The fall TV season unofficially begins this weekend with two Sunday-night premieres.
Fox kicks things off at 7 p.m. with "Utopia," a new reality show that looks like "Survivor" by way of Sid Meier's "Civilization" video games. Based on a Dutch show, "Utopia" puts 14 contestants in a remote locale and asks them to form a new society from scratch. I'm sure that will go smoothly.
HBO's fifth and final season of the gangster epic "Boardwalk Empire" premieres at 8 p.m. Sunday and opens seven years after Season 4, setting its final eight episodes in the thick of the Great Depression. Most of the show's familiar faces are back, including Steve Buscemi, Kelly Macdonald, Michael Shannon, Jeffrey Wright, Gretchen Mol and Michael K. Williams.
The other notable premiere next week is FX's "Sons of Anarchy," returning at 9 p.m. Tuesday for its seventh and final season. The tale of a motorcycle gang adds an unlikely guest star in Lea Michele, whom we last saw singing her heart out on "Glee." This season also brings guest shots from rock star/professional train wreck Courtney Love, who showed promise as an actress 18 years ago in "The People Vs. Larry Flynt," and rock star/professional heathen Marilyn Manson, whose outlandish stage shows are brimming with over-the-top theatricality.
Also premiering: Fox's "Hell's Kitchen" at 7 p.m. Wednesday and NBC's "The Biggest Loser" at 7 p.m. Thursday.
Justice for Trekkies
One year ago this weekend, I wrote about Paramount's infuriating home-media release of "Star Trek Into Darkness," last summer's exciting (but not quite logical) sci-fi sequel that added Benedict Cumberbatch to director J.J. Abrams' Enterprise crew.
If a die-hard fan such as myself wanted to see all the documentary footage and special features -- and I did -- he or she had to buy multiple copies of the film from different retailers who cut deals for exclusive content.
Paramount is righting this wrong on Tuesday.
"Star Trek: The Compendium" hits Blu-ray Sept. 9 and includes both 2009's "Star Trek" reboot and "Into Darkness," along with every special feature produced for them. That means I'll finally get to hear the sequel's formerly iTunes-exclusive commentary track featuring Abrams, writer Damon Lindelof, composer Michael Giacchino and other behind-the-scenes contributors, and see six featurettes that were only available on Blu-rays purchased at Target.
There are all-new features as well, including deleted scenes and a gag reel, and the very best bonus of all: the IMAX version of "Star Trek Into Darkness," with scenes presented in two different aspect ratios. (If you don't know what that means, don't worry; it won't hurt the movie.)
"Star Trek: The Compendium" retails for $39.99, and a $5 rebate is available at startrekmovie.com to anyone who bought previous versions of the films on disc.
• Sean Stangland is a Daily Herald copy editor and a tireless consumer of pop culture. He really hopes Michael Giacchino brings his "Star Trek" orchestra tour to Ravinia next summer, hint hint. You can follow him on Twitter at @SeanStanglandDH.