There are a few hidden gems in this week’s DVD releases.
• “The Client List: The Complete First Season,” Grade B-minus: Jennifer Love Hewitt plays a woman who goes to work at a Texas massage parlor, a job that the single mom takes out of necessity when her husband leaves her. The series is the continuation of the 2010 made-for-cable movie that earned Hewitt a Golden Globe nomination.
Hewitt is likable enough as the central figure, and she gets good acting support from Cybill Shepherd and Loretta Devine. All three actors are comfortable with the subject matter and soap-opera elements of the story.
• “Phineas & Ferb: Perry Files Animal Agents,” Grade B: A fun animated series that follows Perry the Platypus – better known as Agent P – as he and his fellow creatures battle the evil Dr. Doofenshmirtz. As if the two hours of adventures wasn’t enough, the DVD comes with a spy kit.
• “The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie,” Grade A: Geraldine McEwan (“Agatha Christie’s Marple”) shines in the British series based on the novel by Muriel Spark.
Miss Brodie is devoted to her students at the Marcia Blaine School for Girls in Edinburgh, Scotland, and has made it her mission to give them an appreciation for art and culture. She also pushes them to be as independent as she is, much to the dismay of the headmistress.
It is a beautiful and masterfully acted production.
• “Africa,” Grade A: The latest massive project from the Discovery Channel and the BBC offers a stunning look at the continent in this six-part series. It’s narrated by Sir David Attenborough.
The series offers a magnificently photographed glimpse at Africa’s extremes from animal life to climate. It took four years to capture the images, which include the last great gathering place of the rhinoceros, chimps hunting for honey in the Congo and lizards hunting for flies on the backs of sleeping lions.
• “Rocko’s Modern Life: The Complete Series,” Grade A-minus: The adventures of the wallaby and his offbeat friends has both a refreshing design and witty writing. This is a series any lover of animation should own.
The DVD set includes all 52 madcap original episodes that originally aired on Nickelodeon.
Also new on DVD:
“Girls Against Boys”: Tormented college student reaches her breaking point.
“Holy Motors”: Leos Carax blends monster movie with musical.
“How to Survive a Plague”: Documentary on the battle against AIDS.
“Sins”: The wages of sin are deadly in the thriller starring Danny Glover.
“Man from Shaolin”: The traditions of a fighting monk are tested.
“Scooby-Doo: Mask of the Blue Falcon”: The gang faces a supervillain.
“The Bill Engvall Show: The Second & Third Seasons”: Cable comedy starring Jennifer Lawrence.
“Chasing Mavericks”: Real story of Jay Moriarty’s efforts to surf the Mavericks.
“Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue Healthcare”: A documentary that looks at the problems in the health care system.
“Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Season Two, Volume One”: Young warriors continue to fight evil forces.
“Freaky Deaky”: Billy Burke stars in the film based on the Elmore Leonard novel.
“Law & Order: The Twelfth Year”: TV drama that includes both capture and prosecution of criminals.
“Night Court: The Complete Eighth Season”: Legal TV comedy starring Harry Anderson.
“Chicken with Plums”: Adaptation of the graphic novel by Marjane Satrapi.
“My Lucky Elephant”: An orphan boy’s best friend is an elephant.
“Barbie in The Pink Shoes”: This time Barbie is a ballerina with big dreams.
“The Master”: Veteran faces an uncertain future until he meets a charismatic leader.
“Garrow’s Law: The Complete Collection”: William Garrow (Andrew Buchan) is a lawyer who defends the downtrodden in 18th-century England.
“Maigret: Complete Collection”: Michael Gambon plays the sleuth.
“A Simple Life”: A man realizes what a nanny and maid in his home means to him.
“Joshua Tree”: A car runner (Dolph Lundgren) faces danger after a failed heist.