By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Mary Tyler Moore is the subject of a PBS documentary on DVD
Mary Tyler Moore is interviewed in the PBS hourlong documentary special, "Mary Tyler Moore: A Celebration," now on DVD. - photo by Chris Hicks
A new PBS documentary that profiles Mary Tyler Moore has been released on DVD this week.

Mary Tyler Moore: A Celebration (PBS, 2015). As the title suggests, this hourlong documentary on Moore is what critics derisively label a puff piece, a cheerful celebration of Moores career rather than trying to pull back the curtain on a beloved stars dark periods (although those are briefly mentioned). But that doesnt make it any less entertaining for fans. Were happy to leave that other stuff for E channel gossipmongers.

This is about Moores work and the clips alone are worth a look. Its also nice to have Carl Reiner, Dick Van Dyke, Betty White, Ed Asner, Valerie Harper, Cloris Leachman and Gavin McLeod leading us down memory lane, as well as hearing tributes from such admirers as Oprah Winfrey and Tina Fey. The result is funny and warm, and that should be enough.

Art of the Heist (Athena, 2006-07, four discs, 14 episodes; 16-page booklet). This fascinating documentary series is about high-profile thefts in the art world and focuses on pieces that are just too grand a prize for thieves to resist. Subject items range from da Vincis Mona Lisa to Munchs The Scream. Art historians are interviewed along with law enforcers and some of the crooks themselves.

Empire (Athena, 2012, two discs, five episodes; 12-page booklet). The empire of the title is the British Empire, which, at its height, ruled more than a quarter of the worlds population, marginalizing many groups of people in its lust for power. Englishman Jeremy Paxman hosts this documentary series based on his book, Empire: What Ruling the World Did to the British, and he travels to India, the Middle East, Canada, Africa, the Caribbean and the Far East.

Black Wax (MVD, 1982, short film: Is That Jazz?). Robert Mugges documentary/concert film salutes the late musician, poet and political activist Gil Scott-Heron, who is well represented here as he performs with his band, spouts verse and passionately explains his views. Melody Maker magazine affectionately dubbed him the most dangerous musician alive.

Gabrielle Hamilton: The Mind Chef: Season 4 (PBS, 2015, eight episodes, featurettes). The titular Hamilton, owner/operator of the New York restaurant Prune and author of the best-selling memoir Blood, Bones and Butter, is the subject of this season of Anthony Bourdains foodie series. Episodes explore her background in Pennsylvania, travel with her to Rome and Milan, and demonstrate how she runs the restaurant with a unique approach to the menu.

Mrs. Browns Boys: Complete Series (Universal, 2011-5, eight discs, 25 episodes, deleted/extended/alternative scenes, introduction, unaired pilot, featurettes, outtakes). This very broad sitcom is written by and stars Irish comic Brendan OCarroll in drag as Agnes Brown, a foul-mouthed widow with six children. These characters have provided a sort of cottage industry for OCarroll, who has written Mrs. Brown books and played the character onstage, as well as having produced an animated series and a feature film. Included here are the shows three seasons of six episodes each, along with seven Christmas specials. OCarroll is slated to deliver Christmas specials for British television through 2020.

Jeff Dunham: Unhinged in Hollywood (Universal, 2015, uncensored and family friendly versions, featurette). Ventriloquist Dunham and his dummies Walter, Peanut, Bubba Jr., Little Jeff and, of course, Achmed the Dead Terrorist, put on a show at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. Too bad he feels the need to vulgarize so much of his comedy, as if the adult audience would stay away if he kept it clean.
Sign up for our E-Newsletters