Thank God for DVD (or, When’s That Set Coming Out?)
Having already covered the shows I hated, I thought it would be cool to talk about the shows I liked. That way, I don’t sound like a lonely bitter pathetic old man who hates everything (after all, I’m only 33, I’m not old).
I loved this series as a kid. Sure, the storylines that tied the emergencies together were a bit mundane. But who cared? The real highlights of the shows were the emergencies themselves. From the harrowing to the downright silly (silly in the fun to watch sense). Sure it’s dated now, especially given how far technology has advanced since the series inception in the 1970s. But I still watch when I hear TV Land is bringing it into its rotation. Now, if only they released a DVD set…
2) John Doe
The concept of this show was simple: John Doe knew everything, except who he was. And each week, John would find himself in a peculiar situation that only his unique gift could resolve. Could John Doe have been Fox’s next X-Files? Possibly, if they hadn’t parked it in their Friday 9pm time slot. What’s so bad about Friday 9pm on Fox? Well, given that no series airing in this time slot since X-Files moved has succeeded shows how bad the time slot is. Just look at the carnage. Sliders moved to 9pm, and met with summer cancellation. Dark Angel, a show that had done well at Tuesdays was moved to Friday 9pm for its second, and last, season. And it isn’t just sci-fi that is hurt my the time slot . Boston Public enjoyed 2 successful seasons on Mondays. Third season it moved to Fridays. That season turned out to be its last. Fox could probably put football on Fridays and the 9pm time slot would crash and burn.
In John Doe’s case, the Friday time slot wasn’t helped by poor lead-ins (Firefly at first, which was hurt by out of sequence airing, then Fastlane, which never should have been at an 8pm time slot). So, when John Doe’s numbers didn’t do well, it was cancelled. And when I say cancelled, I mean they put a bullet in its head, then emptied the clip to make sure. John Doe wasn’t shopped around, where it could have been picked up by USA, TNT, or Sci-Fi. When it became less apparent that there were no takers to take up the torch (as Sci-Fi did with Sliders), Fox released a press release, explaining why John Doe was the way he was. It seems he had a near-death experience. Yeah, I thought it was a pitiful explanation for what was going on.
Like Emergency, John Doe has not surfaced on DVD… yet. Fans like me still hold out for hope.
3) Keen Eddie
Fox tried its hand at a quirky cop dramedy with this show. The premise was one we had seen before (American cop in England), but there was a certain charm to the series that, unfortunately, not many picked up on. A lot of its charm comes from the title character, Eddie Arlette (played by Mark Valley). Eddie comes across as a balanced character, with his “new York” ways hiding a very intelligent, albeit opinionated. It comes as no surprise some of the best scenes come when he’s playing off his “roommate,” Fiona, played by Sienna Miller, who happens to be as equally opinionated and intelligent (In one episode, Fiona uses Eddie’s dog in a dog treat ad campaign – keeping the money – since Eddie used her cat to meet an attractive veterinarian).
Thankfully, Keen Eddie is available on DVD. Particularly hilarious is the second episode, where Eddie goes after a horse thief.
Tony Shaloub has found the perfect role with this obsessive compulsive uber-detective. I particularly enjoyed the episode where Monk solves a hit and run and a murder in France just by reading the newspaper (neither of which was the reason why his paperboy was killed).
Like many of the new series, Monk has been seeing release on DVD, and is worth picking up.
Like Emergency did with firefighters and paramedics in the 1970s, CSI does for the criminalists in the 21st century. The setting of Las Vegas is perfect for the blend of cases that Grissom’s team sees over the course of a season, from the gruesome to the downright weird. With its likeable characters (some of which have as many mysteries as they solve), CSI has become “appointment TV” for me, with the VCR set to record the CBS first runs, and the Spike reruns usually on in the background while I work. Needless to say, I have all released boxed sets, and both computer games.
6) Doctor Who
Not every Doctor is a winner for me. I’m not particularly fond of William Hartnell (the First Doctor), or of Sylvester McCoy (the Seventh Doctor). But even this lack of fondness derives from lack of real exposure to their performances. Most of the Doctor Who episodes I had seen before the slow DVD releases were from the Fourth and Fifth Doctor seasons (Tom Baker and Peter Davison respectively), and these were through the hard to follow scheduling that PBS delivered. Thanks to DVD, I am getting more exposure to all of the Doctor’s incarnations (though I still think that Hartnell’s Doctor comes across as a bit too “grumpy old man”-ish), and look forward to the eventual (please please please) stateside release of the new Doctor Who series.