The third season of the 1950s favorite “Sugarfoot” leads this week’s TV shows on DVD.
“Sugarfoot: The Complete Third Season” (Warner Archive/DVD, 1959-60, b/w, five discs, 20 episodes). Gentle, amusing ABC Western series about a reluctant quick gun nicknamed “Sugarfoot” (Will Hutchins). In the first episode of this season Hutchins also plays his crooked lookalike cousin, the Canary Kid, and they’re visited by three characters from other ABC Westerns at the time: Ty Hardin, “Bronco”; Peter Brown, “Lawman” and Wayde Preston, “Colt .45.”
Other guests this season include future Oscar-winners James Coburn, Louise Fletcher, Martin Landau and, in two episodes as different characters, George Kennedy, along with Efrem Zimbalist Jr., Adam West, Troy Donahue, Connie Stevens and Dorothy Provine.
“Anna Karenina” (Acorn/DVD, 1977, three discs, 10 episodes). Leo Tolstoy’s epic novel gets the TV miniseries treatment here and is better served than by some other adaptations that have been forced to trim the material. The primary love story is wonderfully realized and most of the novel’s subplots and sidebar political machinations are dealt with quite well.
The main story, set in 1870s Russia, follows the title character (Nicola Pagett, memorable as Elizabeth in the original “Upstairs/Downstairs”), who is unhappily married to a much older government official (Eric Porter, tremendously impressive a decade earlier in “The Forsyte Saga”). But her fate is sealed when Anna meets dashing Count Vronsky (Stuart Wilson).
“Lovejoy: Series 1” (Acorn/DVD, 1986, three discs, 10 episodes, featurette). You may only know Ian McShane from the HBO series “Deadwood” or as Blackbeard in the fourth “Pirates of the Caribbean” film, but he has had a long career, appearing in many shows you’ve probably seen. But his star rose dramatically in England when he landed the title part of “Lovejoy,” a rakish antiques collector with a bad-boy side. The series blends comedy and drama, mystery and thrills, and has Lovejoy occasionally speaking directly to the audience. It’s a bravura performance in a most enjoyable show.
“Hinterland: Series 1” (Acorn/DVD, four discs, four episodes, featurettes, photo gallery). This Welsh series, which is compared in the press notes to the Swedish version of “Wallander” and the Danish version of “The Killing,” follows a police detective with 10 years' experience in London as he moves to a close-knit village in Wales and is partnered with a young local woman. Together they investigate a series of gruesome murders in these four feature-length episodes. (Two versions were filmed at the same time, one in Welsh and the other in English. Although this is the latter you may still want to turn on the English subtitles.)
“A Young Doctor’s Notebook: Season One” (BBC/DVD, 2012, four episodes). Daniel Radcliffe and Jon Hamm play the same character at different ages in this very dark satire set in 1917-18 Russia as a doctor reflects back on his time in a small village hospital where the patients were superstitious and he was struggling with a morphine addiction. (If you’re squeamish be advised that this gets quite bloody.)
“Helix: The Complete First Season” (Sony/Blu-ray/DVD, 2014, three discs, 13 episodes, deleted scenes, audio commentaries, featurettes, outtakes). Billy Campbell (“Once and Again,” “The Killing”) stars in this Syfy cable channel series about an arctic bioresearch station where a new strain of virus kills some people and turns others into zombies. And, of course, the powerful forces behind the outbreak have a sinister agenda.
“Wild Brazil: Land of Fire and Flood” (BBC/DVD, 2014, three episodes). Documentary miniseries about how animals — mainly capuchin monkeys and otters — survive in the wilderness of South America, in particular during the wet season’s flooding and the dry season’s raging fires.
“The Boondocks: The Complete Fourth Season” (Sony/DVD, 2014, two discs, 10 episodes, featurettes). This final season of the adult animated series (part of the cable Cartoon Network’s “Adult Swim” programming) went forward without series creator Aaron McGruder and focuses more on the character of Granddad (voiced by John Witherspoon). Based on McGruder’s controversial comic strip, an edgy satire of American politics and African-American culture.
“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Good, the Bad and Casey Jones” (Nickelodeon/Paramount/DVD, 2013-14, six episodes, featurettes). These episodes are from the third animated series about the popular superheroes (in a half-shell), just in time for the new live-action film opening in theaters next month.
“Monster High: Clawesome Double Feature” (Universal/Blu-ray/DVD,Digital, 2011/2012, two discs, two episodes). These two “Monster High” animated specials from the Nickelodeon cable channel are “Fright On!” and “Escape From Skull Shores.”
“The Legend of Korra: Book Two: Spirits” (Nickelodeon/Paramount/Blu-ray/DVD, two discs, 14 episodes, audio commentaries, featurettes). More animated adventures of the headstrong girl who has learned to enter the Avatar state at will in this TV-series sequel to “Avatar: The Last Airbender.”