'Hot in Cleveland' is now on DVD in a full-series box set
Posted May 2
The popular TV Land sitcom “Hot in Cleveland” is now available in a series box set.
“Hot in Cleveland: The Complete Series” (Paramount, 2010-15, 17 discs, 128 episodes, featurettes, bloopers). A flight to Paris with three middle-aged female friends onboard is forced to land in Ohio. The trio is quite put off by this turn of events until they notice a major difference from Los Angeles — Cleveland men don’t seem to be as youth-obsessed, which suddenly makes the three divorcees “hot” again. So they stay on after finding a home they can share, and in the process gain an elderly fourth roommate.
This is a funny, well-written, six-season program, but the genius was in casting four sitcom vets, each of whom knows her way around a one-liner, and each is given plenty of room to shine: Valerie Bertinelli (“One Day at a Time”), Jane Leeves (“Frasier”), Wendy Malick (“Just Shoot Me”) and Betty White (“The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” “Golden Girls”). All four are charming, witty and utterly delightful.
The show does devolve into the usual 21st-century crass humor from time to time, but mostly it’s character comedy of the first rank, with lots of laugh-getting guests (some as recurring characters), including Carl Reiner, Tim Conway, Carol Burnett, Queen Latifah, Bob Newhart, Gladys Knight, Heather Locklear, Don Rickles, William Shatner, Chevy Chase, Dave Foley, Ben Vereen, Robert Wagner, Cybill Shepherd and many more.
Also, there are some inside jokes with the fours stars’ former sitcom pals showing up: Mary Tyler Moore, Edward Asner, Georgia Engel, Valerie Harper, Cloris Leachman, Peri Gilpin, John Mahoney, Bonnie Franklin, Pat Harrington Jr. and Laura San Giacomo. And playing herself as part of a hilarious running gag is Susan Lucci.
“The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour Country Special” (Shout!, 1972). This hourlong episode of Campbell’s country variety program is heavy on the music, with Johnny and June Carter Cash, Buck Owens, Merle Haggard, Jerry Reed, Freddie Hart and the Mike Curb Congregation. Songs include “Folsom Prison Blues,” “A Boy Named Sue,” “When You’re Hot, You’re Hot,” “Act Naturally” and many more. There are also some brief comedy skits with Mel Tillis and Minnie Pearl.
“The Beverly Hillbillies: The Official First Season” (CBS/Paramount, 1962-63, b/w, five discs, 36 episodes, extended version of the pilot, sponsor openings/closings). This is the debut season of this half-hour comedy, which brought Jed Clampett (Buddy Ebsen) and his backwoods clan to Beverly Hills after striking oil — and which was so popular that it led to a TV explosion of rural sitcoms. It's been remastered for the first time, meaning each episode is much sharper than previous DVD releases. As Jed would say, “Wellllll, doggies!”
“19-2: Season 1” (Acorn, 2011, three discs, 10 episodes, featurette). This familiar Canadian police procedural set in Montreal is about a pair of troubled cop partners (Adrian Holmes, Jared Keeso), one who has just returned after a shooting incident that left his old partner hospitalized and the other reeling from having to arrest his own father. However, as they encounter a number of bizarre cases, the police work proves to be more interesting than their soap opera private lives. (Contains coarse language, violence, sex and nudity.)
“Nature: Raising the Dinosaur Giant” (PBS/BBC Earth, 2016). After a shepherd saw a bone sticking out of a rock in an Argentine desert, paleontologists discovered the largest dinosaur thigh bone ever found. Over the next two years, they would uncover more than 220 bones from seven fossilized dinosaurs in the area. This fascinating hourlong documentary is hosted by David Attenborough.
“Wabbit: Season 1, Part 1” (Warner, 2015, two discs, 26 episodes). This reboot of the Bugs Bunny franchise for Cartoon Network has the “wascilly wabbit” and his new pal Squeaks the Squirrel battling ninjas, confronting the Grim Rabbit, thwarting a leprechaun that wants Bugs’ rabbit’s foot for luck, and capturing bank robber Yosemite Sam, among other adventures. Bugs’ next-door neighbor is Wile E. Coyote, and other Looney Tunes regulars make appearances as well.
“Caillou’s Pet Parade” (PBS Kids, 1997-2001, 13 stories). More animated educational fun for preschoolers is found here with Caillou and friends creating learning situations out of encounters with various animals, from overcoming a fear of dogs to bird-watching.
Chris Hicks is the author of "Has Hollywood Lost Its Mind? A Parent’s Guide to Movie Ratings." He also writes at www.hicksflicks.com and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.