New DVDs: 'Hill Street Blues,' 'Godfather Part III,' and more

"Hill Street Blues," which ran for 146 episodes, is out in a34-disc set.
"Hill Street Blues," which ran for 146 episodes, is out in a34-disc set.
Posted: May 03, 2014

Marcel Proust had his madeleines. The smell and taste flooded him with the remembrance of times and things past.

TV fans of a certain age have Mike Post's opening theme song from Hill Street Blues.

From its first notes, you know you're in for a special treat. A moving and raucous mixture of high drama and farce, Hill Street Blues introduced a new way TV shows could be made, influencing everything that came after.

Breaking Bad, Justified, The Sopranos - you name it - would not exist without creator Steven Bochco and Michael Kozoll's groundbreaking serial, which ran for seven seasons from 1981 to 1987.

Bochco and Kozoll's miracle formula was cooked at a miraculous time: NBC was last in ratings and desperate for a big flagship show. In an unprecedented move, the network gave Bochco & Co. total creative control over the pilot. It wasn't always easy, but the creators managed to maintain their autonomy for many of the subsequent 145 episodes.

The show has never before been available on disc in its entirety. Shout! Factory this week rectified that oversight, releasing the 34-disc mega-box set Hill Street Blues: The Complete Series. ( www.shoutfactory.com; $199.99; not rated)

We wouldn't recommend binge-watching all 115 hours. (But if you must, remember to keep hydrated.)

Classics on Blu-ray

The Godfather Part III. The closing chapter of Francis Ford Coppola's epic trilogy pales in comparison with its predecessors - yet still surpasses many a gangster pic. Previously available in Blu-ray only as part of a box set, it's due May 13 as a one-disc release. ( www.paramount.com/movies/home-media; $24.99; rated R)

Memphis Belle. Matthew Modine and Eric Stoltz soar in this 1990 WWII pic about the last mission of a B-17 Flying Fortress based in England. Due on Tuesday. ( www.wbshop.com; $19.98; rated PG-13)

The Big Red One. Lee Marvin leads a rifle squad in this WWII masterpiece from Sam Fuller released in 1980. An unsettling, unique mix of tragedy and comedy, it is due Tuesday from Warner. ( www.wbshop.com; $19.98; rated PG-13)

Amistad and The Terminal. Due Tuesday, these two Steven Spielberg films finally can be enjoyed in high definition. ( www.dreamworksstudios.com; $22.98 each; Amistad rated R; Terminal rated PG-13)

Other titles of note

Republic of Doyle Season 1. It's hard to capture in words the sometimes surreal, deeply quirky, always enjoyable atmosphere evoked by Canadian producer-writer-star Allan Hawco's crime dramedy, which debuted up north in 2010 and is due out Tuesday from Acorn Media. The setting has a lot to do with it: Starring Hawco as a former cop who runs a private detective firm with his sarcastic old-school dad (Sean McGinley), it's shot entirely in St. John's, a gorgeous, to-die-for city of about 106,000 souls on the remote island of Newfoundland in the Atlantic. It's a treat for mystery fans and lovers of quirky comedy alike. ( www.acornmedia.com; $39.99; not rated)

The Rocket. Set in Laos, this sublime drama from Australian filmmaker Kim Mordaunt is about a 10-year-old boy who helps his uprooted family by making a rocket to enter in a lucrative fireworks contest. It's a moving story set in a horrific context - like other Laotian children, the hero lives in a countryside littered by hundreds of unexploded bombs deposited by American planes during the Vietnam War. ( www.kinolorber.com; $29.95; not rated)

Labor Day. Seventh grader Henry (Gattlin Griffith) narrates this oddball romance about his mom, single mother Adele (Kate Winslet), who falls for a convicted killer on the run (Josh Brolin). Director Jason Reitman ( Juno, Thank You for Smoking) achieves a good balance of humor, romance, and suspense. ( www.paramount.com/movies/home-media; $29.98 DVD; $39.99 Blu-ray; rated PG-13)


Most titles also available for digital download from major retailers.

tirdad@phillynews.com

215-854-2736

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