justifiedS4Justified: The Complete Fourth Season (Sony, Blu-ray, DVD, Digital), the Kentucky-set crime drama of a U.S. Marshall taking on the southern crime culture of the home state he tried to escape, sets Marshall Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) on the trail of a cold case from 30 years ago involving a getaway by parachute and a stolen cache of mob money while Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins), his old friend and current nemesis, tries to consolidate his control of the Harlan County crime culture with a tricky alliance with the area’s business mafia, a relationship that offers its own challenges. And through it all, Raylan is ostensibly working toward a nest egg on which to raise a child with his ex-wife, a plan that calls for Raylan to move out of field service and into a job that doesn’t put him in harm’s way. Which, given Raylan’s character, seems unlikely to ever come about.

Initially adapted from an Elmore Leonard short story, Justified is easily TV’s smartest piece of serial pulp fiction, and this season it builds on the rough edges of its characters and the colorful cultures explored in earlier seasons to deliver its best series yet, bringing Raylan’s knotty relationship with his weasel of a father to a bitter conclusion and adding Jim Beaver and Patton Oswalt into the season storyline in two key roles that deliver on Elmore Leonard brand of character. Raylan has a way of complicating his life and escalating situations and you can’t help but wonder if he sabotages himself on purpose, a bit of the outlaw that he has spent his life denying rising to the surface.

13 episodes on Blu-ray and DVD, with cast and crew commentaries, three featurettes, and outtakes and deleted scenes. The Blu-ray features an exclusive featurette on Walton Goggins and his preparations for the role of Boyd Crowder.

BurnNoticeS7Burn Notice: Season Seven (Fox, DVD) wraps the USA original series starring Jeffrey Donovan as “burned” and betrayed CIA operative Michael Weston who goes freelance as the Macgyver of TV spies, teaching us the tools of spycraft on a DIY budget with every case. I quite frankly burned out on the series a couple of seasons back, tired of Michael’s patronizing tone and bewildered by his obsession with returning to the agency that hung him out to dry and made his life miserable for so long. But it follows the formula that made the series a USA network hit: Fiona (Gabrielle Anwar) still likes to shoot and blow things up, Sam (Bruce Campbell) would rather drink a beer, fellow freelancer Jesse Porter (Coby Bell) provides easy-going backup, and his mom (Sharon Gless) is a chain-smoking curmudgeon who increasingly becomes a part of the team. 13 episodes on three discs, plus commentary on one episode by creator Matt Nix and the cast, the featurette “Final Mission: Ending the Series,” and deleted scenes.

Also available is Burn Notice: The Complete Series (Fox, DVD), which basically boxes up the seven seasons already available separately with no new supplements.

Wolfblood: Season One (New Video, DVD) (Dec 31) appears to be Britain’s answer to Teen Wolf, with high school kids learning how to handle their new werewolf lives.

Musical TV lives: The Sound of Music Live! (Universal, DVD) presents the recent production of the classic musical with Carrie Underwood and Stephen Moyer and Psych: The Musical (Universal, DVD) is exactly what it says: the musical episode of the tongue-in-cheek detective series on USA Network.

And Family Guy: Volume Twelve (Fox, DVD) features guest voices by Johnny Depp, Jon Hamm and Sofia Vergara and the 200th episode: “Yug Ylimaf.” 22 episodes plus supplements.

MOD TVNicholsComplete

Catching up on TV released through the manufacture-on-demand line of discs.

Nichols: The Complete Series (Warner Archive, DVD-R), starring James Garner as a military veteran turned reluctant marshal, falls somewhere between Maverick and The Rockford Files with a dash of Support Your Local Sheriff tossed in. Set in 1914 Arizona and a frontier culture slowly giving way to the modern world, it features Garner as a cavalry man who is essentially blackmailed into taking the position of marshal in a border town plagued by the old west’s version of petty crooks and troublemakers. Preferring to work without a gun, his working methods involve avoiding conflict and outsmarting his opponents. Garner’s charm sustains the show, but it feels like a failed first run at the Rockford Files sensibility, lacking the smart scripts and a supporting cast worthy of Garner’s strengths. 24 episodes on six discs.

DontTrustBDon’t Trust the B—- in Apt 23: The Complete Series (Fox Home Entertainment, DVD-R), the Fox sitcom starring Krysten Ritter as Chloe, a blithely mercenary New York party-girl and the b—- of the title, and Dreama Walker as June, the naïve small-town transplant roommate  that she uncharacteristically takes on as a project, never quite found its audience, but its cynical humor had its fans and the casting of James Van Der Beek as a caricatured version of himself paid off with some very funny moments. This set collects all 26 episodes of the short-lived sitcom, including eight unaired episodes from the second season, on three discs.

Batman: The Brave and the Bold (Warner Archive, Blu-ray) brings the animated series that teams Batman up with other superheroes of the DC Comic universe to Blu-ray for the first time exclusively through Warner Archive. Diedrich Bader voices Batman in this version and the role-call of heroes in this collection includes Aquaman, Blue Beetle, Red Tornado, Green Arrow, Doctor Fate and (in a time-travel episode) Sherlock Holmes. Neil Patrick Harris guest voices the Music Meister in an all-musical episode that was nominated for an Emmy® Award. This is a more cartoony style than the great 1990s animated incarnation of “Batman” and the stories aren’t as well-honed, but some of the episodes are adapted from vintage comic-book tales. 26 episodes on two discs.

Also in the superhero vein (sort of) is Space Stars: The Complete Series (Warner Archive, DVD-R), with 1981 animated anthology series with the adventures of Space Ghost and The Herculoids alongside newcomers Teen Force and Astro and the Space Mutts (11 episodes on three discs) and the live action syndicated series The Adventures of Superboy: The Complete Third Season and The Adventures of Superboy: The Complete Fourth Season (Warner Archive, DVD-R), each with three discs.

More releases:PerryMasonMovie1

Perry Mason Movie Collection: Volume 1 (Paramount, DVD, Amazon exclusive) (Dec 31)
Raising Hope: The Complete Third Season (Fox Home Entertainment, DVD-R)
Shameless: The Complete Third Season (Warner, Blu-ray, DVD)
Californication: The Sixth Season (Showtime, DVD) (Dec 31)
When Calls the Heart (Millennium, DVD) (Dec 31)
Frontline: Hunting the Nightmare Bacteria (PBS, DVD)
Frontline: League of Denial (PBS, DVD)
Secrets Scotland Yard (PBS, DVD)
The Graduates/Los Graduados (PBS, DVD)
Nature: Love in the Animal Kingdom (PBS, DVD)
Nova: Megastorm Aftermath (PBS, DVD) (Dec 31)

Calendar of upcoming releases on Blu-ray, DVD, Digital, and VOD