What to Watch: Sept. 10-16, 2013

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Average: 5 (1 vote)

CHICAGO – The most TV-centric column yet advising What to Watch on DVD, Blu-ray, Netflix, Amazon, On Demand, and more is another nearly random collection of offerings that you can use to guide your way through the new releases shelf at Best Buy, the On Demand section on Vudu, the store on iTunes, and maybe even Netflix and Hulu. Pick your favorites. This is the way we’d rank these new releases if you have a free night this weekend or money to burn next week.

Parade's End
Parade’s End
Photo credit: HBO

“Parade’s End”

Fans of “Star Trek Into Darkness” and “Sherlock” really need to see what the great Benedict Cumberbatch (also appearing in “The Fifth Estate” and “August: Osage County” this week (he’s blowing up) does here in this great adaptation of the novels by Ford Madox Ford. He’s simply great and matched perfectly by Emmy-worthy performances from Rebecca Hall and Adelaide Clemens. It’s one of the most impressive productions on any network this year and HBO brought it stateside, meaning that it also gets the great treatment of that company — excellent HD quality, an interview with the legendary Tom Stoppard, and an UltraViolet version.

From my TV review: “Five hours spent in Edwardian England can be a lot to ask for most audiences and I’m a little surprised that HBO is pushing it all out in one week (all five hours are actually available on HBO Go after tonight’s first two hours). Although this seems to be the new model, a la Netflix’s “House of Cards.” And, for the right audience, they’ll happily spend five hours in the impressive world of “Parade’s End.”

Special Features:
o Tom Stoppard Interview on KCRW’s The Treatment with Elvis Mitchell

Where to Watch: Blu-ray, DVD, HBO Go, Vudu, iTunes

Sons of Anarchy: Season Five
Sons of Anarchy: Season Five
Photo credit: Fox

“Sons of Anarchy: Season Five”

“Sons of Anarchy” had its sixth season premiere last night and you may want to catch up before this season is inevitably available on Netflix (like the first four seasons). Or perhaps you want to own one of the ten best shows of 2012 in HD with the special features that don’t come with streaming services. However you watch, this season of “SoA” was the best yet — dark, captivating, and enlivened by supporting turns from Harold Perrineau, Jimmy Smits and more. “SoA” fans are a loyal, devoted bunch, and Fox treats them very well with their home releases, including extended episodes. More season five SAMCRO? Sign me up.

From my TV review: “When you feel your way of life is threatened to the point that you need to take drastic action like murder to save it, what comes from that? Revenge breeds revenge. Crime breeds crime. And as past decisions have piled up at the door of SAMCRO, “Sons of Anarchy” has become more and more stunning television.

Special Features:
o Creator’s Cut Extended Episodes
o Deleted Scenes
o Commentary On Select Episodes
o Gag Reel
o Opie Winston
o Kurt Sutter: Creating Anarchy
o Fan Concert At The Clubhouse

Where to Watch: Blu-ray, DVD, Vudu, Amazon Instant, iTunes

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: Season Eight
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia: Season Eight
Photo credit: Fox

“It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia: Season Eight”

“Seinfeld on crack,” “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” recently helped FX launch their new brand, FXX, and the interesting thing is that the season nine premiere actually did better in the 18-34 demo than last season, meaning that FXX connected with its target audience — young viewers. Eight years in and the gang at Paddy’s Pub is still connecting more often than they fail. It may not be as consistent as it was in its prime but, like “Sons,” fans of “Sunny” are incredibly devoted. Buy one this season and remind them that the show is back and even better on FXX.

From my TV review: “Most comedies that have been on eight years show a little bit of wear and tear and the long-underrated “It’s Always Sunny” is no exception. In fact, the gang at Paddy’s Pub are fully aware that they’re repeating the same ridiculous schemes (it’s a theme of both episodes sent for review) and increasingly comment on how they’re running out of dumb ideas.

Special Features:
o Lady House: The Lost Premiere
o Frank Reynolds’ How To Be A Warthog
o Fat Mac: In Memoriam
o Commentary On Select Episodes
o Deleted Scenes
o Gag Reel

Where to Watch: Blu-ray, DVD, Vudu, Amazon Instant, iTunes

The League: Season Four
The League: Season Four
Photo credit: Fox

“The League: Season Four”

Season four of “The League” was undeniably funnier than season eight of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” and the ratings for the program have grown to match its more beloved lead-in. Could “The League” be on ten years like “Sunny”? It seems possible as the gang here show no sign of running out of gross-out ideas. The fifth season is now playing on FXX between “Sunny” and “Totally Biased” and the last year is available not only on Blu-ray and DVD but already on Netflix Streaming.

From my TV review: “What’s happened with “The League” is that the already-talented cast has gelled even more as an ensemble over the show’s four seasons. Katie Aselton & Mark Duplass have become increasingly better actors and the writing has elevated across the board. The idea that Taco owns “DallasCowboys.com” and has to sell it to Jerry Jones (who he calls Jerry Earl Jones and thinks played Darth Vader) is just inherently very funny. Playing a fantasy football match to determine if your son will be circumcised? Also very clever in the gross way that only “The League” seems capable of doing. The comedy ball has been passed on FX from “Sunny” to “The League” and they’re running with it.

Special Features:
o Extended Episodes
o Deleted Scenes
o Taco Tones
o Rafi’s Helpful Holiday Hints
o Witchy Woman Podcast
o Gag Reel
o Alt Nation

Where to Watch: Blu-ray, DVD, Netflix, Vudu, Amazon Instant, iTunes

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