DVD Releases for Sept 29th, 2009.

The hoiday season is starting to rear it’s ugly head. This week sees a couple of box sets that will almost certainly end up as gifts to some of our loved ones: Acorn Media is presenting FOYLE’S WAR megaset and Fox is deliving the complete series of THE UNIT.

Cagney & Lacey: The Menopause Years Four-disc set featuring: “Cagney & Lacey: The Return” (November 1994), “Cagney & Lacey: Together Again” (May 2, 1995), “Cagney & Lacey: The View Through the Glass Ceiling” (October 25, 1995) and “Cagney & Lacey: True Convictions” (January 29, 1996). Extras: Interviews with Sharon Gless, Tyne Daly, producer Barney Rosenzweig and writer Barbara Corday. $39.95 (S’More Entertainment).

“In my house, John Leonard began in his New York magazine review, of December 1994, Cagney & Lacey was to prime time what The Golden Notebook had been to modern novels and modern marriage: street-smart feminism: politics and friendship; therapy on the barricades; brains on a rampage. Before Doris Lessing, we had never heard women talk like that in fiction. Before Cagney & Lacey, we d never seen them act like that on television. Without Chris and Mary Beth, Thelma and Louise would not have been imaginable. And so it s a joy to have them back… Mr. Leonard concluded his review with the cogent observation, older, thicker, smarter, wrinkled and not the least bit apologetic about it.

As the producer of the original series and these reunion films, there is not much I care to add … except perhaps this: most professional analysts of these films invariably make some reference to the fact that during the series six years on the air, no other actress…NOT ONE… only Tyne Daly or Sharon Gless… would win the EMMY for Best Dramatic Actress in a television series. These movies seemed to serve as a reminder to those commentators as to why that was.

Inside this package you will also find some history excerpted from my memoir “Cagney & Lacey… and Me”. along with some other observations about the four reunion films made in the mid-1990s each here on separate discs.. The films herein, individually labeled Cagney & Lacey: The Return, Cagney & Lacey: Together Again, Cagney & Lacey: The View From The Glass Ceiling and Cagney & Lacey: True Convictions. Collectively they were all lovingly known as Cagney & Lacey: The Menopause Years. ”

CSI: NY: The Fifth Season (2008-09) Gary Sinise, Melina Kanakaredes, Carmine Giovinazzo, Anna Belknap, Hill Harper. Six-disc set with 25 episodes, $71.41. (Paramount).

Foyle’s War From Dunkirk to VE Day (Sets 1-5) Nineteen-disc set of the acclaimed WWII British detective series starring Michael Kitchen’ aired on PBS. $149.99. (Acorn Media).

“Featuring the first collection of the universally acclaimed WWII detective series starring Michael Kitchen, Foyle’s War: From Dunkirk to VE Day (Sets 1-5) arrives on DVD from Acorn Media on September 29, 2009. One of the most highly acclaimed and popular programs on PBS, Foyle’s War features 19 riveting mysteries set against the backdrop of real World War II history. Foyle’s War, Set 1 is Acorn Media’s No. 1 best selling DVD, with all five sets ranking in the top 20 life to date. The 19-Disc Collection features all of the series’ previously aired episodes (Sets 1-5), spanning the dark days of Dunkirk (1940) to Victory in Europe (1945), as well several bonus features, including exclusive interviews, and making-of documentaries, in a new, slimmed down configuration ($149.99, www.AcornOnline.com).

Combining uncompromising historical accuracy with compelling, character-driven murder mysteries, this award-winning British series has won unqualified critical praise and undying viewer loyalty since its premiere on ITV in the U.K. in October 2002 and PBS in February 2003. Despite reports to the contrary, new episodes portraying the war’s aftermath are currently in production.

Michael Kitchen (Out of Africa) stars as Detective Chief Inspector Christopher Foyle who investigates civilian crimes in a small English coastal town during World War II. War has torn the social fabric of this once quiet coastal community, and Foyle’s investigations explore the violence and opportunism that the conflict has fostered on the home front. His loyalties are also put to the test as his investigations frequently uncover unpleasant truths that powerful people would rather keep hidden. Grounded in historical fact and filmed in London and the southern counties of England, Foyle’s War opens a unique window on a significant time and place. The 19 mysteries in this collection follow the course of the war from 1940 to 1945.”

How I Met Your Mother Season Four (2008) Josh Radnor, Jason Segel, Cobie Smulders, Neil Patrick Harris, Alyson Hannigan Three-disc set with 24 episodes, $49.99. Extras: Commentaries, gag reel, “Barney Stinson: That Guy’s Awesome” music video, “Eriksen’s Fight Club.” Also available on Blu-ray Disc. (Fox).

From dating dilemmas to career conundrums, the recently engaged Ted and his feisty friends find themselves at the crossroads of young adult life. While newlyweds Marshall and Lily contemplate parenthood, single gal Robin explores the advantages of having “friends with benefits.” Meanwhile, the irrepressible, opinionated Barney continues his hilariously dogged pursuit of the fairer sex. As for Ted, his Miss Right is out there, but amid bar brawls, blizzards, and buck-naked strangers, how will he ever find her?

Life on Mars: The Complete Series (2006-07) Jason O’Mara, Harvey Keitel, Michael Imperioli, Gretchen Mol, Jonathan Murphy Four-disc set with 16 episodes, $39.99. (Disney).

Midsomer Murders, Set 13 (2006-07) John Nettles. $49.99. (Acorn media).

“Inspired by the novels of Caroline Graham, modern master of the English village mystery, Midsomer Murders combines quirky characters and surprising mysteries with postcard-perfect English village settings and the ever-charming John Nettles (Bergerac) as the steady, unfailingly decent Detective Chief Inspector Tom Barnaby. Jason Hughes (This Life) also stars as his earnest, efficient protégé, Detective Sergeant Ben Jones. Guest stars include Phil Davis (Vera Drake), Golden Globe®-nominee Lisa Eichhorn (Yanks), John Castle, Richard Johnson, David Horovitch, Harriet Thorpe, Flora Montgomery, and Suzi Quatro (Happy Days).

Midsomer Murders premiered in the United Kingdom in March 1997. Since then, more than sixty-five feature-length episodes have aired with new episodes still in production. In the U.S., the series has been seen on A&E and The Biography Channel, however the episodes in Set 13 consist of the first half of Series Ten (2006-2007), which never broadcast in the U.S..”

Nightmare (2005) Jason Scott Campbell, Nicole Roderick. (IFC Films).

A film student and an aspiring actress awake after a one-night stand to find a video camera pointed at their bed; the camera contains a brutal snuff movie — starring the pair as the killers. But they have no memory of any murder and there’s no indication in their room of any gruesome killings. Was there a murder or are the they going mad?

Superman/Batman: Public Enemies (2009) Available as a single-disc DVD, a two-disc DVD special edition and Blu-ray Disc. Extras: “The Blackest Night” DC Comics event featurette, “A Test of Minds” Superman and Batman featurette, “Dinner With DC” featurette, extended sneak peak at next DCU film, digital copy download. (Warner).

United States President Lex Luthor uses the oncoming trajectory of a Kryptonite asteroid to frame Superman and declare a $1 billion bounty on the heads of the Man of Steel and his “partner in crime,” Batman. Heroes and villains alike launch a relentless pursuit of Superman and Batman, who must unite — and recruit help — to stop the asteroid and foil Luthor’s plan.

Traffik Remastered 20th Anniversary Edition (1989) Bill Paterson, Lindsay Duncan and Julia Ormond. Two-volume set, $39.99. (Acorn Media).

From the poppy fields of Pakistan through the docks of Hamburg to the halls of London’s power elite, this epic drama crosses continents and cultures to portray the dark and dangerous world of international drug smuggling. Traffik traces three intersecting lives: Jack, a British government minister who finds the scourge of heroin striking too close to home; Helen, a woman who embarks on a daring survival strategy after her husband’s arrest; and Fazal, a Pakistani peasant who works for a menacing drug lord.

The all-star cast, topical subject matter, and masterful writing make for an absorbing thriller that resonates powerfully through the years. The six-part miniseries is produced by Britain’s Channel 4, written by Simon Moore, and directed by Alastair Reid.

Steven Soderbergh’s 2000 film Traffic was based on the British miniseries and won numerous awards, including four Academy Awards®.”

The Unit Season Four (2008-09) Dennis Haysbert, Regina Taylor, Audrey Marie Anderson, Robert Patrick, Max Martini DVD: $59.98. Blu-ray: $69.99. Extras: “Into Hell: A Brotherhood Divided” featurette, “Shadow Riders: A Western Come Undone” featurette, “Snake Doctor: A Leader Among Us” featurette, deleted scenes. (Fox).

Packed with explosive action and edge-of-your-seat suspense, The Unit delivers a non-stop blast of spectacular thrills and hard-edged excitement! Risking their lives on deadly undercover missions around the globe, the Unit is a highly skilled, ultra-secret contingent of special forces soldiers operating outside the traditional chain of military command. Now, the hunters become the hunted as the team and their families are targeted by a deadly and far-reaching conspiracy. And, as they are forced to relocate and assume new identities, Season Four follows the complicated day-to-day lives, intricate military operations, and extraordinary heroism of the world’s finest counter-terrorism strike force – The Unit!

The Unit Complete Giftset Dennis Haysbert, Regina Taylor, Audrey Marie Anderson, Robert Patrick, Max Martini. Nineteen-disc set, $199.98. Extras: Featurettes, commentary, deleted scenes. (Fox).