If you can’t get enough of “The Carol Burnett Show,” a new set of episodes has just been released on DVD, as has a new collection of “Mystery Science Theater 3000” shows making fun of bad movies.
“The Carol Burnett Show: This Time Together” (StarVista/TimeLife, 1972-77, six discs, $59.95, 17 episodes, featurettes; two booklets). Following on the heels of the three “Carol’s Favorites” DVD sets last fall, “This Time Together” collects another 17 uncut shows with the incomparable Burnett clowning, singing and dancing with her stock company and celebrity guests.
Harvey Korman, Tim Conway, Vickie Lawrence and Lyle Waggoner are all here, of course, along with a pair of episodes featuring Dick Van Dyke, who came on the show for its final season after Korman’s departure. Guests include Lily Tomlin, Madeline Kahn, Roddy McDowall, Bernadette Peters, Sammy Davis Jr. and Petula Clark, among others.
Among these episodes is one filmed in Australia at the Sydney Opera House and three that eschewed celebrity guests to focus on Burnett and her core cast. There are many hilarious skits here, especially when Conway and Korman cut loose.
“Mystery Science Theater 3000: XXVI” (Shout!, 1992-97, four discs, $59.97, four episodes, featurettes, trailers; four mini-posters). In their own hilarious way, Joel, Mike, Tom Servo and Crow T. Robot get all snarky on “The Magic Sword” (1962), with Basil Rathbone; “Alien From L.A.” (1988), with Kathy Ireland; “Danger!! Death Ray” (1967), with former “Tarzan” Gordon Scott; and “The Mole People” (1956, b/w), starring John Agar.
“Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries: Series 1” (Acorn, 2012, three discs, $59.99, 13 episodes, featurettes). Engaging and amusing, if deliberately campy, Australian series based on Kerry Greenwood’s novels is set in 1920s Melbourne as ahead-of-her-time feminist Phryne Fisher takes on the role of “lady detective.” Essie Davis is well cast as the fetching title character who is, as you might expect, underestimated by the men around her.
“Continuum: Season One” (Universal/Blu-ray, 2012, two discs, $44.98, 10 episodes, featurette). A cop (Rachel Nichols) from 2077 finds herself stranded in modern-day Vancouver as she searches for time-traveling terrorists. Naturally, she’s armed with a few techno-advantages. Action-filled series really moves, and Nichols is great in the lead. Canadian series airs on the Syfy Channel.
“Men at Work: The Complete First Season” (Sony, 2012, two discs, $35.99, 10 episodes, deleted scenes, outtakes). Run-of-the-mill TBS workplace sitcom is sort of “Friends” or “Seinfeld” but with an all-male foursome, one of whom declares, “I’m not gay,” just so we’ll know. They hang out at a bar and a diner, and mostly at the Manhattan offices of the men’s magazine where they work and make a lot of sex jokes. The best-known of the four is Danny Masterson, formerly of “That ’70s Show.”
“Veep: The Complete First Season” (HBO/Blu-ray, 2012, three discs, $49.99, eight episodes, deleted scenes, audio commentaries, featurettes). Cable channels are littered with mean-spirited sitcoms these days, many of them more dark and cynical than they are funny, and this one, with Julia Louis-Dreyfus as the underappreciated but self-centered vice president of the United States, falls somewhere in that category, along with the ability to use a lot of R-rated language, this being HBO. (Also on DVD, $39.98)
“MADtv: Season 2” (Shout!, 1996-97, four discs, $29.93, 22 episodes). Despite the Mad Magazine legacy, this show owes more to “Saturday Night Live,” and as such the comedy is hit and miss but sometimes quite amusing, especially in skits with regulars Nicole Sullivan and Orlando Jones. Artie Lange left the show in the middle of this season. Guest hosts include Queen Latifah, Christina Applegate, LL Cool J, Neve Campbell, Ice-T, Harry Connick Jr. and Rodney Dangerfield.
“The Borgias: The Original Crime Family: The Second Season” (Showtime/CBS, 2012, three discs, $43.99, 10 episodes, featurettes, episodes of other Showtime series). This historical fiction about the real-life Borgias is sort of “The Godfather” or “Sopranos” of the Renaissance era with power plays at the heart of its sex-drenched stories of crime, intrigue and sin centered in and around the Catholic Church at the turn of the 16th century. (Also on Blu-ray, $65.99)
“Alice in Wonderland” (BBC, 1986, $14.97).
“Alice Through the Looking Glass” (BBC, 1973, $14.97). These BBC productions set apart by 13 years are enjoyable “family” adaptations of Lewis Carroll’s stories about young Alice and her adventures with Tweedledee and Tweedledum, the Red Queen, the White Rabbit, etc. “Wonderland” is actually comprised of four 30-minute episodes while “Looking Glass” is a made-for-TV movie.
“Digimon Adventure: Volume 2” (Flatiron, 1999, three discs, $19.95, 18 episodes).
“The Official Digimon Adventure Set: The Complete Second Season” (Flatiron, 2000, eight discs, 50 episodes, $79.95, art gallery; 32-page booklet). This Japanese animated series was shown in this country on Fox. “Volume 2” is comprised of Season 1’s “Story Arc 3” (got that?), continuing the tales of seven children battling digital monsters. The “Second Season” has complete, unedited episodes. Both sets are English-language versions.
“The Springtime Collection Featuring Max’s Chocolate Chicken” (Scholastic, 2013, three discs, $24.95, 13 stories, featurettes, recipe, read-along). Animated stories gleaned from the previously released discs “Max’s Chocolate Chicken and more stories by Rosemary Wells,” “The Red Hen and more cooking stories” and “Chicken Little and more zany animal stories.” Lily Tomlin and Randy Travis are among the narrators. For ages 2-7.
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