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Wide array of vintage TV series on DVD this week
Don Rickles is the title character in the 1970s sitcom "CPO Sharkey," which was designed to fit his trademark insult comedy. The show's first season is now on DVD. - photo by Chris Hicks
Its a week for vintage TV on DVD with the debut of both Don Rickles sitcom CPO Sharkey and the prime-time soap The Colbys, along with complete-series reissues of Battlestar Galactica and The Wild Wild West.

CPO Sharkey: The Complete Season 1 (Time Life/DVD, 1976-77, three discs, 15 episodes, clip from The Tonight Show). Insult comic Don Rickles, a real-life Navy veteran, stars in this two-season sitcom as a chief petty officer at a San Diego base in charge of new recruits, whom he berates with his singular brand of ethnic wisecracks.

This is obviously for Rickles fans, and the deck is stacked early on as his newbies are each from a different ethnic heritage. Theres even a warning on the box that some of the jokes and ethnic references would most likely not be allowed on network TV today. Very true. But if you know Rickles, you know thats what he does. And as such, its still pretty funny.

The Colbys: The Complete Series (Shout!/CBS/DVD, 1985-87, 12 discs, 49 episodes, featurettes). A spinoff of Dynasty, this prime-time soap opera boasts a big budget and a cast of major stars Charlton Heston, Barbara Stanwyck, Katharine Ross, Diahann Carroll, Ricardo Montalban, Michael Parks. But it was canceled after two seasons due to low ratings. Theres amnesia, secret parentage, deceit and lots of double-crosses among the rich and powerful and big stars chewing the scenery. Who could ask for anything more?

Battlestar Galactica: The Definitive Collection (Universal/Blu-ray, 1978-80, 34 episodes, feature film, deleted scenes, audio commentary, featurettes). After surviving a sneak attack by the Cylon race of evil robots, the last bastion of humanity escapes in spaceships and is led by Lorne Greene to search for a new world to call home in this 1978 sci-fi series, which has elements of both Star Wars and the Book of Mormon (creator Glen A. Larson was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). (The show was remade as a 2004 series for the Syfy cable channel.)

This is a new Blu-ray upgrade of the original series and its follow-up, Galactica 1980, along with the Battlestar Galactica movie that was taken from the shows pilot and played in theaters a couple of months before the series debuted. The two TV shows are included here in both the original square-ish format used for late 1970s TV and in widescreen versions. (Also available is Battlestar Galactica: The Remastered Collection, a smaller set with the two series in widescreen, to include bonus features.)

The Wild Wild West: The Complete Series (CBS/Paramount/DVD, 1965-69, b/w and color, 26 discs, 104 episodes, featurettes, introductions, original openings/promos, photo gallery, blooper, commercial). Great comedy-Western series with gadgets, disguises and gimmicks as two federal agents (Robert Conrad, Ross Martin) go after bad guys. Lots of fun. (The packaging is more shelf-friendly than the earlier Complete Series set but the two reunion TV movies are absent.)

Mister Ed: The Final Season (Shout!/DVD, 1965-66, b/w, two discs, 13 episodes). The sixth and final season of this silly but beloved sitcom about the titular talking horse (voiced by cowboy star Allan Rocky Lane) and his befuddled owner Wilbur (Alan Young). Seasons one through five each had 26 episodes, but season six was abbreviated when the show was canceled after 13 episodes due to flagging ratings.

The Best of the Ed Sullivan Show (StarVista/Time Life, 1948-71, three discs, b/w and color, featurettes). Sullivans seminal variety show included every kind of act you can imagine, some bizarre, some hilarious, along with lots of familiar stars. The previously released discs here Unforgettable Performances, 50th Anniversary Special, The All-Star Comedy Special, Worlds Greatest Novelty Acts, Amazing Animal Acts include a little bit of everything. The most famous guests are Elvis Presley and the Beatles, but also here are snippets with Barbra Streisand, Marlon Brando, Fred Astaire, Humphrey Bogart, Buddy Holly, the Rolling Stones, Janis Joplin, Carol Burnett, George Carlin, Rodney Dangerfield, Jackie Gleason, Bob Hope, the Smothers Brothers, Flip Wilson and many more.

The Midnight Special (StarVista/Time Life/DVD, 1973-81, three discs, featurettes). These music and comedy performances from the titular TV musical/comedy series are gleaned from previously released DVD sets and include Linda Ronstadt, Heart, Santana, Aretha Franklin, Barry Manilow, Dolly Parton, Natalie Cole, Steve Martin, Richard Pryor, George Carlin, Billy Crystal and many more.

Supercar: The Complete Series (itv/Timeless/DVD, 1961-62, b/w, five discs, 39 episodes, audio commentary, featurettes). Mike Mercury pilots the title vehicle more of a plane, really with retractable wings and jet propulsion as it hovers. This is an early Supermarionation childrens series from Gerry Anderson, who also did the puppet series Fireball XL-5, Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons and The Thunderbirds.

Texas Rangers: The Real Stories (Lionsgate/DVD, 1991-2001, three episodes). History cable channel documentaries are The Texas Rangers, The Fathers of Texas and The Enforcers: The Texas Rangers.

Digimon Tamers, Volume 2 (Cinedigm/DVD, 2001, three discs, 17 episodes). Three young fans of the Digimon card game find themselves in the Digital World, where they battle evil Digimons in this anime series.

Slam Dunk: Season 1, Vol. 1 (Cinedigm/DVD, 1993-94, two discs, 14 episoes). This anime series follows a high school punk that hates basketball until he meets a girl that loves the sport and encourages him to play.

The Magic Bus: Season Two (Scholastic/DVD, 1995, two discs, 13 episodes). More episodes from the hit childrens series that offers science education along with entertainment.
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