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NEW ON DVD

'Fast & Furious'; 'Battlestar Galactica'; 'Dollhouse'; 'Miss March'

July 26, 2009|Noel Murray

Fast & Furious

Universal, $29.98/$34.98; Blu-ray, $39.98

Though the 2001 chase flick "The Fast and the Furious" was a lot of fun, very little about its milieu of rule-bending cops and heroic car thieves screamed "franchise." Nevertheless, it's kind of nice to see stars Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez and Jordana Brewster together again, racing around in exotic climes in the fourth film in the series, the curtly titled "Fast & Furious." Director Justin Lin, who also helmed the third film, combines documentary grittiness with blockbuster flash, giving his charismatic cast a suitable frame. "Fast & Furious" is cinematic junk food -- forgettable and maybe even bad for you -- but it goes down easy. The Blu-ray and double-disc DVD add a quite good 20-minute prequel short, hours of behind-the-scenes featurettes and a commentary track by Lin.

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Battlestar Galactica

The Complete Series

Universal, $279.98; Blu-ray, $349.98

From December 2003 to this March, one of the best TV series of the decade aired on the Sci Fi network, a basic cable outlet previously known for cheesy monster movies and "Twilight Zone" reruns. In telling the story of an interstellar flotilla fleeing genocidal robots, "Battlestar Galactica" writer-producers David Eick and Ronald D. Moore raised tough questions about what makes us human and what we're willing to compromise in the name of security, all while delivering episodes packed with nail-biting drama and moments of soul-stirring wonder. The 20 Blu-ray discs (or 25 DVDs) contained in "Battlestar Galactica: The Complete Series" aren't seamless; sometimes the series stumbled. But there's more than enough quality television here -- and bonus features -- to justify the high price.

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Dollhouse

Season One

20th Century Fox, $49.98; Blu-ray, $69.99

Eliza Dushku plays a woman-for-hire who can be "imprinted" with any personality her clients like -- lover, adventurer, bank robber, midwife -- in "Dollhouse," the latest cult TV series from "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Firefly" creator Joss Whedon. "Dollhouse's" first season took some time to find its rhythm, as Whedon struggled to balance client-of-the-week stories with the larger mythology of Dushku's organization, but by the end it had turned into a fun, philosophical show about the fluidity of self. Fans can enjoy a DVD or Blu-ray set that includes giggly commentary tracks by Whedon and Dushku, a handful of deleted scenes and featurettes, the series' scrapped pilot and an unaired season finale.

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All titles released Tuesday.

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