Saturday, June 30, 2012

Ask JKM a Question #4: Cult TV on DVD?


A reader, “jf,” asks me: what TV series are not yet available in full on DVD that you’d like to see released?

That’s a good question, and here’s a partial list, off the top of my head. 

If anyone sees a title I’ve missed below, go ahead and add it in the comments. 

There are actually a lot of cult tv programs still unavailable commercially, even though we’ve had a renaissance of great “obscure television” releases lately (Ghost Story, Logan’s Run, and Starman among them).

From the 1960s:


Batman
The Green Hornet
The New People
One Step Beyond (Seasons Two and Three)
Captain Nice
Mr. Terrific
It’s About Time
Journey to the Center of the Earth (Filmation; 1967)
Fantastic Voyage (Filmation; 1968)









From the 1970s:


Salvage 1
Phoenix Five
Cliffhangers
The Amazing Spider-Man
Project UFO
The Fantastic Journey
The Immortal (Christopher George, not Lorenzo Lamas)
The Sixth Sense (some episodes available on Amazon.com streaming under title Night Gallery)
Quinn Martin’s Tales of the Unexpected (one episode available on VHS under title Force of Evil)
Mystery Island
Super Train (pilot episode available on VHS as Express to Terror)
The Evil Touch
Electra Woman and Dyna Girl
Future Cop







From the 1980s:

Beyond Westworld
Freddy’s Nightmares (a few episodes available on VHS, and on Region 2 DVD).
Monsters (handful of episodes available on VHS).
Werewolf
Masquerade
Otherworld
Hard Time on Planet Earth
Something is Out There
Once a Hero
Automan
Manimal
Wizards and Warriors
The Phoenix
Probe
The Highwayman
Outlaws

From the 1990s:

Mann  and Machine
Beyond Reality (seasons two and three)
Strange World
Space Rangers
Brimstone
Prey
Sleepwalkers
VR.5 (some volumes available on VHS).
Time Trax
Tekwar (first four episodes available on DVD).
Nightmare Café
Mercy Point
Strange Luck
The Visitor
The Burning Zone

From the 2000s:

Freaky Links
John Doe
The Others
Journeyman

22 comments:

  1. Hell with DVD, how about time traveling back to make sure Brimstone doesn't get canceled in the first place, heh.

    The Highwayman, Flash Gordon and Jacko saving folks with their sentience-less Optimus Prime rig. I'm drawing a blank on the other 8 or 9 episodes that aired, but I definitely remember the one that concerned the Trinity test.

    For the 70s, I'd also add The Magician.

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    1. Hi Randal,

      Oh my gosh, I forgot The Magician! How could I?

      Argggh!!!

      Thanks for adding that incredible and wonderful Bill Bixby/Ray Walston series. I'd love to see that released on DVD.

      I remember the Highwayman not only for Flash Gordon and Jacko...but Jane Badler (V's Diana...). A crazy and oddball show...

      Thank for the addition to the list!

      best,
      John

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  2. Gosh, count me in for Batman.... I would love that one on the shelf.

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    1. Apparently there's some kind of war between 20th Century Fox (who owns the series) and Warner Bros (who owns the Batman character) about the release of the Batman TV series on DVD.

      So one of the first and most memorable pop-art superhero programs in television history is held hostage while we await a compromise. It stinks!

      I'm with you SFF, let's see Batman on DVD soon!

      best,
      John

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    2. I did not know that John... what a shame. Thanks for the info. sff

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    3. Hi John,

      It gets worse (the problems re a Batman release). From what I understand the "image of the" Batmobile, from the series, is owned by a separate party. That may be the oddest complication of several more. Also: Batman executive producer William Dozier's widow/estate is demanding a residual cheque of around 3 million dollars. Knowing what I do about 'rights', this may be one of the biggest roadblocks (read: washed-out bridge).

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    4. Hi SFF and Barry:

      SFF: It is indeed a shame. This is a classic bit of TV and Americana from the 1960s, and it deserves to be enjoyed and preserved on DVD.

      Barry: Wow, you paint an even grimmer picture here of the Batman DVD battle.

      I had not heard of the "image of Batmobile" issue, but, it seems like that's something that could be overcome.

      The second issue -- Dozier's estate -- not so much, alas.

      I just can't believe everyone is going to sit back and fight over this when, quite frankly, there's money to be made and shared by all parties vis-a-vis a DVD release. Perhaps not 3 million dollars for Dozier's estate, but a considerable sum, no doubt.

      I appreciate you providing additional data on this, even though it was bad news.

      Thanks to you both for commenting!

      best,
      John

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  3. Quark? Anybody?

    Space Rangers is the reason I took so long to actually watch Babylon 5, believe it or not. They both came out at the same time as Deep Space Nine, and I watched the first eps of both. Bab5 was ... okay ... but Space Rangers was really, really terrible! It was so bad that some of the badness washed over onto my opinion of Bab5. It took me almost a decade to finally watch what became one of my favorite series of all time.

    So yeah, that's Space Rangers.

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    Replies
    1. Hi John,

      Quark was available in full on DVD, my friend! I know because I have it on my shelf. It is out of print and only available now for about 90 dollars. But the series is as gloriously silly and wonderful as you no doubt remember.

      Space Rangers had some really iffy, really terrible episodes, and yet I remember that it was in some way a blue-collar alternative to the safe and boring episodes of early ST: TNG.

      At least the Space Rangers went on adventures -- even bad ones -- instead of recreating on the holodeck or visiting family members (Troi's Mother, Riker's father, Worf's son, Worf's adopted parents, Worf's Klingon brother, Worf's human brother, Geordi's Mom and Dad, Data's father, brother, mother...).

      So yes, Space Rangers had some really terrible, really mind-numbing episodes...but it was never dull. Stupid yes, but not dull.

      best,
      John

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  4. Filmation's Fantastic Voyage is available on disc in the UK.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Ivan,

      I think The Fantastic Journey (1977) might be available in the UK as well, these days. But I'd love to get my hands on Fantastic Voyage (animated series)...

      Thanks for letting me know, because I want to feature some of these sixties cartoons for upcoming Saturday morning cult tv blogging posts.

      Awesome!

      best,
      John

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  5. Personally - I'd like to see Blake's 7. (At least in a US format. I've only ever seen it in the non-us playable region 2 discs)

    (I know - I'm niggling. Not released... released but not watchable... eh)

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    1. Hi woodchuckgod,

      You are not niggling at all. I get exactly what you mean and I agree with your point. I would love to have Blake's 7 on DVD for a U.S. format.

      I've still got all my old VHS volumes from the 1990s, so this would be great. It should definitely be released!

      Great choice...

      best,
      John

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  6. Anonymous2:47 PM

    You've blogged about many of Filmation's 1970's Saturday morning shows. TARZAN deserves a mention. One episode was included in Warner's 70's cartoons dvd. It was actually a nice little sci-fi story (set in a fantasy Africa, of course).

    Another category could be shows not available in the the US, such as STARMAIDENS or the early 80's Gerry Anderson-style puppet series STARFLEET (from Japan). Both were on sale in the UK.

    I was amazed that Columbia released a DVD of the very obscure QUARK from 1977. Now if only OTHERWORLD and FANTASTIC JOURNEY would be released on DVD. Unfortunately, Warner didn't remaster the recent LOGAN"S RUN eps. 20th Century Fox's dvds for LOST IN SPACE weren't remastered either. The picture quality of Year one's 'The Derelict' is awful.

    It's nice to see that someone also remembers PROJECT UFO, SALVAGE ONE. and AUTOMAN. None were great, but they were fun!

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    1. Hi Anonymous,

      I'd love to blog Tarzan from the 1970s too. I'm a huge Filmation fan, as you've probably figured out.

      I actually saw that Ron Ely's live-action Tarzan (1966) is now available on DVD too, and I've never seen that show, so I'm curious on that front as well.

      I have a British edition of Star Maidens, but I'd love to see the show Starfleet that you mentioned. Never even heard of it!

      I would also love to see Project UOF, Salvage One and Automan released, but I'm not holding my breath...

      Great comment,
      John

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  7. Actually, Automan is being released this Monday in the UK on DVD. Have no idea if there are any plans for a release for the US, probably no distributor or legal issues.

    I find it real hard to believe that they haven't released John Doe or Journeyman, especially the latter (now that one I would like to own, if it worthwhile extras, it was a damn good show which managed to end on a better note than most cancelled shows in the middle of a season).

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  8. I agree about Filmation--they are apparently releasing the Shazam! live-action show finally, but that still leaves the Shazam! cartoon portion of the Kid Super Power Hour (they already released Hero High), and I'd love to see it released as well. Of 1980s cartoons, they only released three volumes from Gummi Bears, and I'd like to see the rest.

    Great list.

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  9. Excellent list, John. You know THE GREEN HORNET and BRIMSTONE were cancelled before their time, but they were somethin'.

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  10. I want to add _Outlaws_, a time-travel series with a great cast from the late 1980s and perhaps _The Tripods_, the British show from the 1970s.

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  11. Anonymous11:29 PM

    I'd like to see "Savage" the TV pilot Martin Landau and Barbara Bain did with Steve Spielberg as the director. You'd think his name alone would get it released...

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  12. Well John, I think you know what I am going to agree with..hands down BRIMSTONE! A fantastic show that deserved better treatment than it got...love that snow.

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  13. As a 1970s Saturday morning TV fan, I'd love to see Filmation's The New Adventures of Gilligan and The Brady Kids get official releases. WB claimed they're working on cleaning up Gilligan for a MOD release, and I hope they see that through. The pilot episode of Brady Kids was released as an extra on the Brady Bunch box set, but I'd love to have the whole series (I know it will never happen because of the Superman, Wonder Woman and Lone Ranger issues, but I can dream). From Hanna-Barbera I'd love to see These Are The Days, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kids, and The Partridge Family 2200 A.D. (2 eps were released as extras on the Partridge Family Season 1 DVD set). From Sid & Marty Krofft I'd like full releases of Far Out Space Nuts, Electra Woman & Dyna Girl (as you mentioned) and their companion series: Dr. Shrinker, Big Foot & Wild Boy, and WonderBug. WestWind would also be a nice one to own.
    Outside of 1970s era Saturday morning fare, I hope WB finishes releasing Maverick from the 1950s and Universal finishes up Alfred Hitchcock Presents/Alfred Hitchcock Hour.

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