Still Waiting on the DVD #4: Ten Great TV Shows

Want to watch seasons 1 through 6 of The L Word? No problem. It's on DVD. Want to watch the complete first season of Dirt, starring Courtney Cox Arquette? No problem. That's on DVD too.

How about every single season of Survivor? Got it. The Anna Nicole Smith Show? Check. All six seasons of the The George Lopez Show? Coming right up.  The Wonder Years? ....... SORRY, YOU'RE SHIT OUT OF LUCK!

I stare in amazement at the DVD shelves of Best Buy. I see an entire row of Rescue Me; but the TV shows I want to see are just not there.  I try Netflix and Amazon with similar results.... there's some incredible shows that just have never made it to DVD; meanwhile, total crap like JAG has a full TEN SEASONS on DVD!  Ten seasons?!?!  It was on that long? Who knew?

So, here's a list of 10 shows that I'd love to see again. I'd buy them in a second if they were made available. 

1. The Wonder Years
My understanding is this show is tied up because of its frequent use of popular music.  Record companies are a bunch of greedy bastards, and won't let you use their songs like they used to (without shelling out big bucks).

2. James at 15
Wanna know what it was like to grow up in the 1970's? After School Specials are a good source, but this one's even better.

3. CPO Sharkey
Don Rickles at his most condescending, insulting, patronizing best.

4. Logan's Run
Underrated sci-fi gem, with Heather Menzes lookin' fine. Why this is still only available through iTunes is beyond me.

5. Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman
A sparse selection from season one is all that's available of this groundbreaking, controversial show.  Yet, you can buy the complete first season of Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew.  AAARRRGG!

6. Fernwood 2nite
Irreverent and wonderful spin-off from Mary Hartman starring Martin Mull and Fred Willard.  Worth a try just for curiosity's sake if you haven't seen it. 

7. Fridays
I've heard that Michael Richards is the one holding this one back.  This was sort of like Saturday Night Live, but oftentimes better.  Larry David was a cast member and guests like Andy Kaufman make this a MUST for DVD release.... how is that I can buy Extreme Makeover with ADHD poster child Ty Pennington, but Fridays still is unreleased?

8. Batman
Holy freeze dried Godzilla farts, Batman! Are you kidding me? How is this not on DVD? Apparently, there's a fight between 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros. over who owns the rights.  Why is it no one fights over crap like JAG and The George Lopez Show, it's always the good stuff that gets held up?

9. The Six Million Dollar Man
Yes, this is not a mistake. You read it right the first time. The Six Million Dollar Man is not available.  I cannot imagine why - it can't be due to licensing and legalities, because it HAS been released on the Region 2 format.  For some reason, if you live in the United States, you are SOL.  The Fall Guy and The Bionic Woman are both out on DVD, so this just doesn't make sense!

10. It's Your Move
Remember this show starring Jason Bateman from the early 1980's? It was hilarious, but I doubt it will ever see the light of day.

If you have any old shows you'd like to add to the list, please drop it in a comment.


  1. Bionic Woman is still not out on DVD -- region 2 only.

  2. Add The Courtship of Eddie's Father to your list. I can do without Mary Hartman...

  3. Man, don't get me started. The music rights thing is what led to the delay, and outright castrating of the WKRP sets. Awful! I'd love to see the old "In Search Of..." with Leanord Nimoy (not just his voice like they sometimes do on the History channel.) Also, I'm waiting for Hanna Barbera to hit me up with some "Herculoids" and "Thundar the Barbarian" and for HBO or whoever to dust off "Monsters."

  4. I want more Mary ASAP! And Fernwood 2 Night - and I'd also love to see China Beach and the trashy Morgan Fairchild soap, Flamingo Road!

  5. I would expect that, while today's shows are wired to go directly to DVD, the old shows are just a mess because the contracts probably have no language in them that might cover it, so you have to go back and renegotiate and stuff.

  6. Thanks for this GREAT post!
    But do you remember...

    That we couldn't get HEAVY METAL the movie for so long... SO many Music Licensing hang-ups.

    Also, the BOSTON albums.

    There are many examples I cannot recall at this time of things taking way too darned long to be released because of some 'silly' reason. But eventually, somethings do get released, and other things...

    Well, lets just remember that folks like Scorcese are working hard at saving Film Stock of films that have never been converted to anything from Celluloid.

    Keep us informed, brother, and show us where to complain. We can be an effective army!

  7. I hear ya. I waited for 20 years to get all three seasons of Friday the 13th: The Series. Finally have that, now I am hoping for The Six Million Dollar Man & Bionic Woman on DVD!

  8. "In Search Of..." was great, first time Nessie, from the Lake, was filmed.
    (i know im such a nerd)
    i like Logans Run too. sci-fi gem!!
    i love Survivor, thats my guilty pleasure....

  9. i second the motion on Batman & The Herculoids and add- Spectreman! oh, and Ralph Bakshi's Mighty Heroes. and Frankenstein Jr. & The Impossibles. and...

  10. "It's Your Move" was an awesome show. I would love to see that again on DVD. Jason Bateman's mom, what a hot MILF! Also, if I remember correctly, the school principal was played by SNL alum Garrett Morris. This post brought back some great memories, Gil. Great post!

  11. To the Editor:

    I was just going to throw out an "I luv you" to CPO Sharkey. My sisters and I loved that show as a kid, and still do the Don Rickles "woodchuck" sound that Rickles did to his El Tee....Sad, I know.

    I'm also surprised to see Wings comment about Friday the 13th: The Series. I thought I was the last person in continental NA to remember (and like) that series. Why they named the series after the ridiculous movie (it had nothing to do with the movie), but several of the shows were first rate.

    I am wholly out of the loop on this stuff, but back in the 80s, there was a VERY short lived show called Frank's Place, starring (I believe) Ron Glass. Mr. Glass inherited a restaurant in New Orleans, and the show was a wild exploration of all aspects of race. Is that available?

    I was also wondering about Ed Asner's show, Lou Grant. I wonder if those shows would hold up...then again, if Bewitched and Green Acres are now out on dvd, the bar can't be THAT high....

    Here's a show I'd be interested in watching--the old Bill Cosby show--not the one where he's a doctor, nor the REALLY old one where he's a spy (I Spy), but the one where he's a high school gym teacher named Kincaid. I was only a kid when I watched those shows, but I remember the plots usually involved Cosby getting caught up in the strangest, off-beat situations.

    Here's another one--Love American Style. Often, it got sappy--but then again, it was never as sappy as The Love Boat........Oy.

    But the Adam West Batman...that's just bullshit. For my money, the two shows with the best writing from back in the day were Batman and the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show. Don't believe me? Watch them, and then tell me what YOU'D put ahead of those shows......What was the Fraiser or the Hill Street Blues of the 60s? Here's a hint: NONE of them. I remember LOVING Gavin McLeod's The Night Stalker. Unfortunately, I rented some copies (they may even have been VHS), and the show was just awful.....I was heartbroken.

    Bill Abendroth
    Samsara Samizdat

  12. Not to mention some good TV miniseries, back when miniseries were actually worth watching and had good actors. Rich Man Poor Man is only available in the UK, to the best of my knowledge.

  13. China Beach
    WKRP In Cinncinnati [original unaltered soundtrack]
    M-m-m-m-max Headroom

  14. Max Headroom
    Robocop (TV), which I remember for being the only action show I know that did a theme on welfare reform (!)
    Agree with the "Friday the 13th" nod; it was slow to get started, but there were some great ones in there. I'm remembering the episode with the treadmill...

  15. How about The Tortellis starring Dan Hedaya
    Spinoff of Cheers about Carlas lame (Hedaya) husband and her shiftless son. Funny stuff.

  16. I think it's the estate of the producer to Batman and Green Hornet that's gumming up a DVD release, i think FOX and DC could come to terms otherwise.
    I want a region 1 release of Blake's 7 and Retrun of the Saint.
    Probably no one remembers Whirleybirds, i'd like to see it on DVD.
    He & She,Lancer,Garrison's Gureillas, too many 1 season 60's shows out there to list.

  17. I use to watch CPO Sharkey.

    How about Apple's Way?

    This show is not old enough to mention here - but I would like to Boston Common on DVD.

  18. I can't believe I found someone else out there that remembers 'James at 15'! Very much agreed, this was a thoughtful show that shouldn't go by the wayside.

    I've still been waiting for additional seasons of 'Family' (with Sada Thompson, Kristy McNichol) that aired in the 70s. They released Season 1 & it was excellent (like when brother Willy finds out his college roommate is a...HOMOSEXUAL) but I wanna see Kristy go thru puberty and hook up with Leif Garrett again!

  19. Bill - That would be Darrin McGavin's Night Stalker, and yep, it was great...very campy - it held up to me when I saw it in reruns recently.
    (Gavin McLeod was the captain of the Love Boat...)

  20. Great list Gill. "Mary", "Fernwood" and "Fridays" are all on the top of my wish list (Remember when Andy Kaufman took a poke at Jack Burns? Great stuff.).
    "Love American Style" is a show I'd love to see. Corny but fun. Another one is "The Immortal" from 1970 about a man (Christopher George) who's blood has an immunity from all disease. He's hunted by a crazed millionaire as he looks for his lost brother.
    I agree about all the new garbage out on DVD. Most of it's still on as reruns anyway, why buy or rent it?

  21. I think I've heard that the music is the problem for the Wonder Years coming to TV (WIsh they could figure it out). I also long for Batman to come out some time.

  22. How about Its A Living?

  23. Amen to this post! I remember waiting for years and years for shows like The Invaders, The Man from Uncle and Get Smart to be released.

    The one I really want to see is a region 1 release of Blake's Seven. It's been available in Europe for years now!!!!!

  24. DVD companies will think over your choice and i believe you get your choice very soon. I like 5 shows from your list. I have seen them in my Satellite TV . But i also want to have the DVD that will contain all 10. Same as you dear. Just wait for that happy moment.

  25. I would like to see Homefront released but I hear its held up because of the music.

  26. For me, and a lot of people, Max Headroom is it. When that show hits DVD (well, BluRay now, I guess) there is going to be fucking in the streets. I repeat, fucking in the streets.

    What is the problem exactly? I know why Wonder Years isn't on DVD (the music) and I know why Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman isn't on DVD (only Retrospace readers would buy it) but I haven't heard any good theories/excuses at all as to why Headroom is still an eBay bootleg-only series.

  27. Barbara--

    D'OH! You are exactly right...I KNEW who I was thinking of, I just got the names crossed...

    While the show itself wasn't so good (as I remember), The X Files did an episode with Darrin McGavin--sort of an homage. That was fun.

    But my favorite X Files is still the Jose Chung (sp) episode, with charles nelson reilly....

    Bill Abendroth

  28. Incredible recommendations from everybody; I appreciate every comment.

    Favorite quote: "....I know why Wonder Years isn't on DVD (the music) and I know why Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman isn't on DVD (only Retrospace readers would buy it)..."

  29. Ghost Story/Circle of Fear is one I'd buy in a minute.

    I was pleased to see that The Paper Chase is finally out, but apparently it's not exactly what was shown on Showtime (2nd season on) because the occasional cuss word is either cut or bleeped. Amazing.

  30. I'm with you on Batman and It's your move. I would add Alice, Dark Room, Cliffhangers, Shazam (yeah, I know, I know), the rest of the Green Acres and Welcome back Kotter seasons. Tales of the gold monkey is supposed to see a summer release, but there was talk of it being released a few years ago too.
    Never saw the Logan's Run series, but love the movie so if it came to DVD I would likely buy it right away.

  31. As to the music, my mom has bought the kids those $1 DVDs of Bonanza and the Beverly Hillbillies and they changed the opening music! Can you believe Bonanza with generic xylophone music?

  32. I don't know what your stance is on downloading stuff for free, but you can get most, if not all of that stuff over at www.tv-vault.org . Alot of it is ripped from TV or old VHS tapes, but if you want to see it again, there you go.

  33. I just read somewhere online that the entire run of Leave It To Beaver is coming out.

    I believe The Night Stalker is out on dvd. I use to watch this show as a kid.

    The remake did even make it a whole season.

    I have the Retro Channel, and have watched old shows on Hulu, and other places. So at least there are those two things.

  34. Almost Grown, Day by Day, Chris Elliott's Get A Life and the Girl From UNCLE!!

  35. Everything here is DVD worthy. In Search Of.. was an awesome show (and a killer Fu Manchu album). Would love to see Superstars and Battle of the Network Stars, and more recently, the bowling alley lawyer show, Ed. Really obscure, but Shazam! might be horribly interesting to see again.

  36. Logan's Run is on DVD.


  37. anonymous- That's Logan's Run the movie; the show is still unavailable on DVD.

  38. I remember LOVING Gavin McLeod's The Night Stalker.

    "Gopher, you're fired."
    "Miss McCoy, the silver bullets, please."

    Now that would have been classic!!

    I second the motion for It's A Living! Also The Fantastic Journey, On Our Own, The Magician (Bill Bixby as a crime-solving illusionist), and Captain Nice!

  39. I'd like to add The Many Loves Of Dobie Gillis to the list. It's a classic from the golden age of television and the first sitcom told from a teenager's perspective.

  40. Definitely ditto Dobie!!

    Another forgotten gem I'd suggest is The Ted Knight Show; a little something he did between Mary Tyler Moore and Too Close For Comfort. And from the kids' section I'd love to see the 1960s Batman cartoons, the 1960s Lone Ranger cartoons, the live-action Shazam, the animated Shazam, Gilligan's Isle, and the Oddball Couple!

  41. Ok...Not once were either of the ones I loved mentioned.... THE PHOENIX http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Phoenix_(1982_TV_series)(may have been and ABC or CBS thing)... late '70s, maybe really early '80s... Had a blond dude that was a little over the top (acting wise - BTW also was the 2nd officer to Ricardo Montalban's Kahn in Star Trek II). And... Voyagers! http://www.crazyabouttv.com/voyagers.html OR..... The Immortal http://www.crazyabouttv.com/immortal.html '70s fantasy about a dude who was immune to all disease....

  42. Shawn-Voyagers came out on DVD a few years ago and yes it is a great show.

  43. The little-seen series from 1986, "Starman" (not to be confused with the movie of the same name which IS out on DVD), doesn't seem to be available either.

  44. AnonymousMay 12, 2010

    A few candidates:

    "Spectre" (A Gene Roddenberry made-for-tv horror film starring Robert Culp, if memory serves)

    "Blake's 7" (Seconding the person who suggested it - it deserves a Region 1 release)

    "The Cavanaughs" (80s sitcom about an Irish-American family in Boston. It starred Barnard Hughes and Christine Ebersole, and was hilarious)

  45. UPDATE:
    The Bionic Woman will be avalable on Region 1 DVD this October 2010.
    The Six Million Dollar Man will be available as a box set with all seasons from Time Life
    As for shows not available on DVD but that I would buy in a heartbeat:
    Bigfoot and Wildboy
    The Fantastic Journey
    Logan's Run (series)

  46. AnonymousJuly 08, 2012

    Dance Fever
    Salvage 1
    Too Close For Comfort
    My World and Welcome To It
    THE Cat
    Richie Brockelman Private Eye
    Johnny Staccato
    Gentle Ben (gotta love a family with a 700 pound bear as the family pet)
    Night Music
    Danger Man/Secret Agent Man
    Days and Nights of Molly Dodd
    Harry O
    The Name of The Game

  47. Update, Six million dollar man and Batman are out in box set . I own both.