Monday, December 22, 2008

All I Want for Christmas

'Tis the season to give DVD box sets, and a quick perusal of Amazon demonstrates the fact that nearly each and every TV show, no matter how stupid, eventually finds its way into release. Are there really that many people interested in owning the complete According to Jim? Apparently so. Meanwhile, all sorts of really good television sits in the vaults, unreleased. Santa, I've made my list. Please release the following on DVD for me, and place the box sets in my stocking. You'll be doing the entire world a favor.

China Beach. How is it possible that this excellent show is not available on DVD? Sure, it was depressing, but isn't the Vietnam War by definition depressing? It had a great cast, including but not limited to Dana Delaney and Marge Helgenberger, and it was ahead of its time in its use of flash forwards, flash backs, intercut interviews set in the present, and all kinds of storytelling that was, at the time, unique for television. I have been baffled for years by the fact that not a single season or episode of this series is currently available.

Homefront. Remember Homefront? You should. It replaced thirtysomething Tuesdays at 10 on ABC. It had a great ensemble including Kyle Chandler and John Slattery. Sure, it was a period drama, and I'm one of the few people who likes period dramas, especially those set in mythical, midwestern American in the middle of WWII. It was really good. It only lasted two seasons. The whole series could fit on about four discs. Release it already! And while we're on the subject, another series in serious need of DVD treatment is

thirtysomething. Oh, those self-obsessed Philadelphia yuppies with their shoulder pads and their careers and their search for fulfillment. Gary looked just like Bjorn Borg, and he died! Nancy was a saint, and she had cancer! Melissa was a goof, and had a great loft! Ellen was punished for being a single career woman by hooking up with men who were way too ugly! Miles! Miles! Michael and Hope's dog was named Grendel! Seriously, who wouldn't buy this?

Sisters. Yes, it was an evening soap and yes, at times it was stupid. But come on, George Clooney was on for a while. And it starred Sela Ward and Swoozie Kurtz. This show was too fun to be locked away in a vault somewhere.

All My Children. No, I'm not crazy enought to desire each and every episode of the past 38 years released on DVD. All I want is a couple of discs that feature highlights from the 1970s, the show's golden age. I want to see some Tara. I want Donna when she's a prostitute, and the evil Billy Clyde Tuggle, who filled the void left by the evil pimp Tyrone. I want some young Erica Kane. This doesn't seem to me like too much to ask.

Life on Mars (UK series released for Region One, USA). Everyone says the original UK version is superior to the US remake. I like the remake fine, but have only seen maybe two of the original episodes on BBC America. It's out on DVD for Region 2, which of course won't work on my player. Please, people, reformat the thing so I can make unfair comparisions between the two just like everyone else.

Ed. Oh, it was somewhat dopey and sappy. A high-powered lawyer is cuckolded by his fiancee, ditches everything, and moves back to his picture-perfect hometown, where he buys a bowling alley for his law practice and pines for his high school love, who is now a high school teacher. But the performances were strong, and on cold winter nights, there's nothing like some sap to warm you up. This lasted a couple of seasons on NBC, and there's no reason in the world why it hasn't been released.

OK, Santa, get to work.

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