Friday, November 25, 2005

TV On DVD - November 22, 2005 - Delayed For Your Thanksgiving Shopping Convenience

Well sort of. I got caught up in some other stuff I was writing an then I realised that if you are an American you tend to work off fifteen pounds of turkey, stuffing, potatoes, brussels sprouts, cranberry sauce, candied yams and pumpkin pie with real whipped cream by pushing and shoving your way through malls and department stores the day after Thanksgiving (and does anyone besides me hate the phrase "Turkey Day" - just curious). Weird sort of exercise regimen but I'm just a dumb Canadian so what do I know. Anyway, while I frankly doubt that there's anything on this particular list which is a must have for the TV Lover in your life here is some not bad stuff this time around.

Before I start with the list though, I want to vent about one thing. People at BlogExplosion - you, the ones in authority - what you have done with the Battle of The Blogs sucks, bites, blows and and an assortment of other verbs and adjectives that are synonyms for stinks. While you may think that what you have done is made it fairer for blogs with minority subject matter to get noticed by competing against other blogs with similar subject matter if they so wish, what you've actually done is create a huge bottleneck of blogs that can't find opponents. I watched entranced (well actually bore to tears) for four hours last night (not continuously of course) while a blog about gardening sat waiting for an opponent, slotted into the "Hobby" category. It was still there when I woke up in the morning.Change things back to the way they were so that blogs like that can find opponents (preferably me so I can inflate my win/loss record).

Okay, rant over. Back to the list.

Aeon Flux: The Complete Animated Collection
- Aeon Flux was an MTV series that apparently aired on YTV in Canada. The current release of the short-lived cult animation series is of course related to the release of the new live action movie featuring Charlize Theron. From what little I've seen of the graphics, the animated films, some as short as two or three minutes have an incredibly beautiful (and presumably incredibly expensive) style that is really a mix on the very best of Anime with the European graphic novel tradition. Interesting for that quality if for nothing else.

The Best & Worst of American Idol (Limited Edition)
Best of American Idol
Worst of American Idol

- Question: How do you market American Idol on DVD. I suppose you could release each season and see how they sell, and as a matter of fact they did exactly that for the first season with Kelly and Justin. I don't think it was a great seller. The other option, since what people really like are the really great performances - because they're good singers singing good songs - and the really bad performances - because they're funny - is to release a "Best of" and a "Worst of" DVD set. The real genius though is to put the two together, slap together a third "bonus" DVD and label it a limited edition so that you can stop making it when you choose.

The Andy Griffith Show: The Complete Fourth Season
- One of the great series, and the fourth season is one of the most memorable. The season's first episode is the famous one where Opie accidentally kills a mother bird and tries to raise her chicks, while the final episode has Gomer Pyle joining the marines and meeting a certain Sergeant Carter. In between plenty of the Darling Family and Ernest T. Bass, as well as Barney and Gomer in conflict.

Astro Boy: The Collection
- Okay I think I've figured this one out. This is the 1980 series, and consists of eight discs and 51episodes plus a few special features including comparisons between the Japanese version and the censored version that was seen on American TV. Well worth it for the fan.

Batman vs. Dracula [With Toy]
- The Batman Vs. Dracula was in fact released earlier this year. This release is a "Gift Box", the "gift" being a Batman toy and a Dracula toy. The question is are the two toys worth the extra 12 bucks (Canadian) which is the difference between the ordinary set and the "Gift Box". For the fanboys the answer is YES!!

C.S.I. Miami: The Complete Third Season
- Of the three CSI series this is considered by a lot of people to be the weakest, largely because of the dominating presence of David Caruso. The third season had to cope with the departure of Rory Cochrane, who played the increasingly sullen Tim Speedle, and replaced him with Jonathon Togo as Ryan Wolfe. It was also the season that saw the final resolution of the Raymond Caine story line and the departure of Sofia Milos. There are good episodes but on the whole I've always found the original series more involving and the lead character on CSI: New York more likable.

Captain and Tennille: Ultimate Collection
- Didn't I preview this earlier? Oh well, I just can't imagine that there's a huge market for this series even if it was nominated for an Emmy. It was the '70s - we didn't know better.

Dark Shadows: DVD Collection 21
- More episodes from maybe the only soap opera yet (and possibly ever) to be released on DVD.

Extreme Makeover Home Edition: Season One
- Extreme Makeover: Home Edition is one of the great "feel good" series currently on. Extreme Makeover: Home Edition is a show that gives us feel good stories and then leaves the people the "help" with houses they can't afford to maintain or even pay the taxes on, not to mention making sure that the people they intend to help aren't tossed out into the streets by the people who own the house that was fixed up. I started watching this series but increasingly find it uncomfortable, the more I find out about the aftermath of many of these stories.

French Chef, Vol. 2
- It has always surprised me that there aren't more cooking shows out on DVD. It would seem to me that cooking something that a TV chef has done would be so much easier if you could pause, rewind, and watch technique in detail as you are cooking, not to mention recipes and tips on DVD-ROM files on the disk. Julia Child was one of the great television cooking instructors as well as one of the great personalities (both as a TV presenter and if you knew even a little of her personal history) but her shows could be difficult to follow. If you like to cook this is probably a must.

The Golden Girls: The Complete Third Season
- The longer this show ran the less of a fan I became. By Season 3 it just wasn't watching.

Home Improvement: The Complete Third Season
- On the other hand, by the Third Season of Home Improvement I was a devoted viewer. The third season included the addition of Debbie Dunning as Tool Girl Heidi, and she was really given a lot more to do than her predecessor Pamela Anderson. It always felt as if she fit in more. Beyond that the chemistry between the characters was becoming increasingly strong. It's hard to explain the attraction, but Tim Allen was maturing from being "just" as stand-up comedian into a reasonably competent actor (largely due to be surrounded by competent actors), something which a lot of people who do stand-up and then get shows never manage.

Kenny Vs. Spenny: Season One
- Okay I'm totally clueless I don't know who these people are or what this show is about except what I read in the IMDB and Wikipedia. Apparently it's about two guys who are always competing against each other. It's supposed to be funny but I really don't know.

King of the Hill: Complete Season 5
- If you look at the PTC list of the ten worst TV shows for families, you will observe that only two shows from the Fox Sunday night lineup are not on that list. One is King Of The Hill. Even with that endorsement the few episodes I've watched haven't been that bad. The humour has been adult in a way that is different from the approach used by The Family Guy which may be one reason why the PTC likes it. I'll even suggest that while Hank is no Ward Cleaver, he's a lot better than some of the live action parents on TV and that's without even putting the War At Home parents into competition.

Leave It to Beaver: The Complete First Season
Leave It to Beaver: The Complete First Season (Limited Edition)

- When it comes down to it, Leave It To Beaver was the epitome of the vision of the 1950s which so many Social Conservatives yearn for. It never existed out side of the TV set of course, and certainly anyone who was an adult or a teen in the 1950s and had their eyes open would tell you that. Still, it was a great series. Reality, no, but you wanted to know people like the Cleavers. The "Limited Edition" has a "Cleaver Family Album" and is packaged in a '50s lunch box style container. Given the slight difference in price, probably worth it.

Life in the Freezer
- Given the fascination with the recent documentary March Of The Penguins, it isn't surprising that the BBC has released this 1993 series about the natural history of Antarctica on DVD. Presented (as the British would say instead of hosted) by not produced or directed by the legendary nature documentary producer Sir David Attenborough, it gives a wider picture of the Antarctic ecosystem than the more recent documentary, but of course it has more time.

Naked City: Box Set 2
- "There are eight million stories in the Naked City." These are some of them. When I reviewed the first boxed set of these I commented that Image had collected some of the individual DVDs they had released previously to be on that set. I was corrected by Ivan Shreve, and that makes there efforts at getting this legendary series out even more praiseworthy. The price - $24.49 from - for a three DVD set is amazing as well. If you have any interest, this set is worth having.

Seinfeld: Season 5
Seinfeld: Season 6
Seinfeld: Seasons 5 & 6 Gift Set

- I have literally never watched an episode of this show which I suppose sets me apart. The gift set contains a "hand written" script and a puffy shirt. Oh Joy!

The Tom Green Show: The Complete Series - Inside and Outside the Box
- This was Green's early Canadian show. I find Tom Green about as amusing as dropping both of my five pin bowling balls onto my hand from a height of 6 feet, but I suppose there must have been people who liked him. Somewhere.

The X-Files Mythology: Vol. 4 - Super Soldiers
- The last of the X-Files "mytharc" series of boxed sets. This one covers the last episodes of Season 8 and the arc related episodes of season 9 including the birth of Scully's son, and the series finale. This set is the final installment of a fascinating way of repackaging elements of a series that has been available for a long time. If only other series which have been rereleasing old material in new packages were this inventive.

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