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TV on DVD: Mad Men Season Four and Treme Season One

In television on 03/28/2011 at 10:49 pm

It’s a top shelf week for TV releases on DVD and Blu-ray courtesy of Mad Men: Season 4 and Treme: Season One.

The AMC drama Mad Men (Season 5 debut date delayed until 2012!!!), about advertising men and women on Madison Avenue in the 1960s had a fine, fiery fourth season, picking up from Don Draper (Jon Hamm), Roger Sterling (John Slattery) and company setting up their own company, and ending with Don’s shocking romantic choices. Among the finer moments in this very strong run of episodes: Don tries to find his soul in a notebook, his daughter shrugs and squirms her way out of girlhood, there’s a particularly clever episode covering the new agency’s leap from cigarette campaign to anti-smoking campaign, Betty (January Jones) finds the new life different but not better than the old life with Don and the office women, well, they steal the show as usual. As for extras, I haven’t (yet) sampled them, but they alone are usually worth the price of rental or purchase. Here’s the list from Maple Pictures:

  • Divorce: Circa 1960s
  • Marketing The Mustang: An American Classic
  • How to Succeed in Business Draper Style
  • 1964 Presidential Campaign
  • Audio Commentaries on All 13 Episodes

The second prestige release this week is probably less well known but just as satisfying. Season One of the HBO drama Treme (Season 2 due April 24) is a slow, wandering drama about life in the titular neighbourhood of New Orleans as it recovers from Katrina. Focussing on musicians, music-lovers and people’s whose livelihoods depend on the former two, it makes an excellent use of music, both as background and in performance, knitted well into the plots. The action is slow and sometimes very slow but it’s worth staying awake. The characters will do their best to keep you rooted. Among them: Wendell Pierce as the huckster musician, Khandi Alexander as his bar-owning brother-searching ex, Clarke Peters as the father trying to fuse tradition back into the washed out clubhouse with his super-power of fury, Kim Dickens as a struggling restaurauteur, Steve Zahn as the most annoying music nerd and the Bernettes, the lawyer (Melissa Leo) and her shit-disturbing husband academic (John Goodman) living in a house on the hill filled with too much left unsaid. There’s also a soundtrack album. Shell out. Get both. You deserve it.

And, finally, because you’re insatiable, here are some additional new releases of TV on DVD and Blu-ray.

Emergency: The Final Rescues
Hawkeye: The Complete Series
In Plain Sight: Season 3
Upstairs, Downstairs: The Complete Series, 40th anniversary collection
Xena, Warrior Princess: Season 2
Dennis the Menace: Season 1
Ken Burns’ The Civil War (2011 version)
Highway to Heaven: Season One
The Sherlock Holmes Complete Collection Blu-ray (Basil Rathbone series)
Coronation Street: The 60s Collection
High School Musical 2
American Experience: Lee & Grant, Generals of the Civil War
The Bill Cosby Show: The Best of Season One
Marcus Welby MD: The Best of Season One
Dr. Quinn Medicine Women: Season 3
Gangland: The Final Season DVD and Blu-ray
Best of Bonanza

Denise Duguay

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