As the steamy summer days kick in and all your favorite shows go into reruns, now is the perfect time to blast the A/C and catch up with everything you missed. From classic moments like Samantha's first nose twitch on Bewitched to Kermit's introducing the debut of The Muppet Show to Dave Chappelle's infamous — and now, for the first time, hilariously uncensored — riff on superfreak Rick James, we highlight some of the hottest TV-on-DVD releases.
The Sopranos: The Complete Fifth Season (2004; $99.98)
These episodes of HBO's crime-family drama begin with the parole of Tony's cousin (Steve Buscemi) and culminate with the biggest surprise whack since Tony took Ralphie's head out bowling.
Extras: Joey's Drea de Matteo, Buscemi and others deliver insightful commentaries.
The Job: The Complete Series (2001-02; $49.98)It ain't Barney Miller, but with Rescue Me's Denis Leary cowriting most of this criminally overlooked cop comedy, each episode is a short, sharp blast of acid-hot humor.Extras: Leary and series cocreator Peter Tolan's audio commentaries are pretty standard, but the gag reel is worth a look.Series:Extras:
Remington Steele: Season One (1982-83; $39.98; available July 26)Before he was 007, Pierce Brosnan was suave P.I. Remington Steele... sort of. Laura Holt (Stephanie Zimbalist) makes up a male boss so chauvinist clients will hire her. When con man Brosnan breezes in and assumes Steele's identity, she has to play along. Extras: Select commentaries; featurettes.Series:Extras:
ComediesLois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman: The Complete First Season (1993-94; $59.98)This lighthearted spin on Superman had more in common with Moonlighting than the Man of Steel, but it found its audience. Both Teri Hatcher (Lois) and Superman are better served by Desperate Housewives and Smallville, respectively, but the show is good for a goof.Extras: Two featurettes.Series:Extras:
The Cosby Show: Season One (1984-85; $49.99; available August 2)Bill Cosby starred as dream dad Dr. Cliff Huxtable in this '80s comic juggernaut that kept NBC at the top of the ratings.Extras: Outtakes; auditions; 2002 reunion special The Cosby Show: A Look Back. Extras: Two featurettes.Series:Extras:
Chappelle's Show: Season Two Uncensored (2004; $36.99)The latest installment of Dave Chappelle's Comedy Central series is already the fastest-selling TV on DVD of the year. And no wonder: Each episode of his often-brilliant show stands up to repeated viewings.Extras: Nearly two hours of gag reels; outtakes; stand-up.Extras: Two featurettes.Series:Extras:
Fat Actress: The Complete First Season (2005; $34.99)Big girls don't cry — if they're smart, they get their own series. Kirstie Alley turned tabloid reactions to her weight gain into one of the sassiest — and raunchiest — surprises of 2005.Extras: Commentaries with Alley and costars reflect the show's straight-from- the-hips humor.Extras: Two featurettes.Series:Extras:
Classic TVBewitched: The Complete First Season (1964-65; $39.95)Suburban domestic comedy with spells and enchantments — sheer TV genius! Good witch Samantha's (Elizabeth Montgomery) mortal husband wants her to kick the magic, and wacky complications ensue. It's as fresh as it was 40 years ago.Extras: Two-part featurette, "The Magic Unveiled." Episodes are in black-and-white but are available colorized.Series:Extras:
For heaps more useful info about TV on DVD this summer, read the June 19 issue of TV Guide. It's the one with Kelly Ripa on the cover.