James Garner’s final season as “Maverick” leads TV shows that are new to DVD this week.
“Maverick: The Complete Third Season” (Warner Archive, 1959-60, b/w, six discs, $49.95, 26 episodes). Series creator/writer Roy Huggins left at the end of Season 2, and his creativity is missed as the third unfolds.
But this groundbreaking comedy-Western TV series is still a great show, with several clever stories highlighted by snappy dialogue, including the opening episode, which gives both James Garner and Jack Kelly dual roles — Garner as their oft referred-to “Pappy.”
Another episode features young Robert Redford as a prominent character, and other guests include Roberta Shore, Buddy Ebsen, Joel Grey and, in two episodes as different characters, Adam West. But it’s Garner’s charm that is the biggest draw here, making his final season with the show a good one. (Available at www.warnerarchive.com)
“Line of Duty: Series 1” (Acorn, 2012, two discs, $39.99, five episodes, featurettes). An incorruptible detective (Martin Compston) is transferred to the anti-corruption unit and quickly discovers that the officer in charge (Lennie James) is up to no good. Gritty British police procedural has been favorably compared to “The Wire” and “The Shield.”
“Family Tree: The Complete First Season” (HBO, 2013, two discs, $29.98, eight episodes, deleted scenes, featurette, audio tracks). Absurdist faux-reality series from director/co-writer Christopher Guest is in keeping with his faux-documentary movies (“Waiting For Guffman,” “Best in Show”) as it follows Chris O’Dowd (“The IT Crowd,” “The Sapphires”) tracing his lineage. (Occasional foul language.)
“The Snow Queen” (BBC, 2005, $19.98, audio commentary, featurette, episode of “Blue Peter” about Hans Christian Andersen’s life). This live-action musical adaptation of Andersen’s tale has songs by Paul K. Joyce and features Juliet Stevenson and the voice of Patrick Stewart as the Raven in the story of a young girl attempting to rescue a boy from the evil title character.
“Masters of Money” (Athena, 2012, two discs, $39.99, three episodes, featurette; 12-page booklet). Documentary series explores the power of money by examining the lives of economic thinkers John Maynard Keynes, Friedrich Hayek and Karl Marx.
Chris Hicks is the author of "Has Hollywood Lost Its Mind? A Parent’s Guide to Movie Ratings." His website is www.hicksflicks.com