Chris Hicks: 'Harry O' and a new 'Battlestar Gallactica' TV movie arrive on DVD and Blu-ray
The final season of David Janssen's "Harry O" TV series arrives on DVD this week, along with a new "Battlestar Galactica" TV movie.
"Harry O: The Complete Second Season" (Warner Archive, 1975-76, six discs, $49.95, 22 episodes). David Janssen's hard-hitting private eye show was toned down a bit for this second (and last) season, and the gimmick of a bullet causing him occasional debilitating pain was literally removed. But Harry still lives on an L.A. beach and never has enough money, though his car seems to be in better repair. Janssen, always at his best exuding a world-weary demeanor, remains solid in these final episodes of a show that ended all too soon.
Anthony Zerbe co-stars as Harry's police lieutenant pal and Farrah Fawcett (billed as "Farrah Fawcett-Majors") returns in her recurring role as a flight attendant neighbor. Guests this season include future "WKRP" stars Loni Anderson, Howard Hesseman, and in the same episode Gordon Jump and Gary Sandy, along with Larry Hagman, Louis Gossett Jr., Lesley Ann Warren, Edie Adams, Dean Jagger, Anne Archer and Roddy McDowall. (Available at www.WarnerArchive.com)
"Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome" (Universal/Blu-ray, 2013, two discs, $34.98; Blu-ray, DVD and digital versions; deleted scenes, featurette). This prequel to the "Battlestar Galactica" reboot premiered as a series of 10 12-minute webisodes, then was reshaped for a Syfy channel movie intended as a pilot, but Syfy did not pick it up as a series. This is an "unrated and uncut" version, whatever that means, and the story is set 10 years before the earlier series, with young Adama battling the Cylons. Not bad, with plenty of action for adrenalin junkies. (Also on DVD, $29.98)
"Game of Thrones: The Complete Second Season" (HBO/Blu-ray, 2012, seven discs, $79.98; Blu-ray, DVD and digital versions; 10 episodes, audio commentaries, featurettes). Popular HBO series is based on the sprawling fantasy novels of George R.R. Martin, dealing out Shakespearean battles for power in mythical kingdoms. And, as this is HBO, violence, foul language and especially sex and nudity can be expected. (Also on DVD, $59.99)
"Missions That Changed the War: The Doolittle Raid" (Athena, 2011, two discs, $49.99, four episodes, featurette, text timeline; 16-page booklet). Narrated by Gary Sinise, his documentary miniseries chronicles the daring mission by Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle to strike back at Japan after the attack on Pearl Harbor and includes interviews with four crew members who took part. Initially aired on the Military Channel.
"Swamp People: Season 3" (Lionsgate/History, six discs, $24.98, 22 episodes, deleted scenes). Cajun gator hunters regroup and head out to Atchafalaya River Basin swamp in Louisiana for the 30-day alligator season in September, looking for the biggest, baddest swamp monsters they can find. A History Channel series.
"TopGear: The Complete Season 2" (BBC, 2011-12, four discs, $29.98, 16 episodes, deleted/extended segments/scenes, featurettes). This History Channel remake of a British show celebrates autos and other forms of transportation in a series of eccentric adventures, including competitions between a Rally Fighter car and a swamp airboat, and another pitting a Subaru against a dirt bike in an escape from a ghost town.
"TopGear: 50 Years of Bond Cars" (BBC, 2012, $9.95). This episode of the British version of "TopGear" explores the many vehicles that became iconic, integral elements of the James Bond movies, from the most famous, the gadget-filled Aston Martin, to the aquatic Lotus Esprit, etc. Interviewees include Daniel Craig and Roger Moore.
"Hats Off to Dr. Seuss: Collector's Edition" (Warner/Blu-ray, 1966-95, five discs, $59.99, five cartoons, four bonus cartoons, featurettes, sing-along, interactive puzzles). Blu-ray upgrades of the many animated TV specials that adapted Seuss stories, including "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," "Horton Hears a Who," "The Cat in the Hat," "The Lorax," "Green Eggs and Ham" and more. (Also on DVD, $44.98)
"The Wacky World of Tex Avery, Volume One" (Mill Creek, 1997, four discs, $12.98, 40 episodes, bonus episode). Misleading title may cause animation buffs to think this is a collection of famed animator Tex Avery's early Warner and MGM theatrical cartoons but it's actually the first season of a U.S./Canadian/French TV cartoon series meant to be an homage to Avery's work.
"The Adventures of Chuck & Friends: When Trucks Fly" (Shout! Kids, 2013, $12.99, 10 episodes, sing-along). Animated episodes from the Hub cable series about a little dump truck and his friends overcoming (literal) obstacles.
"Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors, Volume 2" (Mill Creek, 1985, three discs, $12.98, 33 episodes). This '80s cartoon series is based on a Mattel toy line and features human heroes the Lightning League battling vegetable-based villains Monster Minds that have "Transformer"-type abilities.
"The Collingwood O'Hare Collection" (Mill Creek, 1988-2002, three discs, $9.98, 79 cartoons). Episodes of the cartoon series "Eddy & The Bear," "Rarg" and "Animal Stories," from British studio Collingwood O'Hare.
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