1/17/06 Edition

A Return to Peckinpah's West
Warner's New Box Set Gloriously Revisits The Filmmaker's Classics


We might be only a few weeks into 2006 but already the year has produced the first “must-have” box set release: Warner’s impressive four-DVD anthology SAM PECKINPAH: THE LEGENDARY WESTERNS COLLECTION (aprx. $40).

Several months ago Sony issued a newly-reconstructed, expanded cut of Peckinpah’s “Major Dundee” on DVD, complete with a commentary from scholars David Weddle, Paul Seydor, Garner Simmons and producer Nick Redman. The group talk mentioned a box-set of Peckinpah westerns that “Major Dundee” would be a part of, and now -- several months later, and minus “Dundee” -- Warner has made good on that promise with this superb package.

The set includes four Peckinpah efforts from the old west: three (“Pat Garrett and Billy The Kid,” “The Ballad of Cable Hogue,” and “Ride The High Country”) making their debut on DVD, with a fourth (“The Wild Bunch”) in a new double-disc Special Edition.

The movies themselves run the gamut from the 1962 “Ride,” a traditional old-fashioned western (with Peckinpah sensibilities, of course), to his seminal, violent 1969 classic “The Wild Bunch,” the melancholy (though more upbeat) 1970 effort “The Ballad of Cable Hogue” and the troubled, though fascinating, 1972 meditation “Pat Garrett.”

RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY (***½, 1962, 92 mins.) is a short but bittersweet western that pays tribute to the sagebrush efforts of yesteryear with a maturity few films of its era possessed. Joel McRea and Randolph Scott play a pair of aging cowboys in a fading Old West (a recurring theme in many Peckinpah films), hired to transport a shipment of gold from a mountain mining company to the town below. Along the way they run into a bride-to-be (Mariette Hartley) and attempt to remain true to their own moral code in spite of their way of life rapidly vanishing from the plains.

The 2.35 widescreen transfer has been fully remastered and looks particularly amazing considering the previous laserdisc effort (which appeared grainy and faded by comparison). Lucien Ballard’s cinematography perfectly compliments the twilight-mood of the story and the veteran performances from Scott and McRea. The mono sound is perfectly acceptable and the group commentary from Weddle, Seydor, Simmons and moderator Redman touches upon the film’s numerous themes and its importance to the genre. The theatrical trailer is on-hand, and Redman’s new featurette, “A Justified Life,” interviews Peckinpah’s sister, Fern Lea Peter, who discusses the filmmaker’s upbringing.

THE WILD BUNCH (***½, 1969, 145 mins., R) needs little introduction: its pioneering look at a group of murderers and general deviants who finally find a cause to fight for is a landmark piece of filmmaking that still holds up today, with a particularly unforgettable climactic action sequence demanding to be viewed multiple times.

Previously available as a Special Edition laserdisc and DVD, Warner’s new two-disc set here sports a remastered transfer that easily trumps the prior digital release. The 5.1 Dolby Digital soundtrack packs a wallop, and once again, the group commentators offer an abundance of insights and anecdotes about the picture’s legacy.

For supplements, this set offers several Making Of documentaries, though nothing of major significance in terms of new deleted scenes (though there are fragments of outtake footage and alternate takes in a new “Never Before Seen” section). “Sam Peckinpah’s West” is an excellent Starz! Documentary recounting the director’s work in the genre, while the 1996 Oscar nominee “The Wild Bunch: An Album in Montage” is reprised from the previous laser/DVD release. A new featurette offers Redman and Co. on-location with Peckinpah’s daughter; this extra is dubbed an “excerpt” from a documentary entitled “A Simple Adventure Story: Sam Peckinpah, Mexico and The Wild Bunch.”

Peckinpah mellowed out somewhat, to mixed critical reaction and poor box-office, with his 1970 follow-up THE BATTLE OF CABLE HOGUE (**½, 1970, 121 mins., R), starring Jason Robards as a straggler in the Old West who stumbles upon a well in the middle of the barren Arizona desert he’s just been left to die in. David Warner is the well-meaning preacher who befriends Hogue, Strother Martin and L.Q. Jones are the conniving duo who nearly kill Cable in the opening, and Stella Stevens is the fresh-faced hooker who comes into Hogue’s quiet life.

Though the movie has amiable characters and offers a superb commentary on the discrepancy between Cable’s isolated outpost and the technological advancements of a nearby town, “Cable Hogue” is a rambling, at-times tedious tale with a few melodramatic missteps -- not the least of which is a clumsy, downbeat ending that may be in-step with Peckinpah’s world view, but comes across as inappropriate to this particular story. Jerry Goldsmith’s flavorful but forgettable score isn’t one of his best, with many dramatic passages dominated by Richard Gillis’ over-used vocals. Though a personal favorite of the director, I didn’t feel “Cable Hogue” was particularly satisfying, but others may warm to the picture’s colorful characters and leisurely pace.

Warner’s new DVD includes a fresh 16:9 transfer and mono soundtrack. In addition to the original trailer, the DVD also contains a new, 30-minute interview with Stella Stevens, recounting her work on the movie. Stevens looks great and has plenty of enthusiasm to spare, but -- much like the movie -- the segment runs a bit long, and some of the editing (cutting away to the camera crew shooting her, etc.) is distracting.

Without question the major new package in the collection is the long-awaited, double-disc set of Peckinpah’s 1973 effort PAT GARRETT & BILLY THE KID (***, 1973, 115 and 122 mins., R), a “revisionist” work with James Coburn as Garrett, Kris Kristofferson as Billy, and Bob Dylan (who also scored the movie) as one of The Kid’s posse.

Peckinpah collaborated with MGM on this troubled production, which was ultimately released by the studio in a version that butchered the director's vision. For years, fans hoped to find an edit more representative of the filmmaker’s original intentions, and in 1988 a longer, 122-minute cut (an earlier version of Peckinpah’s) surfaced on cable and video.

Unfortunately, despite containing a great deal of additional footage, most aficionados felt the 122-minute “Turner Preview Version” (as it’s referred to here) came across as an incomplete piece...an early “fine cut” that didn't reflect some of the changes Peckinpah later applied to the eventual theatrical cut.

For Warner's new DVD, Nick Redman and his group of Peckinpah experts labored to produce a version that would combine the best aspects of the theatrical cut with the longer, messier 122-minute version, and their results are impressive indeed.

The new 115-minute “Special Edition” re-orders scenes, takes some footage out, puts other sequences (some culled from the network TV version) back in. It greatly improves the ending of the “Preview Cut” and basically comes across as a more poetic, introspective piece. The producers used Peckinpah’s editorial notes as a guide, and while the movie is still somewhat of a rambling wreck, it’s a fascinating work and the best version yet of “Pat Garrett & Billy The Kid.”

Warner’s DVD includes commentary from the group on both the Special Edition and the Turner Preview Cut, each of which sport fresh 16:9 transfers, with the 2005 “Special Edition” appearing in crisper, cleaner condition. The second disc offers Katy Haber (Peckinpah’s former assistant and lover) and Seydor discussing the rocky road of “Pat Garrett & Billy The Kid” to the screen, the director’s issues with MGM brass and struggles with his own personal demons. Another segment includes Kristofferson talking about his career and performing a song he wrote for the picture, accompanied by singer Donnie Fritts. The amusing theatrical trailer is also included.

Though all four movies are available separately, the “Legendary Westerns Collection” box-set is more than worthy of a purchase. Each film represents a different side of Peckinpah, and in total, include some of the most vivid and unique imagery ever produced in the genre. Warner’s transfers and presentation are excellent, making this the first Highly Recommended DVD set of the year. Superlative!

Fox January Round Up: Cinema Classics, African-American Cult Titles, And More!

Three strong entries from Fox’s “Cinema Classics Collection” lead off an impressive new roster of catalog titles from the studio this month.

Gorgeous cinematography and Harry Belafonte’s memorable calypso theme song make the otherwise stilted soap opera ISLAND IN THE SUN (** , 119 mins., 1957) worthwhile for movie buffs.

Belafonte also stars here as a native son on the fictional West Indies island of Santa Marta who wants to wrestle control of the government from the ruling white British regime, here embodied by political candidate James Mason (who harbors a deep, dark secret of his own -- pun completely intended). Joan Fontaine essays a white woman who happens to be in love with Harry; Dorothy Dandridge plays a local girl in love with a white man (John Justin); and Joan Collins portrays Mason’s sister, trying to get English lord Stephen Boyd to fall for her.

Alfred Hayes’ pulpy script, adapted from Alec Waugh’s massively popular best-seller, addresses race relations in a way few movies of its era did, though the film’s cop-out ending and various other elements still firmly place “Island in the Sun” as a product of ‘50s Hollywood. Nevertheless, the Cinemascope photography is impressive -- capturing vivid location lensing in Barbados and Grenada -- and, together with the score by Malcolm Arnold, combine to make the melodramatic aspects of the picture go down nice and easy, helped immeasurably by the lovely leading ladies.

Fox’s DVD includes a smashing 2.35 widescreen transfer with a print that’s at times so gorgeous you can’t take your eyes off its warm, primary colors (check out the film’s final scene between Belafonte and Fontaine for a perfect example). The 4.0 Dolby Digital surround is boisterous, and there’s an engaging audio commentary from writer John Stanley on-hand as well. Stanley admits up-front that he’s a fan of the movie, and while his enthusiasm for the material at times makes for some frenetic listening (he jumps from one topic to another with an over-abundance of zeal), it’s a refreshing switch to hear a commentary of this nature as opposed to the typically stuffy “academic” talk we often hear on vintage films.

The original trailer and an informative, full-length A&E Biography on Dorothy Dandridge’s tragic life complete the package.

Passing for white, meanwhile, was the subject at the center of Darryl F. Zanuck’s production PINKY (**½, 1949, 101 mins.), Elia Kazan’s tale of a young nurse (Jeanne Crain) educated in the north who returns to her southern home to work for a doctor (William Lundigan) unaware that she’s actually part-black.

Well-meaning and performed, “Pinky” is nevertheless a dated movie particularly in its casting: Jeanne Crain is laughably cast as the heroine here, something that commentator Kenneth Geist points out in his enlightening audio commentary. Still, if you can accept Crain as being of African-American descent, the movie works moderately well, though it’s so tastefully done that the emotional fireworks are few and far between...ditto for the unlikely finale, in which Crain dispatches Lundigan with little problem.

Fox’s DVD offers a solid full-screen transfer from somewhat less-than-pristine source elements. The barely-stereophonic and mono soundtracks are perfectly acceptable, while Geist’s commentary expertly analyzes the picture’s strengths and weaknesses. The theatrical trailer has been included as an extra.

Dynamic vintage performances by a litany of black stars (Fats Waller, Ada Brown, Cab Calloway, the Nicholas Brothers, the Katherine Dunham Dance Troupe, Dooley Wilson) fuel the highly entertaining 1943 musical STORMY WEATHER (***, 77 mins., 1943).

Bill “Bojangles” Robinson stars as “Bill Williamson,” a war veteran who recalls his lengthy show business career in what basically translates to 77 minutes of sterling musical and dance sequences. Lena Horner is also on-hand (portraying his wife!) for this vintage Fox production, which boasts crisp black-and-white cinematography that’s been splendidly carried over to Fox’s new DVD.

With a print in overall better condition than “Pinky,” “Stormy Weather” is an important piece of history, being one of Hollywood’s first pictures to star an entirely African-American cast. Though some racial stereotyping is on-hand here and there, Fox has included a commentary by USC professor Dr. Todd Boyd to off-set the potentially offensive, dated period elements; Dr. Boyd insightfully discusses those aspects and places them into a historical context, while praising the movie’s superlative collection of black stars (something you imagine Disney will do if they ever release “Song of the South” on DVD).

Fox’s DVD also offers stereo and monophonic soundtracks. Highly recommended for musical lovers!

Two other African-American pictures are also available from Fox this month, though neither as part of the “Classics” collection (and not that you would ever place these films in that company, either!).

Robert Townsend once held a spot as one of Hollywood’s up-and-coming filmmakers -- though sadly, a string of flops (“Meteor Man,” anyone?) including the well-intentioned THE FIVE HEARTBEATS (**½, 1991, 121 mins., R) curtailed his rise to the top.

Townsend co-wrote his film with Keenen Ivory Wayans and starred as the head singer of a Motown-like singing group that bands together in the ‘50s and sings their way to the top of the charts...only to see their dreams fade away in the ‘70s.

Some spirited musical performances and a strong sense of time and place make “The Five Heartbeats” worthwhile for a single viewing, but the Townsend-Wayans script feels overly melodramatic and unbelievable, especially as the picture chugs along to its predictable downbeat finish.

Fox’s DVD is a new Special Edition with five new Making Of featurettes (“Meet The Five Heartbeats,” “The Director’s Process,” “In The Studio,” “The Look” and “The Nomination”), deleted scenes, the original Making Of featurette, a profile of Townsend, and the original trailer. The 1.85 widescreen transfer and 4.0 Dolby Digital sound are both excellent.

Last but not least is Robert Hooks starring as the title hero known as TROUBLE MAN (***, 99 mins., 1972, R), a Fox-produced, seldom-seen Black-exploitation thriller that’s actually a lot of fun.

Hooks plays “Mr. T,” a cool, hep (and rich) private eye hired by a pair of gamblers to uncover who’s been robbing their operation. Plenty of action, amusing dialogue, a sense of humor and a mellow Marvin Gaye soundtrack make this effort a winner of its type; how odd that this minor effort from director Ivan Dixon (then coming off a starring role on TV’s “Hogan’s Heroes”) hasn’t been released on video before, despite being a major studio release.

Fox’s DVD offers little in the way of special features: just a predictably funny (read: dated) theatrical trailer and matching 2.0 stereo and mono soundtracks. The 1.85 transfer is 16:9 enhanced and a full-screen version (which un-masks the top and bottom of the image while losing nothing from the sides) make for a solid, if unspectacular, visual presentation.

Also New From Fox

AN UNMARRIED WOMAN (***, 1978, 124 mins., R; Fox): Jill Clayburgh gives a superb performance in Paul Mazursky’s tale of a woman abandoned by her husband (Michael Murphy), trying to find personal and sexual liberation in the ‘70s singles scene. One of Mazursky’s best films, “An Unmarried Woman” gets most of its mileage out of Clayburgh’s lead performance; she’s sensitive, funny, and sympathetic in the picture, which avoids feeling like an R-rated TV movie thanks to the performances of its lead and Alan Bates as the man she eventually falls for. Fox’s DVD includes a new 16:9 transfer and stereo soundtrack, nicely conveying Bill Conti’s quietly poignant score. The original trailer and an enjoyable commentary with Clayburgh and Mazursky make for a strong presentation of a budget-priced catalog title.

AMERICAN WOMEN (**½, 2000, 92 mins., PG-13; Fox): A group of young men in a quaint Irish seaside village set out to attract young American women in this moderately enjoyable Brit import. Produced in 1999 but just making its DVD debut, Aileen Ritchie’s film offers scenic locales and an ample dose of atmosphere, in addition to a pleasant Rachel Portman score. Overall the movie feels awfully familiar in spite of its casual, folksy charm, but viewers who enjoyed “The Full Monty,” “Waking Ned Devine” and similar Brit-com imports will appreciate it just the same. Fox’s DVD offers 16:9 and full-screen transfers, in addition to a 5.0 Dolby Digital soundtrack.

BILLY GRAHAM PRESENTS: Something To Sing About (87 mins., 2000); Road To Redemption (89 mins., 2001); Last Flight Out (82 mins., 2003), Fox (available January 31st): On January 31st, Fox releases a trio of made-for-cable films produced through Billy Graham’s World Wide Pictures. These family-oriented features sport spiritual messages and some overt discussion of Christianity -- those easily offended obviously will have little interest, but frankly, two of the three stories are surprisingly watchable and worthwhile for viewers of all ages (those being the entertaining “Road To Redemption” and the less satisfying, music-oriented “Something To Sing About,” starring the wonderful Irma P. Hall. Skip the pedestrian “Last Flight Out,” directed by veteran Jerry Jameson). The full-screen transfers and stereo soundtracks are all just fine.

New From Buena Vista

DARK WATER (**, 109 mins., Unrated; Buena Vista): Jennifer Connelly gives a glum performance in this watered-down remake of Hideo Nakata’s superior Japanese film of the same name. Connelly stars as a divorced mom who moves with her daughter into a bleak apartment building where water drips from the ceiling and -- as is the convention with recent Japanese genre films -- is being haunted by a female spirit with long dark hair. Nakata’s original “Dark Water” was a terrific thriller loaded with atmosphere and poetic touches, but the American version accentuates a depressing, maudlin tone, and plays up the supernatural elements with standard cliches and loud, obtrusive music by Angelo Badalamenti. Connelly’s character is supposed to be going through a breakdown but she’s so stilted it’s difficult to root for her, making the film an unremarkable genre piece worth it only if you haven’t seen the original version (and can’t find it at your local store). Buena Vista’s Unrated DVD has been re-edited somewhat from its theatrical version and includes a few brief deleted scenes and a Making Of featurette. The 2.35 transfer and 5.1 Dolby Digital soundtrack are both excellent, though the movie’s sound design lacks the creepy sonic textures of Nakata’s original work.

New TV on DVD

THE TIME TUNNEL: Season 1, Part 1 (1966), 765 mins. DVD FEATURES: Full-Screen, 2.0 mono; 15 Episodes; Alternate Pilot; Home Movies; Visual Effects Camera Test; 4 Still Galleries; TV, Radio Spots.

ALIEN NATION: The Complete Series (1989-90), 989 mins. Fox. DVD FEATURES: Full-Screen, 2.0; 22 episodes including 2-hour premiere, commentary by Kenneth Johnson; Behind the Scenes featurette.

Two short-lived but fondly-remembered TV series lead off January’s roster of small-screen series hitting DVD for the first time.

Irwin Allen’s TIME TUNNEL launched on September 9th, 1966 -- a Friday night on ABC, where viewers watched James Darren’s Dr. Tony Newman and Robert Colbert’s Dr. Doug Phillips stranded in time after having to jump into their unfinished government project. Though able to move from one time period to another thanks to their co-workers (including Whit Bissell and Lee Meriwhether), the duo wasn’t able to make the leap (no pun intended) home, instead finding themselves in predicaments ranging from a trip to the Moon to visiting Pearl Harbor and meeting Ulysses in 1200 B.C.

Colorful, cardboard action, music by “Johnny” Williams, and somewhat pedestrian scripts marked “The Time Tunnel” was one of producer Allen’s more short-lived series. Yet, the show’s premise was intriguing (and was later reworked by “Quantum Leap,” even down to the gimmick of ending each show with the opening from the next episode) and fans who grew up with the series will love revisiting “The Time Tunnel” in Fox’s four-disc box-set, containing the first 15 episodes from the series (which aired from September through December, 1966). The full-screen transfers are in remarkably good condition with very little imperfections in the source materials, while the mono soundtracks are likewise in acceptable condition.

Supplements include an alternate version of the pilot, “Rendezvous With Yesterday,” which contains some different footage in its ending (tying into an episode that aired later on), plus a number of silent Irwin Allen home movies, art and still galleries, promos, visual effects test footage and a comic book gallery.

“Incredible Hulk” and “V” producer-creator Kenneth Johnson was already a genre veteran by the time he signed to oversee the production of ALIEN NATION: THE SERIES, which launched on the then-fledgling Fox network in 1989.

Based on the 1988 film, Johnson took the initial premise of Rockne S. O’Bannon’s moderate box-office success and used it as a springboard for a more detailed critique of society, racism, and relations between the alien “Newcomers” and the human populace of Earth that they try to blend in with.

Gary Graham essays cranky human detective Matthew Sykes and Eric Pierpoint stars as his partner George Fransisco -- roles originally filled by James Caan and Mandy Patinkin, respectively, in the theatrical version. Fox launched the series as a two-hour TV film in 1989, with Johnson writing-directing and many of his “Hulk”/”V” collaborators assisting (including cinematographer John McPherson and composer Joe Harnell, whose music was replaced in the series proper by Steve Dorff).

The TV film, which works in some discarded footage from the movie (as Johnson notes some of the make-up was even worse than what was used in the actual film!), offers a nice mix of action and character development, arguably more so than Graham Baker’s theatrical predecessor. The 22 subsequent hour-long episodes of the series, however, tend to shift the balance overwhelmingly in the latter direction, with some preachy, pretentious stories deflating some of the goodwill the series has going for it in its early hours. With declining ratings, Fox cancelled the series after just one season on the air, though it was later resurrected in a handful of TV movies throughout the ‘90s.

Contrary to Fox’s DVD box set billing, this six-disc set does not offer the “Complete Series” since the five subsequent tele-films are NOT included here. What it does offer are the 22 series episodes, plus the original two-hour pilot, a very brief, vintage behind-the-scenes featurette, and commentary from Johnson.

The initial two-hour pilot looks terrific here, but the individual episodes of the series appear somewhat soft and grainy. I’m not sure if this was a product of how the show was produced, but they look nearly identical to the similarly unspectacular transfers Paramount included on their “War of the Worlds: The Series” box set from last month -- perhaps not coincidentally a genre TV series produced around the same time. Some viewers may find it to be a disappointment, but most fans are likely just to be happy to see “Alien Nation” back in circulation after many years -- a development that, hopefully, will lead to additional TV-movies thanks to any renewed interest this set may generate.

HILL STREET BLUES: The Complete First Season (1981), 850 minutes. DVD FEATURES: Full-screen; 2.0 mono; 17 Episodes; Commentary on Selected Episodes; New Featurette, “Roll Call." Fox (available January 31st).

MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW: The Complete Third Season (1972-73), 813 minutes. DVD FEATURES: Full-screen; 2.0 mono; 24 Episodes. Fox (available January 24th).

In addition to “Alien Nation” and “The Time Tunnel,” Fox brings two classic TV series back to DVD this month, highlighted by the debut of Steven Bochco’s seminal cop drama, HILL STREET BLUES.

The celebrated, long-running NBC series marks its debut on DVD January 31st in a three-disc set sporting the initial 17 episodes from the series. Strong ensemble performances (from the likes of Daniel J. Travanti, Michael Conrad, Michael Warren, Charles Haid, Veronica Hamel, Bruce Weitz, James B. Sikking, Betty Thomas, Barbara Babcock and others) and frank sexual and dramatic situations made “Hill Street” a groundbreaking show that was a far cry from the likes of previous network “police procedural” series. Still, the show also deftly interspersed a decent amount of comedic elements that, all told, managed to appeal to a wide audience, particularly after “Hill Street” moved to a Thursday night slot in its second season (NBC debuted the series on a Saturday night in January 1981, later moving it to Tuesdays midway through its inaugural year).

Fox’s DVD box set offers excellent transfers and mono soundtracks, along with a marvelous 50-minute “Roll Call” featurette, offering a round-table reunion of surviving cast members from the show’s beginning. This is a marvelous, moving featurette that you’d wish all studios would go to the trouble of producing when packaging supplements for TV series on DVD. Bravo!

Also available from Fox on January 24th is the third season of the celebrated “Mary Tyler Moore Show.” The Emmy-winning comedy really hits its stride with 24 more classic shows, here presented in full-screen and in their original uncut, broadcast-length versions. Extras aren’t anywhere to be found, but most fans aren’t going to carp when the quality of the product itself more than justifies the price of the set.

THREE’S COMPANY: Season 5 (1980-81), 550 mins. DVD FEATURES: Full-screen, 2.0 mono; 22 Episodes; Jenilee Harrison Interview; New Interviews with Producers and Writers.

TITUS: Season 3 (2001), 462 mins. DVD FEATURES: Full-screen, 2.0 Stereo; 21 Episodes; Interviews With Zack Ward, Cynthia Watros, Stacy Keach; Commentary With Christopher Titus and Creators.

DOOGIE HOWSER, M.D.: Season 3 (1991), 628 mins. DVD FEATURES: Full-screen, 2.0 stereo; 24 Episodes; New Interviews With James B. Sikking and Neil Patrick Harris.

Anchor Bay’s latest group of TV series on DVD is highlighted by the fifth season of THREE’S COMPANY, which was notable for its comings and goings. The latter included a goodbye to contract-holdout Suzanne Somers, who left the show for a film career that never really got going. In her place came Crissy Snow’s cousin, Cindy, played appealingly by Jenilee Harrison, who obviously had a tough act to follow (and would soon be replaced by Priscilla Barnes).

Despite Sommers’ departure, “Three’s Company” remained a viewer fave, and Anchor Bay’s four-disc box-set includes all 22 episodes from Season 5 in solid full-screen transfers with Dolby Digital mono sound. Extras include new interviews with Jenilee Harrison, producers George Sunga and George Burditt, and writer Kim Weiskopf. Highlight reels of each characters’ “Best Of” moments are also included.

Also available from Anchor Bay are the third season of Steven Bochco and David E. Kelly’s DOOGIE HOWSER, M.D., sporting the 24 episodes from the ABC series’ third year on the air in a four-disc set, also offering new interviews with James B. Sikking (Doogie’s TV dad) and Neil Patrick Harris; and the third and final season of Christopher Titus’ caustic but entertaining and occasionally insightful TITUS, here presented in a four-disc set with new interviews with co-stars Zack Ward, Cynthia Watros and Stacy Keach, plus commentary with Titus and his co-creators Brian Hargrove and Jack Kenny. The full-screen transfers and stereo soundtracks are acceptable on all shows.

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