Speedracer: The Movie, Survivor and Cranford
What: Original crazy cartoon.
Why: Yes, that's a sadomasochistic "car hater" riding a horse through city traffic. If you think the Wachowskis' Speed Racer remake is trippy, check out the original, which plays like a nightmare flashback to a South Korean acid trip. This compilation brings together some of the show's most surrealistic episodes, complete with a monkey sidekick, Oedipal conflicts, a long-lost brother (and younger brother inexplicably named Spritle) and lots of wide-mouth dubbing--plus vintage ads, as if the retro kitsch isn't enough.
What: 16th season of reality competition.
Why: "This has been the craziest, messiest, most strategic game in the history of Survivor," says flirty Parvati in its last episode--and many bloggers and longtime viewers agree. So if you missed this season because you've given up on the show, you can still catch the back-to-back blindsides, all-female final four, criss-crossing hookups and betrayals, baffling questions from abrasive Natalie, all-time dumbest Survivor move from hapless Erik, rampant injuries and infections, and the loopy Kathy Griffin clone who melts down and goes home.
What: Entertaining portrait of British village.
Why: It's like All My Children, starring every great British actor short of Maggie Smith (for starters, Judi Dench, Eileen Atkins, Michael Gambon, Imelda Staunton, Francesca Annis, Julia McKenzie and Julia Sawalha). The story of small-town life in 19th-century Britain--adapted from Elizabeth Gaskell's 1853 novel--ambles through five hours of gossip, love and death, with modern life looming on the horizon (epitomized by the encroaching railroad). It's the perfect DVD for that summer Sunday when you can't get off the sofa.