MOD TV: More ‘Without a Trace’ and the ‘Starman: The Complete Series’

Without a Trace: The Complete Third Season” (Warner Archive) opens with FBI special agent Jack Malone (Anthony LaPaglia) adrift — he puts his transfer to Chicago on hold when his wife decides to leave him and take the children with her — and Vivian (Marianne Jean-Baptiste) promoted to his old position, which gets complicated when Jack returns to the team as a utility player under Vivian. And sure enough, the man has not lost his touch as an investigator.

This hit TV crime procedural, which ran a strong eight seasons, has the same crisp style and rapid-fire clue-thumping as producer Jerry Bruckheimer’s powerhouse “CSI” franchise. But where those forensic investigators try to bring justice to the dead, the Missing Persons Squad of the Federal Bureau of Investigation races the clock to save those who are still alive. Maybe not always, but often enough to lay a suffocating responsibility on the agents. LaPaglia has a quiet authority and compassion as the team’s senior agent, whose dedication to the job finally cost him his marriage, and Poppy Montgomery (whose last show was the high-concept crime series “Unforgettable”) makes some perhaps unwise personal decisions. Enrique Murciano and Eric Close complete the crack team.

23 episodes on five discs. This is actually traditional pressed disc, at least for the limited first run pressings. Once those are sold, it will revert to the MOD format of burned discs.

Starman: The Complete Series” (Sony Pictures Choice Collection) is quite literally a sequel to the 1984 feature film directed by John Carpenter. The series opens 14 years later, with the Starman (now played by Robert Hays) returning to Earth and the identity of dead freelance photographer Paul Forrester to find the son her fathered (Christopher Daniel Barnes) and reunite him with his missing mother. The series, who lasted a single season, follows the format of “The Incredible Hulk” or “The Fugitive,” with the Starman moving from town to town with his son, helping others along the way, while a paranoid government agent (Michael Cavanaugh) obsessively tracks their trail. 22 episodes on five discs.

Emily’s Reasons Why Not: The Complete Series” (Sony Pictures Choice Collection) – Infamous for being one of the quickest cancellations in TV history, the “Complete Series” of the Heather Graham sitcom runs a mere six episodes, which is five more episodes than ABC broadcast in 2006. Graham plays self-help book publicist with bad romantic instincts and an running commentary on the train wreck that is her love life. Worse shows have lasted a lot longer, but apart from the criminally underused charm of Heather Graham, who is a natural light comedienne and cute as a button to boot, the show is a fairly generic construct of contrived situations, smart-ass best friends, and familiar homilies. Six episodes (running just over an hour) on a single disc.

More new to MOD TV titles at Videodrone

Author: seanax

I write the weekly newspaper column Stream On Demand and the companion website (www.streamondemandathome.com). I'm a contributing writer for Turner Classic Movies Online, Keyframe, Independent Lens, and Cinephiled, and the editor of Parallax View (www.parallax-view.org).. I've written for The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, The Seattle Weekly, GreenCine.com, 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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