A failed series starring Andy Griffith, which nonetheless has a cult following, is dipping a toe into DVD waters, leading this week’s TV shows that are new to DVD.
“Salvage 1: Golden Orbit” (Sony Classics, 1979, $18.95, two episodes). "Salvage 1: Hard Water” (Sony Classics, 1979, $18.95, two episodes). “Dipping a toe” because this represents only four episodes of a series that ran just 20, so why the entire series couldn’t be released is beyond me. If these sell/rent well, perhaps the series will follow.
“Salvage 1” is a fantasy/thriller/comedy series starring Griffith as Harry Broderick, owner of Jettison Scrap and Salvage. In the show’s pilot, Harry recruits former astronaut Skip (Joel Higgins) and NASA fuel expert Mel (Trish Stewart) to help him recover Apollo program leftovers from the moon for resale, all of which is summed up in the opening moments of the shows included here. Richard Jaeckel co-stars as a blustery government official.
“Golden Orbit” and “Hard Water” are double-episode stories, the first about retrieving a satellite and the second about diverting a runaway iceberg. And they are, of course, by today’s standards rather unsophisticated, with cheesy special effects. But fans won’t care. It’s nostalgia value that will drive viewers here. (Available at www.warnerarchive.com)
“Frankenstein: The Real Story” (History/Lionsgate, 1995-2008, $14.98, three episodes). This disc has three documentaries on the subject of historical experimentation with reanimating life, as well as the Mary Shelley novel and the many movie/TV adaptations: “In Search of the Real Frankenstein,” “Frankenstein: It’s Alive!” and “The True Story of Frankenstein.”
“El Senor de los Cielos, Volumen 1” (Universal/Telemundo, 2013, six discs, $29.98, 35 episodes, in Spanish with English subtitles, one featurette).
“El Senor de los Cielos, Volumen 2” (Universal/Telemundo, 2013, eight discs, $29.98, 39 episodes, in Spanish with English subtitles, two featurettes). That’s “Lord of the Skies” in English, the title of this show and a nickname for its main character, a drug lord that uses a fleet of jets to transport his product. Loosely based on a real-life Mexican drug lord, this glossy Spanish-language prime-time soap opera is comparable to “Dynasty,” except for the business dealings of its principles.
“Last of the Summer Wine: Vintage 2001” (BBC, 2001, two discs, $34.98, 10 episodes, Christmas special). The long-running British sitcom about old codgers gone wild is as funny in its 22nd season as it was in its first in 1973, or for that matter, it’s 31st in 2010. Keith Clifford returns as Billy Hardcastle, this time as a permanent cast member, and Christopher Beeny makes his debut as the Repo Man.
“Top Gear: The Complete Season 20” (BBC, 2014, two discs, $18.98, six episodes, featurettes). This season of the original British version of this popular car show has a race against a yacht up the coast of New Zealand, an auto that can turn into a hovercraft and guests Benedict Cumberbatch and Ron Howard showing their stuff on the track.
“The Universe in 3D: A Whole New Dimension” (History/Lionsgate/Blu-ray, 2011, $19.99, three episodes). Visually captivating 3D episodes of this documentary series explore “Crash Landing on Mars,” “Worst Days on Planet Earth” and “God and the Universe.”
“Joanna Lumley’s Greek Odyssey” (Athena, 2013, two discs, $39.99, four episodes; 12-page booklet). Four-part documentary miniseries hosted by the British comic actress is a follow-up to her earlier exploration of the Nile. Here Lumley visits the Parthenon, Delphi, the Gates of Hades, Mount Olympus, a leper colony and coaxes Nana Mouskouri to sing.
“Secrets of Ancient Egypt” (Athena, 1994-2006, two discs, four episodes, bonus documentary: “Realm of the Dead”; 12-page booklet). This collection culls four documentary programs on the title subject: “Secrets of the Pharaohs: A Quest for Ancient DNA,” “Oasis of the Golden Mummies,” “Secrets of the Sands” and “The Sacred Animals of the Pharaohs.”
“SpongeBob and Friends: Patrick SquarePants” (Nickelodeon/Paramount, 2001-13, $14.99, 14 episodes). Cartoons focusing on the friendship between SpongeBob and Patrick.
“Henry Hugglemonster: Meet the Hugglemonsters” (Disney, 2014, $19.99, six episodes). From the Disney Junior cable channel comes this animated series for preschoolers about a “monster” society and their loving home environment.
“Saban’s Power Rangers Megaforce: the Mysterious Robo Knight” (Lionsgate, 2013, $14.98, four episodes). The Rangers join forces with new Megazords and a transforming robot to take on invading monsters.
Chris Hicks is the author of "Has Hollywood Lost Its Mind? A Parent’s Guide to Movie Ratings." Website: www.hicksflicks.com