Westworld: The Complete Series
Complete First Season
(1958 - 1959/Warner Archive DVD Sets)/Burke's
Law: Season One, Volume Two
(1963 - 1965/VCI DVDs)/Romance
& Mrs. Simpson
(2001)/A&E/Lionsgate DVD Set)
C+/C+/C/C Sound: C/C/C/C+ Extras: D/D/C+/C+ Episodes:
DVD sets are now only available from Warner Bros. through their
Warner Archive series and can be ordered from the link below.
a set of cult TV and some stuffy British TV in the mix...
Westworld: The Complete Series (1980) is a sequel to MGM's 1973
hit feature film written and directed by Michael Crichton. You can
read more about the film at this link in our coverage of the Blu-ray:
is actually the second sequel, as American International made the
underrated Futureworld (1976, also reviewed on this site) and had a
hit as well, but MGM did not have the rights to that one, so they
made this show. An ill-advised idea, CBS had already had failures
with interesting TV versions of Planet Of The Apes and Logan's
Run, but this show was done as an outright action show (if you
can call it that) without any ambition in the writing or attempts to
be smart, thoughtful or innovative. For starters, it throws away one
of the groundbreaking points of the original film, that some kind of
virus caused the robots to go haywire and kill all the guests at the
Delos theme parks.
we gt a boo hiss villain named Simon Quaid (James Wainwright)
actually found a way to take over all the robots and therefore is a
mass murderer hellbent on power. Going after him are John Moore (Jim
McMullan, not Roger Moore as James Bond, which is what some of the
ads tried to make it look like at the time) and Laura Garvey (the
very likable Judith Chapman, now a soap opera veteran). However, the
technology was even silly and awful in its time, including some bad
visual graphics, some of the worst fight scenes in TV history and
robots that make the ones in an Austin Powers film look deadly.
Chapman was dropped after the pilot for Connie Sellecca under a
different name, but in the same type of role, to no avail.
soon found success in two hits at once with The Greatest American
Hero and Hotel at the same time a few years later. Severn
Darden shows up in another intellectual role that does not help the
show any, but the big faux pas has to be hiring Russell Johnson (The
Professor from the original Gillian's Island) as a computer
expert. That speaks volumes about this show's ineptness. Rene
Auberjonois shows up as a sort of precursor to a computer hacker, but
that is for only one show.
Guest, Jack Carter, Denny Miller, Bobby Van, Greg Lewis, Ronee
Blakley, Christine Belford, Michael Cole, Michael Pataki, Robert
Alda, Monte Markham and Martin Kove show up as guests, but none of
them make much of an impact either. HBO is remaking Westworld as a
more serious TV show and I expect they'll be way more successful than
the makers of the disaster here, but even this should be out on DVD
and it finally is.
are no extras, though any would have likely been a hoot.
The Complete First Season (1958 - 1959) was another Western TV
show made by Warner when they were on a roll making them with the
likes of Maverick, Sugarfoot and Cheyenne (all
reviewed elsewhere on this site), it rotated as part of the Cheyenne
Show and is as family-friendly and good-natured, even when the show
gets serious and has villainous opponents. Jack Elam shows up off
the bat, showing the studio wanted this to be as much a part of the
genre as possible and as the other shows. It is not bad, but does
not stand out (likely by design) versus its companion shows and Ty
Hardin holds his own in the title role.
5-DVD set has all 20 hour-long shows and guest stars for the debut
season include Wayne Rogers, James Coburn, Robert Vaughn, Lorne
Greene, Troy Donahue, Claude Akins, Sue Randall, Jay Novello, Ray
Danton, R.G. Armstrong, Ellen Corby, Gerald Mohr, George O'Hanlon,
James Drury, Shirley Knight, John Dehner, Karl Swenson, Pernell
Roberts, Jeannie Cooper, Mike Connors, Barry Atwater, Don 'Red'
Barry, Richard Carlyle, Olan Soule and Dorothy Provine.
are no extras.
Bat Masterson, but before The Adventurer (reviewed
elsewhere on this site), Gene Barry has a hit with Burke's Law
and this Season One, Volume Two (1963 - 1965) set shows
the series in its early shows before it became Amos Burke: Secret
Agent. More significantly, the show inspired the great spin-off,
Honey West (also reviewed on this site) with Anne Francis in
the title role. Either way, Barry is good on the show, but its idea
of being slick and hip is just to silly and too much of a schtick for
the show to work.
has some good moments, is shot nicely and has smart writing for the
most part, but has aged awkwardly. Still, Gary Conway and Regis
Toomey were regular and the impressive guest stars across the shows
in this set include Barbara Eden in a rare serious turn as a
potential vixen, Gena Rowlands, Spike Jones, Dick Clark, Kevin
McCarthy, Carolyn Jones, Dorothy Malone, Rue McClanahsn, Mako, Mark
Goddard, Jim Backus, William Shatner, Elizabeth Montgomery, Telly
Savalas, Mickey Rooney, Bert Parks, Linda Darnell, John Ericson,
Herschel Bernardi, Ed Wynn, Broderick Crawford, Felicia Farr, Tab
Hunter, Beverly Adams, Jack Weston, Dan Duryea, Howard Duff, Jayne
Mansfield, Arthur O'Connell, Fess Parker, Nancy Kovack, John
Cassavetes, Don Ameche, Jackie Coogan, Sterling Holloway, Ruta Lee,
Jeanne Crain, Susan Strausberg, Agnes Moorehead, Forrest Tucker, Dawn
Wells, Betty Hutton, Milton Parsons and Buster Keaton. All across 4
DVDs, that cast alone will keep this a curio always.
include a paper pullout with episode summaries, a restoration
comparison and TV commercials.
Classics is a new compact DVD set from A&E that collects
three of their stuff British TV releases previously issued on DVD.
We already reviewed the 1978 Edward & Mrs. Simpson at this
are the same as that set.
little less successful is the 1995 TV mini-series version of Pride
& Prejudice whose claim to fame now is that Colin Firth as
Mr. Darcy, but it is just too safe and boring. Be awake when viewing
and don't operate heavy machinery. The Jane Austen cycle is mostly
ended (they ran out of books!) and this is one of the reasons why.
Three featurettes are the extras.
we have Victoria & Albert (2001), the most interesting and
smartest of the three with no less than Nigel Hawthorne, Diana Rigg,
David Suchet, Jonathan Pryce and Sir Peter Ustinov about the
controversial relationship that changed England forever. This one
has the richest writing, acting and is the most consistent. I just
don't know why it was not more popular in the first place. Extras
include only text Cast Bio/Filmographies.
1.33 X 1 image across the color episodes of Westworld
and black and white Bronco
shows are the best on the list, despite having minor flaws and
limits, but the 1.33 X 1 and anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 images
on the three Romance
entries are all a generation down and could look better, while the
black and white 1.33 X 1 image on the Law
episodes may have been restored, but the prints were not in the best
of shape and more work needs to be done before any kind of Blu-ray
release. All DVDs also offer lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono except 2.0
Stereo on the Pride
Mini-Series, but they are a generation down. Victoria
has the best sound of the lot, pushing that set as the best sonically
here by default.
order either of the Warner Archive DVD sets above, go to this link
for them and many more great web-exclusive releases at: