Monday, March 24, 2014

'Til Eternity

After my favorite television show was canceled in 1997, I started to have a recurring dream where this beloved show had returned to the airwaves, with new, secret episodes.

This dream was always half happy (YAY NEW EPISODES) and half terrible... the terrible part occurring when, for whatever reason in this dream, I just could not record the show on our precious VCR, either because I had no blank tapes available or the VCR wouldn't work. 

Why was this scenario so awful? Why, because, back then, if you neglected to record an episode of your favorite TV show, there was a chance (or so you thought) that you may never see it again.

Nowadays, if you miss a show, or only catch part of it, it's not the end of the world (unless you're a die-hard fan, of course.) Many shows are available online the day after they air. If the show's own network's website doesn't carry it, you can usually find a copy on Youtube. There's also Hulu, iTunes, and other video services. And, of course, if the show isn't a total bomb, the DVDs will appear within a year, and within three or four years of its premiere it'll go into syndication, meaning not only will you probably see that episode again... you are likely to see it a dozen more times.

Today, I have a full collection of DVDs of my favorite TV show, as well as digital copies of select episodes for my Kindle, plus... and this is silly, but... I still have all the tapes. Because I need assurance that I will always be able to watch my show! 

In 1997, the idea of having an official boxed set of my favorite shows available for anytime watching was... well... something out of a dream. I knew that really big, important shows, like I Love Lucy and Star Trek might have the means to release episodes on tape (or, ooh, DVD) but the shows I watched -- the ones that were #40 in the Nielsens? I was screwed.

But I was wrong.

In fact, nearly every show I once loved has now made it to DVD. The ones I haven't purchased, I've rented, one at a time, from Netflix, slowly making my way through all eight seasons (hello, Full House!)

Yet there are some holdouts, and they make me sad. Here are a few of the shows I have loved that haven't made it to DVD:

#1: Ramona (1988) - I was sure this show would get a DVD release, since it had once been released on VHS... and especially after the titular character got her own movie in 2010. But alas, the charming 80's adventures of one Miss Ramona Quimby continue to remain in limbo (quimbo?), so I have to be satisfied with my grainy old tapes of this delightful series.

#2: The rest of the DuckTales episodes. Three volumes were released in the mid 00's, but there are still a couple dozen episodes that didn't make it into those sets, and I want them.
#3: Back To The Future (the TV Series). Okay, sure, it was goofy and it seemed to focus more on Jules and Verne than on (my beloved) Marty. However, it featured the voices of several of the movies' main cast members (including Thomas F. Wilson, Mary Steenburgen, and James Tolkan), was bookended by segments with Christopher Lloyd AND Bill Nye, and it took the characters to a bunch of different time periods and locations. It was goofy, but fun!

#4: Tarzan (2003). First of all, it's been ages since I sat down and watched all the episodes, so maybe I wouldn't like it anymore, but hey -- a decade ago, I thought this show ruled. It was a modern-day telling of the Tarzan legend, with apeboy in the big city. It was dark, romantic, and captivating. And it lasted all of eight episodes. But because some of its actors -- including Leighton Meester and Sarah Wayne Callies -- went on to other, bigger things, I'd hoped that would bring some light to this show. Alas.

Do Over
#5: Do Over (2002). Thirty-something Joel Larsen gets zapped and sent back in time to the early 1980s, where he must re-experience high school, equipped with his knowledge of the future. Who doesn't love a good time-travel adventure, especially one set in the awesome 80's? Apparently the show's network, which took the show away in fewer than six months.

#6: Get Real (1999). Talk about a show that should get attention for who was in it. Just take a look at the three kids on the series: Eric Christian Olsen, Anne Hathaway, and Jesse Eisenberg. All grown up now, winning Oscars, and being cast in superhero movies (Anne was Catwoman in The Dark Knight Rises and Jesse is slated to play Lex Luthor in the new Superman film. Eric's on one of those CBS procedural shows that my mom likes, but still, he's done other stuff.) And yet, this poor show has not only not made it to DVD, but many fans have never even seen the final two episodes.

#7: Zoe, Duncan, Jack & Jane (1999). The first season, anyway. The second season, which revamped/retooled the show, can just stay in the vault. The first season was quirky and funny and really hit a chord with the young me! I'd love to have this set of episodes.

#8: A Different World (1987), specifically, seasons 2+. Season 1 went to DVD in 2005, but come on... there are a bunch more seasons! What, just because Lisa Bonet left the show (or was kicked off, or...?) they think we don't want to find out (read: re-live) what happens to Whitley and Dwayne? WE DO, DARNIT! The show was funny, smart, and socially conscious, and I think somebody needs to get on this. I would buy them.

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