Lauren Bacall is among the guests on the third season of “Dr. Kildare,” now on DVD, along with stand-up comic Sinbad’s latest concert.
“Dr. Kildare: The Complete Third Season, Parts 1 & 2” (Warner Archive/DVD, 1963-64, b/w, eight discs, 34 episodes). This is a very good season of the classic medical series — which is set in a teaching hospital and stars Richard Chamberlain in the title role and Raymond Massey as his mentor Dr. Gillespie — with an unusually interesting array of guests ranging from Hollywood stalwarts of the period to up-and-comers.
One episode deals with the residual effects of the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki, with James Shigeta and Miyoshi Umeki. Another has Lauren Bacall as a powerful political columnist with symptoms of multiple sclerosis. And would you believe a comic episode features Bob Denver as a doctor and Barbara Eden as a nurse, both sporting Southern accents, a year or so before “Gilligan’s Island” and “I Dream of Jeannie”?
Other guests this season include young actors Charles Bronson, Sal Mineo, Suzanne Pleshette, Diane Baker, Beau Bridges, Gena Rowlands, Yvette Mimieux, Marion Ross and Jack Lord, as well as veterans Ralph Bellamy, Celeste Holm, Walter Pidgeon, Cesar Romero, Claude Rains and Douglas Fairbanks Jr. (Available at warnerarchive.com)
“Sinbad: Make Me Wanna Holla” (Comedy Central/Paramount/DVD, 2014). Comedian Sinbad (where’s he been?) performs stand-up in Detroit, bookended by musical-comedy bits and an odd opening skit. His 90-minute show takes a bit to warm up, but after the 15-minute mark or so he gets rolling and his comic insights are very funny as he covers men and women, dating, marriage, religion and politics and is especially funny when he banters with audience members. (And he’s clean, although some of it is adult material.)
“House of Cards: The Complete Second Season” (Sony/Blu-ray/DVD, 2014, four discs, 13 episodes, featurettes). In its second season, this remake of a British series about ruthless politics has Kevin Spacey ascending to the vice presidency and looking toward making an eventual move to take over the Oval Office, though he’ll have to fight off opposition and dark secrets. Robin Wright co-stars as his wife, and both are very good. The show, which is the first original program made for Netflix, is also very R-rated on an HBO or Showtime level.
“Death in Paradise: Season One” (BBC/DVD, 2011, two discs, eight episodes). Ben Miller stars as a buttoned-up London detective perfectly suited to the city in this comedy-mystery show. So he’s not happy about being sent to a Caribbean island to solve a murder, despite its enchanting trappings. The police force is much too casual for him, but when he and his new partner (Sara Martins) seem to click, he finds himself assigned permanently.
“DCI Banks: Season One” (BBC/DVD, 2011, two discs, six episodes). Gritty, very graphically violent police procedural from England focuses on DCI Alan Banks (Stephen Tompkinson) and his tough partner Annie Cabbott (Andrea Lowe) as they investigate arson, a missing teenage girl and disturbing murders. Three mysteries are here, each comprised of two episodes. (These were preceded by “Aftermath,” a two-part TV movie that was the show’s pilot.)
“Scott and Bailey: Season One” (BBC/DVD, 2011, two discs, six episodes, featurette). This is sort of a British version of “Cagney & Lacey,” as the title characters are female police detectives partnered on the Major Incident Team in the fictional Manchester Metropolitan Police, where their boss is also female. The episodes have their murder mysteries, of course, but there is a great emphasis on their soap opera personal lives as well.
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