- The Washington Times - Friday, September 5, 2008

Transformers (Paramount, $39.99 for Blu-ray) - “Transformers” was one of the must-own movies on HD DVD for those wishing to see just what their home theater systems could do. HD DVD, of course, lost the format war earlier this year, and Michael Bay says in a press release, “Remember, I told everyone Blu-ray is the best.”

The two-disc special edition is Paramount’s first to use BD Live capabilities. Most Blu-ray players in homes don’t have this feature, which requires that the players have an Internet hookup. More of those players will be trickling out this fall. If you don’t have BD Live, you aren’t missing too much yet, but fans who have it might find it fun to customize their movie menus with Megatron themes. More meaty BD Live features include an on-screen dashboard over the film with info on robots, weapons and their strength levels, and a Profiler that can show information about the cast and filmmakers anytime the viewer chooses.

There are plenty of extras for those without BD Live. You can see, for example, behind-the-scenes footage in a picture-in-picture window during the film, as well as running text commentary. Steven Spielberg, here trading the director’s chair for the producer’s, talks about how much he loves the franchise. The movie, of course, began life as a 1980s animated television series.

“Transformers” stars Megan Fox are filming the sequel, which is to hit screens next summer.

Seattle Grace last season.

The writers strike meant a truncated season of just 16 episodes. (The fifth season is slated to have 26.) The producers have tried to make up for it by extending the episodes on this five-disc set.

This was the first season without Private Practice,” whose thoughtful story lines, although usually treated rather superficially, were much more compelling than those of “Grey’s.” (“Private Practice” has its DVD premiere later this month.)

The fifth season of “Grey’s Anatomy” premieres with a special two-hour episode on Sept. 25.

The Sylvester and Tweety Mysteries: The Complete First Season (Warner Home Video, $19.98) - We never saw much of Granny in the Looney Tunes featuring Sylvester and Tweety, although she was the harebrained owner who thought she could make fair-feathered friends of a cat and a bird. She takes center stage in this series, which aired for five seasons on the Kids’ WB, as she opens a detective agency that takes her and her pets, which also include the bulldog Hector, around the world. This series, which ran from 1995 to 2001, might be an update of a classic cartoon, but it’s old-fashioned enough to have the group searching for a missing platinum roulette wheel in Monte Carlo. (I’m surprised no groups complained that the episode promoted gambling to children - or did they?) The pets assist Granny in sleuthing, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t at each other’s throats. All 13 episodes are on two discs.

Cookie Jar Entertainment, $14.98)- This latest DVD from the talented Canadian pop trio known as Doodlebops (whose heavy makeup and elaborate costumes rival those of KISS but favor neon and pastels) contains message pop aimed at the preschool crowd: Help your friends and think for yourself.

The message is good, and the performances and show - which include elaborate dance steps and a psychedelic set portraying the Doodles’ house - are well done; special features such as knock-knock jokes and the singalong mode are good for parents who want to join in the fun.

Then again, would parents want to subject themselves? The Doodlebops is a real “it” band for youngsters - as illustrated by sellout preschool crowds across the nation. However, the in-your-face chirpiness, repetitive tunes and blinding colors can be a bit exhausting for the senses.

That said, Doodles Deedee (Jonathan Wexler) are supertalented twentysomething musicians-dancers with a devoted following of 3- to 4-year-olds.

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