Tuesday, April 26, 2005

TV On DVD - April 26, 2005

Truly a banner week for TV shows on DVD, with MST3K supposed to come out last week but Amazon.ca stating that it was actually being released today. A couple of things that TV Shows on DVD has listed for this week won't be out until next week or later.

Mystery Science Theater 3000 Volume 7
- This was a series that I've never seen and probably never will. Not because I'm not interested in it, but because they can't clear it in Canada. The original material is fine, but the various network which might be interested in running the series always had problems clearing the movies that the episodes were built around for broadcast in Canada. And what fun would MST3K be without movies like The Killer Shrews?

Airline: Season 1
- One of the more interesting reality series that A&E has added to its lineup. Based on the British series called Airport instead of focusing on the day to day operations of a single airport, the series spends time with the passengers and ground personnel at Southwest Airlines in Los Angeles and Chicago. Based on the comments from various passengers, it's a wonder that Southwest is still in business based on the number of people vowing never to fly with them again for some problem, real or imagined. It's actually not too bad, to the point where I actually watch sometimes, which is more than I can say for Growing Up Gotti or Dog The Bounty Hunter. Still I remember when A&E actually took the Arts part of their name seriously.

Ancient Mysteries: Bigfoot
Ancient Mysteries: Camelot

- More shows that I haven't seen, these were part of a series of A&E documentaries about various myths and legends. Just how seriously you can take them I leave up to you. Not topics that I find interesting enough to spend money on though.

Crank Yankers: Season 2 Volume 1
- Yeah, I know what you're going to say, but this show isn't currently on in Canada and I don't know if it's ever been seen here by anyone who doesn't have a pirate dish. I don't so I haven't. The concept sounds as though it has the potential to be either very funny or extremely irritating. I guess it depends on whether you've ever been on the receiving end of a a crank phone call. Sorry, but I don't understand the need for the puppets.

ER: The Complete Third Season
- Ah yes, Season 3 of ER. This I saw, back in the days when ER wasn't as much of a soap opera as it became. Susan Lewis left (Sherry Stringfield apparently missed New York or her boyfriend) and Mark gets the crap beaten out of him in the men's room. Oh who do I think I'm kidding - it's always been a soap opera, it just used to be a good soap opera. Apparently not yet available in Canada, hence no link to Amazon.ca so the only way to get it in Canada at the moment is to buy a set with all three seasons. That doesn't seem right somehow.

Fraggle Rock: Live By The Rule Of The Rock
- Another series I remember very well. Interesting for kids of course, lacking much of the sophistication of The Muppet Show but there's much to be said for the show. It's fun to watch, particularly the "Uncle Travelling Matt" sequences. Jim Henson managed to get the CBC to part with some money to co-produce the show in Toronto. It's a fun little confection, but releasing it as individual episodes makes the show a potential cash cow for the releasing company.

Highway To Heaven: Season One
- I never "got" this show, by which I mean that I just didn't get it. A lot of people did though, including some members of my family who are on the whole not particularly religious. It was clearly a predecessor for Touched By An Angel which is another series that I just never got. From what I recall it was a rather gentle show with Michael Landon and Victor French. Maybe that was part of it - in a TV landscape dominated by automatic weapons and the people wielding them it was a gentle peaceful show. It didn't hurt that it was Michael Landon who if nothing else was adept at promoting series he was involved with.

Land Of The Lost: The Complete Third Season
- The 1970s original, not the crappy remake. I've never seen either though so don't take my word for it. Why haven't I? Well it was a Saturday morning show in the U.S. which was there and gone years before we had cable from Detroit - or even Williston North Dakota - in Saskatoon. I think about the only Sid and Marty Krofft series I ever saw was The Banana Splits. Oh Uh Chongo!

Quatermass: Set 1
- This was really the classic British science fiction series. It first appeared in 1953, when the BBC head of drama spent his entire budget for acquiring new scripts for the year (a magnificent 250 pounds - and how do I get that symbol in this blog!) on one set of scripts for a six episode science-horror series called The Quatermass Experiment. There followed two more series in the 1950s: Quatermass II and Quatermass and the Pit.All three were made into movies but the series went no further. Then in 1979 the private network ITV brought out the final story in the series Quatermass starring John Mills (who passed away a few days ago). It's generally regarded as good but not quite as good as shows from the 1950s despite, or perhaps because, of the improve special effects.

Survivor 2: The Australian Outback
- Survivor began back in the days when no one thought that you could sell DVD that were all the episodes of the show with a few special features and "never before seen footage". The original Survivor was released on a single DVD with no fuzzing over naked Richard Hatch (apparently there wasn't much to see) and a few interviews with cast members. The second Survivor got the same treatment and then no more. That was the season of Jerri (the Witch) Manthey, of the phantom beef jerky, the chef who couldn't cook rice, and while Elizabeth Filarski didn't win the show's million she did get the job on The View which over time has probably been more lucrative for her long term.

Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtles: Season 2
- Once upon a time there was a little independent comic book about some pet shop turtles who were exposed to a radioactive isotope that gave them human-like intelligence and stature. Teenaged humans of course with all that meant in the late '80s. This became a couple of fairly cheesy movies. This in turn became a series of animated cartoons (the ones in this box set) which in turn spawned a comic book in the image of the cartoon series which was so totally alien to the original vision in the independent comics that it was a sin, but the new cartoons and comic series was very profitable for the two guys who created the original comic books so they were crying all the way to the bank because they owned their copyrights while guys like Jack Kirby, Stan Lee, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster didn't.

Trading Spaces: Creative Home Decor With Designer Doug Wilson
Trading Spaces: Great Kitchen Designs and More!
- Basically a set of highlights from past shows, focusing on creative decor and kitchen designs. Call me elitist, but I'm not sure I want decorating hints from people who do some of the "designs" these guys do on the show.

The Waltons: The Complete Second Season
- It's hard to think today about how big The Waltons was. It was a rural show just two seasons after Fred Silverman had "cleansed" the CBS line-up of rural shows, including Jim Nabor's variety show. It was a period piece, and no one watched those unless it was Bonanza or Gunsmoke. Worst of all it was on opposite Flip Wilson, who in the day qualified as a hip urban comic. All The Waltons had was good writing and solid actors. It couldn't last. By the end of the first season Flip Wilson was off the air and The Waltons had won four out of the five Emmys it was nominated for. The simple explanation is that in the days of the Vietnam War, civil protests and Watergate people wanted something they could watch with their kids and look back at what seemed like simpler times.

Wildboyz: The Complete Second Season
- Okay, I'm not even going to hazard a guess about what this could be, and reading the comments on the IMDB, I think I'm glad.


Ivan G Shreve Jr said...

Because I pretty much vegetated in front of a television set for most of my childhood on Saturday mornings, I remember pretty much every series that was sired in the stables of the Brothers Krofft: H.R. Pufnstuf, Lidsville, Sigmund and the Sea Monsters, etc. But Land of the Lost was in a class all by itself. I'm sure if I revisited the series I would be disappointed with it--but at the time, it was actually pretty intense...those "Sleestak" people scared the !@#$% out of me as a kid.

Anonymous said...

We used the Sleestak name on ugly folks in the neigborhood constantly. That, and the name "Bo-mangani" from the original animated Tarzan series. Saturday morning had an impact, I tells ya.