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DVD UPDATE: (Some of) 'Southland,' (random) Abbott & Costello collection, more
January 25, 2010  | By Diane Werts

Whaddya bet NBC wishes it had Southland back now? They thought the L.A. copfest was too adult to run at 9 p.m. ET, back when their braintrust had ensconsed Jay Leno at 10. Now that he's outta there, they could really use the drama's grit and gumption -- too bad it's currently on display over at TNT (Tuesdays at 10 ET).

And in this week's new "first season" DVD release.

But the 2-disc set includes only the 7 episodes aired by NBC at 10 p.m. last spring -- not the next 6 produced in anticipation of a second season ordered, then aborted, after NBC realized (duh) that the show's tone was too adult for 9 o'clock (8 Central). Those half-dozen orphan hours will be TNT premieres this spring.

Meanwhile, Southland gets a rush DVD release that fans are already bitching about online. This show is the kind of meaty saga that begs for detailed commentaries illuminating the creators' perspective on policing a sprawling, diverse city. But they're not here. The only extra is a quick behind-the-scenes featurette.

Fans are apparently supposed to be satisfied that Southland's explicit language and adult content are uncensored on DVD.

Well, [bleep] that [bleep]. We'd like more.

Also out this week:

dvd abbott costello legends.jpg

Abbott & Costello: Legends of Laughter -- This 6-disc set comes at a bargain price ($30 list), but it's a decidedly mixed bag. The main content is 14 kinescope shows from the comedy team's hosting stints on early TV's live variety show The Colgate Comedy Hour. Guests include vintage stars like Marlene Dietrich, Louis Armstrong and Peggy Lee, plus some of the shows feature original commercials (which might as well be from the Flintstones' epoch, they look so primitive). Beyond that, you get two (poor prints of) feature films Africa Screams and Jack and the Beanstalk; 17 radio shows (audio); movie trailers; bloopers, and other odd remnants. A&C completists may be thrilled, but others will be scratching their heads. Especially at those amateurish menus with all the misspelled names. Luis Armstrong? (IMPORTANT: Be aware this is NOT The Abbott & Costello Show, the half-hour sitcom that comics like Jerry Seinfeld have cited as influential. That 1952 syndicated series comes out in its entirety March 23 on 9 discs from distributor E1.)

The Waltons Movie Collection -- Speaking of completists, this 3-disc set rounds out the Waltons video library. With all seasons already on DVD, these 6 reunion movies made 1982-1997 portray the family from the 1940s through the late '60s. Celebrate Thanksgiving, Easter, weddings and more with the homey Appalachian clan that proved a surprise '70s Nielsen smash.

MI-5 Volume 7 -- Nailbitingly gritty British intelligence drama adds Richard Armitage (Robin Hood) as an agent recently freed from years in Russian custody. With commentary, behind-the-scenes.

Bonekickers -- Archaeologists do a little History's Mysteries, a little Indiana Jones, and some modern forensics in this recent British drama. Cast includes Adrian Lester (Hustle) and Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Doctor Who, MI-5). From the creators of Life on Mars.

Callan Set 2 -- Edward Woodward (The Equalizer) contributed two commentaries (before he died last fall) for this final round of his '70s British Cold War espionage saga.

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