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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

quick list: five TV shows that should be on DVD

With the long-awaited DVD release of Max Headroom arriving next week, I’ve been thinking about what other shows deserve to get DVD releases that are lingering in the ether. After the jump, a few I’d love to see.

(Oh, yes, I’ll have a review of the Max set, and I may have to do episode-by-episode blogging later in the fall, once everyone has had a chance to check out the set; the show is still mindblowing a quarter of a century on.)
Doctor Doctor
Where is the DVD release of Matt Frewer’s 1989-1991 CBS sitcom? I remember this as one of the funniest shows I’ve ever seen… and I hate sitcoms. Was it as peeing-in-my-pants hilarious as my memory says it was? Or was I more amused by it than I would otherwise have been merely because I was missing Frewer as Edison (and as Max) on Max Headroom?

Bring ‘Em Back Alive
Tales of the Gold Monkey has been a disappointment on DVD (I’ll review that finally soon, too). But I’d still like to see a DVD set of this 1982-1983 CBS competitor for the small-screen audience desperate for more of anything that felt a little like Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Blake’s 7
Yes, this 1978-1981 BBC science fiction action drama is available in Region 2, but a Region 1 set would open up this cult classic to a wider audience. (I’d like to blog about this episode by episode eventually; it would be nice if lots of readers would be able to watch it again along with me.)

Star Cops
This wonderful 1987 BBC SF cop drama did get a very brief DVD release in Region 2 a few years ago, and almost instantly disappeared. The rare used copy now sells for upwards of £200, which is insane. A new Region 2 release, please, and while they’re at it: Region 1 as well.

Century City
What is it with science fiction shows getting orphaned? This short-lived 2004 CBS series was set in a law firm in 2030, and dealt, in a sophisticated way, with all manner of thinky futuristic conundrums. It probably would have survived on AMC or TNT, but now we’ll just have to hope for an eventual home on DVD for the few existing episodes. (Yes, you can watch it on Hulu, but that’s not the same thing at all.)

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  • DaveTM

    Misfits of Science – I loved that show and the fact that it starred Courtney Cox means that there is an additional selling point to it so I’m amazed it hasn’t been released

  • DaveTM

    sorry for the double post but a second one just hit me.

    Space Rangers – Another show I loved and they put it out on VHS since I used to rent them alot.

  • Sam

    Parker Lewis Can’t Lose (esp. 2nd Season)
    You Can’t Do That on Television

  • I also loved Doctor, Doctor and found it hilarious – I am almost afraid that it wouldn’t live up to my memories.

    I am also terribly disappointed that St. Elsewhere never made it to DVD release past the first season – I thought it held up remarkably well, and had my hopes up so high to relive the rest of the show. Maybe someday.

  • Second on Misfits of Science. It has been available in Germany, which is odd – but then again (and no relation to Misfits) Hasslehoff is a huge star there and that has always baffled me…

    I remember doing an article for a ‘zine a couple years (or so) ago listing what TV shows I’d like to see on DVD and between submitting the article and its publication, one of them was announced (that was Quark).

    Also a second for Blake’s 7 and Star Cops in region 1 as well as Adam Adamant Lives! which was a ’60s series about a Victorian secret agent who was frozen and wakes up in swinging ’60s London. It’s from the same people at the BBC who brought us Doctor Who (Sydney Newman and Verity Lambert)!

  • Rose

    My Parent’s are Aliens – one of the funniest things ever shown ITV – indeed, one of the only funny things ever shown on ITV. They’re only decent children’s programme also.

  • Patrick

    1. Night Court
    2. Night Court
    3. Night Court
    4. Night Court
    5. Night Court

    Call me a modern day philistine all anyone wants, but this corny, hit-and-miss, middlebrow sitcom obliterates “Seinfeld” on the laugh meter for myself and anyone else else who can’t stomach “the most obnoxious, overrated comedy series of all time”.

    While the first 3 seasons of “NC” are out, they are coming out at such a snail’s pace that the whole will be released by the time humanity has invented holodecks for real.

    Speaking of Trek related things, I’d also like to request to the powers that be that “Star Trek: The Original Series” should be re-released in their original “un-George-Lucas’ed” format but *still* re-mastered in HiDef.

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to lead my people out of Egypt…

  • Jurgan

    Well, of course, if Disney would ever release the other twenty-six episodes of Gargoyles (THERE IS NO THIRD SEASON), that’d be great, but I’m pretty sure that ship has sailed, barring something really unusual.

    Hmm… John Doe was a good show, but I’ve got it all on homemade DVD’s. Umm… Beetlejuice was a favorite of both my wife and I- better than the movie, IMHO (though they’re so different it’s barely worth comparing). Biker Mice from Mars or Mighty Max. A lot of old cartoons, actually. Mostly nostalgic shows kids’ shows (that probably don’t hold up all that well). Anything for adults from back then I probably haven’t heard of, and anything more recent is probably already on DVD.

  • Daniel

    I’d like it if someone released WKRP in Cincinnati with the original music, rather than cutting out all the licensed songs.

  • David Conner

    I’m constantly amazed by how much oddball TV stuff *is* out there, that the list of stuff I want keeps getting shorter.

    Batman, the Adam West one, which would make a boatload of money, but apparently is tied up in some neverending Rights Hell.

    Karen Sisco, the short-lived Elmore Leonard adaptation starring Carla Gugino. A pretty darn good show, and only just now eclipsed by Justified for Leonard TV follow-ons.

    WKRP, sure, I’d like to get it in a full run with all the music, but if that can’t be done (and it sounds like it can’t), I could live with just getting the rest of the series.

  • sam

    The Practice.

  • CoriAnn

    @ Sam–The first two seasons of Parker Lewis Can’t Lose are out on DVD now–I spent a good chunk of my summer watching them courtesy of Netflix. :o)

    I would love if the last season of SeaQuest came out on DVD, mostly for closure’s sake and also to see if it was really as trippy as I remember it being. And as much flak as I may catch for it, I wish that the whole series of Lizzie McGuire would come out, I haven’t seen anything but a few volumes of selected episodes. I would love to have that to watch with my daughter once she gets a little older.

  • Caro

    Night Court & Ed.

  • MC

    The full series of Larry Sanders… after the Conan/Leno fiasco, I think the world is ready for it now.

  • Alice

    How about a US version of Blackpool? I’d pay good money for that!

  • Joan

    Maverick. It’s completely inexplicable to me that it’s not available, especially since James Garner was in good health and available to do extras until just a few years ago. C’mon, Hollywood, get it together.

    Other than that, my wish list is huge, but a few that always stay at the top are Brimstone, Brooklyn Bridge, Eyes, Peacemakers, and Bat Masterson. Plus the rest of The Sentinel and Better Off Ted. Hm, not quite five choices. Oh well.

  • David Conner

    The full Larry Sanders Show box set is coming out in November, and available for pre-order from Amazon now (be sure to click on the link at the upper-left of this page if you’re interested, so MaryAnn gets a cut!)

  • Mo

    Poking around it looks like “The Odyssey” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Odyssey_%28TV_series%29 is available on DVD more or less, but if hazy long-lost memory serves me, it deserves to be in much wider release.

    Think if Life on Mars was made in early 90’s Vancouver, and instead of a cop waking up in the 70’s, an 11-year-old kid hits his head and wakes up in an anarchic world that has never heard of adults. It was mindblowing back when I was twelve, anyway.

  • Matt C

    “Gargoyles” – Enough said.

    “Power Rangers” – With Disney ineffectively handling the franchise, Saban should milk his reacquired property to the fullest. The show has aged badly, but it’s a nostalgia blast for those who grew up in the ’90s like me. (Although RPM, last year’s season, was pretty good.)

  • Patrick

    So glad to hear about the Larry Sanders complete series box set coming out! Thank you for pointing that out, David, as I had no idea that was happening.

    The series I have been wanting to see again is The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd, although I fear it may not have aged well. I am not holding my breath for its release, though.

  • Rob

    The brilliant, one-season-long Now and Again that flawlessly blended family drama and superhero adventure. A middle-aged obese man played by John Goodman is killed and his mind put inside the body of a young, genetically-enhanced superhero. A victim of CBS having no effing clue how to market their show.

  • Jurgan

    Matt C: A fellow Gargs fan- nice (I assume you already know the first season and half the second is already on DVD). Actually, there’s some talk about a Gargoyles movie, but it might end up being something totally unrelated. We’re trying to make some noise- follow the link if you want to find out more.

    Whoever mentioned Ed- yeah, I’d probably buy at least some of that. I liked the town and most of the side characters, but Ed himself could get annoying. Basically, I hate “will they/won’t they” plots that get dragged on for too long, and I felt the show kept telling us that Ed and Carol were a perfect couple without showing me anything to really support that. But I really liked Justin Long’s character, and I hope he keeps getting work (Accepted was a terrific movie).

    Can anyone tell that I just recently figured out how to do hyperlinks on this board?

  • I doubt it would be all that entertaining to anyone else but as a big Elizabeth Pena fan (yeah, I know, Elizabeth who?), I’d like to see DVD releases of:

    1. I Married Dora. An otherwise mediocre sitcom most famous for introducing TV viewers to Ms. Pena and another little-known actress named Juliette Lewis.

    2. Shannon’s Deal. A much better series written by director John Sayles–yes, the same one who did Baby, It’s You and Return of the Secaucus Seven–which also starred Ms. Pena. Of course, it also had a male protagonist but for some reason, I forgot who played him.


    3. Goodnight, Sweetheart. A British sitcom about a married man who regularly travels back and forth between modern-day London and Blitz-era London.

    4. Brian Clemens’ Thriller. They released season one but not the latter seasons. And they’re releasing the Boris Karloff series anyway so it’s not like people will confuse the two.

    5. The Green Hornet. Yes, it’s probably stuck in the same legal hell as the 1960s version of Batman but with the new movie coming out, it really should be considered. Of course, if I had to choose between the two, I’d vote for Batman but that’s been mentioned already.

    I can think of still others–Phyllis, Cliffhangers, The Evil Touch–but that’s enough for now.

  • bats :[

    It’s dumb, but “Homeboys in Outer Space.” Just because Jimmy Doohan’s in it.

    And the very obscure British “Mr. Pye,” featuring Derek Jacobi.

  • Mel

    Ed. Thought that before I even got to what your options were. I’ve given up ever hoping to see it happen.

  • RogerBW

    Wow, there are still people to whom region coding makes a difference?

    And maybe I ought to sell my Star Cops DVD set… though what it really deserves is a better remastering (they did a reasonable job, but recovery tech has come on a long way since then, largely driven by Doctor Who).

    Can’t offhand think of any TV I’m really keen to see on DVD other than Max, though…

  • Anne

    Two Guys, A Girl and A Pizza Place. I’m not sure there is any chance of it being released, but I loved it and wish there was a way to watch it again.

  • I would really like to see “Karen Cisco”. Also, a US release of “The Thick of It” would be appreciated, as I loved In the Loop.

  • Shaun

    Samurai Pizza Cats. Similar to Ninja Turtles but with more quirk and 4th wall jokes.

  • JoshDM

    Freakazoid! was released, so I’m OK with that now. I guess I want the third and final season of The Tick cartoons along with the 2 missing episodes from the first two seasons.

  • allochthon

    I desperately wish they’d put “China Beach” out on DVD…

  • Jim Mann

    The animated Alf and Alf Tales. These were based on the not-very-good sitcom about the fuzzy alien, but the animated version was much better and much more creative.

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