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Gomer Pyle, Quincy last seasons arrive on DVD
Jim Nabors, left, stars as "Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.," and Frank Sutton is his apoplectic sergeant. The beloved 1960s sitcom has been released on DVD in a complete-series set. - photo by Chris Hicks
Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. and the last season of Quincy, M.E. are on DVD this week, along with the miniseries The Red Tent and the final three seasons of Pee-wees Playhouse.

Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.: The Complete Series (CBS/Paramount/DVD, 1964-69, b/w and color, 24 discs, 150 episodes, audio commentaries, introductions, pilot episode of The Andy Griffith Show, excerpts from The Lucy Show, The David Frost Show and Jim Nabors Hour). Its ironic that this military farce was a spinoff of The Andy Griffith Show, since it so strongly resembles No Time for Sergeants, the show that made Griffith a star.

But Nabors made guileless Mayberry gas-station attendant Gomer so popular during a single season of Griffiths iconic series that he soon had his own show. Gomer joined the Marines in his final Andy Griffith Show episode, which was the pilot for his new series. And he was paired with Frank Sutton as his apoplectic sergeant, resulting in the kind of comic chemistry you cant force. And their relationship became the crux of the series. (The first season is in black and white, while subsequent seasons are in color.)

Gomer Pyle was part of the cycle of rural sitcoms of the 1960s (think The Beverly Hillbillies) and it was played strictly for laughs. No political commentary (despite the Vietnam War raging at the time) and a lot of gags at the expense of Gomers good-natured naivete. Theres a sweetness here lacking in todays sitcoms and its still funny (despite the annoying laugh track).

Guests over the course of the series include Carol Burnett (in two episodes), Don Rickles, Jerry Van Dyke, Rob Reiner (in three episodes as different characters), Pat Morita, and future M*A*S*H stars William Christopher (in a recurring role), Jamie Farr (in two episodes) and Wayne Rogers. And as their Andy Griffith Show characters, Griffith and Ron Howard appear in one episode, and in separate episodes, Frances Bavier (Aunt Bee) and George Lindsay (Goober) show up. (Then all four have cameos in a later episode.)

Quincy, M.E.: The Final Season (Shout!/DVD, 1982-83, six discs, 24 episodes). Jack Klugman was TVs first CSI guy, and this is the series eighth and final season about the titular medical examiner-cum-detective. Topics include an innocent teen accused of murder, another medical examiners bout with alcoholism and a police officer that accidentally shoots a hostage during a robbery. Guests include Ina Balin, Mako, Julie Adams, Lew Ayres, Kelly Preston, Ann Blyth, June Lockhart and Keenan Wynn.

The Red Tent (Sony/DVD, 2014, two episodes). Lifetime cable two-part miniseries adapted from Anita Diamants bestselling novel that takes the story of Dinah, only briefly outlined in the Old Testament, and expands it as a treatise on the treatment of women during biblical times. But it also unnecessarily twists the Bibles story to fulfill an anachronistic feminist agenda. If you can take it as the fiction it is, you might enjoy the lavish trappings and the performances of a fine cast, led by Rebecca Ferguson, Minnie Driver, Morena Baccarin and Debra Winger.

Pee-wees Playhouse: Seasons 3, 4 & 5 (Shout!/DVD, 1988-90, four discs, 23 episodes). Perennial man-child Pee-wee Herman (Paul Reubens) hosts this inventive, candy-colored comedy show, which has been remastered in high definition and looks great. Season 3 has only three episodes (including an all-star Christmas special with Annette Funicello, Frankie Avalon, Dinah Shore, Joan Rivers, Oprah Winfrey, Whoopi Goldberg and others), while Seasons 4 and 5 each have 10. S. Epatha Merkerson, Jimmy Smits and Laurence Fishburne show up as recurring characters.

Matlock: Greatest Cases (CBS/Paramount/DVD, 1986-94, three discs, 12 episodes). This is a sort of sampler set of episodes from various seasons of Andy Griffiths popular murder-mystery series about good-ol-boy Southern attorney Ben Matlock, who is always more wily than he lets on. These episodes also showcase a number of prominent guest stars: Dick Van Dyke, Gail OGrady, Samantha Eggar, Bryan Cranston, Randy Travis, Milton Berle, Terry OQuinn, and Griffiths old sitcom buddy Don Knotts in his first appearance as recurring character Les Calhoun.

Petticoat Junction: Family Favorite Episodes (CBS/Paramount/DVD, 1964-65, b/w and color, eight episodes). Similarly, this disc offers fan-favorite early episodes from this long-running rural, folksy sitcom starring Bea Benaderet as Kate Bradley, with her lazy Uncle Joe (Edgar Buchanan) and three vivacious daughters (Linda Kaye, Pat Woodell, Jeannine Riley) at the Shady Rest Hotel.

Lo Que La Vida Me Robo (What Life Took From Me) (Cinedigm/DVD, 2013, four discs, 21 episodes, in Spanish with no English subtitles). This Spanish-language telenovela from Mexico is about a high society woman whose husband is losing his familys fortune, but her demanding mother doesnt want their social status to drop.

Fireball XL5: The Complete Series (itv/Timeless/DVD, 1962-63, b/w, five discs, 39 episodes, audio commentaries, featurettes; PDF publicity brochure). This early black-and-white childrens series in the puppet style of producer Gerry Anderson (after Four Feather Falls and Supercar, but before Stingray, Thunderbirds and Captain Scarlet) is set in 2062 and chronicles the missions of the title spaceship, commanded by Col. Steve Zodiac of the World Space Patrol.

Hey Dude: The Complete Series (Shout!/DVD, 1989-91, 10 discs, 65 episodes, featurette). In this teen comedy series from the Nickelodeon cable network set at the Bar None Dude Ranch near Tucson, Arizona, the cast includes Christine Taylor, David Lascher, Kelly Brown and Joe Torres. (Available for the first month or so exclusively at Wal-Mart stores.)

Jungle Shuffle (Cinedigm/Blu-ray/Blu-ray 3-D, DVD, Digital, 2015; stickers). Animated feature from South Korea about two young raccoons living in the Mexican rainforest, one the daughter of the king, the other a rabble-rouser exiled to live alone in the jungle. English-language soundtrack includes voices of Alicia Silverstone, Drake Bell, Tom Arnold and Rob Schneider.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Retreat! (Nickelodeon/Paramount/DVD, 2014, seven episodes, featurette). These episodes are from Season 3 of the current animated series, which will soon begin its fourth season, and include A Foot Too Big, The Croaking and Race With the Demon.

The Legend of Korra: Book Four: Balance (Nickelodeon/Paramount/Blu-ray/DVD, 2014, two discs, 13 episodes, audio commentaries, featurettes; poster). This is the final season of this anime-style show (from the creators of Avatar: The Last Airbender) as Korra goes up against Kuvira after he gathers an aggressive military force that leaves the fate of the Earth Kingdom hanging in the balance.

Yu-Gi-Oh! Collection, Volume 1 (Flatiron/DVD, 2010, two discs, feature-length film, eight episodes, in Japanese with English subtitles, featurette). This set includes the Japanese anime feature film Bonds Beyond Time, along with two episodes each from four Yu-Gi-Oh! series, as a sort of sampler to lure fans into shows they may have missed.

Peppa Pig: Muddy Puddles (eOne/DVD, 2004, 10 episodes). This collection features the first nine episodes of the animated childrens series from Great Britain about little Peppa the pig whose favorite thing is to splash in mud puddles and her family.

Blues Clues: Get Clued Into School Pack (Nickelodeon/Paramount/DVD, 1996-2005, three discs, 12 episodes, featurettes, interactive games). This set pulls together three previously released discs: Alphabet Power, Blue Takes You to School and Shapes and Colors.
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