“Atomic batteries to power, turbines to speed…” Like the Batmobile roaring down the streets of Gotham City, the 1966 Batman TV series starring Adam West and Burt Ward as the Dynamic Duo finally zooms onto home video this week. The Caped Crusaders’ super-campy superheroics were a far cry from the later Tim Burton and Christopher Nolan big-screen incarnations, but the light-hearted action and wild array of special guest villains earned the show a special place in the hearts of Baby Boomers and younger viewers.
Batman isn’t the only vintage TV favorite coming out in complete series collections this week, however, so we thought we’d take a minute and also share news about six programs, covering a wide range of tastes, with you. From classic cop action to moving faith-based drama, from a comedy about generation gaps to a fantasy look at a trio of bewitching siblings, now you can enjoy these shows anytime you want and binge watch to your heart’s content:
Batman: The Complete Television Series (DVD) – Comics’ Caped Crusaders became TV icons in this campy, action-filled 1966-68 ABC series. Watch as Batman (Adam West), Robin (Burt Ward), and season-three partner Batgirl (Yvonne Craig) defend Gotham City from such diabolical foes as Catwoman, Joker, Penguin, Riddler, Egghead, King Tut, and others. Frank Gorshin, Burgess Meredith, Julie Newmar, Cesar Romero, and Vincent Price were among the special guest villains. All 120 episodes, along with soeical bonus features, are included in an 18-disc set.
Batman: The Complete Television Series (Limited Edition Blu-ray) – Holy Blu-ray bonanza! Just like its DVD counterpart, this 13-disc set features all 120 episodes and bonus features, but it also includes all-new featurettes, a Hot Wheels Batmobile replica, “The Adam West Scrapbook,” 44 vintage trading card reproductions, and a 32-page episode guide.
Batman: The Complete First Season (1966) – Don’t feel like committing to an entire series? Don’t fear, citizen: This five-disc set offers all 34 episodes from the debut season.
Charmed: The Complete Series – After learning they’re descended from a long line of witches, Halliwell sisters Prue (Shannen Doherty), Piper (Holly Marie Combs), and Phoebe (Alyssa Milano) are each granted unique magical abilities that they combine to do battle with the forces of evil. Piper and Phoebe were later joined in their mystical odyssey by long-lost half sister Paige (Rose McGowan, who replaced Doherty in 2001) in this sexy and supernatural series which ran on the WB network from 1998 to 2006. All 178 enchanted episodes are featured in a 48-disc set.
Diagnosis Murder: The Complete Collection – This popular 1993-2001 CBS medical/mystery series starred Dick Van Dyke as Dr. Mark Sloan, the chief of internal medicine at a Los Angeles hospital, who spent his spare time helping the local police solve their baffling murder cases…whether they needed him or not. Aiding Dr. Sloan were his protégé Dr. Jack Stewart (Scott Baio), pathologist Amanda Bentley-Livingston (Victoria Rowell), and his son Steve (Dick’s real-life offspring Barry Van Dyke), a homicide detective. All 179 crime-solving episodes, plus five made-for-TV movies, are featured in a 48-disc set.
Family Ties: The Complete Series – From 1982-89, this popular NBC sitcom followed the lives of the suburban Columbus, Ohio, Keaton clan. Steven (Michael Gross) and Elyse (Meredith Baxter Birney) were former ‘60s activists whose liberal views were challenged in the Reagan-era world where they were raising money-minded Young Republican Alex (Michael J. Fox), boy-crazy underachiever Mallory (Justine Bateman), and youngest daughter Jennifer (Tina Yothers). All 174 familial episodes, plus the 1985 TV-movie “Family Ties Vacation,” are featured in a 28-disc set. Sha-la-la-la.
Highway to Heaven: The Complete Series – Little House on the Prairie co-stars Michael Landon and Victor French reteamed for this warm-hearted 1984-1989 NBC family drama. Jonathan Smith (Landon) is an angel sent on “probation” down to Earth, where he is befriended by ex-cop Mark Gordon (French). The pair join forces to help the troubled souls of the world get their lives back on track. All 111 angelic episodes are featured in a 23-disc set.
The Mod Squad: The Complete Collection – One of the hippest series of all time, this 1968-73 ABC cop drama chronicled the exploits of Pete Cochran (Michael Cole), Lincoln “Linc” Hayes (Clarence Williams III), and Julie Barnes (Peggy Lipton), three rebellious youths recruited by L.A.P.D. Captain Greer (Tige Andrews) to work undercover inside the city’s counter-culture scene and help bring down the crooks who targeted the young people of Southern California. Quincy Jones supplied the memorable theme song. All 123 groovy episodes are featured in a 39-disc set.
Starsky and Hutch: The Complete Series – Plowing through the mean Southern California city streets in their red and white Ford Torino, “the Striped Tomato,” maverick detectives Dave Starsky (Paul Michael Glaser) and Ken “Hutch” Hutchinson (David Soul) brought down the bad guys in this hit cop series, which aired on ABC from 1975-1979. Bernie Hamilton was the boys’ boss, Capt. Dobey, and Antonio Fargas played their jive-talking, streetwise informant, “Huggy Bear” Brown. All 93 rubber-burnin’ episodes are featured in a 16-disc set.
And that’s just this week’s releases, tube fans. There are hundreds of beloved (as quite a few forgotten) TV series from the ’50s to the present available. For the complete rundown of what’s out, just click here.
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