BBC Worldwide Ltd
Historian Simon Schama

These disparate TV series all arrive on DVD for the first time this week.

"A History of Britain" (History/BBC, 2000-02, five discs, $39.95). Historian Simon Schama wrote and is the on-camera narrator of this documentary series, going on location to offer up events (with some re-creations) of his homeland from the earliest days of civilization through the 20th century. Talky but interesting.

Extras: full-frame, 15 episodes, text biographies

"Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: The Seventh Year" (Universal, 2005-06, five discs, $59.98). Detectives Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and Stabler (Chris Meloni) investigate more "sexually based offenses" in the seventh season of this "Law & Order" spinoff. (So when do we get more DVDs of the original "L&O" show?) Guests include Marcia Gay Harden, Dean Cain and Brittany Snow.

Extras: widescreen, 22 episodes

"Girlfriends: The Fourth Season" (CBS/Paramount, 2003-04, three discs, $36.98). This racy sitcom about four girlfriends in Los Angeles dealing with complicated relationships was recently canceled in its eighth season. Who would have guessed it was even on for eight years?

Extras: widescreen, 23 episodes

"Parking Wars: The Best of Season One" (A&E, 2008, $12.95). This reality series follows harassed meter maids ... er, Philadelphia Parking Authority officers ... as they give out tickets, tow cars and take a lot of abuse from the public. Jazzy editing, pop-music score keep each half-hour moving.

Extras: widescreen, seven episodes, deleted scenes

"Robin of Sherwood: The Complete Collection" (Acorn, 1983-85, 10 discs, $99.99). This is a dark reworking of the Robin Hood story, an '80s TV series from Great Britain that takes it all quite seriously. Michael Praed is Robin, leading his band of not-so-merry men, and the show is bolstered by fine performances, lush location filming and fine music by the Irish band Clannad.

Extras: full frame, 26 episodes, audio commentaries, featurettes, outtakes


E-mail: hicks@desnews.com