Several of this week’s new DVD releases are either TV productions or based on small screen offerings.
• “Baywatch” 1 1/2 stars: It’s up to legendary lifeguard Lt. Mitch Buchannon (Dwayne Johnson) and his beach team to stop a crime wave that has hit their community like a bad-guy tsunami. At the same time, Buchannon must deal with a new recruit, Matt Brody (Zac Efron), an Olympics medal winner with a big ego and low I.Q. assigned the job to avoid jail time.
There are moments in this big screen adaptation of the syndicated series where the writers and director, Seth Gordon, look like they are making a spoof of the TV program that at one time was the most popular show on the planet. The few jokes that work poke fun at what was always the absurdity of the show: beautiful women running in slow motion, lifeguards solving crimes and beaches where the heavyset are turned away.
• “Designated Survivor: The Complete First Season” 3 1/2 stars : The series is based on what would happen if only one member of the president’s Cabinet survived a deadly attack. In this case, low-level Cabinet member Tom Kirkman (Kiefer Sutherland) is thrust into being the president of the United States.
The first season of the ABC drama brilliantly blends all of the political moves the new president must go through along with the FBI’s efforts to investigate the deadly attack.
“Designated Survivor” has a great “24” feel and not because of Sutherland. Maggie Q heads up the investigations like the Jack Bauer of the show.
Either part would make this a good series. Combined, it is one of the best new show from the 2016-17 season.
• “Gotham: The Complete Third Season” 3 stars: Making this series about what was happening in Gotham City before Bruce Wayne decided to slip into his cape and cowl set up a very dangerous situation for the producers. If they could not bank on Batman being the draw for the show, they were going to need someone else to save the day.
It looked like that would be Ben McKenzie as a young Jim Gordon. McKenzie’s done a good job, but the power of “Gotham” comes from the fascinating flock of foes that have turned Gotham into a criminal haven. Leading the way is Robin Lord Taylor who as the Penguin has taken the character from waves of madness to the depths of love and heartbreak. Taylor’s work is so good he rules the screen.
Also on DVD
• “Black Sails: Season Four”: Flint sails to Nassau intending to strike a winning blow.
• “My Cousin Rachel”: Rachel Weisz stars in the romance based on the novel by Daphne du Maurier.
• “Killing Hasselhoff”: The only way a man can pay of a major debt is for David Hasselhoff to die.
• “A Family Man”: Father’s priorities shift after a diagnosed of cancer.