New DVD Releases: 'South Park,' 'Take The Lead,' 'Lord Of The Rings'

Plus: TV's 'Nip/Tuck,' 'Desperate Housewives,' 'Arrested Development.'

Every week takes a look at the most promising DVD releases, from recent big-screen hits to Hollywood classics to television shows finally getting their due.

"South Park" The Complete Eighth Season (2004)

With the second half of the 10th "South Park" season slated for October (the first half aired in the spring), the release of the eighth season couldn't have come at a better time. Three of the episodes ("AWESOM-O," "Good Times With Weapons" and "Stupid Spoiled Whore Video Playset") were chosen by "South Park" creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone as their all-time faves. Season eight nails such ripe targets as "The Passion of the Christ," Wal-Mart, Fox News and Paris Hilton in suitably "South Park" style.

In addition to all 14 episodes of the eighth season, Paramount Home Video has also included commentary by Trey Parker and Matt Stone for each episode in this three-DVD set.

"Take the Lead" (2006)

Music video director Liz Friedlander makes the leap to the big screen with "Take the Lead," yet another film in which the world of classical dance, in this case ballroom, collides with the urban street culture of hip-hop, but with a twist. Unlike other dance films such as "Save the Last Dance" or the recent "Step Up," "Take the Lead" is actually based on the real-life story of professional ballroom dancer Pierre Dulaine, who volunteers to teach a group of New York teens. Dulaine (Antonio Banderas) arrives at a tough Bronx High School only to be assigned a group of teens in permanent detention. While they initially dismiss his style of dance, they eventually learn to embrace it and combine it with their own.

New Line Home Entertainment has included the following extras:

  • Commentary by director Liz Friedlander and editor Robert Ivison
  • "Behind the Dance" featurette
  • "Take the Lead" trailers remixed
  • Deleted scenes

"The Lord of the Rings" Limited Edition Trilogy ("The Fellowship of the Ring," "The Two Towers," "The Return of the King") (2001-2003)

Peter Jackson's film adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's epic trilogy "The Lord of the Rings" has grossed over $3 billion worldwide since the final film, "The Return of the King," was released in 2003. In a concession to the studio, Jackson released truncated versions of each film theatrically but was able to release the extended editions, adding over two additional hours to the already lengthy, eight-hour trilogy, on special-edition DVDs. Now the theatrical and extended versions of Jackson's films are available for the first time in an affordable six-DVD set, which also features never-before-seen documentaries by Costa Botes for each film.

"Nip/Tuck" The Complete Third Season (2005)

Ryan Murphy, creator of "Nip/Tuck," as well as the unappreciated gem "Popular" (also available on DVD), pushes the boundaries of the medical genre even further than before, assuring that his "disturbingly perfect drama" remains so. Miami's best plastic surgeons, Doctors Sean McNamara (Dylan Walsh) and Christian Troy (Julian McMahon) certainly have their hands full. Having ended the second season with a cliffhanger involving the serial-sicko-psycho "The Carver" holding Christian at scalpel point, the third season begins with his funeral and then just continues to get darker from there. With the "Carver" hunt heating up, Dr. Costa (Bruno Campos) joins the practice, Sean begins to work for the witness-protection program, Julia (Joely Richardson) starts a rival business, and Christian gets married. Wait, what?

In addition to all 15 episodes of the series, Warner Home Entertainment has included the following extras in this six-DVD set:

  • Commentary by cast and crew
  • Deleted scenes
  • "Chasing the Carver" featurette
  • "The Perfect Look" featurette

"Desperate Housewives" The Complete Second Season (2005-2006)

The housewives return for their sophomore season, and show creator Marc Cherry adds another mystery to Wisteria Lane in the form of the Applewhites, a mother and son relocated from Chicago with a dark secret in their cellar. Meanwhile, fans of the first season will be pleased with the continuing stories of Susan (Terri Hatcher), who ends up in an imaginary love triangle between ex-husband Karl (Richard Burgi) and vengeful neighbor Edie (Nicolette Sheridan); Lynette (Felicity Huffman), who gets a promotion at work, only to wind up managing her own husband Tom (Doug Savant); Gabrielle (Eva Longoria), who gets her husband Carlos (Ricardo Chavira) out of jail and wants to become a mother by any means necessary; and finally Bree (Marcia Cross), who must learn to accept her son Andrew's (Shawn Pyfrom) sexual orientation.

In addition to all 24 episodes of the second season, Buena Vista Home Video has included the following extras in this six-DVD set:

  • "Desperate Husbands" featurette — the men of Wisteria Lane dish on TV's hottest housewives
  • Complete unaired story line featuring Teri Hatcher
  • "Meet TV's Most Iconic Housewives," including Debra Jo Rupp ("That '70s Show"), Shirley Jones ("The Partridge Family"), Marion Ross ("Happy Days") and more

"Arrested Development" Season Three (2005)

Like much great art, the brilliant, critically adored comedy "Arrested Development" wasn't appreciated in its lifetime. Defying the odds, "Arrested Development" lasted three brief seasons and ended the way it began: a black-comic masterpiece. The Bluth family remains as dysfunctional as ever, with Michael (Jason Bateman) falling in love with Rita (Charlize Theron), a mentally handicapped British woman. Lindsay (Portia de Rossi) and her husband Tobias (David Cross) both vie for the affection of their new lawyer Bob Loblaw (Scott Baio) and Bluth patriarch George Sr. (Jeffrey Tambor) is cleared of all charges.

In addition to all 13 episodes of the season, Fox Home Video has included the following extras in this three-DVD set:

  • Commentary by cast and crew
  • Deleted scenes
  • Blooper reel
  • "The Last Day on Location" featurette

"The Tick vs. Season One" (1994)

Finally, fans of Ben Edlund's animated marvel "The Tick" can proudly lift their heads to the skies and bellow "SPOOOON!" Based on Edlund's satirical take on superheroes, "The Tick" follows all the titular hero's misadventures in "The City." Mild-mannered accountant Arthur; the mysterious Die Fledermaus; and the "World's Most Patriotic Domestic," American Maid, assist the Tick in his fight against the never-ending villainy of Chairface Chippendale, El Seed, the Idea Men and more.

Buena Vista Home Entertainment has included 12 of the first season's 13 episodes in this two-DVD set.

"Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection" Volume 10 ("Godzilla vs. Megalon," "Swamp Diamonds," "Teen-Age Strangler," "The Giant Spider Invasion") (1955-1975)

"MiSTies" rejoice! Hot on the heels of the last volume, Rhino has delivered yet another exceptional selection of films and shorts from the sorely missed "Satellite of Love." Watch in awe as Joel, Crow, Tom Servo and the rest of the gang make a mockery of Toho's green goliath in "Godzilla vs. Megalon" and lampoon Roger Corman's earliest effort, "Swamp Diamonds." Stare in amazement as Mike, in only his second outing on the series, and the bots skewer the homegrown horror of "Teen-Age Strangler" and then "The Giant Spider Invasion," starring Alan "The Skipper" Hale Jr.

Rhino Home Video has included the following extras in this four-disc set:

  • Bonus short: "Is This Love?"
  • MST3K Video Jukebox with 15 songs from the series
  • Outtakes of the best moments from "Poopie 2"
  • Photo gallery

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