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The seeds of ‘Seinfeld’

“The Best of Fridays.”

ABC/file

“The Best of Fridays.”

Maybe you’ve got Larry David on the brain after catching his locally shot comedy “Clear History” on HBO Saturday. For another look at his work outside of “Seinfeld” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” there’s “The Best of Fridays” (1980-82), the “Saturday Night Live” wannabe that also helped launch Michael Richards’s career. This 16-episode survey reminds us why the show didn’t last, but it does offer some laughs amid all the overeager pushing to forge an identity. David’s turn as a plastic surgeon whose patient wants a Howdy Doody makeover is ranting that anticipates the Costanzas — just as a skit in which David needs a fix of Richards’s monkey act anticipates their “Seinfeld” finale. (Not directly, obviously — but there’s a similar sense of deliberate, blithely crowd-displeasing inscrutability.) Richards, meanwhile, offers an embryonic, slightly tamer version of his familiar loose-limbed eccentricity — and sports a pre-Kramer hairstyle that’s downright boring compared to David’s Steven Wright ’fro. Extras include a reunion with cast members and series writers, although the even bigger bonus may be the various episodes’ musical segments, which flash back to the Cars and the Clash, among others.

Not offbeat enough? The same indie distributor behind the “Fridays” set digs even deeper into its vault for “A Boy and His Dog” (1975), starring Don Johnson as a postapocalyptic dullard scrounging for food and chicks with his inexplicably telepathic canine pal. Fanboy-worshipped author Harlan Ellison, who wrote the source novella, sits down for a lengthy conversation with director-acolyte L.Q. Jones. (“Fridays,” Shout! Factory, $34.99; available now)

JoJo Whilden/Millennium Entertainment

”What Maisie Knew.”

DRAMA

WHAT MAISIE KNEW (2013)

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The kid’s-eye view of divorce is as relevant as ever in this contemporary update of Henry James’s novel. Thoroughly natural Onata Aprile plays 6-year-old Maisie, whose Manhattan home life is chaos from the outset as her self-absorbed parents, a faded rock star (Julianne Moore) and a cosmopolitan art dealer (Steve Coogan), head toward a bitter split. Dad marries the sensitive nanny (Joanna Vanderham) and Mom takes up with a hunky bartender (Alexander Skarsgard), both of whom feel trapped even while caring for Maisie more than anyone. Remarkable work all around. Extras: Commentary by directors Scott McGehee and David Siegel (“Bee Season”). (Millennium, $28.99; Blu-ray, $29.99)

ACTION

OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN (2013)

Gerard Butler does “Die Hard” – and “White House Down” – as a Secret Service agent left to single-handedly rescue the commander in chief (Aaron Eckhart) from terrorists in this presidential-home-invasion flick. But this is no Bruce Willis smirkfest. We’re halfway through the movie before director Antoine Fuqua (“Training Day”) starts giving Butler the occasional dark quip, and by that time it’s an insufficient weapon. Pop jingoism isn’t easy to stir once you’ve established an echoes-of-9/11 vibe that’s so deflating. Morgan Freeman plays the acting prez. Extras: Production featurettes. (Sony, $30.99; Blu-ray, $40.99)

Titles are in stores Tuesday unless specified. Tom Russo can be reached at trusso2222@gmail.com.
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