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January 15, 2008

Video TapeWorm: Released through Tuesday, Jan. 22

THIS WEEK’S TWIN PEEKSSWAMP THING: THE SERIES2008; DVD $39.95, GIf you were a fan of Superfriends or spent as much of your adolescence reading DC comics as we did, then you surely remember this creaky, syndicated monster-series. Dick Durock recreates his squishy, titular rubber-suited role from the “Swamp Thing” movies as a formerly human super-soldier/plant-creature whose swampy home was always infested with Bad Guys, foremost being Dr. Arcane (Mark Lindsay Chapman), the man responsible for his permanent green complexion. A welcome DVD release; long overdue.TORCHWOOD: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON2007; DVD $79.95, URWhen the BBC decided to resurrect Doctor Who, part of the deal was to create a low-budget, updated spin-off. Thus was born Captain Jack Harkness, an ageless bisexual former intergalactic Time Agent/conman who settles into the 21st century as head of an English “MIB”-like organization. The results so far have not been spectacular but show a lot of promise if they can just get out of that claustrophobic hole-in-the-ground headquarters and find a worthy villain. Still, any Doctor is better than none at all — and it certainly beats anything else that the SciFi Channel carries! Seven discs; 13 episodes.CALIFORNIA DREAMING2007; DVD $24.95, PGThis family-friendly comedy featuring Pat Richardson of “Home Improvement” is kinda lame, like most PG-rated fare, but we LOVE the stars! Dave Foley and Lea Thompson play a married couple off on an RV vacation with their two kids where everything goes wrong. Now the really icky part: We even liked Lea in “Howard The Duck!” Euuuwwwww!LOADED2007; DVD $19.95, URA better-than-it-has-to-be no-budget indie crime thriller about the “Orange Curtain”: a brutal organized crime enclave in Southern California, ruled by the ruthless De La Cruz family. The plot focuses on Thomas Tamburello as a dedicated enforcer, determined to become the king of the drug world, and Erick Gosse as the federal agent dedicated to taking him down at all costs. Watch for porn legend Ron Jeremy in a cameo as a doctor.MAKE ROOM FOR DADDY: SEASON 61958; DVD $39.95, URDear Reader: We’ve neglected to keep you informed on the video release of this seminal TV series, and it’s time we corrected that. Aka “The Danny Thomas Show,” this semi-autobiographical sitcom ran for 11 years from 1953 until 1964, taking cues from the home life of its star, a former standup comic. The title comes from the fact that, as a child, daughter Marlo Thomas had to move into sister Terre’s bedroom whenever daddy came home from touring. The incomparable Marjorie Lord played wife “Clancey”; with Rusty Hamer as the son and Angela Cartwright, “Penny Robinson” from “Lost In Space,” as daughter Linda. Guest stars this season include Jack Benny, Dinah Shore, Lucille Ball, Tony Bennett, Tennessee Ernie Ford and Bob Hope.MISSIONARY MAN2007; DVD $24.95, RFormer “He-Man, Master of the Universe,” Dolph Lundgren stars in this updated Western about a biker who avenges the death of his friend at the hands of a sleazy casino developer.MOLIÈRE2007; DVD $29.95, PG-13The crackling plot is far too complex to relate here, but this crazed French satire, based on the true exploits of the titular 17th century actor/playwright, is a joy to behold (and worth the read). Even if you never heard of “The Misanthrope” or “Tartuffe,” you’ll recognize many of the classic comic elements that Moliere added to our cultural lexicon ... ahh, screw it! This thing is damned funny; go and buy it.NOEIN: TO YOUR OTHER SELF: THE COMPLETE SERIES, VOL. 1-52008; DVD $39.95, URFirst full-series release of the best anime series of the 21st century, hands down. Based on the hoary sci-fi notion of there being an infinite array of parallel universes, this clever series drops a tweeny girl into a war between two of them, which threatens to destroy all of creation. But the real joy is watching her meet her other selves in the other worlds — always to a killer soundtrack. Worth checking out.SAW IV2007; DVD $29.95-$39.95, RThis fourth in the inexplicably successful franchise is, in effect, the first of a new generation. Co-creator/writer Leigh Whannell has moved on, and the original antagonist, “Jigsaw,” has now been autopsied, leaving only the final traps he laid while alive to threaten SWAT commander Lyriq Bent. Donnie Wahlberg, originally unavailable for filming, drops in at the 11th hour for a cameo, joining series regs Betsy Russell, Shawnee Smith and Tobin Bell as “dead bad guy.”THE GAME PLAN2007; DVD $29.95-$34.95, PGDwayne “The Rock” Johnson stars in this awful, boring retread of 100 better Disney movies that all began “successful bachelor’s life turns upside down after the cute and precocious child he never knew he had shows up on his doorstep.” ’Nuff said.THE GIRLS NEXT DOOR: SEASON 32006; DVD $29.95, URThere’s something oddly addictive about watching withered, 102-year-old Hugh Hefner being pawed over by a bevy of buxom beauties at nightclubs, in limos, in the Mansion, at restaurants, etc., where he often nods off amid their inane chatter. See what we go through for you!?WHEN EVIL CALLS2006; DVD $26.95, RWeb-vid freaks are already well versed in this wonderfully original — yet cleverly retro — horror/comedy that began as a series of “webisodes.” Now it’s time for the rest of us to catch up as put-upon collegiate Jennifer Lim is granted one wish via text-message by an evil clown, provided she passes on the message to two other students. What follows is an inspired study in how to make a movie starring Sean Pertwee (son of former Dr. Who, John Pertwee), Lois Winstone (daughter of Ray Winstone), Sean Brosnan (son of Pierce) and others. A real treat.OTHER DVDS OF INTERESTER: THE COMPLETE EIGHTH SEASON2001; DVD $49.95, URHAWAII FIVE-O: THE THIRD SEASON1968; DVD $49.95-$54.95, URHUSTLE: THE COMPLETE SEASON 42006; DVD $34.95, URTHE ODD COUPLE: THE THIRD SEASON1970; DVD $38.95-$42.95, URA more complete listing and free vids at www.videotapeworm.com!