Second season of 'Police Woman' finally released on DVD

Published: Thursday, Feb. 9 2012 4:58 p.m. MST

Tom Bosley as Father Dowling and Tracy Nelson as Sister Stephanie Oskowski in "Father Dowling Mysteries."

Cbs/Paramount

After a six-year wait, the second season of "Police Woman" is finally on DVD, along with a highly anticipated concert performance of "The Phantom of the Opera" musical.

"Police Woman: Season Two" (Shout! 1975-76, six discs, $44.99). Six years ago, Sony released the first season of this groundbreaking '70s police procedural, which made a star of Angie Dickinson and paved the way for subsequent dramatic series with female leads. But it apparently didn't sell well enough for the studio to follow up with subsequent seasons.

Enter the Shout! Factory, which has created a cottage industry of releasing TV shows the studios don't feel are profitable enough. And if this "Police Woman" set sells well – which for Shout! isn't quite what Sony demands – we'll see more.

Dickinson, in her mid-40s when the show began (and looking a decade younger), is Sgt. Pepper Anderson, working undercover as part of the LAPD's Criminal Conspiracy Unit to break up a traveling casino, bust drug dealers, foil kidnappers, unravel an insurance scam and, in the double-episode season-ender, take part in a task force to track down a cop killer.

The show flaunts Dickinson's sex appeal to a near-campy degree, but she's a good enough actress to hold her own with such guest stars as Sam Elliott, Ida Lupino, Joan Collins, Amy Irving, Roddy McDowall, Robert Vaughn and Diane Baker, among others.

Extras: full frame, 24 episodes

"The Phantom of the Opera at the Royal Albert Hall" (Universal/Blu-ray, 2012, $39.98). Fans of Andrew Lloyd Webber's stage-musical version of the horror story — and especially those who were disappointed in the overblown 2004 movie — will love this version, recorded live and in full costume.

More than a concert, this performance is flamboyant and vivid, with a group of terrific singers, led by Ramin Karimloo, Sierra Boggess and Hadley Fraser. And the curtain calls bring out Webber and many who worked on his original production, including Sarah Brightman and Michael Crawford.

Extras: widescreen

"Father Dowling Mysteries: The First Season" (CBS/Paramount, 1989, two discs, $29.99). Tom Bosley ("Happy Days") stars as novelist Ralph McInerny's Father Dowling, a Catholic priest who solves crimes in Chicago, aided by a nun (Tracy Nelson), a priest (James Stephens) and his housekeeper (Mary Wickes). Gentle murder mysteries, a la "Matlock" and "Murder, She Wrote."

Guests here include Stella Stevens, Leslie Nielsen, Diane Ladd and Tracy Nelson's grandmother, Harriet Nelson (of "Ozzie & Harriet" fame).

Extras: full frame, seven episodes, 1987 pilot movie: "Fatal Confession," promos

"CSI: Crime Scene Investigation: Grave Danger" (CBS/Paramount/Blu-ray + DVD, 2005, two discs, $24.99). Quentin Tarantino directed this edgy two-part Season 5 finale, edited here as a movie. The plot has CSI Stokes (George Eads) kidnapped from a crime scene and buried alive, and it's nice to see William Petersen's Grissom and Gary Dourdan's Brown again, two characters that have been off the show awhile. Still, this is primarily for Tarantino buffs, as "CSI" fans probably have the Season 5 set with these episodes.

Extras: widescreen, Blu-ray and DVD versions, featurette

"The Brontes of Haworth" (Acorn, 1973, two discs, $39.99). This well-produced, fact-based dramatization of the Bronte family in 19th century England looks at the lives of beloved authors Charlotte (best known for writing "Jane Eyre") and Emily ("Wuthering Heights"), along with their less well-known sister Anne ("Agnes Grey") and unfortunate brother Branwell (played by a young Michael Kitchen, more recently the star of "Foyle's War").

Extras: full frame, five episodes, text production notes

"Northern Lights: The Complete Collection" (Acorn, 2004-08, four discs, $59.99). Two best friends (Robson Green, Mark Benton) let their keen sense of competition run amok in this funny British collection of TV specials, series and movies. It starts with a Christmas special as they try to outdo each other with house decorations (inspired by Tim Allen on "Home Improvement," perhaps?). But that's just the beginning.

Extras: widescreen, 12 episodes, two TV movies, featurette

"New Tricks: Season Six" (Acorn, 2009, three discs, $39.99). Those retired curmudgeonly detectives led by a by-the-book woman with modern ideas continue to bump heads and crack cold cases in this witty, funny and sometimes startling series. Great fun for fans of British mysteries.

Extras: widescreen, eight episodes, featurette

"Ancient Aliens: Season Three" (History, 2011, four discs, $29.95). More "evidences" of aliens having visited Earth thousands of years ago — from the era of ancient Egypt to the dinosaur age — makes for entertaining speculation.

Extras: widescreen, 16 episodes

"The Valentines Collection featuring One Zillion Valentines" (Scholastic, 2012, $14.95). Cute animated stories for ages 4-8, including the title tale and four more on similar themes.

Extras: full frame, five stories, read-along

EMAIL: hicks@desnews.com

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