TODAY'S PAPER
Good Morning
Good Morning
LifestyleColumnists

GLUED TO THE TUBE

Time to shop for your favorite tubehead(s)? We've got some

holiday gift suggestions of new and recent TV-related products you might want

to consider. Most are widely available in stores or from online sellers. (List

prices below are often deeply discounted.)

DVD BOX SETS

Barbra Streisand: The Television Specials (WSM, list price $60) - This hard

box of five 1965-73 TV specials from Streisand's early 20s stardom includes

the classic Central Park concert. The aesthetic standouts are the first two,

cleverly themed three-act specials showcasing Streisand's versatility on

location at Bergdorf's and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Fact-filled booklet,

too.

Ken Burns American Lives (PBS, $140) - Echoing last year's "America

Collection" about landmarks (the Brooklyn Bridge, Statue of Liberty), this new

seven-volume set profiles Thomas Jefferson, Mark Twain, Jack Johnson, Frank

Lloyd Wright and other innovative Americans. Extras include interviews,

making-ofs, outtakes.

Horatio Hornblower Collector's Edition (A&E, $80) - Ioan Gruffudd stars as

C.S. Forester's high-seas hero in all eight luscious TV movies (the final one,

"Loyalty," in widescreen). Bonus features include new interview with the star,

commentaries, making-of featurette, backgrounder on royal warships.

Combat! (Image, $300) and Tour of Duty (Sony, $122, out today) - Lost among

the hubbub for fancy sets of such current hits as "Sex in the City" and

"Friends" are these cult war faves from previous decades. "Combat!" is the

1960s ABC series chronicling World War II foot soldiers; its five previously

released seasons are now united in a (pricey) khaki box holding 40 discs and

extras. The three season sets of CBS' 1987-90 Vietnam saga "Tour of Duty" can

also be bought together in a cool new foot locker package.

DVD GEMS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED

Wild Palms (MGM, list price $15) - Mind-bending 1993 ABC miniseries is a

futuristic look at techno takeover through virtual reality and "mood

poisoning." Jim Belushi plays it straight in Bruce Wagner's adaptation of his

comic strip, with Dana Delany, Robert Loggia, Ben Savage and Kim Cattrall.

Ryuichi Sakamoto's eerie music completes this cult fave, finally on two-disc

DVD.

Harts of the West (Tango, $30) - Witty, warm tale of a Chicago family

moving to a broken-down dude ranch stars Beau Bridges as a cowboy wannabe, with

dad Lloyd as a cantankerous ranch hand. All 15 episodes of ABC's 1993

comedy-drama have a great feel for parent-kid relationships and quirky

characters ("Newsradio" boss Stephen Root as a cook/sheriff paranoid about

Canadians).

Mister Peepers (S'more, $40) - Wally Cox stars in this 1950s gem of gentle

humor as a small-town science teacher beset by trouble with inanimate objects.

These 26 episodes on four discs come from so-so kinescopes (filmed off live TV

monitors). But they're treasures nonetheless - eccentric adventures playing

more like a Britcom than the brash American sitcoms to follow.

The Unknown Chaplin (A&E, $25) - The three-part PBS/Thames documentary

series from movie mavens Kevin Brownlow and David Gill ("Hollywood") shows

Charlie Chaplin behind the scenes, working out his classic comedy routines.

Special features spotlight the makers' discovery of this invaluable footage,

plus two fascinating reconstructions of famous shorts.

BOOKS

TV a-Go-Go (Chicago Review Press, list price $19) - Amazingly detailed look

at rock music on the tube is also packed with pictures. Author Jake Austen's

370 pages range from early dance shows ("American Bandstand"), through "The

Monkees" and "The Partridge Family," on to MTV and "Making the Band." A rock TV

listings appendix goes close-up on specific programs: Milli Vanilli on

"Arsenio Hall," the TV movie "KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park."

The Sopranos Family Cookbook (Warner, $20) - This 2002 release isn't new,

but my gourmet chef husband keeps conjuring amazing meals from it. More than a

tie-in quickie, it's a solid Italian food source from recipe queen Michele

Scicolone, with the bonus of cleverly incorporated "Sopranos" stories and

trivia.

GAMES

Scene It? DVD games (Screenlife, list price $25-40 each) - Interactive

clips on DVD provide clues to tube trivia questions in various board-game

packages. The original TV Edition is now joined by others devoted to Warner

Bros. TV 50th Anniversary ("The Dukes of Hazzard," "Dallas" and "Friends"), HBO

("The Sopranos," "Six Feet Under," "Entourage"), Turner Classic Movies and

ESPN sports.

Desperate Housewives (Cardinal, $25 each) - Players compete to keep or

uncover neighborhood secrets in two board games, "Dirty Laundry Game" and

"Mysteries of Wisteria Lane."

CSI - The Board Game (Specialty, $35 each) - Collect clues as a forensic

specialist trying to piece together a murder mystery before other players. Also

available: "CSI: Miami."

Law & Order (Cardinal, $15-25) - Investigate cases and interrogate

witnesses in "Law & Order Game" and "Law & Order Detective Game."

More Lifestyle