Blu-ray Review: Recent TV Releases Include ‘True Detective,’ ‘Masters of Sex’

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CHICAGO – “Game of Thrones” is over and you’ve already binged “Orange is the New Black,” what are you supposed to do now? There are a few interesting new programs this season – FX’s “Tyrant” & “The Strain,” HBO’s “The Leftovers,” CBS’s “Extant,” and a few more – but it’s also a great time to catch up what you may have missed with new Blu-ray and DVD releases. There are five TV-to-Blu-ray releases this month that might warrant a look.

The top of the pile is also the best program of 2014 to date, a show that has really redefined the year in that it’s already used as a watermark (“Sure, Fargo and The Americans were great but they were no True Detective.”) With fantastic performances from Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey, HBO has wasted no time in getting the wildly acclaimed “True Detective” on Blu-ray and DVD a mere few months after it aired. Remember when you used to have to wait at least a year to get a show like this for your collection? No more and HBO is simply the best when it comes to HD transfers for Blu-ray season sets. The show looks amazing. If you’re even considering collecting the major TV shows of this era, your collection is incomplete without “True Detective.”

The second-best show in this wave of new releases hits stores on Tuesday in the form of the first season of Showtime’s “Masters of Sex.” Driven by great performances by Lizzy Caplan and Michael Sheen, “Masters” is a program that I really expect to build an audience in season two. Get on the bandwagon now.

The bandwagon is coming to a stop for HBO’s “True Blood,” which just had its sixth season released on Blu-ray in advance of the final season starting tonight on HBO. I think this show jumped the bloody shark years ago but fans of the program will love the release, loaded with special features and, again, remastered in a way that only HBO can.

Finally, there are two shows that get less buzz but have definite qualities and loyal fan bases—TNT’s “Falling Skies,” which is now airing its fourth season, and the often-funny “Workaholics” from Comedy Central. See below for the details.

Falling Skies: Season Three
Falling Skies: Season Three
Photo credit: Warner Bros.

“Falling Skies: Season Three”

Synopsis: Falling Skies season three opens seven months after the 2nd Mass arrived in Charleston. In the interim, Tom has been elected as president of New Charleston, but he has his hands full as the struggle for humanity’s survival continues. The resistance now faces an enemy who has become more resourceful, more pervasive, and even more merciless. But the 2nd Mass may have an upper hand when they are joined by powerful new alien allies. Now they have the universe on their side when those from another world fight to free Earth. No more running, no more retreating. Now is the time for the humans to stand their ground. Now is the time to fight.

Special Features:
2nd Watch: Hosted By Wil Wheaton
Warrior Poet: Creating The Character And Emotion Of Cochise
Karen: The Overlord Next Door
Featurettes
Behind The Scenes

Masters of Sex: Season One
Masters of Sex: Season One
Photo credit: Sony

“Masters of Sex: Season One”

Synopsis: Masters of Sex stars Golden Globe and BAFTA Award nominee Michael Sheen and acclaimed actress Lizzy Caplan, who portray the real-life pioneers of the science of human sexuality, Dr. William Masters and Virginia Johnson.

The series chronicles the unusual lives, romance and pop culture trajectory of Master and Johnson and the effect their research had on the family and colleagues around them. Their study ignited a sexual revolution and took them from a teaching hospital in St. Louis to the cover of Time magazine. Also starring Caitlin FitzGerald, Teddy Sears and Nicholas D’Agosto. Also guest starring two-time Golden Globe winner Beau Bridges.

Special Features:
Cast & Crew Commentary on the Pilot Episode
Deleted Scenes
Making “Masters of Sex”
A Masterful Portrayal: Michael Sheen as Dr. Masters
Ahead of Her Time: Lizzy Caplan as Virginia Johnson
The Real Masters: A Conversation with Thomas Maier
Surprising Facts About Sex: The Masters’ Great Discoveries

True Blood: Season Six
True Blood: Season Six
Photo credit: Warner Bros.

“True Blood: Season Six”

Synopsis: Entering its sixth smash-hit season, True Blood is HBO’s sexy, scary, wildly entertaining series from Oscar - and Emmy-winner Alan Ball (Six Feet Under) and based on the Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris. In addition to returning TB favorites - led by human/faerie hybrid Sookie (Anna Paquin), her unlikely vampire ally Eric (Alexander Skarsgard), and newly reconstituted supervamp Bill (Stephen Moyer) - Season 6 introduces several jarring storylines that threaten what little sense of normalcy remains in and around Bon Temps. As “Billith” comes to terms with his newfound powers after emerging from a pool of blood at the end of S5, Louisiana Governor Truman Burrell (new cast member Arliss Howard) declares open season on vampires, replete with novel anti-vamp weapons and a high-tech internment camp. Meanwhile, Sookie and Jason steel themselves for an encounter with the killer of their parents: the mysterious and ancient Warlow, whose identity remains a troubling mystery as the season opens.

Special Features:
Vamp Camp Files: Get An Inside Look At The Secret Trove Of Documents Detailing The Effort To Eradicate Vampires Via The Institution Known As “Vamp Camp”
True Blood Lines: Uncover Secrets From Relationships Past And Present In This Engaging, Fully Interactive Guide And Archive
Inside The Episodes: Get The Backstories On Each Of The Episodes With Revealing Interviews From The Show Writers
Audio Commentaries: Five Audio Commentaries With The Cast And Crew Including Brian Buckner, Stephen Moyer, Carrie Preston, Amelia Rose Blaire, And Many More

True Detective: Season One
True Detective: Season One
Photo credit: Warner Bros.

“True Detective: Season One”

Synopsis: In 2012, Louisiana State Police Detectives Rust Cohle and Martin Hart are brought in to revisit a homicide case they worked in 1995. As the inquiry unfolds in present day through separate interrogations, the two former detectives narrate the story of their investigation, reopening unhealed wounds, and drawing into question their supposed solving of a bizarre ritualistic murder in 1995. The timelines braid and converge in 2012 as each man is pulled back into a world they believed they’d left behind. In learning about each other and their killer, it becomes clear that darkness lives on both sides of the law.

Written and created by Nic Pizzolatto (The Killing) and directed by Cary Fukunaga (Sin Nombre, Jane Eyre), True Detective stars Woody Harrelson as Martin Hart and Matthew McConaughey as Rust Cohle. The series also stars Michelle Monaghan (Mission: Impossible III) as Maggie, Hart’s wife; Kevin Dunn (Veep) as Major Quesada, the supervising officer in 1995; and Tory Kittles (Sons of Anarchy) and Michael Potts (The Wire~~) as Dets. Papania and Gilbough, the investigators now probing Hart and Cohle for answers.

Special Features:
Making True Detective
Up Close with Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson
A Conversation with Nic Pizzolatto and T Bone Burnett
Inside the Episode
Two audio commentaries
Deleted Scenes

Workaholics: Season Four
Workaholics: Season Four
Photo credit: Comedy Central

“Workaholics: Season Four”

Synopsis: It’s time to get back to work for coworkers and roommates, Adam, Blake and Ders, but that also means partying harder than ever before. Comedy Centrals hit, scripted series Workaholics Season 4 is back with all new super fresh episodes. They do their jobs and sometimes they even do them well, but they show up late, leave drunk and always live for the day even if they don’t know what day it is. Whether they’re hanging out at their house in Rancho Cucamonga or getting ready to rage at a Renaissance Faire, the guys find trouble wherever they go.

Special Features:
Outtakes
Deleted and Alternate Scenes

“Falling Skies,” “True Blood,” “True Detective,” and “Workaholics” are available on Blu-ray now; “Masters of Sex” will be released on Tuesday, June 24, 2014.

HollywoodChicago.com Contributor Brian Tallerico

By BRIAN TALLERICO
Contributor
HollywoodChicago.com
brian@hollywoodchicago.com

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