Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Battle Of The Box Sets

With no end in sight to the end of the writer’s strike and new scripted shows drying up, I am looking at the winter as a golden opportunity to catch up on DVD series that I own but have never bothered to watch. I buy them on a whim or as a thinly veiled gifts to other family members. The list of shows I own is a little bit eclectic so let us review the choices.

I rolled my eyes at this show’s concept of a western in space as hopelessly lame, but it turns out to be one of the best shows to never last more than a season, and I’m am mighty familiar with those. I pulled this out the other night because of 57 Channels And Nothing On Syndrome and watched the episode where Saffron comes back and Mel ends up naked in the desert. I have made it through all but Disc 4 of this show and only have three more episodes to watch.

Freaks and Geeks
I watched this show religiously when it first came out because it was practically a fly on the wall biography of my high school years. Seth Rogen has gone on from this show to become the featured member of the Apatow players. Many of the other cast members have also gone on to bigger and better things, making a reunion show less and less likely. The only episodes I missed were a few near the end of the series that were burned off after the show had been cancelled.

WKRP In Cincinnati – Season 1
A landmark show that has only gotten better with age. The epic flying turkey show is episode seven. The show had a fantastic ensemble that played of each other brilliantly. Most people loved Lonnie Anderson, but I had an enormous crush on Bailey. And Johnny Fever was every sixties relic hero.

Remington Steele – Season 1
Before there was Moonlighting, Remington Steele paved the way in the sub genre of mystery shows where the actual crimes were secondary to the will-they-or-won’t-they chemistry of the stars. Season One was the best because they still bothered to put in clever movie allusions into the plot. By the end of the series without the original creators, the show had devolved into lame clichés.

Best Of The Original Avengers
I’m ashamed to admit that I have never seen a episode of this classic series. Clearly an oversight I need to fix. This collection has six vintage episodes, but only one or two feature Emma Peel, so it might be disappointing.

So help me pick my writer’s strike survival kit by voting for the show I should watch first. Or write in your favorite show that I should go out and buy. And you can vote for more than one if you want.

BlatantCommentWhoring™: Lobby for your vote or write-in.


Anonymous said...

I'd have voted for the Avengers, but only 2 out of 6 with Emma Peel? What the hell kind of "best of" is that? Even if you've seen most of Freaks and Geeks, I highly recommend watching them all in a burst -- much fun that way.


Anonymous said...

"As god is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly." One of the best lines EVER spoken on television.

If you have to go with the boxes you have, I'd go with WKRP. If you're shopping anyway, pick up The Honeymooners (original 39 Flavors) or start on The West Wing.

I'm warming up to catch up on The Wire, seasons 1-3. I think Epiphany is ahead of me on that one.

At this point you could also spend about ten hours having a Godfather film festival, or you could spend about 12 watching the entire Lonesome Dove saga (assuming you DVR'ed Comanche Moon last week). Bonus points if you can identify the only actor in the LD movies who played the same role more than once.

yellojkt said...

I am one-third through the Godfather saga. My son and I watched Godfather I a few weeks ago and his reaction was "Boy is that a long movie." I warned him that Godfather II came on two DVDs.

Anonymous said...

I voted for WKRP. It was one of the highlights of late 70s television. They broke a lot of new ground and pushed the envelope more than a few times. Alas, the Thanksgiving episode loses a little in the rewatching. Carlson's line loses a lot of impact when you know it's coming. (Which is why it comes in second to the "Jim gets his license" episode of Taxi.)

I also voted for it, because I was under the impression it was never coming out because of licensing problems. The music was an important component of the show. (AC: "Do I hear dogs on that record?"
(JF: "Well, I do.") If they've gutted the soundtrack, then several people have a lot to answer for.

The Jennifer vs. Bailey thing was the Ginger vs. Maryanne of our generation. I was a Bailey man, myself. (Maryanne, too.) And that may be another factor in geek cred for those of the right age.


Jamy said...

Avengers! But stick to the Emma Peel episodes. Honor Blackman is good enough but the earlier shows are not as well written.

The Pup said...

WKRP in Cinncatti is good, so is Firefly. If you have cable, taping Monk isn't a bad idea either.

I haven't seen all of the older episodes so I've been using this TV strike to catch up.

And the Science channel has been a sanity-saver at times. I've been enjoying the Hot Rock series.

Other than that, books are the best. I've already read 10 novels this month, plus 3-4 nonfiction books. Thank goodness for Book-in-the-Box in the mailbox!

And if you must be a couch potato, unscripted sports are always available.

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah, I forgot about the music clearance issues with WKRP. Nearly all of the contemporary (for that time) music has been replaced with free-license, generic rock. That sounds a little odd when the characters refer to specific records that haven't been heard by the DVD viewer. Bah.

Jeff and Charli Lee said...

I was looking at all the TV shows on DVD the other night at Best Buy and was blown away by how many different choices there are now days. I was tempted to buy the Hogan's Heroes set but I know it would just sit in the unopened box for the next few years until I have less on my plate. Someday though.

Anonymous said...

I'd go for the Avengers. Good writing, intricate plotting. I haven't seen the Honor Blackman episodes, so that would be a plus to me. And even if only 1/3rd of it is Emma Peel, that's enough.

I love WKRP, but I don't think I could do a lot of it all at once. Too much like gorging on Halloween candy. I never got the appeal of Loni Anderson -- too plastic. Bailey Quarters (Jan Smithers) is the one for me. Except that, you know, she's 13 years older than me. And I'm happily married. Sorry, Jan.

Firefly is excellent. I still have trouble with the fact that so many of the cast of good/ambiguous guys played Big Bad or Servant of Big Bad in the last seasons of Buffy and Angel.

2fs said...

I'll be the first of the inevitable horde of Joss Whedon fans who will recommend Serenity, the movie with the same characters/setup as Firefly.

Anyway: with a slight Whedon connection (producer dude Tim Minear worked closely with him on Angel), there's the blink-and-you-missed-it Wonderfalls...about a cynical, rather off-putting woman in her mid-twenties who's...uh, visited by talking plastic lions. Or something. It's funny, and I like the fact that even though star Caroline Dhavernas does have likeable traits, the show never goes out of the way to excuse the obnoxious aspects of her personality. Also contains one of the best sight gags ever (it involves trying to express anger with a seatbelt...)

Anonymous said...

I got Six Feet Under from the library recently - all 6 seasons - it's wonderful and it seems like you would like it. Kinky, funny, quirky. I'd like to see Felicity again - Keri Russell. Unfortunately neither the library nor the video store has it, and I'm too cheap to buy it. Maybe the weird 4th season, someday.


HRH Courtney, Queen of Everything said...

FREAKS AND GEEKS. Best.show.ever.

Anonymous said...

firefly. for the love of god, man. or the verse...


trusty getto said...

Firefly rocks, and it is necessary reading for anyone who enjoyed BtVS, as it is also the brainchild of Joss Whedon.