My boxed set of the real first season episodes of BAYWATCH arrived from the UK this weekend. I’d forgotten how good the production values were and how truly awful the writing was (and yes, I am talking about my own scripts). The theme song from the first season was Peter Cetera’s "Save Me," and the title sequence was carefully cut to match the song. Cetera’s song is gone and some awful crap by Kim Carnes has been slapped on in its place.  The problem isn’t so much the song, but the fact that the moves in the song don’t match the edits in the main title sequence so it feels out-of-sync, like dubbed dialgoue that doesn’t follow the movements of the actors’ lips. What I don’t get is why they couldn’t substitute "Save Me" with the "I’ll Be There" theme from the syndicated seasons…

Baywatch Confusion

All 22 episodes of the original, first season of BAYWATCH, which aired on NBC, is coming out on DVD on Monday  in England. A first season boxed set of BAYWATCH episodes is also coming out on the same day on these shores… only they are entirely different episodes. Confused? I know I was.

The first season that’s coming out on DVD here is actually season two, the firstB000gdh8j201_ss500_sclzzzzzzz_v60051065_
syndicated season of the show. The U.S. boxed set reportedly has two episodes from the real first season, which they are calling "the lost pilot season." If that wasn’t bad enough, the episodes in the U.S. are also missing the original score. What were they thinking? The only reason I care at all about this debacle is because I wrote a bunch of first season BAYWATCH episodes on NBC and, as bad as they were, I wouldn’t mind having them on DVD… so I had to shell out $65 to get the Brit version which, by the way, will only work on a multi-standard player or on your computer.

Maverick DVD

MAVERICK was an incredible TV series that was way, way ahead of its
time. This DVD sampler is nice… but it’s no substitute for a
feature-packed DVD boxed set produced by someone like Paul Brownstein
(who did the amazing GUNSMOKE, WILD WILD WEST and DICK VAN DYKE boxed sets).
But if Warner Brothers ever wants to do another MAVERICK sampler, let’s see one that
includes the "Shady Deal at Sunny Acres" episode from the original
MAVERICK, the unsold ABC pilot THE NEW MAVERICK, the pilot from the CBS
series YOUNG MAVERICK, and the first and last episodes of the NBC
series BRET MAVERICK. Seeing "Shady Deal" and the last episode of BRET
MAVERICK (in which Jack Kelly makes a surprise appearance as Bart)
would make nice bookends to the entire MAVERICK saga.

Simon and Simon

TVShowsonDVD reports that the first season of SIMON AND SIMON is coming out on DVD in October. I wonder if it will include the original, unaired pilot. Some footage from that pilot was later incorporated into another episode.  That’s the kind of stuff that makes the difference between a great DVD set and once that’s only okay.  I also wonder if the first season shows will have the original theme which, like the MAGNUM PI theme, was dropped in favor of a new one for the second season.

This is a great time to be alive if you are a TV Geek Like me

TVShowsOnDVD reports that the complete series of the 70s sitcom BRIDGET LOVES BIRNEY is being released on DVD in September for $29.95. Then again, the complete series of ROAR, BOOK OF DANIEL, and COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF are coming out, too… so it’s clear this whole TV Shows on DVD business makes no sense at all. But it gives me hope that such forgotten classics as, ahem, SHE-WOLF OF LONDON and MURPHY’S LAW will some day show up on the shelves at Best Buy.

Baywatch coming to DVD

TVShowsonDVD reports that BAYWATCH is coming to DVD…beginning with seasons two and season three. What happened to season one?

The first season of the show, which I worked on as a story editor, aired on NBC (and had a different theme song — Peter Cetera’s "Save Me"). After the show was cancelled, the series was revived in first-run syndication and became the most popular show in the world.

When the series went into reruns, those NBC episodes weren’t part of the package (so much for my dreams of big BAYWATCH residuals) and haven’t been seen in years. Now those first season shows are being billed as "lost episodes," and instead of being released as a set, will be doled out one or two at a time as "bonus features" on the boxed sets of the nine syndicated seasons (I wonder if they will go the cheap route and replace the Peter Cetera theme with the syndicated series theme to avoid paying for licensing). So the only way to get the complete first season is to buy all the other sets. There’s no way in hell I’m going to do that…

TV Ramblings

God,I love "Deadwood." I liked the season premiere so much, I
immediately watched it again (or I was desperate to avoid getting back
to work on my book). If you ask me, "Deadwood" and "Battlestar
Galactica" …two revisionist "genre" shows…are the best dramas on TV
right now. A close third would be the more conventional but brilliantly
plotted "Law and Order: SVU."

I ran out of steam writing last night around midnight, but I was still too keyed up to go to bed. So I pulled out the second volume, season one boxed set of THE TIME TUNNEL and looked at a few of the extras. I’m not a fan of THE TIME TUNNEL and probably won’t watch the episodes. I bought the set for the two unsold revival pilots that are included — the unaired, 2002 hour-long THE TIME TUNNEL "reimagining" for Fox (which was flawed but interesting nonetheless) and the 1976 two-hour movie TIME TRAVELERS (which was awful in every way).  The story for TIME TRAVELERS was written by Rod Serling, but I can’t imagine that any of his work remained in the execrable final product. There wasn’t hint of his intelligence, wit or characterization in the script.

THE TIME TUNNEL has a couple of nice extras but no effort is made to present them in any sort of context or with any kind of flair. The whole set feels perfunctory, slapped together with no imagination, creativity or enthusiasm. Which is, of course, the complete opposite of the DVD sets put together by Paul Brownfield.

It Never Entered My Mind

Paramount has reversed course and the season one DIAGNOSIS MURDER boxed set, to be released in September, will now include "It Never Entered My Mind," the pilot which aired as an spin-off episode of JAKE AND THE FATMAN. In the pilot, Dr. Mark Sloan was a widower without any children. His investigative sidekicks were Kristoff St. John  and Ally Walker (as Dr. Amanda Bentley, a role later played by Cynthia Gibb and Victoria Rowell). But it still looks like the set won’t include the TV movies that preceded the weekly series.

The Best

The best producer of boxed sets of TV shows on DVD is Paul Brownstein. No one else comes close. His love of television is obvious in his brilliant work on DVD sets for shows like THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW, GUNSMOKE and now THE WILD WILD WEST. The prints are terrific, the menus are clever and vibrant, and he goes out of his way to jam-pack his sets with amazing, rare, and informative supplemental material.  His sets have all the usual stuff… and far, far more.  The GUNSMOKE set, for example, includes behind-the-scenes home movies from Dennis Weaver, appearances from James Arness and Dennis Weaver on THE ED SULLIVAN SHOW, an Amanda Blake interview on the MIKE DOUGLAS SHOW, Emmy Award appearances by the cast,  network promos, interviews from The Western Channel, a video of a  GUNSMOKE retrospective held at the Museum of Broadcasting, promos, bloopers, and a huge number of audio commentaries… and I’m only scratching the surface of what’s offered. 

This week, I bought his  THE WILD WILD WEST boxed set and, once again, he’s done incredible work. The set includes all the usual extras and so much more, like audio tracks from the original scoring sessions for the main title theme with alternate versions and aborted takes (a rare find which is worth the price of the set alone),  the original pilot main title sequence, network promos, and audio interviews with the composer, various writers,  the studio casting exec, special effects person. It’s a TV fan’s wet dream.

Some savvy studio should put Paul in charge of ALL their TV boxed sets…because he simply does it better than anybody.