By ANGELA DAWSON
Front Row Features
With a strong female lead and intense drama, “The Commander: The Complete Collection” debuts on DVD Tuesday Jan. 16, from Acorn TV, an RLJ Entertainment brand. “Prime Suspect” creator Lynda La Plante, the reigning expert on ambitious, reckless female cops, offers this gritty crime drama introducing Clare Blake, the steely head of the elite Murder Review Team and the highest-ranking female officer in New Scotland Yard. Portrayed by Amanda Burton (“The Level,” “Waterloo Road”), Blake is sexy, driven and prone to taking risks. Letting her personal life bleed into her career, she always gets too close to her cases, making her vulnerable to those who wish to take her down. This seven-disc set features 17 episodes (five seasons, 2003-2008), plus bonus interviews with star Burton, a character retrospective with creator La Plante, a supporting cast featurette, and more (suggested retail price of $59.99, Amazon.com). “The Commander” also is available on Acorn TV.
After two decades with London’s Metropolitan Police, veteran police officer Blake (Burton) has reached the pinnacle of her profession. She is New Scotland Yard’s highest-ranking female officer, the Serious Crime Group Commander, and head of the Murder Review Team. Ambitious and fiercely dedicated to her work, Blake nonetheless blurs the lines between her personal life and her career. Her recklessness brings her under her superior’s intense scrutiny—and even threatens her life.
This complete collection of gripping mysteries guest stars “Downton Abbey” vets Hugh Bonneville (“Downton Abbey”) and Brendan Coyle, along with James D’Arcy (“Dunkirk”), Saskia Reeves (“Wolf Hall”), David Patrick O’Hara (“The Departed”), Yorick van Wageningen (“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”), Celia Imrie (“The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”), Simon Williams (“Upstairs, Downstairs”), Matt Day (“Rake”) and Greg Wise (“The Crown”).
Another popular British series arriving on DVD Tuesday, Jan. 16, is “Alibi.” With a captivating story and intriguing characters, the thrilling mystery “Alibi” is written by multi-award-winner Paul Abbott (“Shameless,” “State of Play”). An upper-class man (Michael Kitchen, “Foyle’s War”) and a catering waitress (Sophie Okonedo, “Hotel Rwanda,” “Criminal Justice”) are brought together over a corpse. Not knowing what else to do, they dispose of the body. As events unfold, seeds of mistrust spread until they threaten to destroy everyone in their reach. The miniseries co-stars Phyllis Logan (“Downton Abbey”). The DVD features all three episodes ($34.99, Amazon.com). “Alibi” also is available on Acorn TV.
Neurotic businessman Greg Brentwood (Kitchen) throws an extravagant anniversary party for his wife, Linda (Logan), at their English country home. One of the caterers, Marcey (Okonedo) quietly admires the couple’s love for each other—until she sees an intimate moment between Linda and Greg’s business partner, Martin. When Marcey later returns to the house to retrieve her handbag, she walks in on a frightening scene: Greg moving Martin’s lifeless body. After the initial shock, Greg assures her it was an accident, and Marcey offers to help him dispose of the corpse. As the police investigate the death, Greg becomes increasingly anxious, while Marcey urges him to remain calm. But as she starts to uncover the Brentwoods’ darkest secrets, she begins to wonder what she has gotten herself into. This intriguing and darkly humorous thriller also stars Adam Kotz (“The Last King of Scotland”) and Hilary Maclean (“Torchwood”).
Hop inside the Mystery Machine and hit the road with Scooby-Doo and the gang, in “Be Cool, Scooby-Doo! Season 1 Part 2” available Tuesday Jan. 16, from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. This DVD release will feature 13 fun-filled episodes from the hit animated series. “Be Cool, Scooby-Doo! Season 1 Part 2” will retail for $18.94 SRP.
High school ends and summer vacation begins for the Scooby-Doo gang. Shaggy, Velma, Daphne, Fred and Scooby-Doo set out on a road trip in search of fun and adventure. Along the way, they share plenty of laughs and good times but that’s not all! Scooby-Doo and his pals tackle some of the biggest and most baffling mysteries they’ve ever come across.
As their excursion continues, the Mystery Inc. gang stop at several spooky destinations. The teens visit an old prison known as “The Vault,” which is haunted by the ghost of a man who once tried to escape from its confines. They board a flight on Air Gigantica, a plane that’s tormented by a gremlin. The hijinks continue in the bayous of New Orleans, where the gang encounters a swamp monster. Next on the route is a visit to a ski resort where the lovable Great Dane and his pals confront a snow monster. These and several other escapades are featured on this fun-filled release.