Jason J. Hughes
Former Contributor

WRITTEN BY Jason J. Hughes

Mad Men: Season Four

The character of Donald Draper, played so masterfully by Jon Hamm these past four seasons that to many he simply is Don Draper, has transcended Mad Men...and become a part of our pop culture. This is a rare honor for a character that happens so infrequently, the last such occurrence might be Dr. Gregory House.

Baseball: The Tenth Inning [Blu-Ray]

Ken Burns returned to the style and content of his 1994 mini-series epic Baseball to bring us up to date by taking us into extra innings. For fans of the game, this is a must-have addition to the original, and even for those with no interest in the long history of the sport, the past 15 years or so have brought enough drama and craziness to intrigue even the most casual viewer, with the home run race of 1998, the steroid scandal, and even the Boston Red Sox finally claiming a World Series crown and breaking "The Curse of the Bambino."

Caprica: Season 1.0

Caprica, a prequel series to BSG that explored the genesis of the Cylons even before the first Cylon war, was such a different flavor for the network that fans may not have known what to think of it. Glacially paced, and with no space-faring at all, it was very intentionally a soap-operatic drama that happened to be set in a science fiction universe. That it failed isn't much of a surprise, but it is a damned shame.

Legend of the Seeker: The Complete 2nd Season

With its second season, Legend of the Seeker found a good rhythm and balance between lighter episodic fare and the ongoing struggle between Richard and The Seeker; not to mention his dead mortal enemy from the first season, Darken Rahl. It's a shame that modern audiences weren't able to accept this syndicated show, as it attempted to revive the genre once dominated by the likes of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys

Family Guy: Partial Terms of Endearment

When you're a satirist and an edgy comedian/artist like Seth MacFarlane, you wear it as a badge of honor when your stuff is deemed too intense for television. So MacFarlane must be beaming with pride that it's happened to him twice. The first time was in dealing with issues of religion.

The Mentalist: The Complete Second Season

In a sea of procedurals, The Mentalist manages to stand out because of the performance of Simon Baker as Patrick Jane. Like Dr. House, Jane is a bit of a rules-breaker, but he's far more charismatic. Also, there are some recurring elements that hint at larger stories going on behind the case-of-the-week nature of most of the episodes.

Bored to Death: The Complete First Season

While it does have some rough edges throughout these first eight installments, you can see the foundation being laid for the great buddy-comedy series to come. Fans of Zach Galafianakis' work on the big screen should absolutely be following him to this show. He's doing what he does best, but he's also showing some emotional depth and range.

The League: The Complete First Season

There are only six episodes in this short first season, so we move abnormally fast through the football season. While it takes a few episodes for the series to really find its groove, that turns out to be nearly half the season. By the end of its run, you can see potential greatness. The set also offers "Extended Cuts" of each episode, offering more raunchiness than could fit onto the FX cuts. As the guys are at their finest when they're bantering, the additions strengthen the comedy.

How I Met Your Mother: The Complete Fifth Season

The only real problem with the season is the Barney-Robin relationship, but by the tenth episode even the writers realize they've written themselves into a corner. After that, things take a turn for the better with some of the sharpest episodes yet

Supernatural: The Complete Fifth Season

The culmination of a five-year plan, this season of Supernatural sees the gates to Hell opened, Lucifer and his Four Horsemen walking the face of the Earth, and the boys in total disarray. After Sam's path of corruption and power last season, the relationship between him and Dean is fractured at best. But with the apocalypse looming and the End of the World nigh, they need to get their crap together before it's too late.

Gossip Girl: The Complete Third Season

It's back to the Upper East Side of Manhattan for another season of snarky rich people and their social anxieties. With high school behind them, the writers push their young cast in new and interesting directions, offering opportunities for character growth and advancement, and the changes make for a surprisingly solid and cohesive season, with all the twists and turns you've come to expect from the series.

Friday Night Lights: The Fourth Season

Friday Night Lights is one of the most relevant and relatable shows on television. It's not filled with sexy crimes, car chases, villains, or action heroes. It's a simple show about high school, told from the perspectives of the students, alumni, and faculty. It's safe to say we can all relate to one or more of those experiences, whereas most of us aren't too familiar with all that other stuff. This season, with the addition of East Dillon, there's a backdrop of exploring the differences between affluent schools and those on the brink of poverty and despair.

FlashForward: The Complete Series

When a global event causes the entire planet to black out and see a glimpse of their future six months hence, the flashforward sets in motion a movement to find out what caused the blackout, and if what they all saw will come true. With the date of the flashforward occurring toward the end of the season, the formula was in place for a taut and riveting season. So what went wrong?

Stargate Universe: Season 1.5

After a slow start, the second 10 episodes of the first season of Stargate Universe show the cast and creators gradually becoming more comfortable with their creation. As a result, the episodes are tighter, more dramatic, offer more character development, and ratchet up the tension considerably. In other words, all the potential of the concept is finally realized.

Date Night

When you watch a movie like Date Night, it's easy to see why Steve Carell has decided to say farewell to Dunder-Mifflin and The Office. While not as funny as in The 40 Year Old Virgin, perhaps, Carell is nevertheless perfectly cast as a rather ordinary middle-aged father. The on-screen chemistry he shares with movie wife Tina Fey throughout this madcap romp of a movie carries us through the absurdities.

Clash of the Titans [Blu-Ray]

The quest itself, in its attempts to be epic and grand, take on more than just cursory similarities to the Lord of the Rings film trilogy. The sweeping vistas and the formation and subsequent breaking of the fellowship that form around Perseus seem a little too familiar. I kept waiting for Ozal and Kucuk (Persian monster hunters who provide some comic relief) to start complaining about missing "second breakfast."

The Girl by the Lake

The best compliment I can give the film is that, while it may not be the most innovative mystery I've ever seen, it is a journey I not only enjoyed, but one I find myself thinking about afterward. More importantly, not only would I be interested in spending more time with Inspector Sanzio as he takes on more challenging cases, I'd love to explore this quiet little mountain town and its fascinatingly complex denizens some more.

The Crazies (2010)

A group of survivors getting picked off one by one...check. At least one is assumed to be infected, but isn't...check. The government/military response is overly zealous but ultimately incompetent...check. The lead and his lady love separate and she becomes the target of an attack...check. The lead and his lady love survive through the tragic sacrifice of a close friend...check. A "shock" ending reveals the horror isn't over yet...check.

Hot Tub Time Machine

When you have a movie called Hot Tub Time Machine, you kind of know what you're getting into. Snakes on a Plane went with that title because it was trying to poke fun at the conventions of the genre it was in. HTTM is clearly doing the same thing, and in many respects, that tongue-in-cheek approach to the story works well. It also manages to remind us all what an utter fashion disaster the 1980s were. I'm surprised more people didn't go blind if the world really was as colorful as those ski slopes of 1986.

Supernatural: The Complete First Season [Blu-Ray]

A mix of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Kolchak: The Night Stalker, and The X-Files, Supernatural still manages to be its own thing in its first season. It's more like a miniature horror feature film each week. Most episodes provide full closure on the "monster of the week," while a few begin to lay the foundation for the complex mythology that eventually dominates the series.

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