A broad range of TV shows have come to DVD sitcoms from the 1950s and the 1990s, police shows from 1969 and 2007, and much more.
"Cybill: The Collector's Edition, Volume 1" (FirstLook, 1995-98, two discs, $24.98). Cybill Shepherd's eponymous sitcom of more than a decade ago showed that Shepherd has a real talent for self-deprecating comedy, and this show was occasionally laugh-out-loud funny.
Shepherd plays Cybill Sheridan, a 40-something struggling actress in Los Angeles, which allows the show to lampoon Hollywood cliches as Cybill goes to auditions, does bad commercials and finds herself cast in silly TV shows. On the domestic side, she has two ex-husbands (Alan Rosenberg, Tom Wopat), and a daughter by each one (DeDee Pfeiffer) who is married and pregnant (eventually making Cybill a grandmother), and the other a feisty teen (Alicia Witt).
But most of the shows revolve around the misadventures of Cybill and her best pal, a wealthy, alcoholic divorcee (Christine Baranski, currently co-starring in "Mamma Mia!"). Baranski is a hoot and often steals the show. Think of them as a contemporary version of Lucy and Ethel from "I Love Lucy." Or perhaps more accurately, Edina and Patsy from "Absolutely Fabulous."
"Cybill" was a bit shaky when it began as a January 1995 midseason replacement (which may explain why this is a "Best of" set instead of a "Season 1"). Upon returning in the fall of '95, the show had improved but was still a hit-and-miss affair, with a raunchy streak that is now, unfortunately, all too common in modern sitcoms.
The worst example of the latter is the sleazy "Valentine's Day," which is on the second disc as one of "Cybill's Favorite Episodes." There are also two more of "favorites," including "Part 1" of a two-part show which ends with "to be continued" but does not include the second part!
Guest stars include Jeff Foxworthy, Dom DeLuise, Jane Kaczmarek, Kevin Sorbo, Elliott Gould, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Robert Stack and Paula Poundstone.
Extras: full frame, 10 episodes, featurette, three bonus episodes
"Adam-12: Season Two" (Shout, 1969-70, Three discs, $34.99). Jack Webb's follow-up to "Dragnet" was this attempt at realism by showing a "typical" shift covered by Los Angeles uniform patrol officers. Sometimes the shows are deadly serious, others are lighter and even humorous and sometimes all of that comes in a single episode. Martin Milner and Kent McCord star, and the series was endorsed by the L.A. Police Department.
Extras: full frame, 25 episodes, audio commentaries (with L.A. police officers making observations), featurettes, historical police-photo gallery
"The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet: Christmas With the Nelsons" (Shout, 1952-57, $9.99). Is Christmas really this close? These are four holiday episodes of the beloved sitcom that began on radio, and which starred the real-life Nelson family, parents Ozzie and Harriet and their sons David and Ricky. Here they deal humorously with everything from Christmas shopping to the proverbial fruitcake.
Extras: full frame, four episodes, Ricky Nelson song: "Baby, I'm Sorry"
"First Among Equals" (Acorn, 1986, three discs, $49.99). This British miniseries looks at political intrigue through the eyes of four members of Parliament over the span of two decades, beginning in the mid-1960s. It's a highly entertaining soap opera, with a fine case that includes Tom Wilkinson, who has since become a prominent character actor in such American films as "Michael Clayton" and HBO's "John Adams" miniseries. (Based on Jeffrey Archer's novel.)
Extras: full frame, 10 episodes, text biography/filmographies
"CSI: Miami: The Sixth Season" (CBS/Paramount, 2007-08, six discs, $79.99). This is the most recent season of my least favorite of the "CSI" shows. To me, it's always seemed a bit artificial with its bright yellow decor and the arch-lead performance by David Caruso. But I must admit that it's easy to get sucked into the mysteries and intrigue. This season is the last for Khandi Alexander, and it ends with Caruso's character being shot, a cliffhanger to be resolved when the series resumes Sept. 22.
Extras: widescreen, 21 episode, audio commentaries, featurettes
"The Waltons: The Complete Seventh Season" (Warner, 1978-79, three discs, $27.98). Richard Thomas had left at the end of Season 5, and after Season 6 Will Geer passed away. As a result, the respective characters of John-Boy and Grandpa are sorely missed in Season 7, although it manages to hold interest, thanks to plotting around the bombing of Pearl Harbor and America's subsequent involvement in World War II, which brings tragedy to the Walton family. (Two more seasons to go.)
Extras: full frame, 24 episodes
"The Red Green Show: 2000 Season" (Acorn, 2000, three discs, $39.99). More comic adventures with the zany crew of Possum Lodge in this venerable show from the folks at PBS. Some funny stuff including an episode where they ... gasp ... run out of duct tape!Extras: full frame, 19 episodes, text biographies/production notes
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