Monday, December 31, 2012
The Grooviest DVDs of 2012
Here is my list of favorite DVDs released in 2012 in order of preference (click on a title for more info):
10) Bob: The Complete Series
I liked Bob Newhart's third sitcom, Bob, which aired on CBS for 33 episodes back in 1992-93. He played a comic book artist, and the supporting cast included Cynthia Stevenson, a pre-Friends Lisa Kudrow and the legendary Betty White, who is probably the reason for this obscure DVD release (now they need to release her own short-lived 1977-78 sitcom, The Betty White Show).
9) As the World Turns: The Wedding of Bob & Kim and Guiding Light: The Jennifer Richards Trial
SoapClassics' license to release episodes of the dearly departed daytime soaps, Guiding Light and As the World Turns, recently expired, so we sadly won't be getting any more DVDs of these shows. But I enjoyed the ones that were released this year, including the 1985 ATWT wedding of Bob and Kim that featured Julianne Moore as Bob's daughter Frannie, Marisa Tomei as Marcy Thompson, Brian Bloom as Dusty Donovan and the handsome Gregg Marx as Tom Hughes AND the 1981 GL murder trial of Jennifer Richards with appearances by Kevin Bacon as Tim Werner, Lisa Brown as the scheming Nola Reardon and the hunky John Wesley Shipp as Kelly Nelson, the object of Nola's affections.
8) Stephen Sondheim's Company
Company is one of my favorite musicals, so I'm quite pleased that this filmed presentation of the 2011 New York Philharmonic staged concert was released on DVD. And what a cast - Neil Patrick Harris, Stephen Colbert, Mad Men's Christina Hendricks, Martha Plimpton and the fabulous Patti LuPone!
7) The Sullivans, Volumes 1 and 2
Each DVD volume features 50 episodes of this 1976-83 Australian drama about the effect that World War II has on the lives of one family.
6) House of Dark Shadows
This 1970 feature film version of the popular daytime serial was finally released on DVD as was the 1971 sequel, Night of Dark Shadows.
5) The Sterile Cuckoo
Liza Minnelli was nominated for an Academy Award for her lovely performance as the kooky Pookie Adams in this 1969 film, which also features the Oscar-nominated song, "Come Saturday Morning", by The Sandpipers.
4) Laverne & Shirley: The Fifth Season
This sitcom's fourth season was released on DVD in 2008, so it only took four years for us to finally get the classic "Diner" episode (aka "Betty Please").
3) Number 96: The Beginning and the Bomb
A 40th anniversary collection of the groovy Australian soap opera, which ran from 1972 to 1977.
2) Designing Women: The Complete Sixth Season and The Final Season
Shout! Factory released the final two seasons of one of my favorite sitcoms. I wasn't a big fan of Julia Duffy's Allison Sugarbaker (who replaced Delta Burke in the sixth season), but I liked Jan Hooks as Charlene's sister Carlene. I also enjoyed Judith Ivey, who joined the cast as the wealthy B.J. Poteet during the show's seventh and final season. And any series featuring Dixie Carter, Annie Potts and Alice Ghostley deserves to be on DVD in my opinion.
1) The Carol Burnett Show: The Ultimate Collection
My favorite DVD release of 2012 is this Time Life collection, featuring 50 episodes of the best variety show ever. Classic sketches include Went with the Wind! with Carol as Starlet O'Hara (in the infamous Bob Mackie-crafted curtain-rod dress), Sunnyset Boulevard with Carol as Nora Desmond, the soap opera spoof, As the Stomach Turns, and, of course, The Family with Eunice and Mama. And Carol's impressive guest list includes Maggie Smith, Betty White, Steve Martin, Shirley MacLaine, Joanne Woodward, Rock Hudson, Joan Rivers, Lily Tomlin, Bernadette Peters, Petula Clark, Madeline Kahn, Peggy Lee and many others.
And, finally, at the top of my DVD Want List for 2013 is Time Life's spring release of China Beach: The Complete Collection, featuring all 64 episodes of the 1988-91 ABC drama as well as such bonus features as a cast reunion and interviews with stars Dana Delany and Marg Helgenberger. Time Life spent over a year clearing the rights to nearly 500 musical copyrights so that the DVD will be released with almost all of the series' original music intact. Now we just need to get DVD Complete Collections of Maude, Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, Flamingo Road, Homefront, Knots Landing, The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd, and WKRP in Cincinnati (with all of its original music intact).