Christmas fun with Carol Burnett and friends leadS these TV shows released on DVD this week.
“The Carol Burnett Show: Christmas With Carol” (StarVista, 1974/1977, $12.95, two episodes, bonus skits and songs from 1967 and 1968 episodes). Last year a Christmas DVD with Carol Burnett featured black-and-white episodes of Burnett’s first series, “The Garry Moore Show.” This one is from Burnett’s own variety series with two complete episodes from 1974 and 1977, respectively, plus excerpts of holiday material from older episodes.
The result is a great disc for Burnett fans, with regulars Harvey Korman, Vicki Lawrence, Tim Conway, and guests Alan Alda, Ken Berry and Helen Reddy. Jonathan Winters and Sid Caesar also show up in bonus bits. Fans of “Mama’s Family” will find a holiday segment with those characters, and Burnett and Conway play Mrs. Wiggins and Mr. Tudball in another skit. Burnett also plays her charwoman character, and there’s much more comedy and music. It may seem old-fashioned to some, but funny is still funny.
“Sugarfoot: The Complete Second Season” (Warner Archive, 1958-59, b/w, five discs, $39.95, 20 episodes). Amiable tenderfoot and frontier lawyer (of the correspondence-school variety) Tom Brewster, played charmingly by Will Hutchins, returns for a second season, and in one episode meets himself, or rather a lookalike outlaw.
Guests include Efrem Zimbalist Jr., Edd Byrnes and Roger Smith, just before they hit it big with “77 Sunset Strip.” Plus future TV stars Dorothy Provine (“The Roaring ’20s”), Martin Landau (“Mission: Impossible”), Adam West (“Batman”), Jay North (“Dennis the Menace”), Jerry Paris (“The Dick Van Dyke Show”) and John Russell (“Lawman”), as well as Tommy Rettig, who had just left “Lassie.” (Available at www.warnerarchive.com)
“The FBI: The Complete Sixth Season” (Warner Archive, 1970-71, six discs, $49.95, 26 episodes). Efrem Zimbalist Jr. and his team are back as FBI agents pursuing bank robbers, terrorists, a rogue customs agent, a Mafia hit man and art thieves, among others. Guests include future stars Diane Keaton, Michael Douglas, Martin Sheen, Suzanne Pleshette, Anne Archer, William Shatner, Joan Van Ark, Billy Dee Williams and Tom Skerritt, along with ’50s singing star Fabian. (Available at www.warnerarchive.com)
“Silk: Series One” (BBC, 2011, two discs, $34.98, six episodes, featurette). Intriguing modern-day courtroom drama filled with various characters in pursuit of “silk,” a nickname for achieving the status of Queen’s Court. Maxine Peake stars as an idealistic but aggressive defense attorney who is alternately helped and hindered by chauvinistic colleagues. Lots of political maneuvering surrounds each episode’s court cases. (A second series has already aired in the United Kingdom and a third is on the way.)
“Last Tango in Halifax” (BBC, 2012, two discs, $34.98, six episodes). Warm, charming and funny hourlong drama with essentially the same basic plot as the British sitcom “As Time Goes By.” Two young would-be lovers undone by miscommunication married others. Now, 60 years later, they are both widowed and find each other on the Internet. But this time, of course, both have considerable baggage. Derek Jacobi and Ann Reid are first-rate in the leads. (A second series is on the way.)
“MADtv: The Complete Fourth Season” (Shout!, 1998-99, four discs, $29.98, 25 episodes). Phil LaMarr, Nicole Sullivan, Debra Wilson, Alex Borstein, Will Sasso and Aries Spears return, along with newcomers Mo Collins, Andrew Bowen and Michael McDonald for a fourth go-round of this skit show, the fledgling Fox network’s answer to NBC’s “Saturday Night Live.” Guests include Donny Osmond, Usher, Vivica A. Fox, KISS, Shaquille O’Neal, Keri Russell and Jerry Springer. (Also on Blu-ray, $29.97)
“The Paradise” (BBC, 2012, three discs, $39.98, eight episodes, featurette). Victorian soap opera set against the backdrop of the first department store in a Northern English town where Denise Lovett (Joanna Vanderham) finds work as a salesgirl and, naturally, catches the eye of the owner, much to the displeasure of two other women. Played on PBS last month. A second series is now airing in Great Britain. (Also on Blu-ray, $44.98)
“Stan Lee’s Superhumans: Season Two” (History/Lionsgate, 2011, four discs, $24.98, 13 episodes, deleted scenes). Stan Lee, for the uninitiated, is the legendary comic-book writer who created Spider-Man, The X-Men and many other iconic Marvel superheroes. This reality series has him hosting people with unique genetic traits, as episode titles indicate: “Shark Master,” “Steel Face,” “Supersight,” etc.
“Power Rangers: Seasons 8-12” (Shout!, 2000-04, 26 discs, $179.99, 196 episodes, featurettes). These five-disc season sets are repackaged in this box set, along with a bonus disc full of features: “Lightspeed Rescue,” “Time Force,” “Wild Force,” “Ninja Storm” and “Dino Thunder.”
“Chuggington: Chief Wilson” (Anchor Bay, 2013, $14.98, six episodes, bonus “Badge Quest” episode, featurettes, coloring/activity sheet). Animated British series aimed at preschoolers about anthropomorphic trains
“Barney: Perfectly Purple” (HIT/Lionsgate, 2013, $14.98, three episodes, interactive game, read-along, karaoke music video). The purple dinosaur and his pals present message-driven stories to preschoolers.
Chris Hicks is the author of "Has Hollywood Lost Its Mind? A Parent’s Guide to Movie Ratings." His website is www.hicksflicks.com
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