on DVD: Will 2006 Deliver More Of The Classics?
Blu-ray in full swing and so much TV on DVD issued, we decided to
check back on this essay from the beginning of 2006 to see what did
and did not materialize on DVD. Out of our hoped-for selections, not
as many as expected. We have included italicized notes and links in
the few cases it is applicable...
DVD first arrived, it was enough the studios had not unanimously
supported it. As they eventually did, they seemed to think only
motion pictures and some niche titles would be the only kinds of
titles to sell. After Music on DVD (concerts, Music Videos, et al)
shocked them all and became a boom market, it was not long before TV
followed, though that was a more recent development and the big
growth sector in 2005. 2006 continued that trend, but the switch to
HD has mixed up what is being released three years later. Any analog
low-definition, videotaped show really needs to be issued now.
any recent TV show is likely to pop up on DVD, especially if it was a
hit or has cult appeal. Though some older shows have arrived on DVD,
there are so many that have not, that we get constant questions about
when some big favorite will arrive. Last year, greats like
The Night Stalker,
Hart To Hart
and even The
finally turned up. When General Electric bought Universal (long
before selling to Comcast), they ended the moratorium on their TV
shows and many of their favorites finally saw first-season release.
there are many great shows still not announced and some of them are
simply being held hostage for maximum sales until a TV or feature
film remake is produced in the current frenzy to recycle just about
any show around. Rarely do the new versions turn out to be even
watchable, but that has not stopped the trend. Unless the show is
from the early 1980s to date, its release is less likely unless the
companies see the potential sales. As we enter the New Year, we
thought we would suggest and consider some great shows not yet
announced or nearly so that come up the most in our circles:
- Based on Martin Scorsese's hit film Alice
Doesn't Live Here Anymore
(now out in a great DVD from Warner Bros.), Linda Lavin took over the
role of single mother Alice Hyatt who, with her son Tommy, breaks
down on her way to the West Coast to start a singing career. She
lands up working at Mel's Diner and a hit series was born. Paired by
CBS with The
in record rating immortality, the show holds up very well and Warner
Bros. should put it out.
Bros. started with a nice single-DVD compilation we hoped would be
followed by the original seasons you can read about it at this link:
they decided to the shock of some people to do each season
exclusively from their Warner Archive series, which are DVD-Rs. We
covered the first four seasons at the following links, then the Fifth
The Complete Series
Laurel & Hardy + Abbott & Costello 1966 Series
- Two very popular cartoon comedy series of the time were made by
Hanna Barbera based on two of still the greatest comedy teams of all
time. Larry Harmon (Bozo
voiced Laurel and Bud Abbott voiced himself in these really funny
series. Additional voices were provided by Mel Blanc, Don Messnick,
Janet Waldo and Paul Frees (sometimes on both shows) so why are these
shows not out on Blu-ray or DVD? Why not do them as two shows in one
set? Still no sign despite the animated Three
hitting DVD. The Laurel
& Hardy Show
will actually see a new animated update.
II/Jason Of Star Command/Space Academy
- Along with Shazam!
Animation house Filmation tried a series of live action science
fiction shows that ran for a while on Saturday mornings in the late
1970s on CBS. While the superhero shows are with Warner Bros.,
someone could issue all three shows as one fun set with extras.
reused sets left over from Academy
when the show ended.
Eclipse gained the rights to all Filmation titles that had not
reverted back to original licensees and though we did not get Ark II
until it was part of a box set, we covered it in another way,
followed by actual reviews of the latter shows. Note that all these
sets are out of print as BCI folded, but plenty of low cost copies
are out there:
Of Star Command
(1965 - 67) - Fox has the shows, but Warner bros. owns the rights and
they do not seem to want the shows issued on DVD at this time with a
new era of the character launched. The episodes need some
restoration work, but only an insane demand that both studios could
ignore is going to get this one released. It also makes one wonder
what will happen with the Van Johnson/Bruce Lee Green
box and DVDs issued since...
(1966) - With everything else Beatles getting reissued, why not this
series? The band was never happy with it, we've heard. It has been
out of circulation too long and hardly ever issued anywhere, which
also applied to The
animated series from the same producers until it finally came out on
Blu-ray and DVD! Wonder if The same producer's Osmonds
animated show will beat The
to the market?
with Bob Keeshan (1955 β 1982) - A belated entry on our llost, the
show was a huge hit in its time moved to color videotape by 1967
(taping started in 1959) this show remains one of the biggest
children's television hits ever, yet it has been out of circulation
for decades. It's return could not happen soon enough. Hopefully,
even the early episodes have survived. Still no DVDs.
- This show only ran 10 episodes in 1977, but had a great lead cast
and interesting guest stars every show. Jared Martin, the now major
independent director Carl Franklin and Roddy McDowell lead a series
about an expedition that goes into another dimension when passing The
Bermuda Triangle. It's a great time to put it out on DVD... still!
(1969) - While the Shawn Cassidy/Parker Stevenson live action hit
show has made it to DVD, this animated version has not and featured
the brothers as part of a larger rock band solving mysteries. With
another revival on the horizon, why not issue it now? Still no sign!
Hilarious House Of Frightenstein
(1971) - This show ran for a long single season and was made in
Canada, but 131 hour-long shows were taped, Vincent Price was the
host and Billy Van played most of the horror movie-inspired
characters, but other actors showed up and other characters were
spoofed in this wacky flipside of sorts to Laugh-In,
also all videotaped. Empire Pictures issued a DVD with 4 half-hour
shows years ago as a Volume
with no follow-up. Someone, possibly distributor First Run Features,
needs to issue a Complete
collection like the one apparently issued in other markets. It is a
fun show that is a lost gem and it belongs on a shelf with two other
comedy horror gem on DVD we have reviewed elsewhere on this site: the
TV series and animated Groovie
Maybe VCI could try since they issued Squad
- The great Anne Francis in a Spy/Detective series shot in glorious
black and white could be issued in complete series set and was a
major forerunner of (with Hart
Honey inherits a detective agency from her father and finds herself
each week in a great action puzzle of a case. Francis is one of the
great forgotten stars, but this DVD issued by VCI in later 2008
should change that:
- Short-lived sitcom based on groundbreaking stage play has not been
seen in years, but would be interesting to revisit in complete series
DVD set. Set at a hotel with a strange set of live-in residences,
the show dealt with taboos a few years before the groundbreaking Soap
arrived. Still no sign, despite Norman Lear saying this was his
favorite of all the series he made!
(1969) - The infamous animated series was considered nothing but a
half-hour commercial by the U.S. Government and eventually pulled.
How times change! Would be nice to see it now and how it holds up.
With extras on the toys of the time, it would make a nice Complete
Series set, especially since the new animted shows keep turning up on
- Not to be confused with a recent, silly series with the same title,
this Christopher George series should have been huge, but did not
catch on. Launched with a pilot TV movie, he plays a racecar driver
who is being kidnapped because his blood can cure all diseases and
make a person ageless. Especially interesting in an AIDS era, this
action series is like a more sophisticated Fugitive,
with great scripts and acting. Still no sign!!!
- Peter Boyle is the title character, a semi-corrupt police officer
producer Danny Arnold's bold attempt to do a situation comedy with a
dark edge and no laugh track. That was bold for its time and the
show did not last, but I bet it holds up very well now. Still no
The TV series version of the hit 1976 film has a surprisingly strong
music score (reviewed elsewhere on this site) and some other
surprises. Not all the shows are strong, but they can be amusing and
the remake should encourage Warner Bros. to finally issue the
complete series, especially since the last few shows never aired.
not only issued the series on DVD, they made it a general release
instead of a Warner Archive exclusive. Here is our coverage of the
- Between the mega-success of I
and later success of Here's
Lucille Ball proved she could carry a show without the great Desi
Arnaz with The
and has some of the greatest comedy moments in TV history. Plenty of
bad copies of the show are out there, but Paramount needs to restore
and issue high quality official DVDs of this show. It began as a
black and white show with co-star Vivian Vance as new characters;
widows who live together with their children in a big house to save
expenses. Then the show went to full color and has some of the best
color in TV history. Even after Vance left, Gale Gordon's Mr. Mooney
remained as a slow burn hoot who was constantly driven crazy by Lucy
Carmichael. Between the scripts, their wit, the delivery and the now
unreal ability of Lucy to get huge stares to appear on her show over
just about any others, Lucy was pushing her talents into new
directions, to the limits and it shows.
has now issued the entire Here's
seasons (see the first two seasons elsewhere on this site) while CBS
DVD finally started issuing the series, beginning with Season
Since we first posted, CBS started issuing the show in exceptional
special editions with new prints, including Lucy
Show - Season Two:
U.N.C.L.E./Girl From U.N.C.L.E.
- The famous spy series from the 1960s that has been in turnaround at
Warner Bros. for a few years as a feature film is long overdue for a
comeback and a fun TV movie with the original leads (Robert Vaughn
and David McCallum) almost relaunched a new show. If Bond can start
all over, this would be a great time to start issuing each season.
Paramount is finally issuing the original Wild,
with Robert Conrad and Ross Martin. Can Warner be far behind with
a dispute with Anchor Bay over rights, Warner issued the entire Man
series in a massive, highly comprehensive 42-DVD set in a briefcase
via Time-Life which we reviewed as follows:
sets followed as the feature film remake arrived. Without any
Girl From U.N.C.L.E.
was issued bt Warner Archive, swhich you can read more about at this
- The only major Norman Lear/Bud Yorkin sitcom with an edge Sony has
not out on DVD yet, Bea Arthur is easily available in several seasons
but her greatest TV work remains as Maude Finley, the nemesis of
Archie Bunker and all time great liberal character. The show remains
one of the great spin-offs of all time and the supporting cast
(including a young Adrienne Barbeau) has great chemistry.
arrived on DVD finally, as this review will confirm:
Factory issued the rest of the serires.
- The original Mike Connors action detective hit ran an amazing eight
seasons and holds up well for its time. Action packed in its time,
good-looking copies finally arrived on DVD in 2008 starting with the
whole series is now available on DVD and we have covered most of
those season sets.
(1956) - When will someone issue the original TV version of the
Mickey Spillane detective show with Darren McGavin? It ran three
seasons, produced 78 black & white half-hour shows now surfacing
on cable TV. That could be done in two to three DVD boxes, but the
entire show could be put on five double-sided discs.
this posting five years ago, Universal finally licensed the whole
series to A&E, which we reviewed here:
- With the third Tom Cruise film promising more action and big budget
thrills where the money is actually on the screen (imagine that) for
all to enjoy, Paramount is long overdue to start issuing the original
series. A whole new generation or two has not seen this series in
its brilliant, uncut form and the revelation would be an entertaining
arrived on DVD finally, as these review will confirm, with the rest
now available, including
in a dynamite-stick shaped Complete
set that included the two late 1980s series:
(1981) - In 1979, a TV movie with Thayer David was produced that was
designed to launch a TV series, but Mr. David passed away before that
could happen. William Conrad from Cannon
(finally on DVD) was signed to replace him and a very ambitious,
short-lived series of 14 expensively produced episodes resulted.
Though not a hit, it is as compelling as the recent A&E version,
itself a hit on DVD. Paramount/CBS DVD ought to issue the TV movie
and series in one set.
eventually issued the whole series.
New 3 Stooges
(1965 - 66) - Forget the live-action film that bombed, can someone
find, restore and revive this underrated, funny animated series
created by the Moe and other family members? Colorful and an
underrated piece of Stooges history, this would make for a good
Blu-ray and DVD set.
Madacy finally became the company to issue the show in its entirety,
includng the filmed live-action segments, in a fine folding case.
You can read about it at this link:
- The few episodes produced were the basis for the three Naked
films and are more watchable for some since O.J. Simpson is not in
them. Paramount could do this as a 2 DVD set.
one finally arrived:
- The most untapped catalog of great classic hit TV dramas [had] yet
to see the light of day, including The
Streets Of San Francisco,
and even A
Man Called Sloan.
After Paramount/CBS freed them from the Republic holdings and kept
them before licensing the rest of the titles back to Lionsgate, they
finally started arriving on DVD. To date, The
Streets Of San Francisco
are the only series to make it, with its First
split into two volumes:
Season One, Volume One
Jones - The First Season
- Season One, V.1
Of The Saint
- Already issued in an elaborate complete series DVD box set loaded
with extras in Australia and England, A&E was about halfway
through issuing the black and white Roger Moore episodes from the
series, but never got to this one. Acorn already did the Simon
Dutton shows made later first on DVD in the U.S.!
could not wait on anyone in the U.S. to do it, so we covered the
original Australian box from Umbrella Entertainment:
who is holding this up in the U.S.?
The half-hour show ran five seasons and was a favorite of many,
including in later reruns, but has not been seen in years. Even when
badly edited (is there extra footage to be restored and make the show
more coherent or is that rumor?) it had solid ratings and remains one
of the best TV shows about high school ever made. Since we posted,
Shout! Factory issued Season
few years later and we covered it here:
here is Season
- He's one bad mother, but the TV series version with original lead
Richard Roundtree has exceptional scripts and should have been a
bigger hit in its time. They had to be to make up for the violence
they could not show and money they did not have to spend. The result
is yet another gem Warner Bros. needs to release and they have as a
TV movies set through their Warner Archive series...
caught up to it here...
Six Million-Dollar Man/Bionic Woman
- Already issued in first season sets in England, when are we getting
these? How loyal are fans? How well regarded and remembered are the
shows? When word got around that someone on crack wanted Jim Carrey
to play Steve Austin, one of the biggest reactions of outrage and
fury to date associated with any remake was let loose and the idea
was squashed. Carrey is talented, but the idea is to hire a serious
actor who is likable and heroic, which is not what Carrey is known
for. The Weinstein Company temporarily lost the rights and now, both
series are finally out on DVD in the U.S., including the entire Six
series in a Complete Collection from Time Life:
Woman - Season One
Two and Three DVD sets followed, though there was a defect on DVD # 4
for the Season Two set. For fans, we note that you can get the bad
disc replaced by writing ConsumerRelations@bydeluxe.com or by phone
at 888-882-5779 for information on returning that Disc 4 which
featured the episode, "Deadly Ringer," in exchange for a
replacement disc with corrected audio. We hope Blu-ray is next for
both series, as the prints look good enough.
Wahlberg landed up doing the feature film revival.
- A cult show people loved who saw it, with women in the future
hunting humans, especially men. Even the soundtrack has been issued,
but not the series. How can you pass up a cool show with a song that
has 'sex world' in its lyrics? A new company just reiisued the older
transfers from a foreign NTSC DVD set, but no extras.
1966 thriller series lasted only one series of 26 half-hour shows,
but is regarded as one of the better Spy-era series. Created by the
great writer Harry Julian Fink (Dirty
it is overdue for DVD release. Still no sign!!!
(1966) on Blu-ray - Released in scattered single DVDs, is it not time
to remaster the show for Blu-ray and do a complete series on Blu-ray
and DVD? Did Disney's horrid live-action feature film bomb do that
much damage? No, as it turns out, the Shout! Factory issued this
fine DVD box of the whole show along with another great, separate box
set featuring Tennessee
Tuxedo & His Friends:
prints were not in the best shape, preventing a full Blu-ray version,
but some of the prints look great and they should surface on Blu-ray
somewhere, sometime and now by new owners DreamWorks Animation,
itself now bought by Universal Pictures.
Of The Dinosaurs
- One of the most mature and intelligent animated series Hanna
Barbera ever made, a family is in the wild and gets so lost, they
land up in another world of the past and make friends with a kind
family of the past. Out the same season as the live-action Land
Of the Lost,
this series was one of the first on TV (especially children's
television) to use electronic instruments in its theme song and the
scripts are exceptional. Warner Bros. has been issuing classics out
of that catalog and this gem needs to be dusted off, yet even the
Of the Lost
feature film on Blu-ray and DVD was not enough to get this out on
complete series was issued by Warner Archive online only and with no
extras, which we covered at this link:
- With the advance sales of a single DVD compilation much higher than
expectations, Warner Bros. should release the show season by season
with tons of extras, including behind-the-scenes rehearsals that we
know are in the vaults. Shout! Factory has issued a Complete
DVD set, but with no more extras!
first season finally arrived first, with the individual follow ups
due belatedly after the Complete Series set:
- The original show ran for four seasons and has been kept off the
DVD shelves by the issue of royalties and permission to use the many
hits songs that surfaced in each show. One plan was to painstakingly
take out the music, but you would think the RIAA (Recording Industry
Association of America) and the owners of the show and music could
make some kind of one-time special deal on the show, even if that
meant royalties going into some kind of special back-up trust for
artists. Otherwise, the show should not be issued in versions no one
is going to like and Shout! Factory got most of the music for their
was issued first with much of the music removed, but is still funny.
The creators even explain where some of the missing music was placed
in the extras:
most of the music licensed, the whole series finally made it to DVD.
to say this is far from a complete list, but it is a major sampling
of some of the very best and most interesting shows you have not
heard much of or of in a long time and in many cases, are long
overdue for DVD and even Blu-ray. Sometimes, it is sadly a matter of
good prints not being readily available or the studio or owners not
knowing what they have. In other cases, it is not obvious and the
shows are maybe available on out-of-print VHS if that. We'll see how
many of these shows come out by the time we update again.