Tuesday, September 06, 2005

TV on DVD - September 6, 2005 - Part 1

It's a long list this week, although it's primarily DVDs for the kids or the pre-teen set. There are a couple of quite interesting items hidden in there and it would be a shame to make a post so huge people wouldn't read it, so I'm splitting it in two.

21 Jump Street: Season 3
- I don't know that I ever saw this series, which was the first time most people ever saw Johnny Depp. He was clearly the standout actor in this series, although there were a number of other important young actors in the series including Richard Greico (who appeared in an episode of this season that Depp refused to do), Peter DeLuise and Holly Robinson (before she married Rodney Peete).

Adventures of the Little Prince: The Complete Series
- This was a Frano-German-Japanese production seen in the United States on the Nickelodeon Network back in 1982 which took the principal character from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's novel as it's basis. The Prince of the title often travels to Earth to have adventures, as opposed to what happens in the novel. Apparently the animation is fairly basic since this was a low budget effort.

Buffalo Bill: The Complete First and Second Seasons
- Buffalo Bill was an early effort to put Dabney Coleman in a comedy series. Despite an excellent cast which included Joanna Cassidy and Geena Davis, many viewers found Coleman's Bill Bittinger too mean-spirited and nasty for 1983, although the show might possibly work today. It ran 26 episodes and this set could easily be renamed Buffalo Bill: The Complete Series.

Rocky and Bullwinkle: The Complete Season 3
Best of Fractured Fairy Tales, Vol. 1

- Do I really need to say that they don't make them like this anymore? Well they don't. Those of us who saw the series as kids in the early 1960s loved it just as a funny cartoon adventure, but with the passage of the years the aspects of the show that appealed to adults come out. Some of us actually remember Durwood Kirby, the inspiration for the Kerwood Derby but while kids today might not get references like that they'll still enjoy it as a funny cartoon adventure. As for Fractured Fairy Tales, they're fun too although not in the same topical manner. To top it all off there is some truly great voice acting on display thanks to Edward Everett Horton, June Foray, Hans Conreid, Paul Frees, Daws Butler, Walter Tetley and of course William Conrad.

Charmed: The Complete Second Season
- I've never been an active viewer of Charmed, although I will confess to having tried to make an effort when it was on daily on Canada's Showcase: Diva channel. It didn't take, possibly because I've never really liked Shannon Doherty or Alyssa Milano (I will confess to a fondness for Holly Marie Combs dating back to Picket Fences). I found it not particularly objectionable, but not something I'd build my night around. Take that for what it's worth, which isn't much.

Degrassi Junior High: Season 3
- The final season of DeGrassi Junior High before the series morphed into DeGrassi High School. I didn't watch any of the four DeGrassi series, so again this is something that I can't really comment on except to say that unlike a lot of programming for this age group it isn't all happy times mixed with condescension.

Doctor Who: The Mind Robber
Doctor Who: Horror of Fang Rock

- The Mind Robber is one of my favourite Doctor Who in part because it's from one of the best periods in the history of the series, Patrick Troughton's last season. This one subtly batters the fourth wall by attempting to make the Doctor into a fictional creation. A brilliant piece of work. Horror of Fang Rock isn't as strong - I'm less of a fan of Tom Bakers than of Troughton's - but it's an excellent mystery of the "locked room" or "deserted island" variety and does give us a glimpse of the Rutan's, the ancient enemies of the Sontarans.

Doogie Howser, M.D.: Season Two
- As a concept Doogie Howser M.D. was always a natural target for satire. He was a teenager who couldn't drive but could prescribe narcotics. Still for four years, powered by the writing of David E. Kelly and with Steven Bochco as producer, the show worked. It didn't hurt that Neil Patrick Harris was - and still is - a talented actor, or that the show had a strong supporting cast, particularly James B. Sikking as Doogie's father and Belinda J. Montgomery as his mother. The premise, though based on a real person, was always suspect and began to lose interest as Doogie grew towards adulthood, with the milestones aging presented including losing his virginity. Still an excellent show which may be inspirational for younger viewers but isn't a "kids" show.

Fat Albert's Halloween Special
- Hey, hey, hey! There's not much here except for the Halloween Special and a game, and for the price they're charging, even if it's only $14.99 Canadian before the Amazon.ca discount, I think you have a right to expect more.

Fraggle Rock: Doin' Things That Doozers Do
- For those of you who remember Fraggle Rock, the Doozers were the omnipresent little guys who were always building these marvelous constructions which the Fraggles end up eating. They were in fact part of the cave's delicate eco-system: Doozers build constructions using radishes so that Fraggles wil eat them. If the Fraggles don't eat them eventually the Doozers stop building and move away. The Doozers were in fact the smallest character Muppets ever created by Jim Henson Productions. This DVD has three episodes of the series, but amazingly not the episode where we learn all of this, "The Preachification of Convincing John". There are a number of extras on the DVD but on the whole it comes across as a very child oriented product. If you really want to get the Fraggle Rock series, you're better off buying the season 1 set for the price of about three of the individual DVDs.

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