goodies like director interviews, miniposters, and the feature "Life After MST3K: Mike Nelson."
[Video: TV's 11 Most Disturbing Moments]
"Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries: Series 1" Blu-ray (Acorn Media)
This high-budget Australian drama — based on author Kerry Greenwood's series of novels — revolves around Phryne Fisher (Essie Davis), a glamorous private eye in 1920s Melbourne (think "Flapper, P.I."). She's single (and committed to staying single), good at her job, supersharp, and fashionably attired. Here's hoping an American TV network decides to take a stab at adapting the series — Miss Fisher in New York City?