The winds are gradually shifting—you can’t quite smell the holiday scent in the air, but you know it’s heading this way, just beyond the horizon. All the hoopla surrounding the iPhone is wafting away, and adults across the globe are putting their Harry Potter costumes in mothballs. The summer blockbuster theatrical releases have pretty much come and gone. Kids are heading back to school soon, giving parents a perfect opportunity to treat themselves to a little something as they trudge through the big box stores, school supplies lists in hand. The studios know this, and they’re tentatively releasing bigger titles—nothing that major, but enough to whet the appetite for the onslaught of boxed sets and special editions coming just in time for the holidays.
In other words, the good times have begun. So, with no pun intended, it seems only right that Weeds: The Complete Second Season should be the new release I choose to herald in the DVD highlights this week. Mary-Louise Parker stars as the soccer mom forced to deal, well, weed — to make ends meet after the death of her husband. It’s one of the most original comedies on television, and the second season is edgier than Season One, rife with social comment among the suburbs. I’ll have a full review of Season Two later this week, but in the meantime, this one is heartily recommended.
As high as I am on the DVD release of Weeds, it’s not the only TV DVD release this week. The trial attorney formerly known as the superhero Birdman, is featured in a handsome boxed set titled Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law (Vol.1-3). This six-disc set features Harvey’s highest (and lowest) moments as he defends fellow toons at their most litigious moments. While Harvey Birdman turns Hanna-Barberra characters on their heads, updating them for adults, The Ultimate Underdog Collection (volumes 1-3, sold separately) stands on its own, with no tweaking. They are digitally remastered, though, and each disc contains six full episodes of the sixties cartoon series, meaning you also get Go-Go Gophers and Tennessee Tuxedo shorts. Let’s see the Disney live-action “update” top that!
I’m hesitant to call Renaissance animation for fear that it might render it dismissable to some. Like Sin City and Through a Scanner Darkly, this futuristic crime thriller from France was originally shot with live actors against green screen, with animation effects added later. The result is a hyper-stylized noir story in the tradition of Bladerunner. It’s worth a look, if for the visuals alone.