Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
Posted at 12:30 PM ET, 07/ 9/2010

Friday list: Eight TV shows that are not on DVD and should be

By Jen Chaney

Sometimes it seems like every television show that's ever aired, even for a nanosecond, has been released in a prettily packaged DVD box set.

"Voyagers," starring a moppy-haired Meeno Peluce? Available.

The detectives-on-a-boat series "Riptide"? Also available.

"Lancelot Link: Secret Chimp"? Yes, thankfully, the crime-solving monkeys who wear real-people clothes and "talk" can be viewed in disc form. Oh, and also via totally groovy YouTube clips:

Yet somehow, a few gems -- genuinely excellent TV shows or ones that boast an exceptionally high retro-nostalgia value -- still have not made their way to either or the shelves of Best Buy. Here are eight that seem particularly worthy of release. Weigh in on the selections and nominate a few of your own in the comments section.

1. "The Wonder Years": Like many of these selections, the Daniel Stern-narrated, excessively sentimental Kevin Arnold story has been held back from a DVD release because of music rights. But can't they at least score enough song clearances to put out the first two seasons? The U.S. Constitution surely states that we have the inalienable right to watch old episodes like this one, complete with commentary tracks from Carla Healey and Kirk McCray.

2. "Ed":
The ludicrous concept of a lawyer working at a bowling alley while living in an impossibly idyllic small town. The fantastic cast, which included Tom Cavanagh, Julie Bowen, John Slattery and Justin Long. The Warren Cheswick Experience. And of course, the $10 bets. For all these reasons and more, I want to see Stuckeyville on DVD, instead of having to watch low-quality clips with funky subtitles on YouTube.

3. "Kids Are People Too": How cool was this Sunday morning kiddie program from the '70s and '80s? Cool enough for Patti Smith to show up. In addition to the "wacka-doo" theme song, having this on DVD also would allow us to revisit some of the insightful advice offered during the "Dear Alex and Annie" segment. Anyone who wears red suspenders and bell bottoms with such confidence obviously knows what they're talking about.

4. "EastEnders":
One of the most beloved series to ever come out of the UK, and a primetime soap that plenty of Americans have viewed via reruns on PBS, "EastEnders" still hasn't earned a complete DVD box set. More than 4,000 episodes of this show have aired since it debuted in 1985. Surely that's enough to meet the quota.

5. "Solid Gold": Music rights are obviously a massive issue for this '80s-era weekly pop revue. But it would be pretty hilarious to watch a few episodes again in their entirety. Frankly, I can barely get through this short video clip without doing multiple spit takes.

6. "Battle of the Network Stars":
Okay, first of all, as you can see in the video below, Telly Savales is lodging a complaint about the athletic professionalism involved in a competition between TV stars. And he's doing it while wearing gold chains and smoking a cigarette. Hey. Kojak. Don't worry about who picked up the baton and when they did it. Worry about laying off the nicotine sticks before you hit the obstacle course. All of which is my way of saying: how good would it be to watch this on DVD?

7. The Jason Bateman double feature: "It's Your Move" and "The Hogan Family"

"Silver Spoons" is on DVD at least. Fine. But without these two sitcoms, it's impossible to truly track a young Jason Bateman's evolution.

8. "The $1.98 Beauty Show": Honestly, after watching this syndicated cross between a beauty pageant and "The Gong Show," we really should have seen reality TV coming. This show should be on DVD not because it's great -- although the psychotic serenading of Rip Taylor did have a certain charm -- but because it proves that our television standards started to take a dive long before "The Hills" made its debut.

By Jen Chaney  | July 9, 2010; 12:30 PM ET
Categories:  Friday Lists, Pop Culture, TV  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: The problem with Pixar
Next: Comic-Con 2010: 'Big Bang Theory,' 'Green Hornet' and more highlights of day two schedule


Homefront. Homefront. Homefront.

A lovely show sent in a a midwestern town after the end of World War II. Starring a very young, but oh so cute, Kyle Chandler, among others.

Posted by: epjd | July 9, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

"The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd" Very quirky show starring Blair Brown. Really had some wonderful on-going storylines as well as some excellent characters.

Posted by: rainydaygirl | July 9, 2010 12:55 PM | Report abuse

alex and annie?
wait a minute...
oh god...
neural pathways that haven't been used in decades begin to fire up... and i remember - oh god - i remember...


Posted by: quintiliusvarus | July 9, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

It's Telly Savalas. Not Teddy.

Posted by: Arlington5 | July 9, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

I'm with ep on Homefront, though I think it only lasted a season or so.

I wish MTV would put out Sifl and Ollie.

Posted by: kvs09 | July 9, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

EZ Streets.

Posted by: Delancey916 | July 9, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Homefront! Still my favorite show, and at least 2 seasons. I have most of the episodes on tape thanks to my mom's habit of taping her favorite shows - Call to Glory, Tour of Duty, China Beach.

Posted by: auntjuju1 | July 9, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Telly Savales typo fixed -- thanks, Arlington5. Was clearly typing too quickly.

And nice Sifl and Ollie reference, kvs09.

I'll add another to the mix that I didn't include because it frequently pops up on lists like this: Chris Elliott's "Get a Life."

Posted by: Jen_Chaney | July 9, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

I second the nomination of Homefront. Consistently EXCELLENT show, I can't remember a single dud episode. There was an one set during Thanksgiving (I believe) with a dance contest that alone would be worth the price of a full series set. It's a mystery to me why this has never happened.

Posted by: LovelyLaur-elMD | July 9, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

The miniseries "Fresno," about a powerful family and their raisin empire, with Carol Burnett as the matriarch, Charles Grodin as the J.R. equivalent, and Gregory Harrison as the hot guy who never, EVER has a shirt on. Brilliant takeoff on Dallas, Dynasty, and all those 70s nighttime soaps.

Posted by: PQSully | July 9, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Cop Rock & Viva Laughlin.

Yes they were horrible, but how can future generations know the true horror without actual DVD evidence?

I actually just want Viva Laughlin for the Hugh Jackman factor.

Posted by: wadejg | July 9, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

W-K-R-P in Cincinnati (original, please)--this is a VITAL show that needs to resolve those music rights issues! One for the ages.

Posted by: sbradley2007 | July 9, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

The great Canadian series "Made in Canada" should definitely be available in its entirety. Six first season episodes were released some years ago but have since gone out of print. There are about another 60 episodes gathering dust somewhere that should really be released. One of the funniest shows I've ever seen. And, like most Canadian series, NO LAUGH TRACK! (Rick Mercer, Peter Keleghan, Leah Pinsent, Dan Lett - it just doesn't get any better than this.)

Posted by: topperale | July 9, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Square One TV!

I loved this show. Aired on PBS. Kate Monday and George Friday on Mathnet ... Dirk Niblik of the Math Brigade ... MathMan ... the many many guest appearances of The Jets :)

Posted by: AmberGale | July 9, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Batman! The Adam West/Burt Ward version.

Posted by: Junior3 | July 9, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

How about a Beta box set of Republic Party Presidenial Inaugurations? The title could be "Remembering when America was Great".

Posted by: whocares666 | July 9, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

How about more than just the first season of Murphy Brown?

Crossing Jordan, if they can sort out the music rights.

I would vote for Pacific Blue - cheezy cop show about the bike patrol on the Santa Monica boardwalk - purely for the sentimental reason that for a period of time when I lived abroad, this was the only English-language show available on the local state-owned television station that wasn't The Bold and The Beautiful.

If PBS ever needs programming that isn't from the BBC, they could do far worse than Australia's now-cancelled Blue Heelers.

Posted by: northgs | July 9, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Homefront. Great production values. Great characters. Great writing. Unsurprisingly cancelled.

Cop Rock and Batman, so bad they're good.

I liked Sir Francis Drake, but I'm pretty sure it hasn't aged well and would now appear hokey. My sister belongs to a "High Chapparral" fan club, and there are a whole passel of Western varmints I wouldn't mind seeing again.

Next Friday, we can do shows that should have NEVER BEEN ON TV, let alone released in DVD.

Posted by: reddragon1 | July 9, 2010 2:13 PM | Report abuse

You forgot Adam West as Batman. The most requested TV show for DVD, and its rights are tied up in a mess between Warner Brothers, DC Comics, Fox, and Greenway Studios. Why don't you do an article about this?

Posted by: jeffgopack1 | July 9, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Another enthusiastic vote here for "Homefront" (and yes, ep, Kyle Chandler was dishy then too)! IMDb lists 42 epis, which ought to be enough to justify a DVD.

Also Carol Burnett's hilarious "Fresno," "WKRP" and "Viva Laughlin" (agree with wadejg on the Hugh factor).

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | July 9, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Definitely second "The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd" - incredible show. Would also love to see, somewhere, all those wonderful 1970s TV Movies of the Week (e.g., "Sharon - Portrait of a Mistress," anything with Elizabeth Montgomery, etc.).

Posted by: eurotvlr | July 9, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Oooh, and "EastEnders," with Dirty Den!

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | July 9, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Jack and Bobby

Posted by: MarilynManson | July 9, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Jack and Bobby

Posted by: MarilynManson | July 9, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Jen and Liz--I love you guys. I'm definitely not a TV/celeb junkie, but somehow you two always read my mind. You LOST analysis was like reading my own thoughts...

Today when I say "8 TV shows that should be on DVD" I thought to myself, hmmm...the Wonder Years and Ed.

Done and done.

Posted by: wmichaeljones | July 9, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Showing my nerd here (what a shock) but I would kill for some ReBoot on DVD. Kill, I say.

Posted by: Bawlmer51 | July 9, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

VR.5 -- I loved that show.

Adam West's Batman and Crossing Jordan are two I'd pony up the cash for as well.

Posted by: Fabrisse | July 9, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

VR.5? Dude, wasn't that a shampoo?

Posted by: enter_the_lemur | July 9, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

If people are pining for EastEnders on DVD, why not 50 years of "Search for Tomorrow" or "Guiding Light"?

Jeez, people. Are we just going to just give people 2TB hard drives and say, "Have at it"?

As for what should be on DVD ...

"Spenser For Hire"

That was a show. Robert B. Parker, RIP.

Posted by: bs2004 | July 9, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Ooh, Square One TV! My then-preschool age son loved that show, and I did too. Second the request for WKRP too, and would love to see Hot L Baltimore again, if only to see if it was as great as I remember it.

Posted by: jstoltman1 | July 9, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Bawlmer, I totally agree with you on Reboot. I'm also going to add Animaniacs to that list.

On the non-animated side, can we please get Two Guys and a Girl on DVD.

Posted by: DorkusMaximus1 | July 9, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Barnaby Jones

Posted by: suecadence | July 9, 2010 3:08 PM | Report abuse

It's Telly Savalas, not Savales!

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | July 9, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

I'll Fly Away. Loved that show.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | July 9, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

jstoltman1, second "Hot L Baltimore," with Charlotte Rae nothing like on subsequent sitcoms.

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | July 9, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

koolkat_1960, "Ill Fly Away" was a beautiful show. Sam Waterston as a pre-"L&O" hottie (sigh).

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | July 9, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

The rest of Hill Street Blues. Only the first 3 seasons are out there!

Posted by: airsix | July 9, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse

High-five, Dorkus! Animaniacs was the staple of my childhood afternoons. I have yet to see a gimmick that replaces the "Wheel of Morality".

"Wheel of Morality, turn, turn, turn. Tell us the lesson that we should learn.


And the moral of today's story is...Moral Number One: People in glass houses should get dressed with the lights out."

Posted by: Bawlmer51 | July 9, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Hard to believe that people are whining about these eight shows when "77 Sunset Strip" and "Maverick" are not out on DVD. They were supposed to be available from the on-demand service, but are not.

Posted by: hlabadie | July 9, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

I could swear that my sister received DVD boxed set of "Ed" for Christmas a few years ago. I remember her being all excited when it became available.
Maybe it was only available for a short period of time? But why would they do that?
Just this week I learned that iTunes has the full season of "The Ex List" (including the 9 episodes that never aired). I really liked that show. I'm gettin' it!

Posted by: JLRGG | July 9, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse


High-five, Dorkus! Animaniacs was the staple of my childhood afternoons. I have yet to see a gimmick that replaces the "Wheel of Morality".


You know, this could be the start of a beautiful friendship.

Posted by: DorkusMaximus1 | July 9, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

My vote is for Two Guys, A Girl, and a Pizza Place. The popularity of Ryan Reynolds alone is reason enough to re-release this classic (sort of) show. I also second Ed being released on DVD. The first few seasons were must see TV for me.

Posted by: StuckatWork | July 9, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

CHINA BEACH! How is this not on DVD, but dreck like Matlock is? Do not understand!

Seconding "Molly Dodd." The first season was sublime.

Posted by: snarkette | July 9, 2010 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Tenko [1981-1985] A British/Australian series about army nurses captured in Singapore and held prisoner by the Japanese. As far as I know it has not been released on DVD in Region 1 format.
Omnibus [1952-1961] A 4-disc set of Bernstein performance was released last January, but the remaining shows are still held in archives.

Posted by: kcoleman3 | July 9, 2010 5:34 PM | Report abuse

There needs to be a Presidential Executive Order waiving the music rights and whatever else is holding this up!

Posted by: FLHusker | July 9, 2010 5:51 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, Animaniacs! Chicken Boo still makes me laugh.

PBS, please tell me why you won't release Fetch with Ruff Ruffman on DVD. While you're at it, why don't you have any Ruff merchandise?

Posted by: jb1151 | July 9, 2010 6:07 PM | Report abuse

I'm surprised you didn't mention "Lou Grant" -- every journalist's favorite drama back in the day. But it's never been available...

Posted by: koenigeducation | July 9, 2010 6:42 PM | Report abuse

Love the Animaniacs ...

Does anyone remember 'Super Chicken' You knew this job was dangerous when you took it!

Posted by: LAGirl1 | July 9, 2010 6:48 PM | Report abuse

Yes, yes!! China Beach and I'll Fly Away. I've thought of both of these often. Would also love Square One--love to share those memories with my now grown-up kids!! Several others here good too, 77 Sunset Strip, Maverick, Barnaby Jones. Another one I'd love to see would be a show I don't remember the name of, but it was about a lawyer on a paddle-wheeler on the Mississippi River that docked in a different town every week and got involved in cases or mysteries & helped people. Ralph Waite (Walton's dad) was the main character.

Posted by: akpm51 | July 9, 2010 10:01 PM | Report abuse

/salutes Dorkus

We should get together on WoW sometime, nerd it up in Dalaran.

Also: "You wear a disguise to look like human guys, but you're not a man, you're a Chicken Boo." Why is it still SO FUNNY. WHY.

Posted by: Bawlmer51 | July 10, 2010 12:19 AM | Report abuse

"The Five Mrs. Buchanans." Hysterical sitcom with a great cast of women (Judith Ivey, Beth Broderick, Harriet Sansom Harris, Charlotte Ross, and Eileen Heckart), and created by "Desperate Housewives"' Marc Cherry. Lasted only one season, but provided richly drawn characters and consistent laughs.

Posted by: OaktonGC | July 10, 2010 1:27 AM | Report abuse

Homefront! There were two seasons of it and Dear Abby even had a write-in campaign to save the show back in the day.

Posted by: Sachertorte | July 10, 2010 4:04 AM | Report abuse

If 'It's your move' make sit to DVD will the lost episode of the part II Dregs of Humanity story line appear?... anyone?

What about Late Night w/ David Letterman? Why is there no best of DVD collections available?

Posted by: gorilla_monsoon72 | July 10, 2010 6:59 AM | Report abuse

Frank's Place. Short lived but wonderful. Tim Reid starred.

Also Good Time Harry. Even shorter lived. Ted Bessel starred. (did I get his name correct? actor who played Anne Marie's BF.)

The reason I try not to get hooked on new shows. If they are good, they are killed.

Posted by: palduke | July 10, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

"American Dreams" -- only the first season of this wonderful '60s drama has made it to DVD due to music licensing problems.

Good lord, I've been watching "Eastenders" for almost 25 years! However, the episodes being shown here in DC are from 2003, so I have a bizarre time-warp view of London life.

Posted by: red_hawk1968 | July 10, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

China Beach! Such a great show. Has been in my Netflix queue for years

Posted by: skrivers | July 10, 2010 9:55 PM | Report abuse

China Beach! Such a great show. Has been in my Netflix queue for years

Posted by: skrivers | July 10, 2010 9:55 PM | Report abuse

An enthusiastic second for both "Frank's Place" (what ever became of Don Yesso?) and "American Dreams"!

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | July 10, 2010 9:59 PM | Report abuse

Have to agree about "Frank's Place." One of the funniest shows I've seen, but the network kept moving it around and it eventually got lost (to the public, that is).

Also, if you can count mini-series, "A Town Like Alice" that was on PBS. One of my favorites. My husband has never seen it and I'm pretty sure he would enjoy it.

Posted by: lostcyclist | July 10, 2010 10:20 PM | Report abuse

I'm still waiting for PBS's "Ghostwriter"...

Posted by: CaitlinEmmy | July 10, 2010 11:21 PM | Report abuse

Is either "Brooklyn Bridge" or "That's Life" available on DVD yet?

"Brooklyn Bridge" starred Marion Ross and Louis Zorich (essentially reprising his "Avalon" role) as heads of a close Jewish family in (where else?) Kings County, NYC. IMDb lists 33 epis:

"That's Life" starred Paul Sorvino and the sublime Ellen Burstyn as heads of a close Italian-American family in NJ who ran a successful Italian restaurant. Heather Paige Kent played their daughter Lydia (cerca age 30), a waitress at the restaurant, who was recently divorced and decided to attend college. IMDb lists 35 epis:

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | July 11, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

circa, not cerca

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | July 11, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Lovely show, I like it. Allow me invite you to my community:--== Cougara.CoM ==-- (where mature women and men who like cougar find love).Best Cougar dating site in the world! It's where cougars and younger men can meet(Cougar is the slang for woman who is mature, experienced and want to date with a younger man). No matter you are looking for a NSA or serious relationship, please do check it out!And also you may find yourself more compatible with young men.For young men, dating an older woman has numerous advantages. You can sometimes learn valuable advice from her on how to conduct himself in a difficult situation. She is your best listener and supporter.Join us and contact tens of thousands of cougars and cougar admirers!It's where mature women and men who like them can get fvcked.

Posted by: cookienihui | July 12, 2010 7:55 AM | Report abuse

Homefront! Seriously, how long do we have to beg for this? It was on past my bed-time in junior high, so watching it the next afternoon with my mom and sister was one of the highlights of my week.

A Town Like Alice. PBS uses a picture from it in the intro to Masterpiece Theater, and it was available on VHS, so I don't understand the holdup.

3-2-1 Contact. Best. Science. Show. Ever. Plus, who doesn't love The Bloodhound Gang?

Posted by: fiatdriver | July 12, 2010 9:28 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2011 The Washington Post Company