Great television came to home video this month with the first chapter of a sci-fi invasion series, an acclaimed WWII miniseries, a collection of classic holiday specials and a beloved ‘60s animated mystery series. Other releases also deal with learning how to overcome difficulties, befriending an enemy and doing whatever it takes to make it work.

November 2nd
The Pacific on blu-rayThe Pacific (Blu-ray)
The Pacific is an epic 10-part miniseries that delivers a realistic portrait of WWII’s Pacific Theatre as seen through the intertwined odysseys of three U.S. Marines – Robert Leckie, John Basilone and Eugene Sledge. The extraordinary experiences of these men and their fellow Marines take them from the first clash with the Japanese in the haunted jungles of Guadalcanal, through the impenetrable rain forests of Cape Gloucester, across the blasted coral strongholds of Peleliu, up the black sand terraces of Iwo Jima, through the killing fields of Okinawa, to the triumphant, yet uneasy, return home after V-J Day.

Special features include: “Profiles of The Pacific,” intimate portraits of the real Marines featured; a 30-minute making-of featurette; “Anatomy of The Pacific War,” a historical documentary on the event that influenced the merciless brutality of the Pacific theatre; and exclusive enhanced viewing and field guide features on every part.

TCM Greatest Classic Films: Busby Berkeley Musicals on DVDTCM Greatest Classic Films: Busby Berkeley Musicals (DVD)
42nd Street (1933): Ruby Keeler taps, Dick Powell croons, Ginger Rogers quips and musicals are back on the cinematic map as Berkeley imaginatively stages the title tune, “Shuffle Off to Buffalo” and more.
Gold Diggers of 1937 (1936): Insurance peddler Dick Powell asks Joan Blondell to imagine how life would be “With Plenty of Money and You.” There’s razzle-dazzle aplenty too, with Berkeley’s precision-formation “All’s Fair in Love and War.”
Footlight Parade (1933): James Cagney’s troupers roar through Chicago to stage same-night shows in different venues. Highlights: Dick Powell and Ruby Keeler meet “By a Waterfall,” Cagney seeks “Shanghai Lil.”
Dames (1934): “I Only Have Eyes for You” – and for the screen. Berkeley’s bravura creations include a subway dream and a motion-mosaic of a showgirl finale. With Dick Powell and Ruby Keeler.

There are no special features.

V: The Complete First Season on blu-rayV: The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)
Earth’s first alien encounter begins when huge motherships appear over 29 major cities. The visitors – the Vs – are human-like beings who know our languages and bring awesome gifts of healing and technology. People everywhere welcome them as saviours. But a fledgling resistance is on the rise, determined to reveal the shocking truth. Among the underground cadre is an FBI Counter Terrorism Agent who uncovers a terror cell no one ever expected and that her teenage son is drawn to the beauty and promise of the Vs.

Special features include: “Breaking Story: The World of V,” taking a fresh perspective on the V mythology; “The Actor’s Journey from Human to V,” cast members on the techniques, challenges and rewards of reimagining a classic tale for a new generation; “An Alien in Human Skin: the Makeup FX of V”; “The Visual Effects of V,” including a tour of FX Powerhouse ZOIC Studios; unaired scenes; and executive producer commentary on episode 11.

November 9th
Scooby Doo: Where Are You! on DVDScooby-Doo Where Are You! Complete Series (DVD)
Scooby-Doo was a large, loveable but cowardly Great Dane who hung around four California high school students (Fred, Velma, Daphne and Shaggy). The four teens were in constant search of mysteries and adventures, driving around in a bright green van known as the “Mystery Machine.” Most of the group’s escapades involved villains who took on supernatural disguises (ghosts and monsters) to commit some sort of self-serving crime, such as blackmail, theft, fraud and other forms of corruption. At the first hint of trouble, Scooby-Doo – and usually Shaggy too – run for cover, only to find themselves in even deeper trouble. It usually took the promise of a Scooby snack to get Scooby and Shaggy to come out of hiding.

This was easily one of my favourite series as a kid. It was a great way to spend 30 minutes and the identity of the culprit was always a surprise – their efforts to point us in the wrong direction usually added to the effect. Of course, a couple of decades later, the mysteries seem less mysterious, but the characters are as enjoyable as ever. Plus, the great packaging only enhances the appeal.

Special features include: all 41 episodes; “Scooby Doo – The Whole World Loves You!” celebrating the canine crime solver’s popularity; “The Eerie Mystery of the Scooby Doo History,” discussing how the series began; “The Scooby Doo Gang in Their Own Words,” in which the original voice actors share memories; “Hanna-Barbera: From H to B,” how the studio’s artists and animators collaborate internally and connect with fans externally; “Scooby Doo’s Ultimate Fans,” the gang’s followers and memorabilia collectors; “Get the Picture: How to Draw Scooby Doo and the Gang”; “Funky Fashion”; “America Loves Scooby Doo” music video; “Scooby Doo Smarts,” favourite cases of Scooby Doo fans; and “Take the Scooby Doo Challenge.”

November 16th
Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore on blu-rayCats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore (DVD + Blu-ray)
In the eternal battle between cats and dogs, one crazed feline has taken things too far. Former elite agent Kitty Galore has gone rogue and plans to unleash a diabolical device designed to not only bring her canine enemies to heel, but also to take down her former kitty comrades and make the world her scratching post. Faced with this dire threat, cats and dogs must work together for the first time to save themselves and their beloved humans from global cat-astrophe. It features the voices of Christina Applegate, Michael Clarke Duncan, Neil Patrick Harris, Sean Hayes, James Marsden, Bette Midler and Nick Nolte, and stars Chris O’Donnell and Jack McBrayer.

Special features include: “Dogs Dishing: Tails from the Bark Side of Hollywood,” the movie’s pampered stars dish personal details about their human co-stars and what really happened on set; “Mash-up: The Best of the Best Cat vs. Dog Animated Showdowns,” stars of Looney Tunes and Hanna-Barbera are showcased in these classic clips; “Meow-Takes: Outtakes and Gag Reel”; “Coyote Falls,” starring Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote; and a digital copy of the film.

Mutiny on the Bounty on blu-rayMutiny on the Bounty (Blu-ray)
HMS Bounty sails for Tahiti by way of Cape Horn. Captain Bligh (Charles Laughton) is a seafaring monster ruling with the law of fear. Consequently, first officer Fletcher Christian’s (Clark Gable) will to obey erodes under Bligh’s tyranny. And idealistic midshipman Byam (Franchot Tone) is torn by his allegiance to both. That all three portrayals are vividly memorable is accented by the fact that for the only time in Oscar history, three stars from the same film were Best Actor nominees. Mutiny on the Bounty captured the 1935 Best Picture Academy Award and eight nominations total.

Special features include: the 1935 short Pitcairn Island Today; an Academy Awards newsreel; theatrical trailers for this and the 1962 versions of the film; and a 32-page book filled with triva, photos and more.

Peanuts Deluxe Holiday Collection on blu-rayPeanuts Deluxe Holiday Collection: Ultimate Collector’s Edition (Blu-ray)
It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown: Finally – Charlie Brown has been invited to Violet’s Halloween party. Will this also be the evening Linus finally spies the arrival of the mysterious but benevolent Great Pumpkin?
A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving: Charlie Brown can scarcely make toast, so who’s going to prepare the Thanksgiving Day feast for Peppermint Patty and friends?
A Charlie Brown Christmas: Holiday lights may be twinkling red and green, but Charlie Brown has the blues. Can the spindly little Christmas tree he finds help everyone discover the meaning of the season?

These are some of the best holiday specials to air on television each year. It’s difficult to imagine celebrating these occasions without the Peanuts gang and now you’ll never have to spend another holiday without them – or Snoopy’s dance.

Also includes: It’s Magic, Charlie Brown; The Mayflower Voyagers; It’s Christmas Again, Charlie Brown; and back story featurettes.

Special features include: video extras with each episode and three Peanuts holiday window clings.

November 30th
Going the Distance on blu-rayGoing the Distance (DVD + Blu-ray)
Erin (Drew Barrymore) and Garrett (Justin Long) strike sparks for a summer fling in New York City, but neither expects it to last once Erin heads home to San Francisco and Garrett remains behind for his Big Apple job. But after six increasingly romantic weeks, neither is sure they want it to end. So despite the opposing coasts, naysaying friends and family, and a few unexpected temptations, the couple just might have found something like love. Helped by a lot of texting, sexting and late-night phone calls, they might actually make it work.

Special features include: commentary by director Nanette Burstein; “How to Have a Perfect Date,” the stars offer the male and female point of view; “A Guide to Long-Distance Dating,” expert advice on the ‘Dos and Don’ts’ from the movie’s cast and crew; “The Cast of Going the Distance: Off the Cuff,” showing the hilarious moments that resulted when the cast’s improvisations went too far; “Behind the Scenes of the Going the Distance soundtrack”; additional scenes; The Boxer Rebellion “If You Run” music video; and a digital copy of the film.


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