Recently in Smart TV NOT on DVD Category
FX's Elmore Leonard-inspired neo-Western Justified is closing out a stellar fourth season, with a fifth already greenlit for January 2014. It just reinforces the old adage about the third time being the charm, as Justified represents television's third attempt at launching a successful Leonard-based series. The first was Maximum Bob, which came and went in 1998 and while that show has its fans, it never had the makings of a breakout hit and the author himself reportedly didn't care for it one bit. That was followed by Karen Sisco in 2003, which seemed destined for success. It had a gorgeous star (Carla Gugino), a great setting (Miami), an experienced producing team (including Danny DeVito and future FX head honcho, John Landgraf), sparkling scripts (including a handful by Leonard himself) and a high-profile primetime berth on ABC's Wednesday night line-up. The ace pilot alone deservedly inspired critical hosannas, suggesting that U.S. Marshal Karen Sisco -- previously seen in the form of Jennifer Lopez in Steven Soderbergh's equally great big-screen Leonard adaptation, Out of Sight -- would be solving crimes for years to come.
We should probably point out off the top that The Thick of It, the terrific British political satire created by Armando Iannucci -- the mind behind the new HBO comedy Veep -- is not technically cancelled. (It's definitely brilliant, though.) Since airing its first two series of three episodes apiece back in 2005, The Thick of It has returned to the BBC for a series of specials that aired in 2007 and an expanded eight-episode third series which ran in 2009. (BBC America aired the first two seasons stateside in 2006 and will start running the third season on April 28.) Additionally, a fourth season is currently being filmed and will air in the U.K. sometime in the fall.
Everyone's been all a-twitter (not a-Twitter, but probably that, too) about the possibility that there will be a feature film version of MacGyver, the TV series starring Richard Dean Anderson as a master of mechanical improv. While that sounds okay, I guess, it also sounds a little, I dunno, dull. If it were up to me, I'd totally greenlight a movie version of the 1986 TV series The Wizard.
This Sunday, the British series Merlin, a re-imagining of the Arthurian legend, premieres on NBC, with a cast of actors mostly unknown on this side of the pond. (The notable exception being Anthony Head from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.) But is America ready for a new medieval television series? Sure, Legend of the Seeker just got renewed, and Robin Hood airs on BBC America, but is period fantasy ready for one of the big networks? We took a look back at previous period fantasy shows to see whether they were hits or misses.
A few months ago we lamented some shows that weren't on DVD, but now it's summer and we're lacking substantive shows to watch this time of year. We'd love to retreat into a box set of an old favorite. Sadly some classic (and not-so classic) shows aren't available on DVD (at least legally). It is sort of crazy, because we can get all of Saved by the Bell: The New Class, 'Til Death, Seventh Heaven and Home Improvement, but yet The Wonder Years isn't available. Most delays are due to rights issues or companies that owned them went out of business, but still, we'd like to see someone figure it out and get these seasons out to us, stat.
There is no DVD justice. In a world where even According to Jim is available on disc, where oh where are DVD sets of all the sublime gone-too-soon shows that live on in fans' memories, years and years after their demise? Now And Again? Homefront? Frank's Place? We've got quite a DVD wish list. Santa, please see what you can do.