TV on DVD for 12/22/09 – Peter Cushing’s Sherlock Holmes and the last Taxi ride

The Sherlock Holmes Collection (1968) (A&E) – Peter Cushing first played Sherlock Holmes in the Hammer Films version of The Hound of the Baskervilles, a gothic take on the classic Holmes novel directed by Terence Fisher. It was dream casting, not just visually (his gaunt face and hawklike profile made him the heir apparent to Basil Rathbone) but temperamentally; he seems to be the very embodiment of science and reason (attributes that made him such a great Van Helsing in the Dracula series).

Peter Cushing and Nigel Stock

Which makes this discovery such a find. Cushing returned to the role of the greatest detective in the late sixties BBC series Sherlock Holmes. Only six episodes survive and they have been collected in this three-disc set, which is headlined by the two-part adaptation of The Hound of the Baskervilles (Cushing’s second take on the famous tale) and includes faithful adaptations of Conan Doyle classics The Sign of Four and A Study in Scarlet among the episodes. Cushing is a hearty Holmes and his friendship with the observant and intelligent (if not nearly so brilliant) Watson (Nigel Stock) grounds the show. This show is produced in the familiar BBC manner, with studio scenes shot on video and location footage on film, but it’s a convention that fans of vintage British TV have become accustomed to and the shows look quite good on the A&E discs. Six episodes on three discs, plus the featurette “Sherlock Holmes: The Great Detective.”

Kyle XY: The Complete Third Season (Disney) – A coming of age family drama by way of young adult conspiracy thriller, the ABC Family series Kyle XY is, as one would expect from a title stamped with a prominent “X,” a sci-fi inflected program. But for all the hints of X-Files and Smallville, it also confronts issues of adolescence and teen sexuality with a refreshing frankness and sensitivity. Now the show comes to end, and not with any sense of closure, thanks to cancellation from the ABC Family Channel after the cliffhanger ending was already in the can. Still, it’s an engaging season of the genetic superboy experiment turned adopted adolescent innocent Kyle (Matt Dallas) using his gifts to protect the people he loves from the corporate powers that want him back, not just his adopted family and the girl next door sweetheart, but Jessi XX (Jaimie Alexander), another pod-gestated experiment who was born a full-grown teenager and escaped from HQ without any survival skills (she’s having a harder time with socialization than Kyle every did). 10 episodes on three discs, plus the featurette “Kyle XY: Future Revealed” (which sketches out the ideas the creators had for the fourth season that never was) and commentary on select episodes.

Taxi: The Final Season (Paramount) – After five seasons on the streets, the Emmy winning sitcom featuring Judd Hirsch as the father confessor and paternal figure for an eccentric group of New York cabbies hit the garage for good. Hirsch played straight man to the cast of offbeat personalities—romantic Marilu Henner, sweet idiot Tony Danza, surly Danny DeVito, Christopher Lloyd’s eternally dazed Jim and Andy Kaufman’s wide-eyed Latvian mechanic Latka Gravas, who was by now happily (and eventfully) married to old country sweetheart Simka (Carol Kane)—and remained the steadfast rock through the show. 24 episodes on three discs in a standard case with a hinged tray, but two of them are scrapbook shows of recycled clips, and the only supplements are promos.

For more TV on DVD, visit my weekly column, which goes live every Tuesday on MSN Entertainment: TV on DVD. For more new DVD this week, visit my DVD picks for the week at my blog and New Releases, Special Releases and Blu-ray at my MSN column.

Author: seanax

I write the weekly newspaper column Stream On Demand and the companion website ( I'm a contributing writer for Turner Classic Movies Online, Keyframe, Independent Lens, and Cinephiled, and the editor of Parallax View ( I've written for The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, The Seattle Weekly,, Senses of Cinema, Asian Cult Cinema, and Psychotronic Video, among other publications, and I am a contributing editor to Parallax View. I currently live and work in Seattle, Washington, with my two cats, Hammet and Chandler.

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