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Two ‘Tonight Show’ sets with Johnny Carson and guests are on DVD

POSTED: September 30, 2017 10:20 a.m.
Chris Hicks/

Debra Messing and Thomas Haden Church star in "Ned and Stacey," a forgotten sitcom from the mid 1990s that is now on DVD for the first time.

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“The Tonight Show,” “Ned and Stacey” and “Modern Family” are on DVD this week.

“The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson: Johnny and Friends” (Time Life, 1973-92, 10 discs, 28 episodes, bonus clips).

“The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson: The Vault Series” (Time Life, 1972-84, six discs, 12 episodes, bonus clips). Some of these discs have been available in smaller sets, but these are the full collections, being released in retail venues for the first time. These are mostly complete shows, with optional network commercials. Nostalgia fans of a certain age should be in hog heaven.

“Johnny and Friends” is comprised of three shows each featuring Robin Williams, David Letterman, Jay Leno, Jerry Seinfeld, Burt Reynolds, Steve Martin, Eddie Murphy and Jim Fowler, and two shows each with Don Rickles and Rodney Dangerfield, and the latter two discs include bonus clips. Other guests on these episodes include James Stewart, Clint Eastwood, Oprah Winfrey, Susan Sarandon, James Garner, Lucille Ball, Raquel Welch, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Tom Hanks, Lauren Bacall and James Mason.

“The Vault Series” features some of the earliest available Carson shows, mostly from the early to mid 1970s, with Dean Martin, Jack Benny, Jerry Lewis, Charlton Heston, Billy Crystal, Bob Hope, Orson Welles, Bing Crosby, Muhammad Ali, Sean Connery, Michael Caine and Paul McCartney, among others.

“Ned and Stacey: The Complete Series” (Shout!, 1995-97, six discs, 46 episodes, audio commentary, featurette). This '90s sitcom is about a marriage of convenience between two Manhattanites, self-absorbed advertising executive Ned (Thomas Haden Church), who needs a wife to advance at his agency, and neurotic freelance writer Stacey (Debra Messing), desperate to move out of her parents home and into her own apartment. But the draw, of course, is Church and Messing, who have gone on to bigger things: Church was coming off of the popular sitcom “Wings” and would gain movie fame with an Oscar nomination for “Sideways” and as the villain Sandman in “Spider-Man 3,” while Messing hit it big with another sitcom,“Will & Grace,” which is currently being revived on NBC.

“Modern Family: The Complete Eighth Season” (Fox, 2016-17, three discs, 22 episodes, deleted/alternate scenes, bloopers). The Dunphys return from their trip to New York, Gloria’s hot-sauce business ignites, Manny and Luke find that their senior year of high school isn’t any easier than previous years and Phil and Jay go into business together in the latest season of this long-running sitcom. (Season nine began this week on ABC.)

“Sleepy Hollow: The Complete Fourth Season” (Fox, 2017, four discs, 13 episodes, deleted scenes). Ichabod Crane leaves Sleepy Hollow, New York, for Washington, D.C., to join a new demon-fighting force, which was supposedly established by George Washington himself. This is the final season of this fantasy show loosely based on Washington Irving’s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.”

“Line of Duty: Series 4” (Acorn, 2017, two discs, six episodes). Thandie Newton stars in this British police procedural as police detective Roz Huntley, leading her team as they track down a serial killer. But once he’s arrested and interrogated, doubts begin to surface about his guilt. (Series five and six have been ordered by the BBC.)

“Janet King: Series 3: Playing Advantage” (Acorn, 2017, three discs, eight episodes, featurettes, photo gallery). Marta Dusseldorp returns as the titular senior crown prosecutor of this Australian crime series to investigate the suicide of a young cricket player, which leads to revelations of corruption. (No word yet on a fourth series.)

“Channel Zero: Candle Cove” (Universal/Syfy, 2016, two discs, six episodes, deleted scenes). A man returns to his childhood home to investigate his obsessive recollections of a strange 1980s children’s TV show that no one else seems to recall, but which he feels is connected to the disappearance of his brother. This spooky anthology series is based on the online “Creepypastas” horror stories. (Season two aired earlier this year; Seasons three and four have been ordered by Syfy.)

“Shameless: The Complete Seventh Season” (Warner, 2016, two-disc Blu-ray/three-disc DVD, 12 episodes, deleted scenes, featurettes). William H. Macy as Frank Gallagher and Emmy Rossum as his oldest daughter head the cast of this very raunchy and profane remake of a British series about a highly dysfunctional family. This season, Frank awakens from his monthlong coma after being tossed into the Chicago River, only to discover that no one in his family came looking for him. (Season eight begins Nov. 5 on Showtime.)

“Kuu Kuu Harajuku: Super Kawaii” (Shout! Kids, 2016-17, 12 episodes, featurette; nail art). This comical cartoon fantasy series follows a five-girl band that can’t seem to finish a concert because its members are called on to thwart villains or help with problems, including a painting that comes to life and their dog being rocketed into outer space. Co-created by Gwen Stefani for Australian television, the show is broadcast in America on Nick Jr.
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