Tuesday, May 17, 2005

TV on DVD - May 17, 2005

I mentioned last week that Amazon.ca didn't have the second season of Have Gun Will Travel listed anywhere, and I assumed that it was delayed for Canadian release for some obscure reason. Imagine then my surprise when I went into my local London Drugs (well not so local - across the city in fact, but it is close to my brother's place) and saw Richard Boone smiling at me from the box set of Have Gun Will Travel: Season 2. Amazon.ca? They still don't list it. So with mild trepidation, on to this week's DVDs.

Adventures Of Pete And Pete: Season 1
- Another Nickelodeon series which means that I haven't seen it. Plus this series dates back to 1993 so I can't exactly look to see if it is or has ever been on in Canada. Apparently it was rather good if the IMDB reviews are anything to go by.

Cheers: The Complete Fifth Season
- This is of course a show that I do know and remember quite well. The fifth season was Shelley Long's last as well as the first for Bebe Neuwirth as Lilith Sternin (just a thought - why would a Jewish family name their daughter after a Mesopotamian night-demon with a penchant for murdering children and sadistic sexual assaults on sleeping men), and on the whole the series was moving towards what I think was its strongest phase. I much prefer Kirstie Alley to Long, but with that exception all of the elements are in place.

Clarissa Explains It All: Season 1
- I've seen bits and pieces of episodes of Clarissa Explains It All, which aired on the Canadian Family Channel around the time that Sabrina, the Teenaged Witch was at the height of its popularity. Although it doesn't stand out in my mind, one thing was absolutely apparent and that was that the fifteen year-old Melissa Joan Hart was already displaying a strong screen presence. This and The Adventures of Pete and Pete are an experiment by Nickelodeon to release some of their older shows on DVD, but for more to be released sales of the first two need to be strong.

The Commish: The Best Of Season One
- Long before he played Vic Mackey on The Shield, Michael Chiklis played a far different cop on The Commish. Police Commissioner Tony Scali was a fat balding thirty-something transplant from New York City, now in charge of the police force in a small city in New York (played by Vancouver B.C. with a large number of Canadian actors in supporting roles, most notably Nicholas Lea who was later Krycek in The X-Files). Tony was a family man devoted to his wife and son but also a cop whose easy going manner hid a first class mind. This was far better than the ordinary run of Stephen J. Cannell shows, approaching its topic with a lighter touch. This DVD contains four episodes from the first season. The complete First and Second Seasons are already out on DVD, but for the price ($11.89 Canadian if you order from Amazon.ca) it's a good introduction to the series.

The Golden Girls: The Complete Second Season
- I was never a huge fan of this series but I did watch. The on-screen chemistry between Arthur, McClanahan, White and Getty apparently hid what was reportedly a rather tempestuous set in terms of personality conflicts. Of particular note is how Bea Arthur inevitably plays straight woman to Estelle Getty, who played her mother (even though Getty is actually about two months younger than Arthur).

Monarch of the Glen: The Complete Series Three
- I've never seen this series, though it's not for lack of opportunities. It's seen on BBC Canada, the province's educational channel SCN, and both of the PBS stations that I receive, but for some obscure reason I've never taken the time to watch it, maybe because I haven't been able to see it from the start. Undoubtedly my loss.

Piglet Files: Set 3
- This is a show that I have seen. Featuring Nicholas Lyndhurst, best known as Rodney from Only Fools and Horses (although I first saw him in a series called Just The Two Of Us the show is a satire of all spy movies. Peter Chapman (code name "Piglet") is no James Bond but he somehow muddles through as an electronics expert for MI-5 who frequently gets in deeper than he should. The satire isn't as direct as a series like Get Smart nor as broad, but the writing is quite strong and funny.

Return To The Bat Cave
- I missed this when it aired and I think I probably erred. Subtitled "The Misadventures of Adam and Burt" it is a combination reunion show and comedy it reunited Adam West and Burt Ward to remember the Batman TV series of the 1960s along with a number of guest stars who were in the original, notably Frank Gorshin and Julie Newmar. Sounds like great fun and I'm sorry I missed it.

Scrubs: The Complete First Season
- I've never seen it, but as I mentioned in the post about NBC's upfronts the show has been renewed but delayed until 2006. In the meantime there's this set.

Seinfeld: Season 4
- Do you want to know the truth? I have never seen a complete episode of Seinfeld, and what's more I don't apologise. The trouble is that Jerry Seinfeld has never really appealed to me as a comedian and the bits and pieces of the shows that I've seen haven't made me want to watch the show. Even though Jerry Seinfeld and his show are very different from Ray Romano and Everybody Loves Raymond I have similar reactions to both.

Silk Stalkings: Best Of Season One
- Like The Commish this is a Stephen J. Cannell series and released by Anchor Bay. I don't know the series, although early episodes were part of the CBS "Crimetime after Primetime" package that ended when David Letterman came to the network. It then went to the USA cable network. When I was publishing a Diplomacy zine I had a fellow publisher from San Diego whose then teen aged son had done a bit of acting work on the series. He thought it was awful but for myself, I don't know.

Simpsons: Bart Wars
- Four episodes of The Simpsons that have a Star Wars theme, and are being released two days before Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith is released. Of course it's a cynical move to make lots of money, but the fact that it's The Simpsons makes it all right.

Six Feet Under: The Complete Third Season
- This is a series that I've seen. At least I've seen the first season - something always seems to keep me from seeing the second season which is currently airing on the Showcase cable network here in Canada. I don't believe that the third season has been seen on Showcase yet, although like most HBO series it may have been on one of the movie channels. The series isn't as flashy as The Sopranos but it has a frequent dark humour that is interesting to watch. It also has a great deal of humanity that is lacking in The Sopranos. This show is well worth the effort to try to see.

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