M*A*S*H* Season Ten Collector's Edition

M*A*S*H still stands as one of the most ambitious TV shows of all time. Mixing comedy and drama seamlessly, the only clunky aspect of the show is its awkward and intermittent laugh track. The ensemble cast and the breadth of storylines are the prototype for such comedies as Cheers and dramas like E.R., and the show was still compelling, even in its tenth year. As "Hawkeye Pierce,” Alan Alda is a captivating lead and his forays into directing are ambitious, such as with the weighty "Where There’s a Will, There’s a War.” He shares an engaging dynamic with Mike Farrell, as best friend "B.J. Hunnicut,” and David Ogden Stiers, playing the progenitor to "Frasier Crane,” "Charles Winchester III.” The scripts always strive to be generous to the entire cast and most episodes feature all seven regular cast members in meaty roles. There are lighter episodes with heavy overtones, such as the season premiere, "That’s Showbiz,” where a USO entertainment company makes an extended stay at the 4077, intermingling with and profoundly affecting everyone in the unit (particularly the cantankerous but beloved "Col. Potter,” played by Harry Morgan). Racism is tackled in "The Tooth Shall Set You Free,” which features a young Laurence Fishburne as an injured soldier victimised by a prejudiced commanding officer. There are broader episodes as well, such as "Picture This,” which finds the principal players at odds with one another to great comic effect. There’s a good reason why M*A*S*H continues to be popular in syndication and this collection is an endearing reminder of what a consistently great show it truly was. (Fox)