A “modern-day” Western and the latest season of “Scandal” lead these TV shows on DVD released this week.
“State Trooper” (Timeless/NBC/Universal/DVD, 1956-59, b/w, 11 discs, 104 episodes, pilot episode, four episodes of other ‘50s TV series). This half-hour series set in contemporary Nevada (in the 1950s) stars Rod Cameron, a B-movie actor who began making movies in the 1930s but became famous for the B-Westerns he starred in during the 1940s and ‘50s (and more sporadically through the ‘60s), first at Universal and then for the poverty-row studio Monogram.
In this three-season half-hour crime drama, Cameron plays Officer Rod Blake, an investigator who travels the state, from Reno to Las Vegas, from Lake Tahoe to the Mojave Desert, etc., tracking killers, kidnappers, sometimes going undercover. The emphasis is on action, and fans of vintage TV won’t be disappointed.
Among the guest stars are a slew of up-and-comers who later hit it big, or at least, bigger: Angie Dickinson, James Coburn, Lee Van Cleef, Robert Vaughn, Richard Farnsworth, Michael Landon (twice), Carolyn Jones, Mike Conners (twice), Amanda Blake, Beverly Garland, the Ames Brothers (to include Ed Ames) and many more.
“Scandal: The Complete Third Season” (ABC/DVD, 2013-14, five discs, 18 episodes, deleted scenes, extended finale, featurettes, bloopers). This is an enjoyable but truly bonkers political-thriller series that has gone from outrageous to wacky over the course of three seasons.
Kerry Washington is great in the lead role as a management-crisis expert, now having to navigate the public revelation in Season 3’s cliffhanger that she is the mistress of the U.S. president (Tony Goldwyn). Lisa Kudrow comes onboard for four episodes as a Congresswoman. (Season 4 began this week.)
“Mom: The Complete First Season” (Warner/DVD, 2013-14, three discs, 22 episodes, bloopers). Allison Janney and Anna Faris both have great comic chops and demonstrate terrific chemistry, so they can do a lot with the dialogue in this sitcom, even when the script veers into raunchy or tasteless arenas. Faris plays a former alcoholic and Janney plays her mother, also a former substance abuser. The emphasis is on the fact that their abuse is behind them and they are “recovering,” so it’s a little easier to laugh at the situations, and the show does have wit. Also, the great Octavia Spencer and the hilarious Kevin Pollak have recurring roles. (Season 2 begins Sept. 29.)
“Nashville: The Complete Second Season” (ABC/DVD, 2013-14, five discs, deleted scenes, featurette, bloopers). After the previous season’s cliffhanger, Rayna (Connie Britton) is in a coma, but she’ll recover by the end of the first episode, with a number of new soap opera machinations being set in motion. Guest stars playing themselves this season include Michelle Obama, Brad Paisley, Kellie Pickler and Conan O’Brien. (Season 3 began this week.)
“Key & Peele: Season Three” (Comedy Central/Paramount/Blu-ray/DVD, Van and Mike skit, featurette, bloopers). The former “MADtv” comics Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele do more outrageous skit comedy in a show that is part live and part filmed, with both scripted and improvised material.
“Postman Pat: The Movie” (Paramount/DVD, 2014). This British feature-length stop-motion cartoon is a spinoff of the “Postman Pat” series for preschoolers about a rural mail carrier and his cat. The movie has Pat winning a talent contest, but while he’s preoccupied robots infiltrate the post office as part of a plan to take over the world.
“The Tom and Jerry Show: Frisky Business” (Warner/DVD, 2014, two discs, 13 episodes). These episodes, each featuring two cartoons, are from the new Cartoon Network show, not the ‘70s series, with the titular cat and mouse as adversaries and occasionallt as partners in various schemes.
“The Littlest Pet Shop: Passport to Fashion” (Shout! Kids/Hasbro/DVD, 2014, five episodes, sing-along). Collection of Season 2 episodes from the animated show about a teenage girl who talks with the animals in the pet store beneath her apartment, and who dreams of becoming a fashion designer.