"Route 66" is a vintage semi-anthology series that some of us thought might never come to DVD, but lo and behold it arrives on Tuesday ... albeit in one of those frustrating half-season sets.
• "Route 66: Season One, Volume One" (Infinity, 1960-61, b/w, four discs, $29.98). Martin Milner is Tod Stiles, a Yale graduate who is broke except for his shiny new Corvette. So he teams up with Buz Murdock (George Maharis), and they travel across the country (sometimes wandering quite a distance from Route 66), getting in and out of scrapes each week some dramatic, some thrilling, some romantic and some comic.
Guests in these episodes include Lee Marvin, Inger Stevens, Leslie Nielsen, Anne Francis, Jack Lord, E.G. Marshall and Joey Heatherton.
Trivia note: Milner starred in the entire four-season run, while Maharis left part way into the third season and was replaced by Glenn Corbett. And the catchy Nelson Riddle theme song was a radio hit in 1960.
Extras: Full frame, 15 episodes, featurette, vintage commercials, photo gallery
• "Veronica Mars: The Complete Third Season" (Warner, 2006-07, six discs, $59.98). The final season of this funny, smart show about a college student who moonlights as a private eye (Kristen Bell) is better than the second season but still has a few too many subplots spinning. Still, fans (myself among them) mourn its demise.
Extras: Widescreen, 20 episodes, deleted scenes, Webisodes, featurettes, bloopers
• "The Ruth Rendell Mysteries: Set 2" (Acorn, 1995-97, three discs, $49.99). This anthology series features six more of the crime writer's solid mystery yarns, primarily about betrayal leading to tragedy.
Extras: Full frame, six episodes, text biography/filmographies
• "The Sopranos: Season 6, Part II" (HBO, 2007, four discs, $99.98). This is perhaps the most written-about show in TV history, and this final half of the last season ends in a climax that caused fans to argue endlessly. If you missed it on HBO, now you can decide for yourself whether it was enigmatic or frustrating.
Extras: Widescreen, nine episodes, audio commentaries, featurettes
• "Roseanne: Season Nine" (Starz, 1996-97, four discs, $39.97). The final season of Roseanne's working-class sitcom, with John Goodman as her long-suffering husband, becomes a bit heavily message-oriented but still has some laughs. Guests include Marlo Thomas, James Brolin, Debbie Reynolds, Ed Asner, Jerry Springer and Hugh Hefner.
Extras: Full frame, 24 episodes, audio commentary, featurettes
• "NCIS: The Fourth Season" (CBS/Paramount, 2006-07, six discs, $64.99). Mark Harmon leads the cast in this CSI in the Navy series. One featurette has the cast trading stories at a dinner party.
Extras: Widescreen, 24 episodes, audio commentaries, featurettes
• "The L Word: The Complete Fourth Season" (Showtime/Paramount, 2007, four discs, $69.99). More soap-opera machinations in the lives of lesbians in Los Angeles.
Extras: Widescreen, 12 episodes, featurette, episodes of "The Tudors" and "Californiacation"
• "Mind of Mencia: Uncensored Season 3" (Comedy Central/Paramount, 2007, two discs, $26.99). More vulgar comedy from comic Carlos Mencia.
Extras: Full frame, 14 episodes, deleted scenes, audio commentary
• "Squidbillies: Volume One" (Warner, 2007, two discs, $29.98). More vulgar comedy from this Adult Swim animated series.
Extras: Full frame, six never-shown pilot episodes, featurettes, art gallery
• "The Company" (Sony, 2007, two discs, $39.95). Michael Keaton is the draw, but Chris O'Donnell is the star in this TNT cable-channel three-episode look at the CIA over several decades through the eyes of an idealistic recruit (O'Donnell). Keaton is a counterintelligence chief and Alfred Molina is a colorful agent. This one starts slow but stay with it; it gets much better.
Extras: Widescreen, featurettes; DVD-Rom applications
• "The Masterpiece Theatre Family Collection" (WGBH, 2000-03, four discs, $49.95). Box set of reissued family-friendly BBC titles: "Carrie's War," "Goodbye Mr. Chips," "Pollyana" and "The Railway Children."
Extras: Widescreen, text biographies/filmographies
• "Alive Day Memories: Home From Iraq" (HBO, 2007, $24.98). James Gandolfini interviews Iraq veterans who have lost limbs, suffer from brain injuries or experience post-war stress in this moving but never maudlin hour.
• "Clive Cussler's The Sea Hunters: Set 1" (Acorn, 2003-06, three discs, $49.99). Cussler explores shipwrecks for the sake of history in this fascinating set.
Extras: Full frame, eight episodes, deleted scenes, text biography
• "American Gangster: The Complete First Season" (Bet/Paramount, 2007, two discs, $26.99). Bet's series about black gangsters, narrated by Ving Rhames, is both riveting and scary.
Extras: Full frame, extended interviews, trailer
• "The Trials of Darryl Hunt" (THINKFilm, 2005, PG-13, $27.98). A look at racism through the disturbing story of Hunt's wrongful conviction of rape and murder in the South.
Extras: Widescreen, featurette, trailers
• "D.L. Hughley: Unapologetic" (HBO, 2007, $19.97). Hughley is a funny, smart guy but beware the R-rated language.
Extras: Widescreen, deleted scenes
• "Jim Norton: Monster Rain" (HBO, 2007, $19.97). Amusing but vulgar observations by British comic Norton.
Extras: Widescreen, deleted scenes
• "Santa Claus: The Movie" (Anchor Bay, 1985, PG, $14.98)
• "Thomas & Friends: Ultimate Christmas" (Anchor Bay, 2007, $14.98; also available with toy train, $16.98)
• "The Happy Elf" (Anchor Bay, 2005, $14.98)
• "Eloise: Little Miss Christmas" (Anchor Bay, 2006, $14.98)
• "Play With Me Sesame: Playtime With Grover" (Sesame Street/Genius, 2007, $16.95; CD-Rom applications)
• "Play With Me Sesame: Good Night Sesame" (Sesame Street/Genius, 2007, $16.95; CD-Rom applications)
• "Care Bears: Oopsy Does It! (Fox, 2007, new feature-length cartoon, $19.98; comes with a Care Bear action figure)
• "Angelina Ballerina: The Silver Locket Special Edition" (Hit, 2007, $14.98; comes with a book, )• "Jack's Big Music Show: Let's Rock!" (Nick Jr./Paramount, 2007, $16.99)