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Category:    Home > Reviews > Science Fiction > Action > Murder > Robotics > Sequel > Western > Drama > Comedy > Crime > Detective > History > Beyond Westworld: The Complete Series (1980/MGM)/Bronco: The Complete First Season (1958 - 1959/Warner Archive DVD Sets)/Burke's Law: Season One, Volume Two (1963 - 1965/VCI DVDs)/Romance Classics (Ed

Beyond Westworld: The Complete Series (1980/MGM)/Bronco: The Complete First Season (1958 - 1959/Warner Archive DVD Sets)/Burke's Law: Season One, Volume Two (1963 - 1965/VCI DVDs)/Romance Classics (Edward & Mrs. Simpson (1978)/Pride & Prejudice (1995)/Victoria & Albert (2001)/A&E/Lionsgate DVD Set)

Picture: C+/C+/C/C Sound: C/C/C/C+ Extras: D/D/C+/C+ Episodes: C-/C+/C+/B-

PLEASE NOTE: The Beyond Westworld and Bronco DVD sets are now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive series and can be ordered from the link below.

Here's a set of cult TV and some stuffy British TV in the mix...

Beyond 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:


It 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.

Instead, 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.

Sellecca 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.

Nicholas 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.

There are no extras, though any would have likely been a hoot.

Bronco: 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.

This 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.

There are no extras.

After 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.

It 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.

Extras include a paper pullout with episode summaries, a restoration comparison and TV commercials.

Romance 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 link:


Extras are the same as that set.

A 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.

Finally 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.

The 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 and Victoria 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.

To order either of the Warner Archive DVD sets above, go to this link for them and many more great web-exclusive releases at:


- Nicholas Sheffo


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