John Nettles wraps up his term on the "Midsomer Murders" TV series and later seasons of some vintage favorites land on DVD this week.
"Midsomer Murders: Set 20" (Acorn, 2010, four discs, $49.99, four episodes, text essay, photo gallery). These four feature-length thrillers mark the end of the John Nettles era as he leaves the series. At the conclusion of the final show here, Tom Barnaby's cousin John (Neil Dudgeon) is handed the baton, and the show continues under his able hand. Not that Nettles won't be missed.
There's nothing earth-shatteringly different about the murder mysteries here, except that Tom's wife Joyce (Jane Wymark) seems to be more involved, and Barnaby's retirement isn't even hinted at until the end of the last episode in this set. For the record, Barnaby and Sgt. Jones (Jason Hughes) investigate a prestigious music competition, a deadly boxing match, a clash over property development and a spa weekend where people begin dropping like flies. (Also on Blu-ray, $59.99.)
"The Streets of San Francisco: Season 3, Volume 1" (CBS/Paramount, 1974, three discs, $42.99, 12 episodes).
"The Streets of San Francisco: Season 3, Volume 2" (CBS/Paramount, 1974-75, three discs, $42.99, 11 episodes). Michael Douglas and Karl Malden are back in action in the third season of this exciting police procedural as partnered homicide detectives, with Malden providing the street smarts and Douglas the college education. Good bantering between the stars and the mysteries are entertaining, highlighted by location footage of the City By the Bay. Guests include Leslie Nielsen, Susan Strasberg, Brenda Vaccaro, Bill Bixby, Dabney Coleman and Mariette Hartley.
"Mannix: The Seventh Season" (CBS/Paramount, 1973-74, six discs, $54.99). Mike Conners is tough guy Joe Mannix, a Los Angeles-based private eye, in this action-packed series, with arguably more fights, shootouts and car chases than any other show at the time, aided by his gal Friday, Peggy Fair (Gail Fisher). Still fun. Guests in this penultimate season of the show include Sam Elliott, Linda Evans, Greg Morris, William Devane and Beverly Garland.
"Dynasty: The Sixth Season, Volume One" (CBS/Paramount, 1985-86, four discs, $36.98, 15 episodes).
"Dynasty: The Sixth Season, Volume Two" (CBS/Paramount, 1985, four discs, $36.98, 15 episodes). More high-class soap opera from the oil-rich Denver family the Carringtons, led by John Forsythe, Linda Evans and Joan Collins. This is the season that Krystle Carrington (Evans) is kidnapped and replaced with a lookalike, and the spinoff show "The Colbys" has three crossover episodes that feature Charlton Heston. (The two volumes are also packaged together, $72.99.)
"George Gently: Series 4" (Acorn, 2011, two discs, $39.99, two episodes, featurette). The two feature-length episodes in this British series set in the 1960s in the North East of England have by-the-book Inspector Gently (Martin Shaw) investigating the murders of a former snitch and a young woman whose death takes him into the world of celebrity worship.Comment on this story
"Shark Divers" (Mill Creek/Blu-ray, 2012, $14.98). Four 50-minute documentaries by Danny Mauro look at various kinds of sharks in a variety of locations with high-definition footage of divers interacting with them, sometimes outside the cages.
"Earth From Above: Food and Wildlife Conservation" (Mill Creek/Blu-ray, 2012, $9.98). Yann Arthus-Bertrand's four 45-minute documentaries here focus on industrialized farming and wildlife conservation as it makes a plea for greater awareness and better management of depleting resources.
"PlanEat" (TruMind, 2012, $19.98, shorter version of the film, deleted scenes, featurettes, trailer). Documentary making a case for plant-based diet designed around the work of three scientists involved in researching links between diet and cancer, heart disease and climate change.