Friday, September 30, 2005

TV On DVD - September 27,2005 (edition)

I get the feeling that this particular post has been ill-fated from the start. On Tuesday I hit my head and then lost all of my work. Wednesday I had the second part of a two day headache and got hardly anything done. Thursday I managed to get quite a bit done - until I got a call from my brother asking me to look after my nephew while Greg worked overtime for a few hours. That few hours turned into about seven hours, much of it spent watching the same Thomas The Tank Engine video. The horror, the horror!

The Amazing Race: The First Season
- For the hard core Amazing Race fan, Season 1 is the benchmark by which later seasons of the show are denigrated (the hard core really hate this season's "Family Edition" because it's got some kids on it and isn't travelling around the world or apparently even leaving North America). They feel that the personalities were bigger, the game cleaner, and the clues "clue-ier". I can't say I entirely disagree on some of that but there were some kinks that needed to be worked out of the game. It is not a good thing when two of the last four teams are a day behind the first two teams or when the third place team wakes up in Alaska to find out that the Race is over. Still it's an excellent season to start with.

Are You Being Served? Christmas
- The British have a Christmas tradition called "panto" which isn't pantomime but which takes a story and tells it as almost a parody. This DVD has the four Are You Being Served? Christmas episodes which usually end up with the staff performing a "panto", complete with songs and costumes, for one of the Messrs. Grace. These are actually some of the show's most enjoyable episodes.

Beverly Hillbillies, Vol. 1: Ultimate Collection
- I'm not a huge fan of the way that the DVD release of The Beverly Hillbillies is being handled, any more than I'm a fan of the way that the release of Petticoat Junction was handled. There are some nice extras here including an introduction by Linda Kaye Henning who was not only Paul Henning's daughter but provided the voice of Jethro's twin sister Jethrine (the face and body were all Max Baer though). There are 26 episodes in the set and most seem to come from the first season (although the listed times seem a bit off in some cases), which is at least better than what happened with the Petticoat Junctionset. However none of the episodes has a commentary track.

TV Favorites: Cheyenne
- Three episodes from the legendary series featuring Clint Walker. I'm trying to figure out what Warner Home Video is trying with these "TV Favorites" packages. My suspicion is that they're trying to determine which series it makes sense to release in season sets. For the most part the Warner releases in other areas are worthwhile and for the price it might be an idea to pick one of these up if you're interested in the material.

TV Favorites: Chico and the Man
- Another set from the TV Favorites series, this time from the comedy series featuring Freddy Prinze and Jack Albertson. The episodes on this DVD were all taken from before Prinze's suicide and while Prinze is the nominal star, watching Albertson and series regular Scatman Crothers work is, for me at least, the real joy.

Corner Gas: The Complete Second Season
- The best comedy in North America that's not eligible for the Emmys. While Corner Gas reminds some people of Seinfeld it always strikes me as being closer to Northern Exposure with perhaps a touch of Green Acres - a town full of quirky personalities and a person from the big city who doesn't really fit in. Just don't mention Wullerton (ptui!)

Creature Comforts: The Complete First Season
- Creature Comforts is a rather interesting concept from Aardman, the people behind the Wallace & Grommit films as well as films like Chicken Run. The "Great British Public" is credited as providing the voices for the show. What they do is to interview people about various things, and then take the interviews and create an animal in claymation which suit the interviews. As an example a man talking about his work and how it wasn't entirely pleasant but need to be done (he worked in a mortuary) was given to a maggot. Definitely an interesting concept.

Dark Shadows: DVD Collection 20
- More episodes of Dark Shadows being shipped out to the fans. How many more episodes are there anyway?

Dr. 90210: The Complete First Season
- A reality series about plastic surgeons in Hollywood, a town where - as the tag line on the DVD cover says - "Everyone accepts plastic." Okay.

Due South: The Final Season
- One of my favourite series comes to a close in this set. The show's production history is a bit odd. The first two seasons were produced by Alliance-Atlantis for CBS and CTV in partnership. When CBS cancelled the show several things happened. CTV decided to go it alone but foreign sales were strong enough that the BBC and a German network became partners in funding the production. At about this time Paul Gross replace Paul Haggis as show-runner and head writer. CTV shot 26 episodes but released 13 episodes a year for two years. Not everyone followed that procedure - TNT which bought the series for syndication in the US actually showed all 26 episodes at once, before the fourth season was released in Canada. There are some good episodes here including one episode which was initially intended to be a musical based on Romeo and Juliet (the music couldn't be completed in time), one in which Frasier meets a half-sister he never knew he had, and of course the season finale which "revealed" the fate of the major characters. A truly great series.

TV Favorites: The Dukes of Hazzard
- Here's what I don't get: if the Television Favorites series is meant to test the market for boxed sets of old series, why are they releasing episodes of The Dukes Of Hazard, a show which is already being released in season sets?

TV Favorites: The F Troop
- For some reason F-Troop is a show which left an impression on me despite the fact that as far as I can recall it was only seen here for about one year. The truth is that when I think of Ken Berry or Forrest Tucker, this is the show I think of. A single disk with six half-hour episodes. Well the price is right at least.

Family Guy Presents Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story
- Eighty minutes of all new never before seen material from The Family Guy focussing on everybody's favourite baby homicidal megalomaniac, Stewie Griffin. Oh did I mention that it was also uncensored. Actually it comes with a censored and an uncensored soundtrack on the same disk, as well as commentaries from Seth McFarlane, the cast and the writers.

Gilmore Girls: The Complete Fourth Season
- I rarely watch The Gilmore Girls, although I have enjoyed every episode that I've seen. There's a wit to the conversation that you don't often see and the mother daughter relationship is enjoyable. The fourth season sends Rory off to Yale but somehow she keeps coming back home at any convenient opportunity.

Hogan's Heroes: The Complete Second Season
- The second season DVD of this series contains at least one commentary track from Sigrid Valdis. She came onto the series in the second season as Klink's secretary Hilda to replace Cynthia Lynn (who played Helga) who left the show when she decided to break off her affair with series star Bob Crane. Valdis herself became involved with Crane and eventually married him. The show itself? Not much change from season one although they seemed to react a bit to the whole controversy about setting a comedy in a POW Camp.

Stephen King Presents Kingdom Hospital: Making the Rounds
- When the first two disk set of this low-rated series came out I questioned why it was being released, given that the series only ran 13 episodes and has already had a complete series DVD set available. I'm still wondering.

Law and Order: Special Victims Unit - The Second Year 2000-2001
- Law & Order: Special Victims Unit isn't a show that I've spent a lot of time watching. Actually I've never watched it. There were a couple of changes in the second season, most notably being the addition of Ice-T in the role of Detective Odafin 'Fin' Tutuola. Still didn't get me to watch it but then I pretty much gave up on Law & Order years ago, the exception being the Criminal Intent show because of Vincent D'Onofiro.

Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp: From Ellsworth to Tombstone
- Not sure what exactly is on this. It doesn't seem to be a season set, but this show ran from 1955 to 1961 - a total of 266 episodes - so I don't know what episodes they're picking and choosing and I don't want to make assumptions. One of the legendary series, it was probably the first of the adult westerns on Television.

TV Favorites: Maverick
- Maverick is one of my strongest childhood memories. I remember Jack Kelly, Roger Moore and of course James Garner (but not Robert Colvert as Brent Maverick - maybe CFQC stopped showing the series before he arrived). There are three hour long episodes from the second and third seasons on this DVD, including the episode in which Garner plays the Maverick Brothers father (and Jack Kelly plays "Uncle Bentley" as well as Bart. I beg of you Warner Home Video - put this series out in season sets!!!!!

Quads, Vol. 2
- The series that looks at physical handicaps in a way that skewers political correctness with outrageous humour. Really has to be seen to be believed.

Rugrats: Tales From the Crib - Snow White
- A direct to DVD release, this is a Rugrats take on Snow White with Angelica - of course - as the Wicked Queen. There are also a couple of stand alone episodes on the disk.

Sigmund and the Sea Monsters
- Okay, I have to confess ignorance and admit that until I saw this on the TV on DVD list, I had never even heard of this Sid and Marty Krofft product.

SpongeBob SquarePants: The Complete Third Season
- Who lives in a pineapple under the sea? A cartoon character with a bipolar marketing plan. On the one hand the people selling SpongeBob SquarePants are selling single DVDs with a few episodes with a tenuous connection, and on the other hand they're selling complete season sets with limited special features. Hey don't get me wrong, I don't think it's a bad marketing plan, just that it's not focused in the way that marketing for videos for adults often is. Then again there is the Dukes Of Hazard in the TV Favorites line.

Star Trek Enterprise: The Complete Third Season
- The third season of Star Trek: Enterprise was in many way the season where the series turned a corner and actually started to get better. The introduction of the Xindi menace with a pre-emptive strike on Earth wasn't a bad starting point, but the early episodes in the season-long Xindi arc weren't that promising. As the season progressed and Manny Cotto became a major figure behind the scenes of the show it improved measurably. Unfortunately viewership and UPN's confidence in the show didn't so that the fourth season face the menaces of reduced budgets, and a deadly timeslot, but still managed to be even better than the third season - to the point where fans were actually sad and angry to see the series end.

Tales of the Unexpected Set 3
- I remember seeing some of these stories hosted first by Roald Dahl - many of whose stories were adapted for it - and then by John Houseman when they aired on the CBC. Unfortunately they were never on at a consistent time. Stylish tales of murder and secrets, usually with a twist, but done in a British manner. Very enjoyable.

Vicar of Dibley: 10th Anniversary Specials
- The fish out of water story, in which a seemingly normal person finds herself in a town full of loonies (at least from the normal person's perspective) is fairly common. In fact this week has the Corner Gas set which could be described in just those terms. The Vicar of Dibley gave that a twist. Dawn French as Reverend Geraldine Granger is the "normal" person (well as normal as any Dawn French character) but she seems to have fully settled into her little community of loonies. This is a single disk with two hour long specials done for the series' tenth anniversary in 2004. There's also a mini-episode done for the British Comic Relief involving the Antiques Roadshow (the British one - aka the good one).

X-Files: Mythology Collection, Vol. 3 - Colonization
- This is the third of fourth box sets dealing with the X-Files mytharc. These come from seasons 5 through 8 and span the transition between Agent Mulder and Agent John Doggett. The alien plan is becoming clear and it leads to Mulder's disappearance. This whole series of DVD focussing on the mythology is a brilliant idea.

No comments: