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5 TV Shows that Should be on DVD

by Rachel Cericola, TV editor

It was bound to happen. Everyone boasts how DVD is a much "cleaner" and "neater" way to store your movies, but as a society we are buying up so many of them, my guess is that everyone's entertainment cabinet looks as sloppy as mine.

The Hollywood Reporter recently did a piece on how too many TV shows are being immortalized on DVD these days. But despite my mess, I say it's just the contrary. Here are five favorites that are screaming for a spot inside my entertainment cabinet.

1. The Wonder Years (1988-1993)

The Wonder Years "Kevin, it's everything you always wanted to know about sex -- EVERYTHING."

This was my childhood -- or at least I spent a good deal of it watching this show. "The Wonder Years" (IMDb listing) really reminds me that they don't make shows like they used to. "American Dreams" tried it, and while it was a valiant effort, it didn't quite capture the wide-eyed enthusiasm that was created by Kevin Arnold.

First kisses, first zits, being terrorized by siblings and mortified by parents straight out of Pleasantville were a great basis for the regular cast. Daniel Stern's narration, Joe Cocker's theme song, and memorable supporting characters round out this classic dramedy that I wouldn't mind checking out again now that I am a little older.

Laserlight Video released a "Best of" DVD in 1998. The picture quality looks as though someone copied VHS tapes a thousand times, then got the bright idea to transfer them to DVD. Even worse, it only included 70 minutes from the show's five-year run.

But don't hold your breath. Supposedly the soundtrack is what's keeping this classic from that eternal slot in your DVD collection. "Freaks and Geeks" spent about a $1 million to secure rights to the music for ONE season, so they'd need a pretty big Brinks truck to put a "Wonder Years" set together. As much as I want producers to throw that caution to the wind, without the tunes the series would seem a little flat.

Where Are They Now?

  • Fred Savage (Kevin Arnold): Starring with Jane Curtain in "Crumbs" this fall on ABC.

  • Danica McKeller (Winnie Cooper): Recently starred on "The West Wing" and stars in "The Zero Principle."

  • Olivia d'Abo (Karen Arnold): Recently starred on "Law & Order" and finished recording her album "Turku."

  • Josh Saviano (Paul Pfeiffer): Works at a law firm in New York City.

2. WKRP in Cincinnati (1978-1982)

WKRP "Oh, I almost forgot, fellow babies... BOOGER!"

According to TV Shows on, Fox is looking at putting "WKRP" (IMDb listing) out, but again, music clearances might keep it off the shelf.

Which makes me think: For a show that revolved around the wacky workings of a radio station in the post-disco '70s, I can't remember one song that was played on this show -- except for the "very special episode" that recapped the night where 11 concertgoers were trampled to death at a Who concert.

When the show wasn't being preachy (which wasn't too often), cast members were preoccupied with turkeys that couldn't fly, the Silver Sow, Herb's suits, painting Greenpeace pink, Rip Tide, the Big Guy, and the word "booger." It was a rare sitcom. Over the show's four years, they never had a revolving door of characters or cast members and no one had to "hook up" to keep things interesting.

Just a quick tip: If they ever do decide to put this gem out on DVD, they can save some room and clip any mention of "The New WKRP in Cincinnati," which killed a great idea around 1991.

Where Are They Now?

  • Gary Sandy (Andy Travis): Traveling theater performer, most recently starred in "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas."

  • Loni Anderson (Jennifer Marlowe): Starring in "Notorious" with Tori Spelling.

  • Howard Hesseman (Dr. Johnny Fever): Starring in "Man About Town" with Ben Affleck.

  • Tim Reid (Venus Flytrap): Recently starred on "That '70s Show."

3. The Chris Isaak Show (2001-2004)

The Chris Isaak Show "Advertising and venue? Who are you, Bill Graham? It's a yard sale for crap's sake."

Chris Isaak is a sensitive crooner, an avid surfer and a handsome devil. Despite the perception that many of you might get from his music, he's also one funny bastard.

"The Chris Isaak Show" (IMDb listing) follows what I'd like to think of as his real life -- performing in a local club, dealing with wacky bandmates as well as his own little corner of fame. Speaking with the San Francisco Chronicle, Isaak once described the show to a tee: "It's very much like real life. It's 100 percent bullshit."

Actually, the show is a mix of fact and fiction. Isaak does have a '64 Chevy Nova (not the one in the show though), he does live in San Francisco, and he does drink Tang. Each show even includes at least one performance by Chris and his real-life band (plus one fictional and slightly retarded keyboard player, hilariously portrayed by Jed Rees). Just don't expect The Monkees, kids. This show is smart, witty and sadly, it's now gone. The show lasted for three seasons, making it well within your budget -- both for viewing time and money.

Where Are They Now?

  • Chris Isaak: Recently seen in John Waters' "A Dirty Shame." He also cut a Christmas album in 2004.

  • Jed Rees (Anson Drubner): Just completed "The Ringer" with Johnny Knoxville and Cameron Crowe's "Elizabethtown;" he's currently working on the untitled movie inspired by "The Onion."

4. Saturday Night Live (1975-Present)

"Live from New York -- it's Saturday Night!"

Saturday Night Live So many "Saturday Night Live" (IMDb listing) skits, parodies, cast members, bands and bloopers have come and gone over the past 30 years. Some were classics, some not so much. It's time to relive the triumphs and tragedies in their entirety.

Before you start sending emails, it's true: You can find multiple "Best Of" compilations from John Belushi to Jimmy Fallon all on DVD. But why tease us? Instead of picking favorites for us, why not just let the whole series loose on DVD? You can often find episodes in syndication, most recently on Comedy Central and then E! But it seems like they are always running the same edited episodes, if not the same seasons -- all from the most recent casts.

It could be a major cash cow -- well, maybe not those episodes from the early '80s. But were they really that bad? Let me judge for myself. The creators and producers obviously crave money ("It's Pat" anyone?). I crave to watch every episode, including outtakes and backstage antics, from start to finish. I missed a lot during those early years, back when I had a bedtime.

Where Are They Now?

  • Bill Murray: Received an Oscar nomination for "Lost in Translation." Currently has three movies in the works including "Rob Schneider's Hard R."

  • Adam Sandler: Starring in the box-office hit "The Longest Yard."

  • Eddie Murphy: Will be heard in the sure-to-be-box-office-gold "Shrek 3."

  • Will Ferrell: Six movies in 2005, including "Bewitched."

  • Do we need to go on?

5. The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. (1993-1994)

"Never look too deep into the mind of a lawyer."

The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. You don't know it, but you're a Bruce Campbell fan. He's one of those actors that you probably remember, but can't quite picture when pressed. Or maybe you are an uber-fan that can recite every word from each "Evil Dead" movie. He's also been in both Spider-Man flicks, as well as "The Ladykillers" and the critically acclaimed "Bubba Ho-Tep." Take my word for it, you know him well.

"The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr." (IMDb listing) show was Bruce Campbell's attempt to make a weekly visit into our homes, and despite his dead-on portrayal of bounty hunter Brisco County, Jr., viewers just weren't all that interested. Another show that could stake a claim to being ahead of its time, this one was cancelled after one measly season.

Maybe viewers didn't care about the western storyline. Or the fact that it mixed in a lot of sci-fi. It was a winner for me, and fans seem to be frothing for a DVD release. There are a few bootlegs floating out on the Web, but we want extras, bloopers and the bottom line from the main man himself.

Where Are They Now?

  • Bruce Campbell (Brisco County, Jr.): Three movies for 2005, including his own "Man with the Screaming Brain." He just released his second book, "Make Love the Bruce Campbell Way."

Posted by Mac at June 9, 2005 4:42 PM | TrackBack

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