By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Vintage TV series dominate new DVD releases this week
Roger Moore stars as "The Saint" in the British television program adapted from the books by Leslie Charteris. The complete series is available in a new DVD set. - photo by Chris Hicks
Roger Moore as The Saint and Fran Drescher as The Nanny lead the new DVD releases of television series, which are dominated by vintage programs from the 1960s, 70s, 80s and 90s.

The Saint: The Complete Series (Timeless/itv/DVD, 1962-69, b/w and color, 33 discs, 118 episodes, audio commentaries). Roger Moore warmed up to his 1970s and 80s role as James Bond with this amusing British series based on the Leslie Charteris novels about the suave womanizing thief Simon Templar, who prides himself on stealing from rich criminals.

Nicknamed The Saint, Templar is often described as a sort of Robin Hood, though as far as I can see he keeps all the money for himself. He also helps the dogged Inspector Teal (Ivor Dean) put the crooks he robs behind bars, though Teal would love to put Templar there as well. Later episodes take on more of a spy vibe in this engaging adventure series that has Templar globetrotting through exotic locations, with the first 71 episodes in black and white, and the remaining 47 in color.

One episode has a gag about Templar being mistaken for James Bond, and Lois Maxwell, who played Miss Moneypenny in the Bond films, guests in two episodes. Other guests include Bond girls Shirley Eaton and Honor Blackman, as well as Julie Christie, Edward Woodward, Donald Sutherland, Oliver Reed, Samantha Eggar and Jean Marsh.

The Nanny: The Complete Series (Shout!/Sony/DVD, 1993-99, 19 discs, 146 episodes, audio commentaries, featurettes). Fran Drescher stars in this popular sitcom as Fran Fine, the pushy, nasal-voiced but charming title character, who falls into the job of caring for the three children of a widowed British Broadway producer (Charles Shaughnessy), ingratiating herself into high society with street smarts and blunt honesty.

A surprising roster of guest stars includes Elizabeth Taylor, Bette Midler, David Letterman, Jane Seymour, Dan Aykroyd, Rita Moreno, Ben Vereen, Bob Barker, Hugh Grant, Donald OConnor, Joan Collins, Jay Leno, Jon Stewart, Roseanne, Celine Dion, Elton John, Chevy Chase, Ray Romano and Whoopi Goldberg.

Hill Street Blues: Season Five (Shout!/DVD, 1984-85, five discs, 23 episodes). This early series from Stephen Bochco (NYPD Blue, L.A. Law) is a first-rate ensemble look at the lives and cases of officers in an urban police precinct, with stories that mix high drama, tragedy and comedy. Daniel J. Travanti and Veronica Hamel lead the cast.

The Wonder Years: Season Three (StarVista/DVD, 1989-90, four discs, 17 episodes, featurettes). Aimed at baby boomers that grew up in the 1960s, this half-hour comedy-drama set in 60s suburbia follows the ups and downs of teenager Kevin Arnold (Fred Savage, with Daniel Stern providing the adult Arnolds narration). This season has Kevin in the eighth grade with episodes about football, a school play and, of course, teenage crushes.

Welcome Back, Kotter: The Complete Third Season (Shout!/DVD, 1977-78, four discs, 27 episodes). Very broad sitcom stars Gabe Kaplan as Gabe Kotter, a high school teacher at the Brooklyn school he attended, helping remedial students known as sweathogs, with John Travolta chief among them. This season has Gabe and his wife Julie (Marcia Strassman) becoming parents to twins.

Major Crimes: The Complete Third Season (Warner/TNT/DVD, 2014-15, four discs, 19 episodes, deleted scenes, bloopers). A spinoff of The Closer, this police procedural stars Mary McDonnell (Dances With Wolves, Battlestar Galactica) as the head of LAPDs (fictional) Major Crimes Division. This season sees the return of Tom Berenger as the chiefs husband. (Season 4 begins June 8.)

Murdoch Mysteries: The Movies (Acorn/DVD, 2004-05, three discs, three movies). Three Canadian TV movies that predate the Murdoch Mysteries series about an 1890s Toronto detective using then-new forensic science, with the characters played by different actors. Peter Outerbridge is Murdoch and Colm Meaney, a regular on two Star Trek series, is his boss, Brackenreid.

Sons of Liberty (History/Lionsgate/Blu-ray/DVD/Digital, 2015, two discs, three episodes, featurettes). This five-hour miniseries fictionalizes the early events of the American Revolution that led to the title group becoming activists in the fight to achieve freedom for the colonies from British rule.

Ray Donovan: Season Two (Showtime/CBS/Blu-ray/DVD, 2014, four discs, 12 episodes, audio commentaries, featurettes). The title character is a Los Angeles-based Hollywood fixer played with intensity by Liev Schreiber. This season his ex-con father (Jon Voight) is causing problems and his wife and children are slipping away. Guests include Ann-Margret, Elliott Gould, Sherilyn Fenn and Hank Azaria. (Beware of Showtimes usual R-rated excesses.)

Hello Ladies: The Complete Series and Movie (HBO/DVD, 2013, three discs, eight episodes, TV movie, deleted scenes, featurette). Raunchy HBO sitcom starring British comic Stephen Merchant and based on his stand-up comedy routines about being an English bachelor in Los Angeles trying to find Ms. Right. Includes the TV-movie that came after the series was canceled. (Nicole Kidman has a cameo in the movie.)

Jurassic: Monsters of the Deep (BBC/DVD, 2015). Zoologist Nigel Marven leads a documentary crew (along with computer-graphic re-creations) to explore underwater life from seven of the worlds time periods. From the folks who created Walking With Dinosaurs.

Max & Ruby: Sharing & Caring (Nickelodeon/Paramount/DVD, 2012, four episodes). Four episodes, each with three stories, gleaned from this popular animated series for preschoolers, with lessons on kindness and listening, among other social skills.
Sign up for our E-Newsletters