May 2015: The Month in Home Media

The Month in Home Media is a monthly column highlighting short-lived or rare television series, specials, miniseries or made-for-TV movies released on DVD or Blu-ray during the previous month, as well as recent additions to streaming services like Warner Archive Instant. The releases discussed in this column are encoded for Region 1 use in the United States and Canada. The Month in Home Media is published on the first Thursday of each month.

May 2015 was a pretty big month. Battlestar Galactica and Galactica 1980 were released on Blu-ray (in both widescreen and full frame versions). Anthology series Science Fiction Theatre (syndicated, 1955-1957) was released on DVD as was the first season of CPO Sharkey (NBC, 1976-1978). Also, select episodes of The Barbara McNair Show and The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson were released on DVD.

DVD/Blu-ray Releases

Battlestar Galactica – The Remastered Collection (TV Series, Universal Home Video, Blu-ray)
The original Battlestar Galactica comes to Blu-ray for the first time alongside its spin-off/continuation Galactica 1980 in this 8-disc set that includes new HD transfers of both series in widescreen (16:9). Plus, there are a slew of bonus features, all of which were previously released on DVD. Reviews can be found at DVD Talk and Home Theater Forum.

Battlestar Galactica – The Definitive Collection (TV Series, Universal Home Video, Blu-ray)
If you want to see Battlestar Galactica or Galactica 1980 in HD but in their original full frame (4:3) glory, you’ll have to pick up this slightly more expensive (MSRP of $149.98 compared to $119.98 for the Remastered Collection) 18 disc-set that includes the two shows in both widescreen and full frame. It includes the same bonus features as the Remastered Collection as well as a short featurette about remastering the series. Also thrown in for good measure is the theatrical version of the pilot telefilm. included is Reviews can be found at DVD Talk, Home Theater Forum, and Blu-ray.com.

The Barbara McNair Show (TV Episodes, Synergy Entertainment and Topics Entertainment, DVD)
This hour-long variety show was produced in Canada and ran for two seasons in syndication here in the United States from 1969 to 1971. Barbara McNair was, as the front of the set proclaims, the first African-American woman to host her own variety series. This 4-disc set includes 17 episodes with guests including Ethel Waters, Della Reese, Jim Backus, Soupy Sales, Lionel Hampton, Lou Rawls, B.B. King, Bobby Sherman, Debbie Reynolds, and many more.

The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (TV Episodes, Carson Entertainment Group, DVD)
The Johnny Carson website has launched a new “Featured Guests” series of DVDs consisting of single disc releases with two or more full episodes featuring a specific guest. The first three volumes will cover Don Rickles (two full episodes: one each 1973 and 1976), Robin Williams (three full episodes: one from 1984 and two from 1991), and David Lettermen (three full episodes: one each from 1978, 1991, and 1992). Each volume costs $14.99 or for a limited all three can be purchased for $34.99.

Science Fiction Theatre: The Complete Series (TV Series, Timeless Media Group, DVD)
This anthology series ran for two seasons and 78 episodes in first-run syndication from 1955 to 1957. Truman Bradley served as host. The first season was filmed in color while the second season was filmed in black and white. Guest stars included DeForest Kelley, Gene Barry, Basil Rathbone, Phyllis Coates, Howard, Duff, Vincent Price, and others. Reviews can be found at DVD Talk and Inside Pulse.

CPO Sharkey: The Complete Season 1 (TV Season, Time Life, DVD)
The first season of this NBC sitcom starring Don Rickles ran from December 1976 to March 1977 and included just 15 episodes, all of which can be found in this 3-disc set. The second season ran for a full 22 episodes during the 1977-1978 season. Presumably if Season 1 sells well, Time Life will see fit to release Season 2 as well. A review can be found at DVD Talk.

DVD/Blu-ray News

Synergy Entertainment and Topics Entertainment will release a 4-disc set of episodes from That Show with Joan Rivers, containing 29 episodes of the weekday talk show that ran in first-run syndication during the 1968-1969 season. A 3-disc was released in February 2012 containing 18 episodes; Hulu currently has 65 episodes available for streaming. I’m not sure whether this new collection contains episodes not available in the earlier set or on Hulu (TVShowsOnDVD.com).

Warner Archive will release Jericho (CBS, 1966-1967) on DVD on June 16th. The manufacture-on-demand set will include all 16 episodes of the World War II spy series starring Don Francks, Marino Mase, and John Leyton. The episodes have been available for streaming through Warner Archive Instant since that service launched in February 2013 (TVShowsOnDVD.com).

The Bold Ones: The Protectors will be released on DVD on September 15th by Shout Factory/Timeless Media Group. Part of NBC’s wheel series, the crime series ran for just six episodes from 1969 to 1970 (a pilot telefilm aired in February 1969). Leslie Nielsen and Hari Rhodes starred. (TVShowsOnDVD.com).

Streaming/Downloads

I missed this when it was launched back in April: the official Johnny Carson website now offers a Digital Downloads Series featuring full episodes of The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson. The first “volume” available was the June 19th, 1968 episode featuring Raquel Welch and Alan King, one of just 33 complete episodes that exist from the first ten years of the long-running show. Two additional episodes (September 7th, 1983 and February 27th, 1981) have since been added.

There were no new additions to Warner Archive Instant or Hulu. Warner Archive Instant brought back its three “The Best of Hawaiian Eye” collections after removing them in November 2014.

Hit the comments with any news about upcoming DVD/Blu-ray releases or additions to streaming services.


2 Comments

  • Jon says:

    CPO Sharkey was on NBC, not CBS. It may be best remembered for the time when Johnny Carson, discovering that Don Rickles had broken his cigarette box, went across the hall at NBC Burbank to the studio where Rickles was taping a CPO Sharkey episode to confront Rickles. I still remember the show pretty well, especially Season 2. Peter Isacksen will appear on http://www.stusshow.com on 6/17 (4 PM PT) with Stu Shostak to discuss his career and promote the DVD set.

    • Robert says:

      Thanks for the correction.

      Also, the CPO Sharkey Season 1 DVD set includes as a bonus feature footage of the infamous Carson-Rickles confrontation.

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