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Reviews by Billy Ingram,
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CLASSIC TV DVD REVIEWS:

ABC After School Specials

Adam-12

Adventures of Superman

Aqua Teen Hunger Force

A Team

Baa Baa Black Sheep

Barbra Streisand Specials

Batman Animated Series

Battlestar Galactica

Bob Hope Specials

Brady Bunch

 

Chappelle's Show

Cheyenne

Columbo

Combat

 

Da Ali G Show

Dallas

Dragnet

Dukes of Hazzard

ER

The Flash

Fresh Prince of Bel Air

F-Troop

 

Gilligan's Island

Growing Pains

Hanna-Barbera Cartoons

Have Gun Will Travel

Here's Lucy

Hogan's Heroes

Home Movies

I Love Lucy

Joey Bishop Show

Kojak

Kung Fu

 

Looney Tunes

MacGuyver

Magnum P.I.

Make Room for Daddy

Maverick

Miami Vice

Moonlighting

The Munsters

Murphy Brown

Mystery Science Theater 3000

 

New Zoo Review

Night Gallery

Northern Exposure

Nowhere Man

Pimp My Ride

Quincy, ME

 

SCTV

Sledge Hammer

Smallville

Sonny & Cher

South Park

Super Friends

Tales of the Crypt

This Is Your Life

Thundercats

Tony Orlando & Dawn

West Wing

Wizard of Oz

 

 

ALL NEW
RECENT
RELEASES:

Andy Griffith Show season seven on DVD

Superman season 2 on DVD

CHIPS on DVD
PLAYBOY AFTER DARK

Little Rascals on DVD

Hazel on DVD

G.L.O.W. / Gorgeous Ladies of wrestling on DVD

When Things Were Rotten on DVD

 

Carol Burnett Special on DVD

greatest american hero on DVD

Hogan's Heroes on DVd

SEASON 4!
Good Times Season 4 on DVD

Murphy Brown on DVD

alfred hitchcock on dvd

wagon train on DVD

 

 

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TV COLLECTIONS
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Reviews of your favorite classic TV shows on DVD!

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RECENT RELEASES:

Looney Tunes 1 on DVDsLooney Tunes - Golden Collection, Volume Three
I love Christmastime, one reason is that I get to hip you to some great gift ideas. Because if you're like myself, you stress over getting the right gift, something people will enjoy - that they don't already have. That's the hard part - here are some great gift ideas that are brand new so you know

They're calling this the best Looney Tunes DVD collection ever and the extras are abundant. Seriously abundant. Remember the opening to the Bugs Bunny Show on Saturday mornings in the late-1960s / early-70s? It's here. Along with audio commentaries by Joe Dante, Jerry Beck, Paul Dini, June Foray, John Kricfalusi and many other experts. "Philbert", a rare 1963 TV pilot, Private Snafu cartoons, wartime shorts, storyboards, the first Looney Tunes cartoon from 1930, a number of documentaries, music-only tracks and much more.

All that and 60 of the Looney's looniest, fully restored and remastered to a startling brilliance.

Looney Tunes is a perfect gift for kids and adults alike, so you can't miss with this one! The best part? You can have this massive collection delivered to your door for only $48.99 total. No sales tax, free shipping. (It will cost a bit more in stores.)

Looney Tunes on DVDFor a more affordable collection, there's the thirty episode Looney Tunes - The Premiere Collection for only $14.00 if you order now. It includes great cartoons with/ Tweety, Bugs, Sylvester, Foghorn Leghorn, Elmer Fudd, Tasmanian Devil and all the greats - but I suggest you go for the gold!

 

Classic TV DVDsHome Movies - Season Three
Every once in a while a show comes along that breaks the mold and makes me wish I watched more TV. Home Movies is one of those shows.

A part of the Adult Swim lineup on Cartoon Network, Home Movies is a smart, amusing and perfectly addictive animated sitcom. Think South Park without the vulgarity but ten times the charm. Done on the cheap, this Flash animation technique allows for greater personal expression, making Home Movies perhaps the network's best effort thus far, though it was supposedly the least watched.

It's the story of eight-year old Brendon Small (played by comic Brendon Small), who documents his movie fantasies with the help of his schoolmates. Besides his stellar writing, the real-life Small is a gifted vocal artist, imbibing his digital alter ego with a dry, laconic, everyman quality that's irresistible.

This 13-episode edition includes these special features: an interactive game, episode animatics (very interesting!), a music video, a radio interview with Jon Benjamin and Loren Bouchard (outright hilarious!) and more. There are a number of insightful, rambling episode commentaries from the show's two creators Brendan Small and Loren Bouchard, though some are poorly mixed. The graphics that adorn the box are superb, enhancing the attractive package more fully. It comes from Shout! Factory which is known for their top quality DVD releases.

Sadly, the show's been cancelled but we can look forward to another final season on DVD. A truly remarkable achievement and a delight to watch one after the other, which I did until they were done. Great gift!

Tony Orlando & Dawn on DVDTony Orlando & Dawn: The Ultimate Collection
A highly enjoyable, upbeat, slick and colorful blast from the polyester past. If you know the name R2 Entertainment you know that they have the highest regard for the programs they release, everything is done first class and this release is no exception.

Tony Orlando & Dawn: The Ultimate Collection is a beautifully designed package that brings together the best episodes of the various incarnations of the series, a magnificent set that collects 11 of the best episodes of the various incarnations of the series. I had originally dismissed TO&D as a bad Sonny and Cher Show clone but I have a new appreciation for the show now.

Guest stars include the great Jackie Gleason, Phyllis Diller, Hank Aaron, Milton Berle, Jerry Lewis, Freddie Prinze and more. They had stars then! You'll find all, or most, of the group's hit tunes in this set (remember Who’s In the Strawberry Patch With Sally?), and the weekly comedy bits like Lou Effy and Moreen.
There is no shortage of bizarre moments including a jaw-dropping appearance by Alice Cooper and Tony Orlando & Freddie Prinze in a near kiss.

Extras include Tony Orlando on The Tonight Show with guest host Freddie Prinze from 1976, Telma Hopkins and Joyce Vincent on Fridays in 1981 with Don Novello as "Father Guido Sarducci & Dawn" and a short parody from the Carol Burnett Show in 1975. If you're a fan of variety shows, you have to have this one - for the extras alone!

The digital restoration is lovely to behold, you'll see every detail, right down to the sweat on Tony's brow. TO&D may not have been the funniest variety show of the era, but visually it's a never ending treat and the musical arrangements are crisp and bright in that vintage Las Vegas style.

The first disc begins with the first episodes from the initial summer run. Disc two covers the 1975-76 seasons. Disc three samples the final version of the series, the Tony Orlando and Dawn Rainbow Hour with regular George Carlin. Carlin was the nation's hottest alternative comedian in 1976; putting him on in primetime with his own solo spot was quite a weird and wonderful thing to do. He performs his finest, early bits here on shows packed with guest stars.

By the time Tony Orlando & Dawn left the air in 1977, the era of the network variety show was coming to a close, this is a last look at a dying form of entertainment captured in all its splendor.
A fabulous fun trip back to the seventies!

Tony Orlando & Dawn fans, don't miss this mega-set: The Yellow Ribbon Collection - 6 CD’s features the group's entire recorded history as a group from 1970 - 1977! Besides all the hit songs and album tracks there are many singles, b-sides and other unreleased material on CD for the first time.

 

Brady Bunch on DVdThe Brady Bunch: The Complete Fourth Season
The fourth season of The Brady Bunch contains many of the quintessential episodes in the series five-year run, the last pre-Cousin Oliver shows.
There are so many Brady classics here - Greg and Marcia fight over who gets to move into the attic, the kids play matchmakers for their grandparents, Marcia falls for the family dentist, Greg becomes a judge in the cheerleading contest, Marcia's first day of high school, the kids appear on a TV amateur contest and so many more memorable tales. This is also the year the Bradys went on location to Hawaii for three episodes to meet up with guest star Vincent Price.

No more watching the condensed versions we see on TV today, these shows are all uncut like the original broadcasts. The crazy thing is, my ten year old niece loved watching thses DVDs - she's fascinated by the fashions!

The Brady Bunch is pure spun sugar, served light and frothy, but they don't make programs like this anymore. Four DVDs contain all 23 episodes of the 1972-1973 season and it comes in a retro book style package. Fun for the entire family.
The official Brady Bunch DVD site is here...

Wizard of Oz: Two-Disc Special Edition
One reviewer has referred to this package as "an OZ-some DVD experience" and they're right. This new release of the classic 1939 film really does take you 'over the rainbow' with special features.

Besides the wonderful movie (which is a joy to watch without commercials), you get several program length documentaries, a look at how the film restoration was accomplished, Harold Arlen's home movies, rare outtakes and deleted scenes, a 1950 Lux Radio Theater performance of Wizard of Oz with Judy Garland, 1939 short subjects, theatrical trailers and much, much more. Really, a lot more!

The film itself has been restored to crystal clarity, it's amazing how everything shimmers - the detailing of the film's art direction finally shines through after all these decades of muddy prints and fuzzy TV broadcasts. This is a two-disc set - there is a newer three-disc collection but this one's almost half the price and has everything you need. Less that $20 if you order now - what a fantastic Christmas gift for several people on your list!

South Park on DVDSouth Park: The Complete Sixth Season
It's a happy day when a new season of South Park arrives on DVD - and season six contains some of the funniest episodes in the series run so far.

If South Park isn't the most hilarious show currently on TV, I don't know what is. It's a work of genius, especially when you consider it's all done with construction paper and a lot of clever writing. Thanks to creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, satire on TV lives! South Park is to the modern age what Mad Magazine was to the sixties.

Standout storylines in this DVD volume include the very funny parody of the John Edwards show (remember the guy who supposedly talked with dead people?), Butters as Professor Chaos (with his evil assistant General Disarray), The Death Camp of Tolerance, The Return of Lord of the Rings to the Two Towers (a parody of the LOTR movie), Jared Has Aides and so many other laugh-out-loud favorites.

If you're a fan of South Park this 3 DVD set is essential; as a bonus you get the creators offering a mini-commentary on each episode. If you've not discovered the joy of these foul-mouthed fourth graders it's high time you did. Get it now!

Tales From the Crypt  on DVDTales From the Crypt: The Complete Second Season
Just in time for Halloween comes HBO's Tales From the Crypt - season two. The old Crypt Keeper brews a fresh cauldron of stories from the EC Horror Comics of the 1950s with episodes directed by the finest in the field - Richard Donner, Walter Hill, Joel Silver and Robert Zemeckis. Guest actors include the great Don Rickles, Jeffrey Tambor, Kevin Tighe, Moses Gunn, Demi Moore and other luminaries.

It all comes in a very handsome foldout box, a first class package. Special features include a behind-the-scenes documentary and a look at how Crypt was brought to radio.

There are 18 episodes here to thrill you, each with its own creepy twist ending. Fun from start to finish!

Maverick  on DVDTelevision Favorites
Warner Home Entertainment has a new, low price line of DVDs you're sure to be interested in. They're releasing select classic TV programs in a three hour block under the Television Favorites label - so you don't have to purchase the entire season to sample these shows on DVD.

For instance, you can get Chico and the Man (6 episodes), F Troop (6 episodes), Maverick (3 episodes) and Cheyenne (3 episodes) in this format and the price is right - a bit less than ten bucks.

F Troop  on DVDIf you grew up on TV in the 1970s you'll remember F Troop from the ubiquitous reruns on local stations. It was a sixties' favorite that was in the same silly vein as Gilligan's Island. The six episodes chosen here are some of the best of the lot, three episodes each from the first and second seasons with guest stars Don Rickles, Paul Lynde, Harvey Korman and many others. Great for the kids.

Chico & the Man  on DVDChico and the Man - This Television Favorites package contains the pilot and five other solid episodes. This was actually a pretty funny program, at least at first, and this selection represents some of the better storylines.

Maverick with James Garner is a truly fine early-sixties western in that stellar Warner Bros. TV tradition and should not be missed.

Cheyenne  on DVDCheyenne featured Clint Walker as a roaming cowboy - it's one of the most popular westerns of the golden age of TV, airing from 1955-1963.

It's the first time for all of these shows on DVD - let's hope we see a lot more of the early Warner shows like Maverick, Sugarfoot and - is 77 Sunset Strip too much to ask?!?

 

Ali G  on DVDDa Ali G Show -
The Complete Second Season

HBO - and Warner Home Entertainment - stop releasing the Ali G Show! Stop now! I mean it - this show is so freaking funny that every time I watch it almost bust a gut laughing. Honestly, I laugh so hard I'm afraid the neighbors are going to bust down the door and have me committed!

The second season of this British comedy hit is now out on DVD and it is not to be missed. Let me give you an example of just how hilarious it is - as part of a new TV series I'm working on, I've been watching about 50 of the funniest movies from the last three decades - not one of them was as heart-stoppingly funny as the Ali G Show.

There are extras galore - besides the six episodes of the second season, you get over 50 minutes of unseen footage - including Ali G giving a commencement speech at Harvard and interviewing Noam Chomsky; Borat lunches with the Arizona Republican Party; Bruno dishes gossip with a Hollywood stylist and visits a psychic; and much more.

If you're a fan of Ali G and wonder if he lost his edge from the first season, fear not - this DVD collection is a must have for people who love to laugh! Don't miss it!


ADAM-12 on DVDAdam-12: Season One
Martin Milner starred as Officer Pete Malloy who counsels his rookie partner Jim Reed (Kent McCord) in the ways of the LAPD. This DVD set collects the 1968-69 season, 26 episodes of vintage TV that was largely disconnected to the reality on the streets of LA at the time, but that's actually part of its charm.

Like Columbo, ADAM-12 is an LA travelogue. As the officers drive down the streets, we get to see scenes of the city of Los Angeles circa 1968; unfortunately, all too often when they get to their destinations it's usually on the backlot.

This was one of those shows my whole family watched when I was a a kid. And no wonder, there isn't a lot of violence. This is a Jack Webb (Dragnet) production and it's a "Just the facts ma'am" type of show, simple morality plays with little nuance, just cut and dry examples of police work.

The stars chemistry, coupled with some interesting situations, make ADAM-12 a pleaser (it ran for 7 seasons). Recommended!

Smallville: The Complete Fourth Season
It was just a few short years ago that the Superman character was DOA in Hollywood. Aside from some terrific cartoons, the lousy fourth Superman movie pretty much killed the potential for revival in many people's minds.

That all changed when Smallville debuted on the WB in 2001.
Smallville is a brilliant re-working of the mythical character, focusing on the adventures of a young Clark Kent growing up in the town of Smallville, before he became Superman. It's remarkably close to the original source material which makes it all the more enjoyable to us old-schoolers who grew up with the comics.

Smallville Season four is a standout, introducing new characters (Krypto, Mr. Mxyzptlk) and transitioning from Superboy to Superman.

This 6 DVD set is packed with lots of sparkling bonus material - 'Behind Closed Doors' takes you directly inside the writer's room; there is added commentary over three episodes with the crew and cast members; and best of all, a mini-documentary, 'Being Lois Lane,' with all of the surviving ladies who portrayed the character over the years, including the wonderful Noel Neill who played Lois in the original TV series. There's also some never before seen footage.

An added bonus disc delivers the first regular season episode of the 1980's series, The Flash, which is rumored to be coming to DVD in the near future. The Flash is a fan favorite, so whoever had the idea to package this along with Smallville deserves some kind of reward. These bonus features are worth the price of admission alone (only $41.99 total if you order now)!

Kung Fu Season Three
"Snatch the pebble from my hand..." The final year of television's most unique western, Kung Fu (24 episodes on four discs), arrives on DVD.

While the scripts overall aren't as strong as the first two seasons, there's a lot to like here with guest stars Jose Feliciano, Patricia Neal John Carradine and David Carradine's future wife Barbara Hershey.

Extras include some very informative commentaries over two episodes by series star David Carradine that contain plenty of fascinating behind-the-scenes stories and anecdotes along with "David Carradine's Shaolin Diary: Back to Beginning", a new documentary shot in China that follows David Carradine as he returns to the Shaolin Temple Monastery. Fans of the show will not be disappointed!

The packaging is handsome, the picture and the sound crisp - I recommend you collect this entire series, a great addition to your permanent library and a possible future collector's item.

Gilligan's Island on DVDGilligan's Island Season Three
The final season of Gilligan's Island comes just as we learn the sad news of series star Bob Denver's death. What better way to celebrate his career than with this marvelous new package.

Sometimes during a show's third season the seams start to wear thin but not this one (in fact, CBS originally renewed the show for a fourth season). The best episodes of all are contained in this release, you know the ones I'm talking about - Gilligan is convinced that he is turning into a vampire, there's a Russian spy on the island, Mr. Howell changes his will, headhunters on the island, a jet pack floats ashore, and on and on for thirty wonderful episodes; with guest stars that include Don Rickles, Phil Silvers, Rory Calhoun and the irascible Strother Martin.

Fans of the show will love this lavish release, with added commentary over one episode ("The Producer") by creator Sherwood Schwartz and an amusing documentary, "Gilligan's Island A Pop Culture Phenomenon". For only $29.99 (no sales tax or delivery charge) you can bring Gilligan's Island to your family.

on DVDThundercats
One of the classic cult cartoons from the mid-eighties has finally arrived on DVD and it's proving to be a best-seller.

In Thundercats, anthropomorphic super heroic cats from the world of Thundera escape into space to find Third Earth and a horde of warring mutants who want to possess their Eye of Thundera. There's lots of action, not a lot of violence, and a plethora of wild characters and sci-fi fun to indulge in.

This DVD set represents is the first half of season one, you get 33 episodes on six discs. There were 65 episodes in all, Volume 2 is to be released in December. A lightweight documentary is included, 'Thundercats Fans Speak Out' features the show's super-fans (including Wil Wheaton).

One of the best written and animated series of the time, Thundercats was a show I enjoyed very much at the time and this collection brings back a lot of fond memories. You can pass it along to the kids without guilt - Highly enjoyable!

Dallas on DVDDallas: The Complete Third Season
Oh this is great! I became a big fan of Dallas when I got caught up watching the series in reruns late at night. It is one of the funniest shows ever on TV - Sue Ellen's drinking binges, Jock Ewing's gravely pronouncements, Bobby and Pam's obsequiousness, Kristin's naked scheming, Cliff Barnes' dopeyness, Miss Ellie's warmth - and it's all capped off with duplicitous JR being shot down in the hallway. This one's got it all!

There are several good reasons why Dallas was the most popular program in the world in 1980; the scripts move along at a rapid pace, everything's beautifully shot, and the characters are broadly drawn. Especially good are performances by Barbara Bel Geddes as Miss Ellie and Jim Davis as Jock, they give a strong center to what otherwise would be farcical. (Jim Davis, one of the great western stars of all time, tragically passed away during the fourth season.)

There is a documentary included as an extra, and it's surprisingly good, detailing the impact Dallas had with most of the principal actors involved. There is also added commentary over two episodes by Linda Gray and Patrick Duffy that is absolutely worthless in terms of insight as they discuss the clothing and the cars and little else; that was the one disappointment.

I really like the way Warner Home Video packages their DVD releases. The foldout boxes make a lot of sense, the whole package feels substantial and the graphics are consistently pleasing. You feel like you're getting a quality product, and you are.

If you're looking for a great, fun TV experience I whole-heartedly recommend the third season (and beyond) of Dallas.

Emergency on DVDColumbo
One of the most fondly remembered series of the 1970s was the NBC Mystery Movie, a rotating 'wheel' of three crime dramas from Universal Studios - Columbo, McCloud and McMillian & Wife aired on alternate weeks from 1971 until 1977.

Now you can begin collecting all of those programs.

Columbo, the most popular Mystery Movie feature, was the first to come to DVD last year. The latest collection, Columbo: The Complete Third Season, has some incredible star turns by Johnny Cash, Martin Sheen, Vincent Price, Ida Lupino, and another scene-chewing performance by Jack Cassidy (who turned up as the villain several times on Columbo).

Columbo never fails to entertain. Part of it is the irascible charm of Peter Falk in the title role, he won four Emmy Awards for the role. Another key element is in the choice of guest stars, most being legendary movie and TV actors. Witty scripts and an abundance of pristine 1970's Southern California locations add to the alchemy.

With Columbo: The Complete Third Season you get the 1973-74 season, eight episodes (15 hours), and a bonus episode of Mrs. Columbo which aired in 1979 starring Kate Mulgrew. Columbo has rewatchability and wide appeal - this is one for your library.

McMillian & Wife season 2 on DVDMcCloud debuted in 1970 (the first season was a short one, it was one quarter of a show called Four-in-One before joining the Mystery Movie), with this new DVD collection you get the pilot episode and all of Season One and Two, along with a bonus episode of McMillian and Wife - quite a bargain for thirty bucks (if you order now, with free shipping)!

McCloud starred Dennis Weaver as a folksy detective from Taos, New Mexico operating in New York City; look for some lovely shots of what the City looked like in 1970 (although most of the shooting took place in LA so there are a lot of process shots and backlot scenes).

For the record, the first season of McCloud presented on this collection were actually re-edited, making the six one-hour episodes into three 90-minute episodes for reruns. Standouts feature guest stars Milton Berle, Susan Strasberg and Burgess Meredith. If you enjoyed the Universal style of drama during the seventies McCloud will be a pleaser.

All of the Universal Studios shows at the time took place in different cities - it was part of the gimmick - Columbo in LA, McCloud in NYC and McMillian and Wife in San Francisco.

Emergency on DVDMcMillian & Wife, which started in 1971, is also new on DVD; you get all of Season One. Rock Hudson, Susan St. James and Nancy Walker starred.

Dragnet DVDDragnet 1967
"This is the city, Los Angeles California..."
and so opens every episode of Dragnet. Jack Webb and Harry Morgan star as the dry, police detectives who exchange more knowing glances than dialogue.
This revival of a long-running series debuted in early 1967 as a mid-season replacement; the first episode was a classic - concerning acid freak outs among LA's hippies - a load of unintentional laughs and great location shots of a forty year younger City of Angels.
Season one has only 17 episodes but all are easy watching, great for a lazy Sunday afternoon.
While the original series focused mostly on common crimes, this updated show tackled way-out issues like neo-Nazis, kidnappers, counter-culture weirdos, over-indulgent parents and crazed suburbanites - all punctuated with Detective Joe Friday's preachy pronouncements. That old fashioned resoluteness was primarily why Dragnet 1967 proved so popular when it was rerun on TV Land.
"Just the facts, ma'am"? Here you'll get just the episodes, Ma'am - but as a bonus there's an episode of the Dragnet network radio program from 1953.
Whether you buy into the all-too-earnest nature of the program or see it as high camp, Dragnet 1967 is great fun none the less.

 

The A-Team
Magnum P.I.

I have this theory about long running shows and their second season - it's often the best of the series run. By the second season, a show starts to hit its stride, the characters become more clearly defined and the formula is set. That's certainly true of two new releases from Universal - Magnum P.I. and The A-Team.
You know how there are shows you enjoyed when you were younger but you watch them today and you're disappointed? Well, I'm happy to say I thoroughly enjoyed watching the A-Team again for the first time in 20 years.
This early-eighties series was and is a genuinely funny show, a breezy collection of revenge fantasies for the entire family. Seriously, this is one show the family can enjoy together, the violence is cartoonish and there's little or no blood, no cursing; just ridiculous, far-fetched scenarios, fiery explosions, high flying stuntmen and tropical locales. And as an added bonus, they smash up a dozen ugly cars an hour. I don't know about you, but that's what I watch TV for.
Magnum PI on DVDI didn't expect the A-Team to be as entertaining as it was, equally surprising was how bright the second season of Magnum P.I. was, another series with a hearty mixture of humor and drama from the eighties.
You get all 22 episodes of what many Magnum PI fans agree was the best year of the series on this three-disc set.
Magnum
will always remind me of being at the beach - not just because the show is set in Hawaii, but because the only time I ever saw the show during its run was when I visited my sister who lived at Wrightsville Beach.
There's something infectious about this show, it washes by you like a wave of foam, a frothy timewaster that leaves you feeling slightly better for having watched it.
These two sets also come with bonus episodes - The A-Team contains an episode of Knight Rider, the Magnum set has one each of The A-Team and Knight Rider. I look forward to enjoying these sets over the summer.

Full House on TVFull House
Warner Bros. brings home wholesome family entertainment, 1990's style - back when America thought Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen were one person.
This wholesome 2-disc DVD contains all 22 episodes of the first season with extras that include the original unaired pilot episode with John Posey in place of Bob Saget (!) and episode commentaries by creator Jeff Franklin.

Hogan's Heroes on DVdHogan's Heroes
This was an enormously popular program when it aired from 1965 - 1971, and hot in daytime syndication until the end of the seventies. Like Gilligan's Island, Hogan's Heroes was a part of the afternoon TV-babysitter that so many parents employed. And Hogan's Heroes is one of the hottest selling DVD sets in the nation right now, so what does that tell you?
A German concentration camp might seem like an odd locale for a comedy, but this was, after all, the era of witches, Catwomen, families lost in space and bottled up genies.
The pilot episode (and the first broadcast) was shot in black and white, the rest of the series in full color. And what rich color it is, CBS did a first rate restoration job for this collection.
Werner Klemperer as Col. Klink and John Banner as Schultz constituted one of the great comedy duos in TV history. (Banner died a few years after Hogan went off the air, but not before starring in another funny but short-lived sitcom, The Chicago Teddybears. Let's have that on DVD.)

SCTV Volume 3 on DVDSCTV - Volume Three
Nine 90-minute shows representing the fourth (1982) year of this classic sketch comedy show have just been released in one fabulous box set. This was the powerhouse season that brought us Bob and Doug McKenzie from the Great White North, John Candy, the Shmenge Brothers and Martin Short. Jimmy Buffet, Bill Murray and Carl Perkins are just some of the guests this season, not to mention a veritable explosion of early-eighties references.
The five disc box set contains a load of fantastic extras - behind the scenes stories from the producers, commentaries by Joe Flaherty and writers, a Museum of Television & Radio event with cast and crew, and tributes to John Candy. There's also a full color booklet and a bonus audio CD. If you recognize the Shout Factory label you know they stand for excellence, not only in the series they release but in the loving and lavish attention they give to the extras. This collection is no exception. Well worth the price!

 

Kojak TV show on DVDPimp My Ride
As a car enthusiast, I found it impossible not to get caught up in the excitement of Pimp My Ride - it's infectious as hell. At various times I found myself screaming at the television with delight - like the 1967 Mustang and 1960 Baja Bug they pimped with $30,000 of audio and visual equipment that probably has no place in an automobile to begin with.
The automotive miracle workers at West Coast Customs install massage chairs, ping pong tables, and of course the ubiquitous flip down DVD players and tricked out sound systems onto the most unlikely vehicles - for instance, a 1988 Daihatsu Hi-Jet and a 1974 Chevy "Luv" Truck. Now that's entertainment!
The show's host is rapper Xzibit, his humor is highly contagious. Match that with MTV's genius editing crew and you've got one jaw dropping program. T
here's a bonus DVD with outtakes and lots of other extras that fans of the show will welcome, including profiles of super-car owners like the overly tattooed guy from Blink 182 who had the roof on his 1954 Coupe De Ville lowered so much he has to bend forward to drive his own damn car!
What's left unfilmed is what comes next - the hard part - keeping these mean machines intact while they're parked on the Southern California streets.

Kojak TV show on DVDKojak Season One
Perhaps the seminal 1970's TV cop show, Telly Savalas starred as the follically challenged, lollipop crunching police lieutenant in one of the polyester decade's grittiest crime dramas.
The series debuted in 1973, so this first season collection captures the feel of New York City in the early-seventies (even if most of the show's interiors were shot in LA).
One of the things I like best about Universal dramas of that era is that they did a lot of location shooting, lots of scenes of cars traveling down the streets, people walking into various establishments. It gives you a chance to recognize old neighborhoods if you lived in the cities where the shows were shot. The high-speed chase scenes and shoot-outs filmed for Kojak serve as a reminder of how trashy the City looked in the seventies!
On this low priced set you get 22 one-hour episodes on three discs; the first episode features guest star Harvey Keitel. Other notable first season guests include familiar 1970's TV actors like Hector Elizondo, Art Metrano, Scatman Crothers, Paul Michael Glaser, Yvonne Craig, Jackie Cooper, Harry Guardino, Malachi Throne, John Hillerman along with a funny episode with Ruth McDevitt and John Ritter. For some reason, this collection doesn't contain the pilot movie, The Marcus-Nelson Murders, which was broadcast in early 1973.
True fans of 1970's TV drama will certainly want at least the first season of Kojak in their library.

Columbo season 2 on DVDColumbo - Season Two
The 1972-73 season of Columbo has just been released and it's a delight. Columbo deconstructed the mystery format by showing the murder taking place at the very beginning, with little or no ambiguity about who did it. The fun - and there's a lot of fun - comes in watching Peter Falk hem and haw and "one more thing" his way under the radar and over the heads of the crooks. At times laugh-out-loud funny, inevitably Columbo solves the mystery, although occasionally with a thoroughly unrealistic proposition - but hey, it's TV.
Definitely recommended!

Gilligan's Island - Season Two
If you grew up in the sixties and seventies, chances are all 32 episodes of the first color season of Gilligan's Island are burned into your memory: a camera from a NASA satellite lands on the island, radio broadcasts come from Gilligan's mouth, one of the castaways might be a murderer, Gilligan is the judge of who will be "Ms. Castaway," a rock group (the Mosquitoes) comes to the island for a quiet vacation, and on and on. They're all here in this one box set.
Extras are minor but there is some needlessly self-aggrandizing commentary by series creator Sherwood Schwartz on his favorite episode, "The Little Dictator."
The picture and color are phenomenal, the last time I watched Gilligan's Island was thirty years ago on a television with an antennae, so it was quite a revelation. I'm not sure there is a collection of shows more representative of what television was like in the mid-sixties - no doubt it makes just as good a baby-sitter today as it did then.
The whole package can be had for a total of $30 from Amazon, delivered right to your door. That's a bit more than a buck a show! (You'll likely pay a bit more in stores.)

Brady Bunch on DVDBrady Bunch - Season One
Five years after Gilligan's Island debuted, there came another Sherwood Schwartz hit. The Brady Bunch is now in release and it's a wonderful offering.
This collection sports the best example of holographic printing I've ever seen. Besides that, these are probably the best episodes of the Brady Bunch's five year run - at least until cousin Oliver came along!
The pilot episode is here, pure Schwartz schmaltz which, I'm sad to say, I'm old enough to remember watching the night it first aired in 1969. This time there's added commentary by producer Schwartz himself who provides a great deal of insight into the inner workings of the production.
Other extras include some very funny audio commentaries over two episodes by the now grown up kid actors Barry Williams, Christopher Knight and Susan Olsen - it's like sitting around watching TV with old friends. Also included, Coming Together Under One Roof, a bonus featurette. That's a lot of retro fun in a bright and colorful package.

The Dukes of Hazzard - Season Two
I'm more than a little proud that I've ever watched an episode of The Dukes of Hazzard. I grew up in the South. It was shows like Dukes and Gomer Pyle that led the nation to believe that all folks down South are lame brained and red necked, so when I screened The Dukes of Hazzard Season Two I no idea what to expect. (I say this even though one of my workmates in 1980 was a frequent extra on the show - but all he ever talked about was how massive John Schneider's package was!)
Season two (believe it or not, the series ran for 7 seasons) was the year Dukes of Hazzard went from being semi-dramatic to complete farce. If you were a fan of the show originally, I suspect this is the collection of episodes you're looking for. The one interesting bonus is the original screen test for John Schneider and Tom Wopat but there's also a documentary covering the show's 25th anniversary festival in Tennesse. Personally, I'd rather see something on Sorrell Brooke (Sheriff Coltrane) and Denver Pyle (Uncle Jesse) the true stars of the show, in my estimation.
If you're concerned about a lack of extras, don't get you're Daisy Dukes in a bunch - you can order the whole second season (all 23 episodes) for a mere $30 through Amazon.com and there's no tax and no shipping charge.

MacGyver - Season One
One of the most highly anticipated DVD releases in some time - MacGyver - is now on sale. MacGyver was the surprise hit of the 1985 season, so popular the name has become synonymous with improvising a fix, turning something useless into something that wins the day. "MacGyver it!"
This was not the best era of TV drama, but MacGyver took the audience by storm, one of the brightest of the mid-eighties TV blight. This six disc set gives you MacGyver's best episodes, complete and uncut, without annoying commercial breaks. This collection is austere - you just get the first season episodes - but then that's what you're buying in the first place. And the price is right, less than $30 from Amazon with free shipping- order now!
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classic tv shows on DVDLiddsville
After the successful release of H. R. Pufnstuff comes Sid and Marty Krofft's fab follow-up Liddsville, which I think is the best of the team's Saturday morning kiddie fare (well, Land of the Lost was cool, too). Special features include some delightful interviews with cast members and commentary by the Kroffts, Billy Hayes (Weenie Genie) and Butch Patrick, the show's star. There's even an interview with Charles Nelson Reilly and he despised the show!
This is a real time capsule, takes you back to those carefree Saturday mornings of old - loads of fun.

Bob Hope - The Vietnam Years
Wander back in time - starting with the 1964 Hope Christmas special and every year through 1972 is included on this set. It's all here - the monologues (with jokes with Alpo, Liberace and Don Rickles in the punchline), the guest stars (that include Jerry Cologna, Phyllis Diller, Anita Bryant, Joey Heatherton, Jill St. John, Redd Foxx and Lola Falana) and an endless parade of prick teasing sex symbols like The Golddiggers, Miss World and all of the other beauty queens.
If you're a fan of Hope and his specials, then you'll want to own this reasonably priced collection - a time capsule from the last time the USA was engaged in a war with no (seeming) end.

Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids (Greatest Hits)
Not strictly a season by season collection, but it's the first time the wildly beloved Saturday morning show has made it to DVD. Fat Albert'
s going to be very popular this Christmas, but it's not on sale until December 15th, so you better pre-order it now - you may not see it in the stores! If you grew up with these cartoons (as I did) you'll enjoy re acquainting yourself with one of the best children's shows of the 1970. The early episodes are especially good. Another perfect gift for the person who has everything - you know they don't have this...

Quantum Leap Season 2
I'm not a big fan of dramatic TV series in general but this is an exceptional show. The producers cleverly used the sci-fi slant to present one of the best dramatic anthology programs of all time. There are few extras, but in this case I don't miss them. Season 2 was the first full season of Quantum Leap and probably the best; includes the very funny, touching episode where Sam leaps into the body of a woman for the first time. You won't find a lot of major guest stars here and that's a plus for me. Not every episode is a gem, but the episodes that shine definitely outnumber the rest.

Aqua Teen Hunger Force - Volume 3
"Check it out, y'all, check it, check it out!" What happens when two writers from Space Ghost Coast to Coast propose a completely absurd idea for a television program to a Cartoon Network with too much air time to fill? You get Aqua Teen Hunger Force, an edgy stream of consciousness series that anchors the network's massively popular Adult Swim programming block.
If you are a fan - or know of one - Aqua Teen Hunger Force Volume 3 is available in a two-disc set that's packed with extras. That's why you buy a DVD collection of a current series, right?
Don't ask me to describe the show, it's a bizarre, surrealistic cartoon tour-de-force that spotlights all the most annoying aspects of teenage activity. As someone who lives near a college campus, Aqua Teen Hunger Force might as well be a reality show.
This is a red hot gift item, generally agreed to be the best episodes of the series so far. Look for overlayed commentaries (about as close as you're likely to get to sitting around watching the show with the creators), some funny deleted scenes, a behind-the-scenes film of the show's creators at work on one of the better episodes along with a read through with cast members. The packaging is simple, but cleverly designed.
The reason these shows are so fresh - the budget is low and dependent on the talent.
Also from the Adult Swim Collection: Space Ghost Coast to Coast Volume 2 has just been unleashed and it contains a superlative roundup of funny interviews with Matt Groening, Dave Grohl, Carrot Top and other B-list celebs.

Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour - The Christmas Collection
You asked for it - more Sonny and Cher! This time it's a package that includes three holiday episodes of The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour / Show. And what a great trio - the first Christmas show is from early in the first season, followed by an episode from the second season of the Comedy Hour, topped off with a holiday themed episode from the final season of the Sonny and Cher Show. These are all top notch episodes, making this collection a real winner. The sound is brilliant throughout this DVD, and the picture quality is stunning. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!


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