New TV on DVD and Blu-ray: 2 Broke Girls, Arrow, Homeland and The Mentalist

  • Actors: Kat Dennings, Beth Behrs, Garrett Morris, Jonathan Kite, Matthew Moy
  • Writers: Michael Patrick King, Whitney Cummings
  • Producers: Michael Patrick King
  • Format: AC-3, Box set, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: French, Mandarin Chinese, Spanish, Portuguese
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: September 24, 2013
  • Run Time: 576 minutes

  • 2 Broke Girls: The Complete Second Season


            If sexual innuendo and jokes at the intelligence level of a fifteen-year-old boy are still humorous to you, or if you still are fifteen, “2 Broke Girls” will make you laugh. I watch the series with mild amusement, mostly because I have met girls like the foul-mouthed and sex-obsessed Max (Kat Denning), as well as the superficial and self-involved Caroline (Beth Behrs). I watch the show because I can turn it off after twenty minutes, reminded why I no longer see those girls.


            Max and Caroline work in a Brooklyn diner, although it often appears much more like the trendy hipster cities of Los Angeles than New York. Global location aside, the diner is a dump which is run by a small and young Asian man named Han (Matthew Moy), with a few rarely working employees that include Earl (Garrett Morris) and the lecherous cook, Oleg (Jonathan Kite). Max and Carline also have a sex-obsessed neighbor named Sophie (Jennifer Coolidge). In fact, the only time they aren’t discussing sex on some level is when they discuss cupcakes.


            Attempting to escape their job, the girls try and start up a cupcake business. This season they open a store, which doesn’t really go anywhere, but they have a few relationships along the way. The series is full of many devices to keep them from succeeding too soon, because what kind of show called “2 Broke Girls” has successful entrepreneurs.


            The DVD release for the second season of 2 Broke Girls has all twenty-four episodes on three discs. There are also a handful of special features dispersed among the discs, including unaired scenes and a gag reel. The rest of the features are a bit like imagine Max’s cupcakes; enjoyable but void of any nutritional value.


    Entertainment Value: 8/10

    Quality of Filmmaking: 6/10

    Historical Significance: 6/10

    Disc Features: 6/10


  • Actors: Stephen Amell, Katie Cassidy, Colin Donnell, David Ramsey, Willa Holland
  • Director: Guy Norman Bee
  • Format: AC-3, Box set, DTS Surround Sound, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 9
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • Release Date: September 17, 2013
  • Run Time: 989 minutes

    Arrow: The Complete First Season


            First and foremost, Arrow is yet another CW series. This means a familiar polished set of colorful visuals, a cast of actors who either look too young or too old for the role they are playing, and a number of predictably melodramatic love triangle situations. Production design and casting choices aside, “Arrow” actually stands above many other CW series of recent history. They seem to make shows directed exclusively at teenagers, younger the better, but “Arrow” has a few things going for it that make up for the show’s sillier aspects.


            I have never read any Green Arrow comics, although I find it interesting that Green is such a popular color to attach to any superhero type character. Whether or not this series stays close to the comics is a mystery to me, but the narrative in this series is something of a blend between Robin Hood and Hamlet. As unoriginal as some of these story elements are, including a crime fighting costume that looks like a bad-ass Robin Hood with a mask, at least they have ground the story in solid narratives. On top of this solid foundation, the series makes bold choice to keep the origin story something of a mystery, told only through flashback sequences. This helps keep the series interesting, especially when the stale teen melodrama begins to take over.


            There is also a great deal of action, and it is all done somewhat realistically. Though the logic of some of the arrows is about as believable as the gadgets James Bond was using not too long ago, there are no superhuman elements within the storyline. The action is a mixture of MMA fighting and parkour, all rather impressively choreographed. This helps to overlook the fact that nearly every set seems to be backlit by green gels. Or that an enormously large percentage of the cast members have green eyes, despite it being the rarest color. If you can ignore this sledgehammer attempts at subtle imagery, there are some sincerely compelling action storylines to make this one of the more solid superhero series.


            In a new trend from Warner Brothers Home Entertainment, the Blu-ray release of “Arrow” comes with a DVD and Ultraviolet copy as well. The only problem with this generous addition is the amount of space the additional discs take up. Suddenly this single season is a massive box set, albeit an impressive one. The special features helped me out in understanding some of the origins for the story with the “Arrow Comes Alive” featurette, as well as a look at the stunts and choreography training for the film’s impressive action. There are also unaired scenes, a gag reel and footage from Paleyfest with the cast and crew of the series.  



    Entertainment Value: 8/10

    Quality of Filmmaking: 5/10

    Historical Significance: 6/10

    Disc Features: 7/10


  • Actors: Claire Danes, Damian Lewis, Morena Baccarin, Jackson Pace, Morgan Saylor
  • Directors: Daniel Attias, David Semel, Guy Ferland, Jeremy Podeswa, John Dahl
  • Format: Blu-ray, DTS Surround Sound, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (DTS 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Dubbed: English
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • Blu-ray Release Date: September 10, 2013
  • Run Time: 629 minutes
    Homeland: The Complete Second Season
            When “24” came out it was the first post-9/11 terrorist thriller on television, and for a few years it seemed cutting edge. Even with the absurdity of the time constraint gimmick, “24” had moments of brilliance, and it provided a cathartic and patriotic win against terrorism. After the series had been done to death, writers Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa moved on to loosely adapt the Israeli series entitled “Hatufim,” which means Prisoner of War.
    “Homeland” is a much more complex and character driven than “24” was, filled with a certain amount of intensity and action while also retaining a certain level of realism. It follows the suspicions of CIA agent Carrie Mathison (Golden Globe winner Claire Danes), a bipolar woman with an obsession destroyed her career in the first season. When a marine is rescued after being a prisoner of the Al Qaeda for years, Carrie suspects that he may have been turned. Sgt. Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis) returns home a different man, which is apparent to his family as well as Carrie. The question remains whether this is simple post traumatic stress or whether Brody has been turned into a sleeper agent plotting a terrorist attack against the country.
            Season one ended in such a way that suggested Brody’s secrets would remain hidden, dragging the same premise out for another season. Fortunately, this was not the case. What makes “Homeland” remain compelling in the second season is the way in which the writer’s are unafraid to tear everything down in order to take the series in a new direction. The manner in which the second season ends also suggests a whole new approach in season three. Television used to be safe and dull, predictably formatted in the series and each individual episode. “Homeland” follows none of those rules, and is one of the reasons why television has grown more sophisticated.
            The 3-disc set includes all twelve season two episodes, along with exclusive story extensions and a prologue to season three. There are also some deleted scenes, a featurette about the finale and the sequences shot in Israel, and a Super 8 film diary by Damian Lewis.
    Entertainment Value: 9/10
    Quality of Filmmaking: 8.5/10
    Historical Significance: 8/10
    Disc Features: 8/10

  • Actors: Simon Baker, Robin Tunney, Tim Kang, Owain Yeoman, Amanda Righetti
  • Writer: Bruno Heller
  • Producers: Bruno Heller, Chris Long, Tom Szentgyorgyi, Daniel Cerone, Eoghan Mahony
  • Format: AC-3, Box set, Color, Dolby, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Spanish, Portuguese, Mandarin Chinese, Thai, French
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 5
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: September 17, 2013
  • Run Time: 946 minutes

  • The Mentalist: The Complete Fifth Season


            There are a dozen different ways that “The Mentalist” can be compared to other shows. You could easily compare it to the cable show “Psych,” but I tend to find similarities with this show and “Lie to Me.” Both use the study of human behavior in order to deduce the truth behind a crime. “Lie to Me” was about a man brilliantly able to detect lies, better than a polygraph. There is a sequence in “The Mentalist” in which a suspect says that he heard Patrick Jane (Simon Baker) could tell when anyone was lying.


            Simon Baker is what truly seems to make the show work the way it does. It is a dark show about a celebrity psychic whose family was murdered by a serial killer named Red John, following some ill-made arrogant remarks about catching him. Although Jane is a grieving father and husband dedicated to hunting down the man responsible for vengeance, Baker plays the role in a carefree manner that is likeable. He is nearly always jovial and easy-going despite the heavy weight that he carries, making his character a unique addition to the investigative detective genre.


            Jane works alongside a team of specially trained detectives in California. The team is headed up by Teresa Lisbon (Robin Tunney) along with Wayne Rigsby (Owain Yeoman), Grace Van Pelt (Amanda Righetti), and Agent Kimball Cho (Tim Kang). They catch a variety of killers and every once and a while an episode continues the Red John narrative, which tends to remove the lighter tone of the show. More episodes seem dedicated to Red John season five, which makes me wonder if the final season is upon us.


            All twenty-two season five episodes are includes in this five disc set, along with a handful of special features. There are two featurettes; one follows the process of production, from script to screen, while the other deals with the process of training given to the actors in order to behave like real law enforcement.



    Entertainment Value: 8/10

    Quality of Filmmaking: 7.5/10

    Historical Significance: 7/10

    Disc Features: 6/10



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