Before “The Sopranos” and the new Golden Age of Television, the 1980s kicked off the serious TV drama movement with “Hill Street Blues.” More smart, sophisticated series followed, including the 1988-91 ABC series “China Beach” ($199.95, StarVista Entertainment). Long unreleasable on DVD due to music clearance issues, a complete series set finally came out this year with a bevy of extras including a recent cast reunion featurette — just one element on a DVD that has four hours of extras — and a collectible memory book.
For fans of the Glenn Close legal drama “Damages” who lost track of the show when it moved from FX to DirecTV, a complete series box set ($95.99, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment) includes the fourth and fifth seasons that viewers who don’t subscribe to DirecTV might have missed.
Classic TV releases are well-represented this year with a complete series set of “The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis” ($139.99, Shout! Factory). The 1959-63 comedy starred Bob Denver before he became best known as Gilligan of “Gilligan’s Island.”
Smithton native Shirley Jones headlined the 1970s musical comedy “The Partridge Family” ($45.99, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment), now available in a set that includes all four seasons of the show that followed a family of singers, including teen heartthrob David Cassidy.
For fans of more recent teen programs, three complete series sets come to DVD this holiday season: The original “Beverly Hills, 90210” ($349.99, CBS DVD), “Saved by the Bell” ($49.98, Lionsgate) and “Boy Meets World” ($99.98, Lionsgate), which is back in the headlines again as Disney Channel preps a next-generation spinoff, “Girl Meets World,” for 2014.
For the younger crowd — or adults with a taste for nostalgia — “Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids” ($119.99, Shout! Factory) includes all 110 episodes of the animated series, along with a new documentary that includes an interview with series creator Bill Cosby.
New family fare this holiday season includes complete series sets of “Family Ties” ($289.99, CBS DVD), starring Michael J. Fox (center right), and “Mama’s Family” ($199.95, StarVista Home Entertainment), a spinoff of “The Carol Burnett Show” that starred Vicki Lawrence. The “Family Ties” set is packaged to look like a family photo album, and it includes a trove of behind-the-scenes features and the pilot episode from a proposed spinoff series, “The Art of Being Nick.” “Mama’s Family” includes a cast reunion round-table discussion and a new interview with Ms. Burnett and Ms. Lawrence.