The Lord of the Rings Original Animated Classic
Warner, $19.98; Blu-ray, $29.99
Peter Jackson's blockbuster "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy finally comes to Blu-ray this week, but only in a single box set, and without the extended cuts. While fans wait for the inevitable wave of expanded single-disc editions and collector's sets, they can get a temporary "Rings" fix from Ralph Bakshi's flawed but fascinating 1978 animated version.
Though Bakshi got to complete only half of what was intended to be a two-movie epic -- and though the pace of the film is so brisk that it misses the nuance of author J.R.R. Tolkien -- Bakshi's animation is frequently stunning, and the story is a lot easier to follow in the wake of Jackson's fuller adaptation.
The DVD and Blu-ray add a well-made half-hour documentary about Bakshi's scrappy underdog career, which makes his achievement with this movie all the more impressive.
Starz/Anchor Bay, $29.97
The also-ran pay-cable movie channel Starz gets its own signature original series with "Party Down," a riotously funny sitcom about Hollywood cater-waiters marking time while waiting for their showbiz break.
These 10 episodes feature Adam Scott, Ken Marino, Jane Lynch, Martin Starr, Ryan Hansen and Lizzy Caplan trading quips and cut-downs as their characters hook up, network, and weigh whether they can afford to give up their dreams. The "Party Down: Season One" DVD adds outtakes, bloopers, featurettes and commentary tracks.
The Complete Series
If "The Hurt Locker" left you wanting to see more of its Oscar-nominated star Jeremy Renner, you'll find what you're looking for with "The Unusuals," an offbeat cop series that ran for 10 episodes on ABC in 2009. Renner plays a fiery NYPD homicide detective investigating the murder of his corrupt former partner alongside his squeaky-clean new one (played by Amber Tamblyn).
With quirky supporting turns by Harold Perrineau and Adam Goldberg, "The Unusuals" feels like a gritty '70s sitcom stretched into hour-long drama form. The fit isn't always neat, but the performances and the New York atmosphere make it worth catching up to. "The Unusuals" arrives on DVD with no announced special features and exclusively through Amazon.
Eyes on the Prize: America's Civil Rights Years
Long unavailable because of copyright issues, the 1987 PBS miniseries "Eyes on the Prize" has finally had its archival clips cleared for use in a consumer product and can now be seen outside the educational market. "Prize" starts with the Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka decision and ends with the march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala., and features extensive interviews with the people who lived through historic times, recording their stories of swinging between despair and hope.
The Cinema Guild, $29.95
Dirt! The Movie
The Lord of the Rings
The Motion Picture Trilogy
New Line Blu-ray, $99.98