- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Here’s a look at a few adult-themed, television series now available in the DVD or Blu-ray format.

The Good Fight: Season One (Paramount/CBS Home Entertainment, not rated, 491 minutes, 1.78:1 aspect ratio, $33.99) — Fans of the critically acclaimed and now defunct legal drama “The Good Wife” were able to follow the further adventures of veteran lawyer Diane Lockhart (Christine Baranski) in a spin-off series on the subscription streaming service CBS All Access.

Those unaware that the show even existed via the over 2-year-old service can now binge-watch the inaugural season via a 3-disc DVD set compiling all 10 episodes.

Smart writing and a bevy of quirky plaintiffs, judges and lawyers highlight the quality storytelling from Robert and Michelle King (creators of “The Good Wife”) and showcase the complex life of Miss Lockhart after leaving a law firm she created. She has now joined the prestigious African American-owned firm Reddick, Boseman & Kolstad.

Besides Miss Baranski at her most wise and fragile, performances shine throughout and include original show stalwarts such as Sarah Steele as aggressive assistant Marissa Gold, Gary Cole as her husband Kurt McVeigh, Lucca Quinn (Cush Jumbo) as a junior partner and new series cast members Rose Leslie as Diane’s goddaughter lawyer Maia Rindell, Bernadette Peters as Maia’s mother and Delroy Lindo as name partner Adrian Boseman.

Besides the too-short, 10-episode season and cheap shots at President Trump, the only other annoyance was having to watch the episodes in the antiquated DVD format.

Suffice it to report, after my eyes have adjusted to countless hours of viewing higher definition visuals from Blu-ray and 4K UHD formats, even running the discs through an upscaling 4K player, the results are still a softly focused, sometimes visually murky mess.

Best extras: Slim picking folks with only a collection of deleted or extended scenes on most episodes and an almost amusing, 5-minute gag reel. I could certainly have used an optional commentary track with the creators on at least the first episode.

The Handmaid’s Tale: Season One (20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, rated TV-MA, 545 minutes, 1.78:1 aspect ratio, $39.99) — Margaret Atwood’s acclaimed novel about a dystopian United States ruled by a Christian reconstructionist, totalitarian regime came to life last year in new series on the streaming Hulu Channel.

This 3-disc, Blu-ray set gives binge-watchers an Emmy Award-slathered, 10-episode season of high drama revealing some unconscionable acts by the Republic of Gilead to subjugate all rights of women.

Specifically, the story focuses on the travails of select fertile females called “handmaids,” living in a nearly sterile world and forced into sexual and childbearing servitude by commanders and their barren wives.

Viewers are privy to the world through Handmaid June Osborne (Elisabeth Moss), now renamed Offred by her captors. Her backstory and state of the world come to light through current plot points, flashbacks and narration that take viewers down the paths of multiple characters caught up in the madness.

Inspired performances abound led by Miss Moss, Alexis Bledel as the rebellious Haidmaiden Ofglen, Joseph Fiennes as Cmdr. Fred Waterford and Ann Dowd as the unflinchingly evil overseer of the Handmaids, Aunt Lydia.

I’lI caution that the series’ pace might be a bit too sluggish or depressing for some, but the acts of brutality delivered by the regime will punch viewers in the emotional gut every time.

Best extras: Two featurettes (only 13 minutes in total) offer just a peek of the background of the production and story. The first offers a look at the Handmaid’s Savaging ritual (in this case collectively beating to death an accused rapist) with interviews from series creator Bruce Miller, director Reed Morano, Miss Olsen and Miss Dowd.

The second, way more promotional than informative, is only worth a look to hear a few short interview snippets from Miss Atwood.

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