Several vintage TV series are in complete-series DVD sets this week
Posted June 9
Vintage TV shows in complete-series sets dominate this week’s DVD releases.
“Numb3rs: The Complete Series” (CBS/Paramount, 2005-10, 31 discs, 118 episodes, deleted scenes, audio commentaries, featurettes, bloopers). Among the many crime dramas on television, this smart and amusing Los Angeles-based series was unique, as an FBI agent (Rob Morrow) recruits his genius math professor brother (David Krumholtz) to help him solve cases. That may sound dense but the math is laid out in understandable terms as it informs logical investigative techniques, and the characters are rich. Judd Hirsch co-stars, along with Sabrina Lloyd and Peter MacNicol.
“Becker: The Complete Series” (CBS/Paramount, 1998-2004, 17 discs, 129 episodes, featurettes, bloopers). Looking for a character as far afield from his “Cheers” role as possible, Ted Danson starred in this six-season sitcom as the title character, a surly, misanthropic doctor in the Bronx who is irritated by, well, everything (a forerunner of “Doc Martin,” and perhaps “Curb Your Enthusiasm”). Terry Farrell, and later, Nancy Travis, provide tentative romantic interests.
“Father Dowling Mysteries: The Complete Series” (CBS/Paramount, 1989-91, 10 discs, 43 episodes, TV movie pilot, promos). No relation to Father Brown (as far as we know), Father Dowling is another crime-solving priest. Tom Bosley stars as the good Father, who finds plenty of murders and other criminal activities to keep him busy in his Chicago parish, aided by an ingenious nun (Tracy Nelson) and a wise-cracking housekeeper (delightfully played by the redoubtable Mary Wickes). It is gentle, warm and often quite funny.
“Joan of Arcadia: The Complete Series” (CBS/Paramount, 2003-05, 12 discs, 45 episodes, deleted scenes, audio commentaries, featurettes). Amber Tamblyn stars in this family friendly “Touched By an Angel”-ish show as a teenager in Arcadia, Maryland, who is directed by God to perform a variety of tasks that seem menial but ultimately have larger implications. God appears to her in a variety of forms to give her instruction, but instead of offering up scripture, quotes pop-culture figures. Joe Mantegna, Mary Steenburgen and Jason Ritter co-star, with Annie Potts in a recurring role.
“Beauty & the Beast: The Complete Series” (CBS/Paramount, 2012-16, 20 discs, 70 episodes, deleted scenes, audio commentary on pilot, featurettes, bloopers). This reboot of the beloved 1987 drama that starred Linda Hamilton and Ron Perlman features Kristin Kreuk and Jay Ryan as Catherine and Vincent. This time out, she’s an NYPD detective, while he is an ex-soldier who was believed killed in action but is actually a handsome doctor, until he becomes angry and his inner Hulk, er, Beast, comes out.
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.