Tuesday, July 29, 2008

“Let this be on your head!”

From TVShowsOnDVD.com, there are some announcements of street dates for some CBS-Paramount TV-on-DVD sets. Oddly enough, they’re all connected…to the number five.

First, CBS-Paramount will wrap the five-year-run of Gomer Pyle, USMC (“Shazam!”) with the release of its fifth and final season of the popular Andy Griffith Show spin-off on November 25th. Pyle was one of the few series to still rank in the Top Ten in its final year before calling it quits (#2 for the 1968-69 season—Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In was the top-rated show); star Jim Nabors had just grown tired of the show and wanted to do something different…which he did at the beginning of the 1969-70 with a comedy/variety program called The Jim Nabors Hour. Nabors’ second series, unfortunately, did not fare as well as the first, lasting only two seasons before it was cancelled in CBS’ famed “rural” series purge in 1971. The odds of seeing the show on DVD are pretty slim, I would suspect—though a sketch from the program was included as an extra on the first season set. Overall, the presentation of Gomer on DVD has been fairly well-done; the exception to this is that they had to edit several episodes due to that perennial fly-in-the-ointment (copyright issues) which is always a bit of a bummer.

Still, the Pyle show’s edits look positively pristine when you compare them to the treatment that The Odd Couple has received on disc, where even a small snatch of a popular song is cut with the efficiency of your neighborhood grocery’s meat department. I think this is the real crying shame; my heart would have been filled with joy if Couple fans could have had the shows as they were originally telecast during its five seasons from 1970-75 (when shown in syndication, the episodes are cut for time to the point of incoherency). Still, one must make do…and will have to make do when The Odd Couple: The Final Season hits the streets on November 18th. Also on that date, Hawaii Five-O: The Fifth Season will be released; it’s still got a few seasons to go before completion (before the behemoth known as Law and Order premiered, Five-O was the longest running crime drama in TV history, lasting for twelve seasons between 1968-80) but I’m just pleased that they made it this far (I’m up for buying future seasons, but Five-O fans generally acknowledge the earlier years as being the best).

I just have time for one last announcement: Infinity Entertainment’s release of Route 66: The Complete Second Season. I’m not going to go into the tortuous history of this show’s first season on DVD (there’s a lengthy thread about it over at HTF if you’re curious) but I’m praying that they don’t screw this one up—heck, I’m just hoping the revamped first season release (which is due out next Tuesday) passes muster; I ordered it from DVD Pacific a few days ago. Route 66’s second season DVD set premieres October 21st.

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