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Chris Hicks: ‘BrainDead,’ Lego Star Wars TV series on home video this week

A highlight of this past summer’s TV fare was the comic sci-fi thriller “BrainDead,” which makes its DVD debut this week, and for fans of all things Star Wars, there’s “Lego Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures,” on Blu-ray and DVD.

“BrainDead” (CBS/Paramount, 2016, four discs, 13 episodes, deleted scenes, featurettes, bloopers). Mary Elizabeth Winstead is charming and witty as a struggling filmmaker who goes to work for her Democratic senator brother (Danny Pino), and then stumbles onto an alien invasion. It seems that alien bugs are crawling into the ears of congressional leaders and ruling their minds so they can take over America and eventually the world.

This very funny, gag-filled show is an utterly unique political satire wrapped in sci-fi/horror trappings. (One clever bit has the “previously on” summaries being sung.) And of the many amusing comic cast members, Tony Shalhoub stands out as a Republican senator whose personality under the alien influence does a 180. (Be advised that this show is not for children, with exploding heads and some sexual content. CBS canceled the series after one season but it does neatly wrap things up in the final episode.)

“Lego Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures: The Complete Season One” (Disney, 2016, 13 episodes, featurettes, six magnets). This computer-animated series has Lego Star Wars characters in an adventure set between “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi,” as three young siblings and a droid get caught up in the rebellion.

“Elena of Avalor: Ready to Rule” (Disney, 2016, four episodes). The title character in this Disney cable series is the 16-year-old Latina ascendant to the throne of a mythical land where she is learning to rule as the crown princess after saving her kingdom from an evil sorcerer.

“Greenleaf: Season One" (Lionsgate, 2016, three-disc Blu-ray/four-disc DVD, 13 episodes, featurettes, bloopers). This glossy soap opera stars Keith David as the charismatic but ruthless head of a worldwide megachurch, Lynn Whitfield as his scheming wife and Merle Dandridge as their daughter, who returns home when her sister dies mysteriously. Oprah Winfrey co-produced and she has a supporting role in this series that airs on her cable network. (The second season will begin sometime next year on OWN.)

“Zoo: Season Two” (CBS/Paramount, 2016, four discs, 13 episodes, deleted scenes, featurettes, bloopers). Based on James Patterson’s novel, this thriller fantasy series began with a seemingly random series of animal attacks, which evolved into global war between humans and the animal kingdom. But as the second season progresses, it becomes apparent that the team will have to deal with some humans who are in the way of averting the crisis.

“Beauty and the Beast: The Final Season” (CBS/Paramount, 2016, four discs, 13 episodes, deleted scenes, featurettes, bloopers). This rebooted version of the ’80s series stars Kristin Kreuk as Cat Chandler, an NYPD homicide cop who falls in love with Vincent (Jay Ryan), an Afghanistan veteran subjected to Army experiments that left him with the ability to transform into a beast. In this fourth and final season, they are married, but when Vincent is framed as a terrorist, Cat must save him.

“The Secret Agent” (Acorn, 2016, three episodes). Set in 1886 London, this free adaptation of the Joseph Conrad novel as a British miniseries is a superficial and very bleak psychological thriller filled with unpleasant characters. Toby Jones stars as Verloc, who operates a seedy shop and spies on anarchists for the Russian government and is coerced into committing a terrorist act to provoke British intervention.

“The Shannara Chronicles: Season One” (MTV/Paramount, 2016, two discs, 10 episodes, featurettes). This is a CGI-laden adaptation of Terry Brooks’ fantasy novels set in four fictional countries with elves and humans battling demons. It's nothing we haven’t seen in recent years, but undiscriminating Lord of the Rings fans may enjoy it. Speaking of Lord of the Rings, location shooting in New Zealand helps.

“The 2016 World Series” (Shout!/MLB, 2016, featurettes). Major League Baseball’s annual documentary on the World Series takes on a special meaning this year as it celebrates the historic win by the Chicago Cubs. It is narrated by Vince Vaughn with bonus featurettes that include highlights from the regular season.

“Jennifer Lopez: Dance Again” (Anchor Bay, 2014). This flattering documentary/concert film combines interviews and performances during Lopez’s first world tour in 2012, which made stops in 65 cities on five continents as she sang her hits and danced with all the expected pyrotechnics.

“Frontline: A Subprime Education” (PBS, 2016, two documentaries). As part of the PBS “Spotlight Education” initiative, “A Subprime Education” has correspondent Martin Smith investigating allegations of college fraud and the collapse of the for-profit Corinthian Colleges chain, while “The Education of Omarina” looks into an innovative program to prevent students from dropping out of high school.

“Frontline: The Choice 2016” (PBS, 2016). This expanded two-hour documentary episode of “Frontline” offers biographies of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton as it attempts to cut through the partisan politics and polarizing opinions that informed the recent run-up to the presidential election.

Chris Hicks is the author of "Has Hollywood Lost Its Mind? A Parent’s Guide to Movie Ratings." He also writes at www.hicksflicks.com and can be contacted at hicks@deseretnews.com.