Favorite

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

CD -- The Byrds: There Is a Season: This five-disc box (four CDs and one DVD) divides the seminal folk-rockers' career into four chapters: the early years, when they covered a lot of Dylan ("Mr. Tambourine Man"); the middle periods that took them from psychedelic dabblers ("Eight Miles High") to country-rock pioneers ("Hickory Wind"); and the later era, when they fizzled out. Previously unreleased tracks and a disc filled with vintage video clips make this the definitive Byrds collection.

TV -- Fashion Rocks: Fall Fashion Week kicks off with this two-hour special (airing at 9 p.m. Friday on CBS), which includes performances by Christina Aguilera, Beyoncé, and Nelly Furtado. The style-conscious Scissor Sisters and Black Eyed Peas also show up to shake their moneymakers. All the while, models strut their stuff on the catwalk.

VIDEOGAME -- Madden NFL 07: Madden tops 17 years of football-sim dominance with its latest and best pigskin simulator. New features include lead-blocker control, player-specific running styles, and the ability to transfer seasons from the PlayStation 2 to PSP. There's also Superstar mode, where your billionaire player lives the high life with bling, cars, and ladies.

DVD -- The Old Grey Whistle Test, Vol. 3: The BBC's venerable weekly music program (which ran from 1971 to 1987) hosted everyone from John Lennon and Bob Marley to the New York Dolls and R.E.M. This third set of live performances doesn't pack quite the wattage of previous collections, but standouts by Public Image Ltd. and the Jesus and Mary Chain make it worth the price of admission.

CD -- Rockabye Baby!: The idea of recording lullabye versions of Coldplay, Metallica, and Radiohead songs at first sounds a little too precious to work. But these three new sets totally rattle the cribs. The Coldplay tunes sound most like the originals when performed by Michael Armstrong on bells, vibraphones, and harps, but the Radiohead disc is the most calming and complex. Just don't listen to Metallica's "Enter Sandman" before bedtime.

TV -- The Wire: Television's best cop show returns for its fourth season at 10 p.m. Sunday on HBO. This year, the thorny, multifaceted action revolves around a group of young boys who must decide whether to walk the straight and narrow, or push drugs on the streets of Baltimore. TV doesn't get much smarter than this.

COURTESY FLUSH, PLEASE -- Class Dismissed: Just in time for the return of the school year comes this tedious, poorly written book of real-life stories about the stupid things college students do. A drunken musclehead picks a fight with a porch full of rednecks. Mardi Gras fratboys snap topless pics of an older lady who turns out to be a pal's mom. And a Hooters waitress shows off her assets to her new professor. We give it a D-.

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More by Michael Gallucci

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