If you look forward to holiday-themed episodes of your favorite TV series, these new DVDs are for you.
(Time Life, 1967-78, three episodes; eight-page booklet). These three December shows are from Burnett's first four seasons and haven't been seen in more than 40 years. Highlights include Jonathan Winters as Saint Nick and early incarnations of the regular skits "The Old Folks," "Carol & Sis" and "The Charwoman." A funny non-Yule courtroom skit was penned by Neil Simon and features Burnett's old buddies Garry Moore and Durwood Kirby, who gave the comedian her start on "The Garry Moore Show."
(Warner, 1965-73, three episodes, six bonus episodes, three featurettes). This 4K/Blu-ray release includes three classic animated CBS specials: "A Charlie Brown Christmas," "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" and "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving," along with six more "Peanuts" specials.
(Sony, 1977, deleted/alternate scenes, "lost" song, featurette, bloopers). Jim Henson created this hourlong HBO family-friendly special based on the 1967 book by Russell Hoban ("The Mouse and His Child"), using Muppets and his stock company of familiar voice actors (including Frank Oz). The special is charming, witty and fun, with songs by Paul Williams and an introduction by Kermit the Frog.
(CBS/Paramount, 1955-56, b/w, six episodes). This ancient sitcom is still hilarious, thanks to sharp writing and the singular comic chemistry of Jackie Gleason and Art Carney. But the series lasted only a single filmed season (the "lost episodes" collected elsewhere were kinescope segments from Gleason's earlier variety shows), so there's only one Christmas show here. But it's a hoot, as are the other five episodes — especially "TV or Not TV" and "The Golfer."
(CBS/Paramount, 1993-2004, eight episodes). Kelsey Grammer, David Hyde Pierce, John Mahoney, Jane Leeves and Peri Gilpin were a grand comedy ensemble for this long-running spinoff of "Cheers," as demonstrated by these Christmas-themed episodes, all of them very funny.
(CBS/Paramount, 1988). This one's a TV-movie reunion that brought back almost the entire cast of the original 1969-74 blended-family sitcom. Only Susan Olsen, who played Cindy, was absent, with Jennifer Runyon taking over the role. The show's huge fan base made this the second-most-watched TV movie of the year.
(CBS/Paramount, 1996-2003, six episodes, TV-movie, featurette). The holiday episodes here are gleaned from the silly magical sitcom based on the comic book character, with Melissa Joan Hart in the title role. Included is the TV movie "Sabrina Goes to Rome" (1998) and its promotional featurette.
(Acorn, 2016, featurette). This Christmas special has turn-of-the-20th-century Toronto Detective William Murdoch (Yannick Bisson) investigating a train robbery, which leads him to Toronto businesses being robbed in the days leading up to Christmas. For the uninitiated, this is a witty Canadian mystery series about a detective using at-the-time innovative technology to solve crimes.