Handicapping the coming year on DVD holds few surprises if you're wondering about movies playing in theaters now. They nearly always keep to a tried-and-true pattern of hitting DVD and Blu-ray three to six months after their opening dates.

No, the real fun these days is finding out which older movies are being gussied up for Blu-ray and which TV shows are coming out on disc for the first time. While the former is booming, the latter has seriously tailed off.

Coming soon to Blu-ray

The most anticipated release and an expected top-seller is arguably "The Bourne Trilogy." The three secret-agent films were among the biggest hits on the obsolete HD DVD high-def format and have been eagerly awaited on Blu-ray. They'll be out Jan. 27.

Up Tuesday is a release of "ABBA: The Movie," the 1977 quasi-concert film about the Swedish pop group. The Blu-ray version was rushed out to cash in on the "Mamma Mia" craze.

Films that have a cult following also tend to be popular among early adopters. That's why so many are in the pipeline, including "Boondock Saints" on Jan. 13; "Election" on Jan. 20; "Groundhog Day" and "The Pink Panther" on Jan. 27; "Being There," "Napoleon Dynamite" and "Office Space" on Feb. 3; and "Donnie Darko" and "My Name Is Bruce" on Feb. 10.

The esteemed Criterion Collection will continue issuing its eclectic fare in high-def, with Blu-ray releases of Bernardo Bertolucci's "The Last Emperor" on Tuesday, Gregory Nava's "El Norte" on Jan. 20, and François Truffaut's "The 400 Blows" and "The Last Metro" on March 24.

Other titles reportedly in the works for Blu-ray this year -- although no dates have been announced -- include "Gladiator," "The Wizard of Oz," "Gremlins," "The Goonies," "Escape From New York," many of the "Star Trek" films, "Sin City," "The Lord of the Rings" films, the "Alien" films, "Lawrence of Arabia," "The Ten Commandments," "Forbidden Planet," "Titanic," "Gone With the Wind," more classic James Bond movies, "North by Northwest" and the original "King Kong."

Here are other major releases, by date:

Jan. 13: "The French Connection (with the sequel due Feb. 24).

Jan. 20: "13 Going on 30," Peter Jackson's "King Kong" remake and "The Notebook."

Jan. 27: "Any Given Sunday," a director's cut, released just in time for the Super Bowl.

Feb. 3: The original "Friday the 13th," "Sideways" and "Taxi Driver."

Feb. 10: "Amadeus" (director's cut), "Little Miss Sunshine," "The Pelican Brief," "Pretty Woman," "Raging Bull" and "A Time to Kill."

Feb. 17: A double-feature of "Capote" and "In Cold Blood," "Gandhi," "Kramer vs. Kramer" and a special edition of "The Passion of the Christ."

March 3: "The Silence of the Lambs."

March 10: A one-two punch of vintage animation with 1939's "Gulliver's Travels" and 1940's "Pinocchio."

March 17: "Quo Vadis" and "The Robe."

March 24: "The Matrix," as a stand-alone release.

March 31: "South Pacific."

April 7: "2010: The Year We Make Contact," "American History X," "Point of No Return" and "The Wedding Singer."

April 14: "The Seven Year Itch."

July 28: "Woodstock."

To keep up to date with release dates -- for new or old fare -- check out the websites High-Def Digest (www. highdefdigest.com) and the Digital Bits (www.thedigitalbits.com).

TV shows hitting prime time

Among new TV shows, the big news is that the first season of the Showtime hit "Dexter" is arriving Tuesday on Blu-ray.

Among classic fare, the news is decidedly grim for the coming months. The genre has reached a glut where it's all studios can do to keep up with continuing seasons of previously issued shows.

Major debuts of older shows include "My Three Sons" and "The Powerpuff Girls" (complete series) on Jan. 20; "Tales From the Dark Side" on Feb. 10; "My Two Dads" on March 3; "Mr. Belvedere" on March 17; "Room 222" on March 24; and "The Real Ghostbusters" on March 31.

For more news, check out TV Shows on DVD (www.tv showsondvd.com).

Randy A. Salas • 612-673-4542