Maybe it's because of Valentine's Day, but there appears to be an awful lot of female-friendly DVD releases in February. Women will especially love new releases topped by the gorgeous Dr. McDreamy and some "Sex and the City." Even the month's big guy movie, "Doom," had hearts twittering in the DVD aisle at Target recently (more on that later).
"Grey's Anatomy: Season One" ($29.99, Buena Vista Home Entertainment) is a double-disc set of the nine first-season episodes of this likable soap-operish ABC medical series.
Creator Shonda Rhimes, director Peter Horton and pretty much every cast member have taken part in the DVD extras, which include commentaries, unaired scenes, deleted scenes from the pilot episode and an 11-minute "Behind the Scenes" featurette.
Yes, Dr. McDreamy is represented by actor Patrick Dempsey, who laughs about going from "being really liked to hated" once fans learned his character was married. Some interesting tidbits: Medical producer Linda Klein uses cow brains and hearts to mimic human body organs; those hands working the surgical procedures often belong to real surgeons; and the show's medical dialogue is written in the script simply as "medical," with words to be filled in later by the experts.
Speaking of dreamy, two new releases put the spotlight on the boyishly charismatic Mark Ruffalo. The actor, who has never been afraid to go to the dark side in films such as "In the Cut," plays up the charm with Reese Witherspoon in the big Hollywood release, "Just Like Heaven" ($29.99, Dreamworks) and in the enjoyable indie feature "Apartment 12" ($24.95, MTI Home Video). For "Apartment 12," Ruffalo provides a bonus interview.
Just three months ago, "Sex and the City" fans could buy a gorgeous, 19-disc collector's gift set of the entire series for about $250. Previously, individual seasons had been released at about $50 each and other sets were available at more than $300, so it seemed safe to assume that all of the "Sex and City" bases on home video were covered.
"Sex and the City Essentials" are three-episode discs that work as Cliff Notes-lite versions of the popular series. Priced at $14.98 a piece (HBO Video), each disc is packaged with a common theme (meaning this "Essentials" series could go on for years).
The first four of this "best of" series are titled "Mr. Big," "Romance," "Lust" and "Breakups." Being someone who never saw the series on HBO and has failed miserably to get up to date via current reruns, I thought these would be a great way to catch up -- wrong again.
Although the discs are entertaining, they are only glimpses into characters and situations that were worked out in story arcs that aired for weeks. That makes it frustrating for someone who hasn't watched much "Sex and the City" to know what's happening.
For instance, the "Best of Mr. Big" has the first episode he appeared in (which amounts to about two minutes of screen time for actor Chris Noth), followed by an episode where he tells Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) he's engaged to another woman, and then fast forward to Carrie learning he's moving to Napa.
OK, I'm lost. Where's an episode where they actually dated?
The fun thing about having episodes mixed together from six seasons is that you can sit back and enjoy all of the changing hair colors and styles of Parker and her gal pals.
"Doom: Unrated Extended Edition" ($29.98, R-rated version also available; Universal) is the film version of the popular video game.
The Rock leads the requisite group of universal soldiers sent to battle an unknown danger on a scientific research station on Mars. Why Mars? The film's opening voice-over gives the answer: In 2026, archaeologists discovered a portal in the Nevada desert that leads to an ancient city on Mars. They called it "the ark."
The film is ripe with action-adventure quips like "We got us a game"; "let's see if we can find the body that goes with the arm" and the accusatory "you re-opened the dig?"
For this DVD edition, the marketing folks were smart to give Karl Urban nearly equal billing with the Rock. You may not know the name, but there are plenty of sci-fans fans -- especially those of Peter Jackson's "The Lord of the Rings" films -- for whom the name Karl Urban is a draw. Walking down that previously mentioned DVD aisle, I joined in as two women were oogling over Urban on the "Doom" DVD cover with one proclaiming, "He's the reason to watch this -- it's not even the Rock's movie."
Since I didn't see the film in theaters, I don't know what you get with the unrated version other than an additional 12 minutes and a few extra bonus features.
The movie includes a segment shot from the perspective of John Grimm (Urban) that would be the same view you get playing a video game. This "first person shooter sequence" has its own featurette on the extended DVD as visual effects supervisor Jon Farhat, who directed the sequence, discusses the three months of planning that went into it.
"Basic Training" showcases Tom McAdams, who spent 25 years with the Special Forces, working with the motley bunch of actors to make them not only look like special forces, but also like "They had years of service."
It's fun to watch the biggest -- and baddest -- of the actors being intimidated by the AK-47s or flinching as they shoot off the enormous weapons during training. "You're flinching, do it again," they're told.
"Doom" fans might also be the same folks who would enjoy two new discs from World Wrestling Entertainment.
The two-disc "Blood Sport ECW" ($29.95) showcases 19 of the most brutal matches in Extreme Championship Wrestling including Sabu, Tommy Dreamer, Cactus Jack and Sandman.
"New Year's Revolution" ($24.95), a pay-per-view event filmed just last month in Albany, is already available for home viewing. It includes the elimination Chamber Match for the WWE Championship between John Cena, Kurt Angle, Shawn Michaels, Chris Masters, Carlito and Kane; the intercontinental championship match of Ric Flair vs. Edge; plus the Women's Championship (Trish Stratus vs. Mickie James). And here, for the first time, is the Bra and Panties Gauntlet Match.
The Best of Youth: A winner at the 2003 Cannes Film Festival, this epic film is a family saga spanning 40 years in the lives of two brothers. In Italian with English subtitles. ($29.99, Buena Vista. Available now.)