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Top Picks: Barbra Streisand's album 'Partners,' the PBS series 'How We Got to Now,' and more

The James Beard Foundation's first app, titled 'Vegetables,' offers recipes for meatless dishes, the movie 'X-Men: Days of Future Past' arrives on DVD and Blu-ray, and more top picks.

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The way she was

Sometimes even the most unoriginal idea can still be a good one – when it’s done well. Barbra Streisand’s Partners is a duets album, with celebrity guest stars pairing up with Babs on old standards, many of which she has recorded countless times before. But the ageless Streisand hasn’t sounded this good in decades, and stellar performances by Michael Bublé and Stevie Wonder (on a beautifully reimagined “People”) more than make up for the overly familiar canon.

The story of innovation

The new PBS series How We Got to Now, which shares its title with the new book by Steven Johnson, examines how scientific breakthroughs can have unexpected consequences – for example, how cleanliness gave rise to soap operas. Johnson hosts the six-part series, which debuts Oct. 15 at 9 p.m., with episodes about sanitation and measuring time.  

Eat your veggies

The James Beard Foundation has released its first application, Vegetables. It offers recipes for meatless dishes, beautifully illustrated with photos and videos. Users can e-mail themselves ingredients lists, bookmark favorites, and buy kitchen tools through the app. You can search by recipe (the first five recipes are free) or award-winning chefs. It costs $3.99 to open the entire collection. It’s available in the Apple App Store.

Superhero mash-up

X-Men: Days of Future Past brings together the cast from previous “X-Men” movies with those currently starring in the reboot series. The movie finds hero Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) being sent back in time to prevent a future in which mutants are hunted and killed. The film has dynamic action filmmaking and a witty script. It arrives on DVD and Blu-ray Oct. 14.

A stand against bullying

As bullying in schools continues to make headlines, the documentary Bully, directed by Lee Hirsch and originally released in theaters in 2012, is more important than ever. It follows the families of various bullied students, including one who committed suicide after being abused and another who brought a gun onto a school bus after being teased. It contains strong language and disturbing scenes. “Bully” airs on PBS on Oct. 13 at 10 p.m. 

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