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Critics’ picks: Watch the fourth season of ‘Boardwalk Empire’ on Blu-ray

Posted 12:00am on Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014

1 Boardwalk Empire: The Complete 4th Season on Blu-ray: It’s a shame that Boardwalk Empire’s upcoming season — its fifth, premiering Sept. 7 — is its last, as this fourth season found the HBO drama firing on all cylinders. Featuring tour-de-force turns from Jeffrey Wright, Ron Livingston and series star Steve Buscemi, this uncompromising Prohibition-era tale juggled race, politics, crime and sex with aplomb, roaring through a dense narrative over the course of a dozen episodes. The fourth season is in a four-disc set, which features plenty of behind-the-scenes featurettes and commentary.

— Preston Jones

2 School of Doodle: Unfortunately, this is a lightweight name for a big idea — an online high school of imagination for girls. It was begun to repair the confidence gap in young women with a self-directed learning lab that enlists the services of such names as Jenny Holzer, Kim Gordon, Marina Abramovic, Pussy Riot, Sarah Silverman and Yoko Ono, to name just a few who have pledged helpful training videos to engage and inspire. All that is needed is money to make the website interactive and usable for girls who want to blossom. A Kickstarter campaign was begun and the first goal has been met — some videos have been filmed, a website established — but the school needs more to come to life. Check out the inspirational website www.kickstarter.com/projects/schoolofdoodle/school-of-doodle and then pony up for the girls.

— Gaile Robinson

3 The Normal Heart: In a year with a lot of good TV, this HBO production of the hit play by Larry Kramer still manages to stand out. Set against the backdrop of the exploding AIDS crisis in early ’80s New York, it showcases strong performances from Mark Ruffalo, Matt Bomer and Julia Roberts, among others. Coming out on DVD on Tuesday, it’s well worth catching up with or experiencing again.

— Cary Darling

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