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Modern Family: The Complete Second Season (NR)

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

In its sophomore season, ABC's laugh-track-less sitcom Modern Family fell victim to an affliction commonly encountered by insta-hit network shows: an unwillingness to tinker with its successful formula. As a result, the forgivable problems of Season 1 (especially the cluttered, all-characters-equal ensemble structure) have been repeated here. There is still an appropriate number of laughs-per-episode (most of them courtesy of hyper-stressed mom Julie Bowen and freestyling "fun dad" Ty Burrell), and any show that features Sofia Vergara doing anything is a show I plan to watch. However, the character development still ranges from stereotypes to amusing stereotypes, and it's a little depressing to watch such a funny and well-cast show sink into predictability after just a year. Season 3, which kicked off a few weeks ago, doesn't offer any immediate hope. — Daniel Barnes


Submarine (R)

Anchor Bay Home Entertainment

Fans of British comedy know Richard Ayoade as Moss from the hilarious program The IT Crowd. Submarine is his feature-film debut, and people expecting that same surreal humor to transfer over will be deeply disappointed. However, that's the perfect mood to pair with viewing Submarine, which is gray and dour and feels like the cinematic adaptation of every song the Smiths ever recorded. As someone who loves the Smiths, I loved this movie. Pale up-and-comer Craig Roberts is schoolboy Oliver Tate, a self-absorbed teen who desperately wants to lose his virginity. He develops a plan to seduce the school's female bully and eventually wins her over, sort of. Meanwhile, his parents' marriage is decaying as dad sits around the house moping and mom crushes hard on a sleazy self-help guru. There's nothing uplifting about this film in the slightest. — Louis Fowler


Raising Hope: The Complete First Season (NR)

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

I knew I was in for a real treat when I noticed the soundtrack to the devastatingly quirky sitcom Raising Hope was all whistling. That's the new de rigueur background noise for shows of this irritating ilk. Once I made it past that, I found a show that was not only not funny, but a nauseatingly bitter and cynical sharp stick in the eye of lower-income America, with most of the humor revolving around the neglect of a newborn baby. It's a depressing ode to my generation's collective feelings about the sanctity of life. If that weren't bad enough, every scene that comedy stalwart Cloris Leachman is in, playing a grandmother with dementia and Alzheimer's, is an even sadder note of what we truly think of the elderly. And it's all no surprise considering that the show was created by Greg Garcia, à la My Name is Earl, another one-note joke about the supposed stupidity of the underclass. — Louis Fowler

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