Gimme a break!

It amazes me what makes it to DVD.

Killing time the other night at the Borders in hateful Columbus Circle, I perused the section dedicated to TV shows on DVD. All the major hits and watercooler shows from the past two decade were there, of course: The X-Files, Seinfeld, Lost, The Sopranos, Sex and the City, Six Feet Under, Friends, The Office (both versions), et al. No explanation for their existence is needed.

Also represented and also totally acceptable were complete sets of important cult shows. Stuff like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the various Star Trek series, Twin Peaks, the original Batman series, lesser animated shows like Robot Chicken, and anything and everything that originally aired on the Sci-Fi Channel. I can understand the rationale behind releasing this junk on DVD because fans of cult shows will buy anything relating to it — that is, there’s a geniune market for these DVDs, as long as the cult isn’t too small. (For instance, there’s not much of a market for David Lynch’s seven-episode sitcom On the Air, of which only three episodes were ever actually broadcast by ABC and only maybe ten people have ever actually seen. Although I’d certainly buy it.)

And I get the rationale behind DVD sets of crappy-kitsch shows, because at the very least, they make great gag gifts. Who wouldn’t want the complete Knight Rider in their Christmas stocking? (But for reasons that mystify me, neither Manimal nor The Man From Atlantis are yet available on DVD. But Voyagers! is!)

Here’s what I’m getting at: There is a kind of show that should not be available on DVD. I’m talking about those non-kitschy, non-cultish, non-good shows that were never Nielsen phenomenons or that are too new to have any real nostalgia factor. Did you know that not only is the complete first season of Gimme a Break! available for purchase on DVD — but the second season is as well? The entire run of Family Matters is available. What about four seasons of Kate & Allie? Unbelievably, yes.

You can own every episode of Step by Step on DVD!

Now I watched some of these shows when they aired. They were moderately successful. They were acceptable timeslot fillers. But who cares about this kind of crap now? Who would willing sit through not just one but 130 episodes of Mama’s Family? What kind of human is buying the complete run of Coach? Why is Boston Common being made available to the public?

Actually, I don’t want to know. But I would like whoever’s responsible for the profileration of Doogie Howser, M.D. DVDs to explain why the eighteen brilliant episodes of It’s Your Move haven’t been released on DVD yet.

I forgot to pick up my laundry.