Seasons in the Fun: A Fall TV Alternative


The fall television season has arrived, with 36 new series vying for viewers. But if such gems as "Head Over Heels," "Meego" and "The Tom Show" aren't up your alley, perhaps you should check out these TV series, miniseries and movies currently on video.

New Video has put out "The Very Best of the Mary Tyler Moore Show" collector's edition ($100). It is a seven-volume set featuring two of the very best episodes from each season of the Emmy Award-winning classic including "Chuckles Bites the Dust," which was recently selected by TV Guide as the greatest episode in TV history.

Due Sept. 30 from New Video is another baby boomer classic, "The Very Best of the Bob Newhart Show" ($80). The six-volume set features two episodes from each season of the 1972-78 CBS comedy and includes facts and trivia about the show.

Aye Carumba! "The Simpsons," the longest-running animated series in TV history, makes its long-awaited video bow Tuesday (FoxVideo, $10 each) with six uncut episodes selected by "Simpsons" creator Matt Groening. Each tape features two episodes plus the "Simpsons" short that aired in 1986 on "The Tracey Ullman Show."

On Sept. 30, FoxVideo is releasing six episodes of "The X-Files" ($15) from the cult series' third season.

For miniseries buffs, MPI Home Video is re-releasing the 1988-89 ABC maxiseries "War and Remembrance" in two collector's boxed sets ($140 for set one; $100 for set two). The 23-hour adaptation of Herman Wouk's sequel to "The Winds of War" was produced for more than $104 million and stars Robert Mitchum, Polly Bergen, Hart Bochner, Jane Seymour, John Gielgud and Victoria Tennant.

Two popular 1997 miniseries make their home video debuts Tuesday. Trimark Home Video is releasing the Emmy-nominated "Mario Puzo's The Last Don," which cleaned up in the ratings last May on CBS. Beware though, this is the Cliffs Notes version of the miniseries. Two of the 4 1/2 hours of the mini have been edited out of the home video version. But the condensed edition includes additional scenes containing nudity and violence deemed too hot for network TV. Danny Aiello and Joe Mantegna star.

NBC's campy disaster thriller "Asteroid" (Live, $20) has also shed about 90 minutes on its way to the home video. Annabella Sciorra and Michael Biehn star.

Due Tuesday from Cabin Fever Entertainment is "The Lonesome Dove Trilogy," which contains the three miniseries based on Larry McMurtry's bestsellers chronicling the adventures of Gus McCrae and Woodrow Call: "Lonesome Dove," "The Streets of Laredo" and "Dead Man's Walk." The SP version, which also includes the CD soundtrack of "Lonesome Dove," goes for $100. The EP version is $50.

For those who miss "Mystery Science Theater 3000" on Comedy Central, Rhino Home Video has added two more vintage titles to its "MST3K" collection ($20 each): the deliciously horrific "Eagah," starring Richard Kiel as a caveman, and "The Unearthly," starring John Carradine as a mad scientist.

Anglophiles should stock up on crumpets, tea and scones while watching these veddy British series and movies on tape.

If you loved sexy Naveen Andrews' performance as Kip in "The English Patient," you'll want to check out "The Buddha of Suburbia" (BBC Video, $30). Andrews is terrific in this R-rated adaptation of Hanif Kureishi's novel focusing on the escapades of a young man, born of an English mother and an Indian father, in the anything-goes world of South London of the 1970s.

Anchor Bay Entertainment is offering two installments from PBS' "Masterpiece Theatre": "The Heat of the Day" ($20), starring Michael York and Patricia Hodge; and "The Real Charlotte" ($30), with Patrick Bergin. A far more entertaining "Masterpiece" is the 1978-79 series "The Duchess of Duke Street" (BBC Video, $120 for the five-volume set), due Sept. 23. Gemma Jones stars in this true story of a woman who rose from scrubbing floors to holding court at her own hotel.

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