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The British crime series 'Inspector Lewis' is on DVD this week

Posted October 23

The beloved British crime series “Inspector Lewis” is available in a DVD series set this week, along with several other TV programs of note.

“Inspector Lewis: The Complete Series” (PBS, 2006-15, 18 discs, 33 episodes, featurettes). Kevin Whatley was Sgt. Lewis, common-sense sidekick to John Thaw’s erudite “Inspector Morse” from 1987-2000 in 33 feature-length mysteries (seven seasons, five specials) set in Oxford. Whatley then starred in this excellent spinoff series, which promoted Lewis to the detective in charge with his own sidekick, the taciturn Sgt. Hathaway (Laurence Fox), and another 33 feature-length episodes were filmed (nine seasons). The characters here are smart, the mysteries are cleverly plotted, and although Lewis is not as well-educated as his companion in crime solving, he has an unfailing instinct for uncovering motives behind malicious mischief.

“The Night Of” (HBO, 2016, three discs, eight episodes). A New York college student (Riz Ahmed) living with his Pakistani parents in Queens takes his father’s taxi and heads to a party but is waylaid by a young woman who hits him up for a ride, leading to a night of drugs and sex. But when he awakens the next morning, she’s been stabbed to death, but he remembers nothing. An intense HBO criminal-justice procedural miniseries (with the requisite R-rated material) that takes the young man through the ups and downs of the system. John Turturro co-stars as his lawyer.

“Beowulf: Return to the Shieldlands” (ITV, 2016, four discs, 12 episodes). Epic British fantasy based on the anonymous Old English poem with the title character returning to his ancient Scandinavian home, learning his adoptive father is dead and finding himself mixed up in political intrigue, a murder mystery and, of course, conflict with monster Grendel, and a “Game of Thrones” vibe. (The series was canceled after one season.)

“Brain Games: Season 7” (Fox, 2016, two discs, six episodes, featurettes). The final season for this fascinating National Geographic documentary series about the human brain has host Jason Silva and guest experts looking into selective memory function, exploring whether someone can be born bad, and determining how the seven deadly sins affect the brain — along with interactive experiments to enhance brain capacity.

“Royal Wives at War” (PBS, 2016). An offbeat hourlong dramatized exploration of the 1936 abdication of the British throne by King Edward VIII so he could marry the woman he loved. Performed as a series of monologues set in 1967 with Queen Elizabeth (Emma Davies) and Wallis Simpson (Gina McKee) reflecting on the events surrounding that piece of history.

“75th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor” (History/Lionsgate, 2001-09, two discs, six episodes). Six History Channel documentary specials are collected here to chronicle the attack on Pearl Harbor through archival combat footage, personal accounts and expert analysis, including observations from the viewpoint of the Japanese.

“Doc McStuffins: Toy Hospital” (Disney Junior, 2016, six episodes). “Toy Hospital: Welcome to McStuffinsville” is a two-episode story from Season 4 of the Disney animated series about a young girl who “fixes” broken toys with the help of other toy friends. Other episodes include “Selfless Snowman” and “Bringing Home Baby.”

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 hicks@deseretnews.com.

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