TV on DVD 12/21/10 – Caprica meets Mayberry

Caprica: Season 1.5 (Universal) – The Battlestar Galactica prequel ends as it began, with lots of ideas but few characters that grabbed the imagination of the audience. This show focuses on two key families—the Graystones and the Adamas—in a world where technology is creeping into dangerous territory and religious terrorists (led by zealot Clarice, played by Polly Walker) kill in the name of the one true religion of a single, all-knowing God.

Uneasy partners

Esai Morales is the future grandfather of Commander William Adama but here he is a mob lawyer expected to be the family Godfather and Eric Stoltz is a technology entrepreneur whose robot inventions will evolve into the Cylons. In the first half of the season they have one thing in common: both lose daughters to a terrorist attack, and both girls are brought back as living entities trapped in the digital world. This nine-episode arc brings them closer together as business partners and follows the religious terrorists to the bitter end of their violent conspiracy and heaven fantasy.

The series was cancelled with five episodes yet to be aired: they debut on this set before eventually playing out on SyFy in early 2011, complete with an action-packed finale and a coda that sketches in the years between the two shows—probably the most satisfying minutes in the entire run of the show. But it still never quite finds its identity. Nine episodes on three discs with commentary on the first and final episodes of the set by executive producer Kevin Murphy and bonus podcast commentary by members of the cast and production team on four episodes, plus seven video blogs, deleted scenes and a five-minute “Re-Caprica” of “Season 1.0.”

The Andy Griffith Show: 50 Anniversary – The Best of Mayberry (Paramount) – Join Andy, Barney, Opie, Aunt Bee, and the population of Mayberry in the country gravy sitcom starring Andy Griffith as a widower raising a young son (Ronnie Howard) and keeping the peace in a generally peaceful rural burg. The homespun humor, anchored in Griffith’s laconic charm and gentle authority, is so dated that it’s endearing. Think of this three-disc set as a holiday sampler: 17 fan favorite episodes from the first five seasons, plus the show that launched the series: the 1960 Make Room For Daddy episode “Danny Meets Andy Griffith,” where his homespun humor catches Danny Thomas off guard. Also includes the 1986 TV-movie reunion Return to Mayberry among the supplements.

Also new this week: The Secret Life of the American Teenager: Volume Five (Disney), the SyFy original Stonehenge Apocalypse (Anchor Bay) and the A&E reality shows Billy the Exterminator: Seasons One and Two and Gene Simmons Family Jewels: The Complete Seasons 4 and 5.

For more DVD releases, see my picks for the week at my blog and my DVD column at MSN.

Author: seanax

I write the weekly newspaper column Stream On Demand and the companion website ( I'm a contributing writer for Turner Classic Movies Online, Keyframe, Independent Lens, and Cinephiled, and the editor of Parallax View ( I've written for The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, The Seattle Weekly,, Senses of Cinema, Asian Cult Cinema, and Psychotronic Video, among other publications, and I am a contributing editor to Parallax View. I currently live and work in Seattle, Washington, with my two cats, Hammet and Chandler.

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