A number of TV shows series and a miniseries have made it to DVD.
"Comanche Moon" (Sony, 2007, two discs, $29.95). This sequel to "Lonesome Dove" can't touch that classic TV western miniseries of two decades ago. But it does stand well enough on its own to satisfy fans of the genre.
If anyone had told me that comic actor Steve Zahn is a logical choice to take over Robert Duvall's role as Gus McCrae, I'd have laughed. But despite mimicking some of Duvall's inflections and gestures or perhaps because of it he makes the character his own, and he's great. Karl Urban is also good, taking over the Tommy Lee Jones role as Woodrow Call.
The story in this three-part miniseries establishes the young Texas Rangers by following their private lives, in and out of romantic entanglements, and their early exploits battling Indians (including the great Wes Studi, and "Law & Order: SVU's" Adam Beach), with many allusions to characters who first showed up in "Lonesome Dove."
It's too long, of course, but watch it over a few nights and it'll have you wishing that westerns were more common these days on the large and small screens.
Extras: widescreen, three episodes, featurettes, interview with author/co-screenwriter Larry McMurtry
"The Love Boat: Season One, Volume One" (CBS/Paramount, 1977, three discs, $36.98). Instead of a sitcom, call this a "softcom," benign humor, corny jokes, warm but predictable plot lines. It's a relocation of "Love American Style" to a cruise ship, with the stories intertwined instead of stand-alones.
There are also regular characters, the captain (Gavin MacLeod), the doctor (Bernie Kopell), the cruise director (Lauren Tewes), the bartender (Ted Lange) and the steward, Gopher (Fred Grandy).
And, of course, guests who are the usual mix of TV personalities and faded movie stars. In this set you'll find Meredith Baxter, Bonnie Franklin, Sherman Hemsley, John Ritter, Diahann Carroll, Ruth Gordon, Ray Bolger, Steve Allen, Phil Silvers, Leslie Nielsen and many more.
For those of us of a certain age, there's also nostalgia value for an era when sex was all innuendo, crassness was not allowed and there was always a happy ending. "The Love Boat" provides a brief escape from the real world, which is what a vacation cruise should do.
Extras: full frame, 12 episodes, promos
"The Equalizer: Season One" (Universal, 1985-86, five discs, $49.98). Edward Woodward, who earlier gained international prominence in the Australian film "Breaker Morant," stars in this mystery/action series as a secret agent-turned-good Samaritan.
He's Robert McCall, who has left a U.S. intelligence agency to set up shop in his Manhattan apartment as the title character, soliciting work for the downtrodden who have nowhere else to turn. He's part detective, part bodyguard, part enforcer, and apparently atoning for past sins, taking no payment for his services.
He's also dodging his former agency, which considers him a high security risk. (A former fellow agent, played by Jerry Stiller, provides some comic relief in the pilot.)
The show is snappy, fast-paced and suspenseful, with a great title score by Stewart Copeland. And despite being more than a little implausible, it holds up quite well, with Woodward perfectly cast as the stoic McCall. (At one point, a female client says she'd like to get to know him better. "No you wouldn't," he replies.)
Guests in this first season in both central and bit parts include up-and-comers Tony Shalhoub, Laurie Metcalf, Patricia Clarkson, Kim Delaney, Patricia Richardson, Melissa Joan Hart (about age 9), Fred Williamson, Mark-Linn Baker, Meat Loaf, Bradley Whitford and Ed O'Neal, along with such veterans as Gwen Verdon and Sandy Dennis.Extras: full frame, 22 episodes, audio commentary on pilot (by show creator Michael Sloan), bonus episode from Season 2
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