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New on DVD

TV shows Vera, Phineas and Ferb and Upstairs, Downstairs get DVD treatment

If you have no desire to see the Jersey Shore gang bed-hop their way through Italy, you might be looking for an alternative in the TV department.

- Based on the best-selling books by Ann Cleeves, Vera stars Oscar nominee Brenda Blethyn as Chief Inspector Vera Stanhope, the emotional, driven and solitary Northumberland investigator. Four 90-minute episodes track Vera as she deals with her own neuroses while solving murders with the help of right-hand man Joe Ashworth (David Leon, suitably hunky). Great cinematography frames an A-list cast and fully-fleshed characters that keep our interest for the whole hour and a half. So what if the first episodea melange of peeping Toms, schoolboys, infidelity, and multiple murdersis a little extravagant: a simple shot to the head wouldnt be nearly as entertaining.

- While youre enjoying murder and mayhem, pop in Phineas and Ferb the Movie: Across the Second Dimension for the kids. The Disney two-disc ultimate fan pack features eight digital music tracks, bonus features and a DIY Perry the Platypus catapult kit. In this feature-length original movie based on the hit show, Phineas and Ferb see behind the curtain and finally realize that their pet platypus Perry is actually a secret agent whos out to save the world from evil, namely the bungling Dr. Doofenshmirtz. With catchy tunes and smart dialogue, Phineas and Ferb is one animated show the whole family can truly enjoy.

- And if youre feeling nostalgic (or need a good present for the mother-in-law) pick up the original Upstairs, Downstairs, the landmark British TV series that ran in 68 episodes from 1971 to 1975. The show chronicled 30 years of social changes affecting the aristocratic Bellamy family and the people below stairs who served them. Series one through three tackles the social mores of the Edwardian era; season four delved into the Great War, and its creation of a rising middle class. The 40th anniversary edition features hours and hours of bonus material, including interviews with cast members and writers. More entertaining are the vintage bonus features: talk shows of the period such as Russell Harty Plus on which star Jean Marsh revealed that she wasnt wearing any underwear.

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