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The week's best releases from the pop-culture universe: 

CD -- Pirate Radio: This five-disc box (four CDs, one DVD) features almost 30 years' worth of Pretenders songs and performances. Because the band -- formed by Akron's Chrissie Hynde in London, just as punk hit -- has gone through various personnel changes over the years, later material can be spotty. But the first two CDs -- featuring tracks from the band's self-titled 1978 debut and its 1984 pinnacle, Learning to Crawl -- compile some of rawk's most essential songs.

TV -- Call to Greatness: MTV's latest reality show -- premiering at 10:30 p.m. Monday -- features five guys who are out to smash world records, week after week. But these dudes aren't out to snag the title of the World's Strongest Man. Instead, they set their sights on frat-boy feats like Most Self-Kicks to the Head in One Minute and Furthest Spaghetti Nasal Ejection. It's what would happen if the Guinness Book were run by the Jackass guys.

DVD -- Dawson's Creek: The Complete Sixth Season: Before she became miraculously pregnant with Tom Cruise's child, Katie Holmes played a confused cutie in this pioneering teen soap. Also check out a pre-Brokeback Mountain Michelle Williams, as a romantically challenged pal in this, the show's final 23 episodes. The male co-stars -- James Van Der Beek and Joshua Jackson -- haven't fared so well: They've been MIA since the program went off the air two years ago.

DVD -- Midnight Cowboy: Two-Disc Collector's Edition: It was the first -- and still only -- X-rated movie to win an Academy Award for Best Picture, but this 1969 classic's legacy looms large. The tale of a Texas cowboy who moves to N.Y.C. to hustle big-city gals becomes an affectionate buddy movie along the way, as Jon Voight's studly Joe Buck takes care of Dustin Hoffman's ailing con man, "Ratso" Rizzo. New documentaries and commentary shed light on all the sex and drugs, on-camera and off. It took 36 years before gay cowboys were in fashion again.

VIDEOGAME -- MLB '06: The Show: Just in time for the season opener comes this year's best baseball simulator (for PlayStation 2). It includes plenty of tricks and tweaks for players to customize rosters. The New Rivalry Mode and King of the Diamond options hit home runs, and inning-by-inning decisions (like whom to put in and take out of the game) ultimately affect how the teams perform. But it's the franchise and season game plays -- complete with stats, slumps, and sweeps -- that'll have you celebrating. The only thing that could have made it more realistic is 'roids.

CD -- OHM+ The Early Gurus of Electronic Music: This three-disc set includes tracks by Brian Eno and John Cage, but listeners won't recognize most of the performers on these 40-plus cuts, dating back to 1948. Rather, it's what these pioneers inspired that deserves credit. Whether experimenting with the theremin, primitive computers, or synthesizers, they explored a brand-new world of sound, in the process inspiring artists as diverse as the Beach Boys, David Bowie, and LCD Soundsystem -- and Enya, but don't hold that against them.

COURTESY FLUSH, PLEASE -- So noTORIous: Like The Simple Life, VH1's new series follows around a spoiled rich blonde -- in this case, Beverly Hills 90210's Tori Spelling. Unlike The Simple Life, at least it 'fesses up to being a scripted show (the first two episodes air Sunday at 10 p.m.). Spelling couldn't be less appealing in this vapid, self-conscious vanity project -- not even if she stuck her hand up a cow's ass.

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More by Michael Gallucci

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Staff Pick Events

  • Bill Bellamy @ Improv Comedy Club & Restaurant

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    • Wed., Sept. 26, Wed., Oct. 3, Sun., Oct. 14, Sun., Nov. 4, Sun., Nov. 11 and Fri., Nov. 16

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