The third year of “Rizzoli & Isles,” the debut of “The Newsroom” and the first half of the “Perry Mason" final season lead these TV shows new to DVD this week.
“Rizzoli & Isles: The Complete Third Season” (Warner, 2012, four discs, $39.98, 15 episodes, deleted scenes, featurettes, bloopers). Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander as the respective title characters, a tomboyish Boston homicide detective and a girly medical examiner, keep this show afloat by virtue of their charm and chemistry and clever banter. And if the 2012 season is not quite up to the first and second, you can still find wit.
In fact, the dialogue is as quick and funny as ever. It’s the plotting — not so on much the police-procedural side as the soap opera involving their family members — that has become awfully convoluted. And a few of these episodes are also atypically raunchy. Here’s hoping Season 4, which begins next month, will reverse these trends.
“The Newsroom: The Complete First Season” (HBO/Blu-ray, 2012, six discs, $79.98; 10 episodes, Blu-ray, DVD and digital versions; deleted scenes, audio commentaries, featurettes, previews/recaps). Created by Aaron Sorkin (“The Social Network,” “The West Wing”), this unabashedly liberal and occasionally condescending series about a modern cable-news network (owing something to “Network”) gets away with its obvious biases thanks to solid writing (laced, unfortunately, with the usual HBO anything-goes profanity) and a great cast, led by Jeff Daniels as a veteran anchor who has an on-air meltdown and starts telling the truth, leading to an episode-by-episode examination of 21st century new stories. Sam Waterston and Emily Mortimer co-star, and guests include Jane Fonda and Marcia Gay Harden. (Also on DVD, $59.99)
“Perry Mason: The Final Season: Season 9, Volume 1” (CBS/Paramount, 1965-66, b/w, four discs, $46.99, 15 episodes). Raymond Burr is still great as his signature character (“Ironside” notwithstanding) and the show remains very enjoyable. As with earlier seasons, this one is being released in two volumes, 15 episodes each (“Volume 2” will follow in August). Guests include Paul Winfield, Gavin McLeod, Strother Martin, Hugh Marlowe and 1950s B-movie horror icons Allison Hayes (“Attack of the 50 Foot Woman”) and Julie Adams (“Creature From the Black Lagoon”).
“Major Crimes: The Complete First Season” (Warner/TNT, 2012, three discs, $39.98, 10 episodes, deleted scenes, featurettes, bloopers). Mary McDonnell stars in this literal spinoff of “The Closer,” which is to say it’s essentially the same show with McDonnell’s character being promoted after the departure of Kyra Sedgwick. Several cast members stay on board, taking on high-profile cases in the Los Angeles Police Department, but fans may miss the quirky edge that left with Sedgwick.
“House of Cards” (Sony, 2013, four discs, $55.99, 13 episodes). There’s nothing more difficult than sustaining a series about a despicable character, but if anyone can make it watchable it’s Kevin Spacey, and he’s excellent as a congressman who is betrayed by and goes to war with the president after being snubbed for a cabinet post. Remake of a British series. All 13 episodes aired Feb. 1 to announce Netflix’s entry into original programming. Season 2 is in production. (The content is very R-rated with sex, nudity and language.) (Also on Blu-ray, $65.99)
“After People” (Lionsgate/History, 2013, three discs, $19.98, four episodes). This documentary miniseries looks at what might happen to the planet if the human population were to become extinct. Episodes are “Life After People,” “After Armageddon,” “Mega Drought” and “Mega Freeze,” which are self-explanatory explorations of these subjects from a scientific-albeit-speculative point of view.
“Saban’s Power Rangers Super Samurai: Secret of the Red Ranger, Volume 4” (Lionsgate, 2012, $14.98, four episodes, music videos). More episodes from the children’s action series with our heroes facing off with Master Xandred.