Seasons five and six of “The Bob Newhart Show” — Newhart’s seminal 1970s sitcom — have arrived on DVD this week.
“The Bob Newhart Show: Season Five” (Shout!/DVD, 1976-77, three discs, 24 episodes).
“The Bob Newhart Show: The Final Season” (Shout!/DVD, 1977-78, three discs, 22 episodes). The last two seasons of one of the 1970s' best TV sitcoms offer up plenty of laughs as Newhart plays a psychologist with a witty schoolteacher wife (Suzanne Pleshette), a goofball next-door neighbor (Bill Daily), a dentist colleague (Peter Bonerz), a zany receptionist (Marcia Wallace) and a variety of offbeat patients (led by Jack Riley as sardonic Mr. Carlin).
This combination workplace/domestic half-hour comedy — with live-audience laughter that doesn’t feel canned or juiced up — is a classic example of the form at its consistent best, with bright dialogue and relatable stories that aired week in and week out, allowing Newhart’s distinctive low-key style to set the pace. The supporting cast is great and the writing is superb.
“ANZAC Girls” (Acorn/DVD, 2014, two discs, six episodes, featurettes, photo gallery). A rich, atmospheric look at Australian and New Zealand nurses in Egypt during World War I, demonstrating the contributions of women to the war effort during the doomed Gallipoli campaign and later in France as the war steps up on the Western Front.
This Australian six-part miniseries is adapted from true stories related in diaries and letters, as well as the book “The Other ANZACS” by Peter Rees. Excellent performances from a very capable ensemble cast show the growth of these young women from the time they arrive as idealists to when they leave after having been knocked about by the horrors of war.
“Richard Pryor: Omit the Logic” (Magnolia/DVD, 2013, R for language, deleted scenes). Showtime cable documentary about the sharp-witted comedian who rose from being a clever but not unusual stand-up/skit performer to a unique artist who found his voice in foul-mouthed, cutting-edge, often hilarious routines about his addictions and tragedies. Fair amount of clips offer plenty of examples, along with testimonials by Damon Wayans, Dave Chappelle, George Lopez, Jesse Jackson, Mel Brooks, Quincy Jones, Robin Williams, Lily Tomplin, Whoopi Goldberg, etc.
“The Aviators” (Cinedigm/Blu-ray/DVD/Digital, 2008, not rated). Family-friendly animated feature from Spain focusing on carrier pigeons and a mouse that lend aid to American soldiers during World War I. Dubbed in English with voices provided by Brad Garrett, Jeff Foxworthy and others.
“The Care Bears: Welcome to Care-a-Lot: Share Your Care” (Lionsgate/DVD, 2012, three episodes). Episodes here are “Feeling Flu,” “Share Squared” and “More Fun With Grumpy.”