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Diyah Pera, A&e Network
Ricky Schroder, left, Christa Miller and Benjamin Bratt in "Andromeda Strain." The miniseries is set in Utah but was filmed in Canada.
A couple of tough-guy detectives lead off these new DVDs, Mannix and Dirty Harry.

• "MANNIX: THE FIRST SEASON" (CBS/Paramount, 1967-68, six discs, $49.99). This detective series stars Mike Conners as Joe Mannix, who, in this first season, works for a large computerized agency called Intertect.

He breaks the rules, of course, doing things his own way, but his boss (Joseph Campanella) turns a blind eye because Mannix gets results.

Sure, you've seen it all before. But the draw here is Conners' charm and the no-nonsense action, with fistfights, car chases — even a lengthy helicopter chase in the pilot. Guest stars this initial season include Lloyd Nolan, Neil Diamond, Tom Skerritt, Karen Black and Larry Storch. (The more familiar private-eye Mannix with Gail Fisher as his girl Friday begins in the second year as he strikes out on his own for the rest of the series' eight-season run.)

Extras: full frame, 24 episodes

"DIRTY HARRY: TWO-DISC SPECIAL EDITION" (Warner, 1971, two discs, $20.98).

"MAGNUM FORCE: DELUXE EDITION" (Warner, 1973, $14.98).

"THE ENFORCER: DELUXE EDITION" (Warner, 1976, $14.98).

"SUDDEN IMPACT: DELUXE EDITION" (Warner, 1983, $14.98).

"THE DEAD POOL: DELUXE EDITION" (Warner, 1988, $14.98). After a successful run on a Western TV series ("Rawhide") and a Western film series (the "Man With No Name" or "Dollar" trilogy), Clint Eastwood tackled the contemporary character with whom he would become most closely identified — Dirty Harry Callahan, a San Francisco homicide detective who was not above bending the rules ... when he wasn't breaking them.

All five movies in these new editions, with loads of bonus features, will please fans, though the first, "Dirty Harry," is naturally the best (and has the lion's share of extras). The weakest is probably the second, "Magnum Force."

But all have Eastwood in fine form — tracking down the bad guys his way and dropping memorable one-liners: "Feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?"; "A man's got to know his limitations"; "Go ahead. Make my day!"

Extras: widescreen, audio commentaries, featurettes, trailers (also available in an "Ultimate Collection" box set ($74.98), with the special-edition films, a feature-length documentary on Eastwood, a 40-page hardcover book, five lobby-card reproductions, etc.)

"THE ANDROMEDA STRAIN" (Universal, 2008, two discs, $29.98). This two-part, three-hour A&E cable miniseries — a remake of the 1971 sci-fi thriller, also based on Michael Crichton's book — poses this question: Should Utah be nuked?

Well, that's just one of many questions posed — but most of the film is indeed set in Utah (although filmed in Canada), where a deadly virus from outer space lands, killing nearly everyone in sight. Trying to stop it is a team of scientists — Benjamin Bratt, Christa Miller, Daniel Dae Kim, Viola Davis and Ricky Schroder. Andre Braugher is the general in charge, and investigative TV reporter Eric McCormack is trying to expose the government cover-up.

Unfortunately, it's overlong by an hour, padded with unnecessary soap-opera subplots and a few conspiracies too many. It also gets more and more preposterous in the final half-hour. But it's certainly exciting most of the way, the computer effects are pretty good and the pacing is brisk.

Extras: widescreen, audio commentaries, featurettes, trailers

"CITY SLICKERS: COLLECTOR'S EDITION" (MGM, 1991, PG-13, $14.98). This is perhaps Billy Crystal's best film and certainly one of his most popular, an ensemble comedy in which he stars with Daniel Stern and Bruno Kirby as the title characters taking part in a dude-ranch cattle drive, where they meet up with Jack Palance (who won an Oscar).

Extras: widescreen, deleted scenes, audio commentary (Crystal, Stern and director Ron Underwood), featurettes


E-mail: hicks@desnews.com