Which TV shows ought to be on DVD?
The Adventures of Brisco County Jr. (1993) Though this sly Western lasted just one season, it attracted a cult following with its appealing blend of action, comedy, sci-fi, and romance. Some of the episodes are available on VHS, but it would be a blast to hear commentary tracks from witty star Bruce Campbell, whose title character, an Old West bounty hunter, had the same scene-stealing charisma as his Ash from the Evil Dead movies.
The Wonder Years (1988-1993) How is it that Fred Savage’s nostalgic coming-of-age dramedy is unavailable, while his little brother’s cheesy sitcom Boy Meets World has already gotten the DVD treatment? Actually, you can get The Wonder Years Christmas Special and The Best of Wonder Years on DVD, but they’re compilations, not complete seasons. Maybe expensive licensing fees for all those classic ’60s and ’70 tunes on the show’s soundtracks are causing the delay. Whatever the reason, a proper reunion with Kevin, Winnie, and the gang is long overdue.
Moonlighting (1985-1989) So far, only the pilot of this romantic comedy/detective series has seen the light of day on DVD, but it would be a treat to see Cybill Shepherd’s haughty, soft-focus Maddie and Bruce Willis’ cocky, hard-edged David spar (and spark) again. Especially tantalizing would be behind-the-scenes material revealing whether Shepherd and Willis, then a newcomer, had as much volatile chemistry off the screen as they did on.
The old-school Degrassi (1986-1991) The current cult hit Degrassi: The Next Generation is praised for its smart, realistic portrayals of teen life. But it owes a huge debt to its prequels, Degrassi Junior High and Degrassi High, which tackled issues like teen pregnancy, alcoholism, and crushes gone bad. How cool would it be to watch original Degrassi alum Spike (Amanda Stepto) going through the same teen tribulations her daughter Emma (Miriam McDonald) now faces on TNG?
Perfect Strangers (1986-1993) Warning: The DVD release of this ’80s sitcom might cause fans to spontaneously break out into the dance of joy. Strangers, about two cousins living together in Chicago — Larry (Mark Linn-Baker) was the nebbishy, uptight American; Balki (Bronson Pinchot), the sweet shepherd from the fictional island of Mypos — was hardly groundbreaking comedy. But it was fun in a guilty-pleasure sort of way… and did we mention the dance of joy?
Get Smart (1965-1970) Neither James Bond nor Alias‘ Sydney Bristow have spy gadgets quite like Agent Maxwell Smart’s. In this quirky Cold War spy spoof, a shoe and a ice cream cone doubled as a phone, while a phone worked as a gun (it fired by dialing 117). Now that the show no longer airs on TV Land, the DVDs would make a sound investment, if only for that famous opening-credits sequence, with Smart (Don Adams) walking into spy headquarters through a seemingly never-ending series of doors.
NewsRadio (1995-1999) One of the funniest and most underrated shows in recent years, this sitcom set at a New York radio station also had one of the best ensemble casts, including Maura Tierney (pre-ER), Joe Rogan (pre-Fear Factor), and Dave Foley (post-Kids in the Hall. And then, of course, there was the late Phil Hartman, as the sublimely egotistical Bill McNeil. Always a hair’s-breadth away from cancellation, NewsRadio never got the respect it deserved while it was on the air, and not much has changed now that it’s off: Its DVD release date, once set for early next year, has been delayed with a new date yet to be established.
The Mod Squad (1968-1973) This crime drama’s three juvenile delinquents turned undercover cops — ”one black, one white, one blonde” — influenced an entire generation with their hip threads and cool slang. Mod was groundbreaking in that it starred an African-American (Clarence Williams III) in a leading role and featured plot lines relevant to sociopolitical issues of the time (the anti-war movement, for example). Too bad these cool cops weren’t around to arrest Claire Danes and Co. for that criminally bad 1999 big-screen version — which, so far, is the show’s only representation on DVD.
Agree with our picks? Which TV shows would you like to see on DVD right away? List them here.