Chris Hicks: Canadian, British, Australian shows lead a bevy of new TV series on DVD
The latest seasons of a pair of police procedurals from Canada and England, along with an Australian teen fantasy about mermaids, lead these TV series new to DVD this week.
“Murdoch Mysteries: Season 5” (Acorn, 2012, four discs, $59.99, 13 episodes, featurettes; also on Blu-ray, same price).
“Murdoch Mysteries Collection: Seasons 1-4” (Acorn, 2008-2011, 16 discs, $149.99, 52 episodes, audio commentary, alternate ending for Season 3, featurettes, photo galleries, text biographies; also on Blu-ray, same price). Canadian series based on the novels by Maureen Jennings follows detective William Murdoch (Yannick Bisson) in 1890s Toronto as he pioneers such new crime-solving techniques as fingerprinting.
Clever, witty show benefits from an attractive cast and crimes that overlap with topical subjects, occasionally taking on a “MacGyver” vibe as Murdoch comes up with makeshift solutions. He also occasionally meets historical characters of the era, such as Winston Churchill, H.G. Wells and Arthur Conan Doyle.
Season 5 finds Murdoch collaborating on an investigation with Alexander Graham Bell, as well as entering horror/sci-fi realms as he looks into a series of deaths that appear to be linked to a mummy’s curse and a man who claims to have conquered time travel.
“Dalziel & Pascoe: Season 7” (BBC, 2002, two discs, $34.98, six episodes). This British buddy-cop show has the usual dynamic: two disparate personalities, one an older, ill-mannered police veteran with street smarts (Warren Clarke) and the other a younger, more polished, university-educated rookie (Colin Buchanan) although since we’re in the seventh season, he’s not so much a rookie anymore. The stars work well together and the mysteries are solid, if no longer based directly on the novels by Reginald Hill. (Includes the two-part Christmas story, “Dialogues of the Dead.”)
“H20: Just Add Water: The Complete Season 1” (Flatiron, 2006, four discs, $24.95, 26 episodes, 90-minute movie version of Season 1). Three teenage girls are magically transformed into mermaids, each receiving magical powers that allow them to manipulate water. But there are problems when it rains or they otherwise get wet, and it’s difficult to keep their powers a secret. Enjoyable Australian fantasy aimed at adolescents initially aired here on the Nickelodeon cable channel.
“Duck Dynasty: Season 2, Volume 1” (Lionsgate/A&E, 2012, two discs, $19.98, 13 episodes, deleted scenes). Popular A&E cable reality show follows the misadventures of redneck family that has parlayed a duck-call/decoy backyard business into a multi-million dollar empire while staying true to their Southern lifestyle. Includes December’s highly rated Christmas episode.
“Tom and Jerry: Pint-Sized Pals” (Warner, 1949-2008, two discs, $19.97, 30 cartoons). The ever-battling cat and mouse star in this mix of classic theatrical short cartoons from the 1940s and ’50s, and segments of the 2008 WB animated series “Tom and Jerry Tales.”
“Saban’s Power Rangers: Clash of the Red Rangers: The Movie” (Lionsgate, 2011, $14.98, featurettes, bloopers). This 45-minute double-episode “movie” from the live-action series has Samurai Rangers teaming up with RPM Red Ranger to battle Master Xandred’s Mooger army.
“CareBears: Welcome to Care-A-Lot: Totally Sweet Adventures” (Lionsgate, 2012, $14.98, four episodes). These episodes are from the computer-animated series showing on The Hub cable channel.
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