Wednesday, November 16, 2005

TV On DVD - November 15, 2005

Apologies for not doing last week's list of TV Shows on DVD. A lot of stuff caught up with me and by the time that I was able to free up the time to write it up it was already Saturday. Not much point in writing it then. Too bad as I had a couple of interesting points - like why, on Space: Above And Beyond, did they used a squad of highly trained pilots basically like infantry grunts - but I'm sure I'll find interesting stuff to write about this week too.

1st & Ten Complete Collection
- Only available at Wal-Mart, and presumably only Wal-Marts in the USA. This is a rather obscure - to me - half hour HBO series that was on from 1984 to 1991. There's a mix of actors and professional football players (and a couple of people who blur the boundaries, like O.J. Simpson). Another notable in later seasons was Shannon Tweed (who was a year behind me at Mount Royal Collegiate in Saskatoon).

Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda: Season 5, Collection 2
- The final part of the final season of Andromeda. I think I gave up on the series around the end of the Third Season.

Blue Murder
- Do you have any idea just haw many series have been named Blue Murder? The answer is two series (one British, one Canadian), two TV movies (one British, one Canadian) and this miniseries about real life police corruption and murder in Australia. It has acquired a reputation as one of the best things Australian television has ever produced. High praise indeed.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Chosen Collection
- Usual advisory - if you don't have any of the previous box sets this might be a viable option otherwise caveat emptor.

Charmed: The Complete Third Season
- Okay, I've never been a huge fan of Charmed. I've watched a few episodes, mainly from the first season, but even though I love and adore Holly Marie Combs I have just never been able to sustain my interest long enough to watch it as a series. Season 3 is the one where Shannen Doherty's character "Prue" is killed off - reportedly either because she had "conflicts" with Alyssa Milano, or she felt that her best work was being wasted on a show 'for 12-year olds.'" Maybe that's why I could never get into the series.

Cheers: The Complete Seventh Season
- The thing about Cheers is that for the most part it didn't matter which season you were watching. Oh sure, characters came and went - notably Woody Boyd, Frasier Crane, and Rebecca Howe - but for the most part the goings on at the bar were the focus. That doesn't mean that the series wasn't funny or inventive though, far from it. I'm just saying that there wasn't that much to distinguish Season 7 from, for example, Season 4 or 9. Things changed - Lilith was pregnant in Season 7 - but most things stayed the same.

Davey and Goliath Snowboard Christmas
- Not available on this is an updated version of the classic stop motion animated series, with new actors but presumably the same moral compass which made the original recommended viewing.

Fantasy Island: The Complete First Season
- ABC made Saturday night in the late 1970s and early '80s into a haven for light dramatic programs, with the combination of The Love Boat and Fantasy Island. While The Love Boat was an entirely feel good series about love and romance, Fantasy Island always seemed to have a slightly darker aspect to it, with the featured patrons' fantasies usually being meant to teach them something or bring them together with someone they were supposed to be with. The partnership of Ricardo Montalban as the mysterious Mr. Roarke and Herve Villechaise as his enthusiastic and somewhat libidinous assistant was perfect to the point that it was Villechaise

The Flintstones: The Complete Fourth Season
- Although the term hadn't been invented at the time I'm convinced that The Flintstones "jumped the shark" around the time they aired an episode where Pebbles and Bam-Bam become baby singing stars which I believe was sometime in season 5. Certainly the shark was well and truly jumped by the time The Great Gazoo appeared on the scene. But Season Four, with Pebbles born and Bam-Bam about to appear on the scene (in the second episode Barney and Betty wish on a star for a baby and the next morning there he is, club and all) is one of the good ones. And believe me I know - the local TV station played The Flintstones every weekday at Noon for something like 25 years.

Frasier - Complete Seventh Season
- Frasier is one of those series which seemed to just keep on going and either not running out of ideas or cleverly recycling various themes in a way that they didn't seem to be recycled. I mean the premise is basic - Frasier and Niles are snobs while their father is so down to earth it's amazing that they came from his loins; Roz is man-hungry but isn't in a mood to settle down, Daphne is clueless that Niles is desperately, mind-numbingly in love with her. At least she is until the end of this season when the two of them run off together ignoring the minor fact that Niles has been married for less than a couple of weeks and Daphne has just walked down the aisle and walked back up it. So why does this show work? Excellent writing and acting seems to be the obvious answer.

Friends: The Complete Tenth Season
Friends - The One with All Ten Seasons

- The last season of Friends suffers I think from the knowledge that it was the last season of Friends and the necessity to wind up all of the story lines before the end, as well as the knowledge that Matt LeBlanc was going to get his own show. So Ross and Rachel have to get together, and Chandler and Monica have to have some impediment thrown in the way of their having a perfect suburban family (but an impediment that can be overcome), but Joey has to stay Joey - unattached and after any woman he can get for one night - so that people will recognize him in the new show. As for the Collectors Box set, see my comments on Buffy The Vampire Slayer above.

Home Movies: Season Three
- I've never seen this series, which was done with Flash animation, despite the fact that it was a mainstay of Teletoon as well as the US Cartoon Network.

Huckleberry Hound - Vol. 1
- Huckleberry Hound, along with Yogi Bear and Quickdraw McGraw were staples of my childhood. The shows came about after MGM closed their animation shop on the grounds that it was too expensive despite the suggestion from Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera that the studio move into TV animation to supplement the theatrical production. So they did it themselves, cutting costs by reusing movement sequences and shooting fewer new frames per second than they had for theatricals. Hanna and Barbera first started with a series called Ruff and Reddy before launching Huck Hound and company. In this series they also recycled their main MGM characters - Tom and Jerry - as Jinx the cat and the two mice Pixie and Dixie. These shows may well be my earliest TV memories. Amazingly, when the studio heads at MGM saw what Hanna-Barbera were doing for TV (and remember they had pitched this to the MGM execs) the studio heads reportedly said "Why couldn't you do this for us?"

Lifetime Intimate Portraits: The Golden Girls
- Not an episode of the show but an "intimate portrait" of the women behind the characters. Think Biography but split between four actresses. I sort of liked the show, but not enough to recommend this.

King Kong Box Set
King Kong Volume 1
King Kong Volume 2

- This is the 1966 animated series and not available from You think that Sony is trying to cash in on the Peter Jackson movie? Nah, they would not do that.

Man Show: Season Four
- I've never watched it. If I'm not mistaken this was the last season with Adam Carolla and Jimmy Kimmel, which is to say - according to many fans anyway - the last vaguely funny season.

Murder One: The Complete Second Season
- While the first season of Murder One was one of the undiscovered gems of television and a direct ancestor of 24 the second season can only be described as a train wreck. The original premise of the series - one court case continued through a season of the show - was abandoned and replaced with several cases (the initial plan was for four cases but I don't believe the series lasted that long). Worst of all Daniel Benzali's character was dropped from the series - as were several other characters - and he was replaced by Anthony Lapaglia who was totally inadequate to replace him.

The Oprah Winfrey Show: 20th Anniversary DVD Collection
- Well what can I say, it's Oprah. Never been a fan, never will be. And she's nowhere near as funny as her namesake spelled backward.

Scrubs: The Complete Second Season
- People love the show but I've never been able to get into it so I won't comment.

Stargate Atlantis: The Complete First Season
- The spin-off which sort of isn't a spin-off. While the original Stargate SG1 has been seen on broadcast TV and on Space: The Imagination Station here in Canada, the spin-off is only available on the premium movie channels up here in the Great White North (and my part is finally starting to get white - snowfall on Sunday night Monday morning) and no matter how good the product they have is I'm not paying $19.95 for five channels when all of the shows they have that I want to see are on one.

That '70s Show - Season Three
- Never been a '70s Show watcher, although I am aware of Topher Grace and Laura Prepon not to mention Ashton Kutcher (and I try to not mention him as much as possible). Those of us who lived through the '70s didn't want to see it the first time - hence the drugs, the sex and the discos none of which I ever participated in (and I don't regret most of it - well except missing the sex). The funny thing is that having seen only bits and pieces of the show I can name people that I knew who fit the archetypes that are being depicted on the show. I knew Kelsos, Hydes, Donnas (one of them was even named Donna) and Jackies. Not to mention a lot of Erics.

Three's Company: Season Five
- Season 5 was the ignition point for the soap opera that was Three's Company although you wouldn't know it from the cover of this box set. No one was talking to anyone and the initial plan was to have Sommers do only a short one minute scene in each episode, shot on a different day from the rest of the episode. By the sixth episode Suzanne Sommers was being listed as a guest star in the show that had catapulted her to fame. It was her last major appearance, with Jennilee Harrison showing up as Chrissy's ever-so-slightly less ditzy - but far more clumsy - cousin, a development which gave even more opportunities for John Ritter to do the sort of physical comedy that had always been a hallmark of the show. The whole the season could probably be described as a "jump the shark moment."

Tru Calling: The Complete Second Season
- Another season that died a'borning as the saying goes, courtesy of Fox of course. True Calling featuring everybody's other favourite vampire slayer - the bad one - Eliza Dushku, was renewed for a second season but then was abruptly pulled from the lineup. Five of the six completed episodes were unceremoniously burned off this past April. And people are surprised by Fox cancelling Arrested Development. I'm surprised that it lasted as long as it did given what happened to this and Firefly among so many others.

Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss: Fun with the Cat
- Faux Cat In The Hat stories from the 1996 series. Sorry, but if I want Dr. Seuss I'll watch the animated specials.

Yogi Bear Show: The Complete Series
- Here's the funny thing about Yogi Bear is that even in the original series run I always thought there were more than the 33 episodes that make up this four DVD set. The characters are all here though, Yogi and Boo-Boo, Yakky Doodle and Snagglepuss the theatrical mountain lion (Exit, kicking and screaming, stage left).

No comments: