A favorite for its 1981-1990 run on CBS, Falcon Crest was a nighttime sudser bubbling with colorful characters, duplicitous behavior and big-time movie and TV stars. Jane Wyman is the nasty owner of a Northern California winery and matriarch of a family that includes affable nephew Robert Foxworth and lazy playboy grandson Lorenzo Lamas. Abby Dalton, William R. Moses, and Susan Sullivan also star in this series created by Earl Hamner, Jr. of The Waltons fame; guest appearances during the show’s first season include Lana Turner and Dana Andrews. All 18 episodes from the debut season can be found on Falcon Crest: The Complete First Season.
Barnaby Jones, a successful spin-off of Cannon that enjoyed a 1973-1980 run on CBS, starred former Beverly Hillbilly Buddy Ebsen as a retired private dick who returned to action in order to help widowed daughter-in-law Lee Meriwether track down the killer of his son. Their rapport leads them to keep the family detective agency open and continue putting bad guys away. Among the L.A.-based series’ first season guest stars were Dabney Coleman, Ida Lupino and Nick Nolte. Barnaby Jones: The First Season offers 13 episodes on four discs.
Hooray for Bollywood
SNL veteran Chris Kattan stars in Bollywood Hero, a humorous look at a Hollywood actor who heads to India to appear in the movie Peculiar Dancing Boy. The laughs about both the American and Indian film industries come fast and furious in this irreverent 2009 miniseries that ran on Independent Film Channel (IFC).
Alice, Sweet Alice
Before Tim Burton’s reimagining of Alice in Wonderland, Syfy presented the 2009 miniseries Alice, their own far-out take on the Lewis Carroll story. Here, Alice (Caterina Scorsone) is a martial arts instructor who has a series of wild exploits when she follows her new boyfriend Jack (Philip Winchester) into the rabbit hole after he’s been abducted. Among the characters she confronts are the Mad Hatter (Andrew Lee Potts), Queen of Hearts (Kathy Bates), White Knight (Matt Frewer) and Caterpillar (Harry Dean Stanton).
Meet Jackie Peyton. She’s an ER nurse at a big New York City hospital. She has a husband and kids and is good at her job. She’s also addicted to sniffing drugs and popping pills and having an affair with the hospital’s pharmaceutical provider. If these sound like the elements for a darkly funny series, you’re right. Nurse Jackie, a hit for Showtime since its 2009 bow, stars Edie Falco, who puts aside the Carmela Soprano persona to play Jackie in a quirky, memorable style. Paul Schulze, Peter Facinelli and Merritt Wever co-star in the series, and all 12 episodes of the initial season are offered on Nurse Jackie: Season One.
One of the classics of the western TV genre, The Virginian is finally making its way to home video. The series, which aired on NBC from 1962-1971, was filmed in color and was network TV’s first 90-minute sagebrusher. Based on the novel by Owen Wister, the Wyoming-set series followed the title hero (James Drury) and hands Trampas (Doug McClure) and Steve Hill (Gary Clarke) as they worked the Shiloh Ranch owned (for the show’s first four seasons) by Judge Henry Garth (Lee J. Cobb). Ownership of the ranch passed over the series’ run to Charles Bickford, John McIntire and Stewart Granger; the many fine guest stars boasted by the show included Colleen Dewhurst, Hugh O’Brien, Ted Knight, George C. Scott and Aldo Ray. You have your options for obtaining the premiere season; The Virginian: The Complete First Season is being offered in a limited edition, 30-episode attractively packaged tin. If you’d rather break ‘em up, there’s The Virginian: Season 1, Part 1 andThe Virginian: Season 1, Part 2.
Also forthcoming from the prairie is Frontier Circus: The Complete Series, an NBC show that ran from 1961-1962 and centered on a travelling circus in the old west. Chill Wills, John Derek, Richard Jaeckel, Ray Barcroft and J. Pat O’Malley were regulars while the likes of Brian Keith, Sammy Davis, Jr., Irene Dunne and Cloris Leachman were among the guest stars. Also riding in is another long-buried NBC oater, The Orgeon Trail: The Complete Series. Only six episodes aired during its 1977 run, but all of the 13 completed episodes are collected here. Rod Taylor starred as a widower who takes his three kids from their Illinois farm to join a wagon train to the Northwest, and soon finds himself put in charge by his fellow travelers. Charles Napier, Darleen Carr and Andrew Stevens co-starred; guest stars included Claude Akins, Stella Stevens, and William Shatner.
A batch of terrific quiz show compilations have arrived, so press that buzzer. All-Star Family Feud is a wild ten-hour compendium of Richard Dawson-hosted episodes featuring ‘70s TV show casts squaring off for charity. Welcome Back, Kotter’s Sweathogs, The Love Boat’s crew, the cops from Barney Miller, and the Bradford clan of Eight is Enough are among the embroiled ensembles.The Best Of Match Game takes the wildest hi-jinks of the 1973 edition of the game hosted by Gene Rayburn and presents them in a three-disc set—with panelists such as Charles Nelson Reilly and Brett Somers, no less! And then there’s The Best Of Password: The CBS Years: 1962-1967, with host Allan Ludden leading the way for great battles and terrific ‘60s stars on a three-disc set.
Play It Forward
The much-admired ABC series 2009 Flash Forward centers on a team of FBI agents who attempt to find out what caused the world’s populace to simultaneously pass out for two minutes—and why the event gave all affected glimpses of their lives six months into the future. Joseph Fiennes, John Cho, Dominic Monaghan, Sonya Walger, Jack Davenport and Courtney B. Vance star. The first ten episodes are collected in Flash Forward: Season 1, Part 1.
With a new edition of The Wolf Man in theaters, Universal has unleashed the TV series She-Wolf Of London: Love And Curses: The Complete Series on DVD. In this 1990-1991 syndicated entry, Kate Hodge plays a British woman bitten by a werewolf who enlists the help of psychologist Neil Dickson to help her find a cure for her lycanthropy. The duo would encounter all manner of supernatural menaces along the way. By the second season, the show was re-titled Love And Curses, and the pair relocated to Los Angeles where Dickson hosted a TV show delving into paranormal subjects. All 18 episodes of this cult favorite are presented in this four-disc set.
The Detective Stories
In Matt Houston: The First Season, Lee Horsley is the dashing Texas rich guy who turns private investigator in L.A. for kicks. Joined by sexy assistant Pamela Hensley, Houston investigates some tough cases, many of which involve gorgeous women. Among them: Heather Locklear, Britt Ekland, Phyllis Davis and Tina Louise. The Aaron-Spelling produced effort enjoyed a 1982-85 run on ABC. The prolific writer and producer Stephen J. Cannell is also well represented with several new releases. Tenspeed And Brownshoe: The Complete Series offers the teaming of ex-con Ben Vereen and accountant Jeff Goldblum as private detectives out to solve crimes. The 1980 ABC show has its 14 episodes collected on four discs. Returning to DVD is the Cannell-produced The Commish: The Complete First Season. Michael Chiklis starred as the ex-Brooklyn cop turned police commissioner in a small New York town who learns that crimes can be just as tough to solve outside of the Big Apple. The ABC series ran from 1991 to 1996 and the first season is available on four discs.
One of the most requested miniseries of all time is coming to DVD in grand fashion, and we are thrilled. The Complete Rich Man, Poor Man begins with the 1976 ABC hit Rich Man, Poor Man. Based on the Irwin Shaw novel, Nick Nolte and Peter Strauss star as siblings Rudy and Tom Jordache, the sons of a blue-collar German immigrant family. As the sprawling saga spans the ‘40s to the ‘60s, brawny big brother Nolte finds his way in the world as a boxer, while entrepreneurial-minded Strauss becomes rich and powerful. Susan Blakely plays the lifelong love of Strauss, and other stars include Ed Asner, Dorothy Maguire, Gloria Grahame and Bill Bixby, who directed portions of the production. The follow-up maxi-series Rich Man, Poor Man, Book II, which aired from 1976 to 1977, continues the family epic as Strauss takes custody of his brother’s son (Gregg Henry). Blakely, Kay Lenz, Peter Haskell and William Smith also star in this melodramatic sequel. The set will be issued later this year.
Party Down: Season 1 centers on a group of eccentrics working for a catering business while waiting for their big Hollywood break. The terrifically funny ensemble cast from the Starz series includes Adam Scott, Ken Marino, Lizzy Caplan, and the ubiquitous Jane Lynch…Iron Man: The Complete 1994 Animated Television Series follows the Marvel superhero (voiced by Robert Hays) as he battles the villainous Mandarin with help from the likes of War Machine, Scarlet Witch and Hawkeye. The three-disc set offers all 23 episodes from the show’s run…Lincoln Heights: The Complete First Season deals with family matters in the home of an L.A. cop (Russell Hornsby), who finds new struggles when he’s transferred to the rough neighborhood where he was raised. The 2007 bow of the ABC Family series is available in a four-disc set…Steven Seagal: Lawman: Season 1 showcases the martial arts star in a new light, chronicling his adventures as a real-life Louisiana lawman keeping the peace with the help of a team of elite enforcers. All 13 episodes are available in a three-disc set…Small Wonder: The Complete First Season is the syndicated series about Vicki (Tiffany Brissette), an android created in the form of a 10-year-old girl. Dick Christie and Marla Pennington co-starred in this Fox-produced entry that ran from 1985 to 1989. Offered in a four-disc collection are the first 24 episodes…R. Lee Ermey, the tough topkick from Full Metal Jacket, gives you the ins and outs of weaponry in the macho History Channel series Lock N’ Load With R. Lee Ermey: The Complete Season One. It’s a four disc set covering all sorts of military instruments of battle…Adult Swim fave Superjail: Season One makes its debut in all of its violent, un-PC glory. This animated series focuses on a volcano-situated prison occupied by a weird warden and such characters as a transsexual guard, a robot and a master escape artist who keeps getting recaptured…A&E Channel’s Marked: The Complete Season One takes a fascinating look into the world of tattoos and their significance in the military, crime and other facets of life…Johnny Bravo: The Complete First Season showcases Cartoon Network’s muscular, blonde-haired, shades-wearing would-be hepcat in two discs of the inside reference-filled series. There’s offbeat fun (lots from contributor Seth MacFarlane), cameos from Scooby-Doo, spoofs of Schoolhouse Rock and The Wizard Of Oz, and guest voices supplied by Farrah Fawcett, Adam West, Donny Osmond and others…The Real Housewives Of New Jersey: Season 1 turns the Garden State into a soap opera haven as we follow a group of pampered princesses as they deal with family, friends and lovers in not-always nice ways. This three-disc set shows you all sides of the likes of Jacqueline, Teresa, Danielle, Dina and Caroline…A& E has pacted with Lifetime to offers some of their most popular TV movies. Among them:To Be Fat Like Me with Kaley Cuoco and Caroline Rhea, Racing For Time with Charles S. Dutton, Girl, Positive with Andrea Bowen and Jennie Garth, and The Two Mr. Kissels with John Stamos and Anson Mount.