Tuesday, June 28, 2005

TV on DVD - June 28, 2005

Another fairly short list this time around, but with a couple of really good things on offer.

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart: Indecision 2004
- The Daily Show with Jon Stewart is a staple of late night TV here in Canada where it's seen on the CTV network after the late local news. In the United States it's seen on the Comedy Central network. No matter, not only is the show funny but it's also extremely topical. This DVD features 10 episodes built around the 2004 election campaign, including four episodes from the Democratic Convention, four from the Republican Convention, one following the first Bush-Kerry debate, and the not quite correctly titled election night episode Prelude to a Recount.

Nick Frost's Danger! 50,000 Volts!
- Okay, I have absolutely no idea what this is about or if it has ever been seen in North America let alone Canada. It's apparently a BBC series though, featuring Nick Frost from the movie Shaun Of The Dead showing how to "survive" various life threatening events. But I only know that from IMDB.

The Doris Day Show: Season 1
- She never wanted to do the TV series. She found out that she was contracted to do it after her third husband Martin Melcher died (I always wondered why she stayed with him - he was a lousy husband who signed her for projects without her consent or even her knowledge, and her own memoirs mention that she had several affairs during their marriage including one with Maury Wills). Still she stuck with it for five years until she pulled the plug herself. In the first two seasons she was a widow with two kids, living on a farm with her father played by Denver Pyle. Later she moved to the city with the kids and in the last two season the children had disappeared entirely (and I wouldn't be surprised if the character had become a virgin during the hiatus). Denver Pyle, who played her father in the first two seasons was in fact born in 1920 and was 48 when the series started, which meant that he was just four years older than Doris Day (born in 1924). Of course even then he looked like Uncle Jesse Duke while Doris looked like she was pushing forty but not quite across that particular line yet.

The Even Stevens Movie
- I have absolutely no idea what this is about beyond what is written in the Amazon description. The series that the movie is based on has probably played on the Family Channel here in Canada, but I rarely watch the channel anymore since it has dropped the old Disney material. I do remember Dona Pescow from a series called Angie that she starred in with Robert Hayes shortly after her appearance in Saturday Night Fever and by the look of the cover photo for this DVD, the years have not been kind.

Game Over: Complete Collection
- Another series I've never heard of, this was on UPN in 2004 - briefly. It ran five episodes with a sixth episode not being aired. The concept is interesting - the show is about a family who all happen to be characters in several video games - but the execution, well it sucked.

New Adventures Of Gumby: Vol. 1
New Adventures Of Gumby: Vol. 2
- This is going to shock and amaze you but to this day I have never seen an episode of Gumby, either in the original incarnation or in the "New Adventures" version. I did know what Gumby and his pal Pokey looked like because when I was a kid the merchandise was in the toy section of Woolworths, but the series? Never saw it. I know, it was a deprived childhood, but at least there were the Hanna-Barbera series like Yogi Bear, Quickdraw McGraw, and Huckleberry Hound so I wasn't totally deprived of cultural icons.

Homicide: Life On The Street: The Complete Season 7
- The final season of one of the most critically acclaimed series of the 1990s. The critics loved it but the ratings were never particularly strong even though it developed a fan base that can best be described as fanatical. I loved some of the early season, but after a while - thanks to the network jerking it around a bit in terms of time slots and when it would start airing, I sort of lost track of it. For a number of years it ran nightly on Bravo! in Canada, before being replaced by NYPD Blue but the series is currently not seen on Canadian TV. Pity.

The House of Eliott: Series One
- Created by actresses Eileen Atkins and Jean Marsh - who had previously collaborated in creating Upstairs Downstairs - this is a series about two women in the 1920s trying to establish themselves as fashion designers. Atkins and Marsh didn't do as well as their earlier series - while both were glorified soap operas, House of Elliott was geared far more for the female audience - but it ran for three years on the BBC. Not bad, and Louise Lombard was lovely.

La Femme Nikita: The Complete Third Season
- Based on the 1990 Luc Bresson movie of the same name and the American remake Point Of No Return, this series was another Canadian co-production. And another series that I just couldn't get into, not that I tried very hard. Maybe if I did I'd have liked it.

Ren And Stimpy: Seasons 3 And A Halfish
- Never a fan - I failed to see any charm in this. Sorry, since I know it had a rabid following. Maybe I'm just too old.

- Long time readers may have noticed that I didn't write a review of Revelations when it aired earlier this spring on NBC. It was quite deliberate - I couldn't figure out a way to write a review without offending people. Let me state it plainly here though: even if I gave the "Revelations of St. John" any credence as prophecy, what NBC produced was a big steaming mess in an effort to pander to groups like the PTC and the apparent interest in things biblical as indicated by the attendance at The Passion Of The Christ and the Left Behind books and videos.

Shadow Raiders: Season 1
- Another computer animated series from Mainframe Entertainment this one ran for just 13 episodes. The consensus is that it wasn't as good as the other Mainframe shows of the period - Reboot and Beast Wars (Beasties in the U.S.) - which still puts it ahead of most other animated series.

Spenser: For Hire: The Movie Collection
- Between 1993 and 1995 Robert Urich and Avery Brooks made four movies based on Robert B. Parker's Spenser books: Ceremony, Pale Kings and Princes, The Judas Goat, and A Savage Place. Toronto stood in for Boston, and Barbara Williams and Wendy Crewson played Spenser's lady friend Susan Silverman. While the series hasn't been released on DVD these four movies are now available on DVD.

A Touch Of Frost: Season 6
- I honestly wasn't aware that this was a series per se. Rather I thought it was a series of movies. Starring the always excellent David Jason as Inspector "Jack" Frost, the shows from this series that I've seen have always been first rate mysteries and in general excellent entertainment. If you liked Morris you'll probably like this.

The Twilight Zone: Season 3 (The Definitive Edition)
- This is the classic Rod Serling series from the early 1960s. The third season includes A Game of Pool with Jack Klugman, Kick The Can (which was late adapted for the Twilight Zone Movie), and To Serve Man with Lloyd Bochner. Definitely one of the landmarks in Television history.

The Twilight Zone: Seasons 2 & 3 (1986 - 1988)
- This, on the other hand was not. CBS decided to resurrect The Twilight Zone in 1985, two years after the movie and were so sure that it would be a hit that they guaranteed a specific number of episodes for syndication. It wasn't - it was cancelled after two years and the third season was in fact made for first run syndication to fulfill the contract. The show had some excellent writers including Ray Bradbury, Theodore Sturgeon, Harlan Ellison and J. Michael Straczynski, but the hour long format really didn't flatter the material and sometimes resulted in stories that were either padded to fill the hour. The episodes with two or three stories in them are on the whole the best, but was the audience really willing to sit still for that sort of thing. Apparently not.

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