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New Foyles War DVD complete-series set is in stores this week
Haley Atwell stars in "Restless" as a World War II spy. The British miniseries is on DVD. - photo by Chris Hicks
The complete series of the World War II mystery series Foyles War is in a new DVD box set this week.

Foyles War: The Complete Saga (Acorn, 2002-15, 29 discs, 28 episodes, introductions, featurettes, text production notes, photo galleries; 16-page booklet). Middle-aged widower Christopher Foyle (Michael Kitchen) is a low-key, deceptively easygoing police detective who is often underestimated by his foes. He could be a British cousin to Columbo.

Foyle may occasionally seem distracted but nothing gets past him, and he receives assistance from his driver Sam (Honeysuckle Weeks, an actress with the best name since Benedict Cumberbatch) and, for most of the series, Sgt. Milner (Anthony Howell).

The stories, set against the backdrop of World War II, and later, the Cold War, manage to accrue an air of authenticity about the time and place while also unraveling criminal activity often related to wartime activities.

I came late to this British mystery detective/spy series but once I was onboard, the show became completely addicting. I couldnt wait for each new season to arrive. I highly recommend it.

Restless (Acorn, 2015, two episodes). This enjoyable distaff British spy thriller a two-part, three-hour miniseries is first-rate when its unraveling its World War II tale but less compelling during the 1970s story its wrapped in. The latter kicks things off as a Cambridge Ph.D. student (Michelle Dockery, Downton Abbey) discovers that her paranoid mother (Charlotte Rampling) was a spy during the war. We learn Moms story in flashback as Haley Atwell (Agent Carter) takes over the role, innocently lured into the spy life and eventually learning theres no one to trust.

Better Call Saul: Season One (Sony, 2015, three discs, 10 episodes, deleted scenes, audio commentaries, featurettes, bloopers, music video). This AMC series is a dark comedy-drama prequel to Breaking Bad and follows struggling attorney Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk) in Albuquerque, New Mexico, revealing how he entered the crime world before he adopted the Saul Goodman pseudonym. Michael McKean co-stars. (Season two begins in early 2016.)

Rebus: The Ken Stott Collection (Acorn, 2005-07, three discs, 10 episodes, featurette). This very good Scottish police procedural benefits from strong writing, fine acting and smart use of Edinburgh locales. This set of episodes is comprised of the final three seasons, which starred Ken Stott as rebellious detective inspector John Rebus, along with Claire Price as his straight-arrow sergeant.

Manimal: The Complete Series (Shout!, 1983, three discs, eight episodes, featurettes, trailer; episode guide). Glen A. Larson (the original Battlestar Galactica) created this sci-fi cult favorite, a short-lived series about a shape-shifting crimefighter, Dr. Jonathan Chase (Simon MacCorkindale). He has the ability to become any animal at will and, with two allies, he uses his ability to thwart crimes ranging from horse theft to nerve-gas terrorism.

Automan: The Complete Series (Shout!, 1983-84, four discs, 13 episodes, featurettes, collectibles/photo galleries, trailer). Larson also came up with this one, which also didnt quite fill out a complete first season but has a cult following now. An advanced computerized hologram (Chuck Wagner) leaves the computer by night to fight crime in tandem with his creator (Desi Arnaz Jr.). Counterfeiters, mobsters, corrupt officials and a movie star accused of murder all come under surveillance.

Nathan For You: Seasons One & Two (Shout!, 2013-14, two discs, 16 episodes, deleted/extended scenes). This offbeat docu-comedy series is part awkward skits and part pranks as Canadian comic Nathan Fielder uses his business degree to help small companies boost sales with ridiculous ad campaigns and creates a dating reality show for himself. (Season three is currently airing on Comedy Central.)

On Two Fronts: Latinos & Vietnam (PBS, 2015). Interviews, home movies and photographs, and news footage enhance location shooting in both the Southwest and Vietnam for this 90-minute documentary about the impact of the war on working-class Latino families.

My Italian Secret: The Forgotten Heroes of the Holocaust (PBS, 2015). This 90-minute documentary tells the remarkable stories of Italian Jews being saved by unsung heroes during World War II. Gino Bartali, for example, was a bicyclist who had won the Tour de France before he hid refugees in a hospital and came up with a phony disease to keep authorities at bay, all the while smuggling fake IDs in the frame of his bike.

The Jewish Journey: America (PBS, 2015, featurettes). The forced migrations of old country Jews to America over the past five centuries due to persecution or financial strains are chronicled here by Jewish-American scholars and historians for a 60-minute documentary.

Natures Miracle Orphans (PBS, 2015, two episodes). Orphaned baby animals a koala, a wallaby, a sloth, a kangaroo and a fruit bat receive loving care and training before re-entering the wild thanks to dedicated human volunteers that act as foster parents in this documentary miniseries.

A Few Good Pie Places (PBS, 2015, featurettes). Rick Sebak and crew check out the flavorful dessert in this hourlong documentary by traveling the country and visiting restaurants, shops, cafes and homes, where they find blueberry pie in Portland, Maine; blue Hawaii pie in Seattle, etc.

A Few Great Bakeries (PBS, 2015). Another hourlong documentary with Sebak, this time checking out sweet breads at Mahoroba Japanese Bakery in Sacramento; baguettes at Standard Baking Company in Portland, Maine; and a toasty bagel bakery in Juneau, Alaska, among others.

Cooks Country: Season 8 (PBS, 2015, two discs, 13 episodes, featurettes, printable recipes). Rustic, family friendly comfort-food recipes from fried chicken to muffin tin doughnuts are the order of the day for this spinoff of Americas Test Kitchen with many of the same chefs on hand, along with host Christopher Kimball.

Henry & Anne: The Lovers Who Changed History (PBS, 2015, two episodes). Historian Suzannah Lipscomb spends the bulk of the first episode of this documentary miniseries (with dramatic re-creations using actors) reviewing King Henry VIIIs seven-year pursuit of Anne Boleyn. The second episode covers their turbulent and tragic three-year marriage.

Super Sentai: Gosei Sentai Dairanger: The Complete Series (Shout!, 1993-94, 10 discs, 50 episodes, in Japanese with English subtitles). This martial arts fantasy series was part of the long-running Japanese Super Sentai franchise (elements of which were later adapted to Mighty Morphin Power Rangers). Here, Master Kaku and his team of kids with high levels of chi battle the evil force attempting to conquer Earth.

Dinosaur Train: Dinosaurs Are Different (PBS, 2015, eight episodes). Young Tyrannosaurus Buddy travels through a prehistoric world on the titular train in this animated series, designed to educate children and bolster their interest in science and natural history.
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