TV on Disc Channel Guide: 'Secret Diaries' on the BBC
Plus John Nettles' farewell to 'Midsomer Murders' and more
"Dynasty: The Sixth Season" (Volumes 1 & 2) (Paramount) – John Forsythe, Linda Evans, and star in the glitzy nighttime soap of dirty dealing, illicit affairs, backroom conspiracies, and other family values of the rich and famous, all of it tastefully garish and elegantly outré. Videodrone's review is here.
"The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister" (BBC) stars Maxine Peake as Anne Lister, a 19th century woman who lived openly as a lesbian and kept detailed diaries of her life written in a code of her own devising. This BBC telefilm is based on those decoded diaries. Peake is an extraordinary actress – both intensely human in her vulnerability and intensely disquieting," writes TV critic John Preston at The Telegraph. "She was wonderfully well-cast here, veering between predatory seductiveness and agonised self-pity. There is a peculiarly taut quality to her too, a sense that she is being pulled in all sorts of different directions at once, which ensured that the drama didn’t flag even when the pace dropped off. Although Jane English’s script may have lacked a bit of zip, it had a sufficient degree of emotional penetration and a pleasing amount of bite." DVD only.
"Midsomer Murders: Set 20" (Acorn) boxes up the final four feature-length episodes of the thirteenth series of the long-running British mystery series. The bucolic series, starring John Nettles as the unflappable DCI Tom Barnaby and Jason Hughes as DC Ben Jones, his third and final junior partner, became an audience favorite on both sides of the Atlantic, thanks to its mix of offbeat black wit and lazy rural life, not to mention the relentless body count. Based on this show, you might think that the cluster of quaint country villages in rural Midsomer is the murder capital of England. It's also the final season for Nettles, who takes on his final case when there's a murder on a weekend getaway to a spa. After solving his last case in "Fit For Murder," Tom Barnaby passes the torch on to his cousin, DCI John Barnaby (Neil Dudgeon), previously a guest in the show. Four discs in a box set of four thinpak cases, plus an essay and photo gallery tribute to the unflappable Tom Barnaby.
Frances O'Connor is "Madame Bovary" (BBC) in the 2000 BBC production of the classic Flaubert novel, with Hugh Bonneville as Charles Bovary. Hugh Dancy, Greg Wise and Eileen Atkins co-star and Tim Fywell directs. DVD only.
"George Gently: Series 4" (Acorn) consists of two feature-length episodes of the BBC mystery series starring Martin Shaw as a London inspector in Northeast England in the 1960s.
"Last of the Summer Wine: Vintage 1992" (BBC) features 10 episodes from the fourteenth series of the longest running sitcom on TV, including the 1992 Christmas special.
"The Streets of San Francisco: Season 3" (Volumes 1 & 2) (Paramount), the cop drama starring Karl Malden as Lt. Mike Stone, veteran detective on the SFPD, and Michael Douglas as his young partner, Inspector Steve Keller, splits the 23 episodes of the season into two separates volumes (each a three-disc set) but shrinkwraps them together for sale.
"Mannix: The Seventh Season" (Paramount) presents 22 episodes of the Mike Connors private eye series on six discs, all efficiently packed into a standard case with hinged trays.
"Rocko's Modern Life: Season Three" (Shout! Factory) offers 13 episodes of the animated Nickelodeon series on two discs, with select scene commentary by creator Joe Murray.