Tom Smart, Deseret News
A pair of LDS programs lead off this look at TV shows new to DVD this week.
"The Most Wonderful Time of the Year" (Mormon Tabernacle Choir/KUED 7, 2009, $24.98). This is last year's live concert Christmas program, with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, the Orchestra at Temple Square and guests Natalie Cole and David McCullough.
The annual event is always highly anticipated, and this one is as enchanting as you would expect, with Cole in fine voice as she sings familiar songs (the title tune, "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing," "Caroling, Caroling") and a few that are perhaps less familiar ("Grown-Up Christmas List," "The Holly and the Ivy"), along with the choir's renditions of "For Unto Us a Child Is Born" from "Messiah" and more.
Pulitzer Prize-winning historian McCullough, narrates the stories behind "O Little Town of Bethlehem" and "I'll Be Home for Christmas," giving both just the right amount of stirring emotional resonance.
Extras: widescreen, featurettes (also on audio CD, $18.98)
"Delivered By Hope" (Deseret Book, 2010, $17.99). This documentary relates the emotional story and harrowing journey of Mariama Kallon, who escaped torture in Sierra Leone only to lose her family and become a refugee in her own country.
After a Mormon family offered aid she joined the church and eventually made her way to the United States to serve a mission on Temple Square.
Extras: widescreen, featurettes
"The Fugitive: The Fourth and Final Season, Volume One" (CBS/Paramount, 1966-67, four discs, $42.99). This show goes from black and white to color this season, and it builds to a riveting climax that wraps up the series … although that arrives with "Volume Two," hopefully early next year.
But there are some exciting episodes here, including a couple where convicted killer Richard Kimble (David Janssen) nearly catches up with the real killer, the one-armed man (Bill Raisch), and another where Kimble puts himself in jeopardy to save the life of the cop who pursues him, Lt. Gerard (Barry Morse).
Guests include Tom Skerritt, Edward Asner, Ossie Davis, Hope Lange, Bruce Dern, Dabney Coleman and "Brigham Young" himself, Dean Jagger.
Extras: full frame, 15 episodes, featurette, trailers
"Mad About You: The Complete Fifth Season" (Shout!/Sony, 1996-97, four discs, $29.93). Paul Reiser and Helen Hunt star in this sitcom, which is still funny in its fifth season, following a four-season-ender that was more serious than usual.
This season also tackles serious issues, as Hunt is pregnant, Paul loses his job and there are Emmy-winning performances from Mel Brooks and Carol Burnett (in separate episodes). There's also a best-of clip show.
Other guests include Bruce Willis, Kevin Bacon, Edward Asner, Carroll O'Connor, Michael Moore and the voice of James Earl Jones.
Extras: full frame, 24 episodes
"The Facts of Life: The Complete Fifth Season" (Shout! 1983-84, three discs, $39.97). Season 5 of this spinoff of "Diff'rent Strokes" begins with Mrs. G. (Charlotte Rae) opening a gourmet shop, with help from Blair, Natalie, Tootie and Jo, along with the usual mix-ups and misunderstandings, and some more serious moments, as when they have to deal with a death.
Extras: full frame, 26 episodes
"Cook's Country: Season Three" (America's Test Kitchen, 2010, two discs, $29.99). Regional home cooking is the theme here, with host Christopher Kimball meeting with chefs to reveal such blue-ribbon specialties as Monkey Bread, Easy Chickent Tacos and Texas Beef Ribs.
Extras: widescreen, 13 episodes