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Spartacus: Vengeance (NR)

Anchor Bay Home Entertainment

Even the untimely death of Andy Whitfield, who portrayed the titular character of Spartacus in the hit Starz show, couldn't stop the series from its onslaught against history. Following the prequel series, Spartacus: Gods of the Arena, the original storyline continues in Vengeance, which, while nowhere near as gratuitously sexy as the first two installments, makes up for it with even more slow-motion blood and gore, slashings and decapitations. Former gladiator/slave Spartacus and his band of mutinous minions have taken to the sewers, routinely going overground to kill various Romans, just because. This comes to the attention of the Senate and an upstart praetor who thinks he can make a name for himself by crushing the rebellion. At this point, Spartacus has a built-in audience who loves the show, and looks faithfully forward to every chapter in this ongoing saga of blood and sand. Vengeance is a great feat of trashy storytelling, which is the series' biggest strength. — Louis Fowler

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Key & Peele: Season 1 (NR)

Comedy Central

If you've been hankering for an Obama impression that doesn't make you want to sleep through the election, try Key & Peele. Consisting of two former MAD TV stars, Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key, it's sketch comedy with a post-racial appeal. Both co-hosts admit to sheltered-suburbia upbringings and Key is mixed-race, so they straddle the culture line self-consciously and adeptly. One recurring sketch, in which Peele's Obama is so reserved that he's hired a militant African-American to translate his bullet points into "real talk," is so nuanced in its observation of 44 that it's easy to overlook just how much better Peele is at imitating the man than Saturday Night Live's failed candidates. (Peele was passed over at SNL in 2008 in favor of Fred Armisen. Jay Pharoah, who's at least black, recently took over, poorly.) It's not Chappelle's Show — Key and Peele's NPR sensibilities hardly allow for that kind of button-pushing — but they know that, too, which counts for a lot. — Justin Strout

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Paul Rodriguez: Just for the Record (NR)

Image Entertainment

Before Gabriel Iglesias, Pablo Francisco and Carlos Mencia, Paul Rodriguez was the premier Latino comedian, the groundbreaker and trailblazer who paved the way for other Hispanic comics. From his '80s HBO specials to his current work leading the Original Latino Kings of Comedy, he's exposed the world to more Latino humor than anyone. His latest special is utterly hilarious and remarkably profound: Just for the Record is less of a stand-up act than a series of monologues about his life. Starting with moves from Mexico to Fresno and Compton as a young child, to his breakout success on Carson and his short-lived television series A.K.A. Pablo, to his current beef with George Lopez, Rodriguez spills his guts for the world to see. It often goes far beyond the Behind the Music gossip into his very personal life and feelings — something very unexpected even to seasoned fans. If you weren't a fan of Paul Rodriguez before, you will be after this. — Louis Fowler

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