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Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Desert Island TV on DVDs: 'Must-See' Choices for Periods of Isolation

In its more ambitious days, Unreal TV regularly ran "Best Of" lists. These included thoughts regarding "Black Friday" and "Best of the Year" titles. However, the thoughts below are the first attempt at a figurative desert island list.

An impending move, which relates to a recent post on Boston-centric television fare, is requiring several days without any form of Internet connection. Rather than engaging in a higher degree of human interaction or exceeding a personally recommended daily allowance of reading, your (sometimes humble) reviewer is selecting a season each of the following series to enjoy in the period between the packing of all of his worldly possessions and the moving of them and subsequently the lengthy period between said possessions (including at least 50 boxes full of DVDs and Blu-rays) arriving at his new home and the organization of them.

1. The Golden Girls

Including a season of the '80s Saturday night comedy staple "The Golden Girls" in this list is such a no-brainer that the biggest moron in St. Olaf (or even St. Upidtown) would select it. "Girls" is an regularly amusing (and often hilarious) series that nicely depicts numerous aspects of friendships during our current period of isolation and aggressive conflict.

"Girls" further has a few pop culture elements that make it fun 30 years later. Seeing a masculine-looking woman often prompts remarking that she is "Lebanese." Even greater fun relates to threatening "Shady Pines, Ma, Shady Pines" in response to being mildly annoyed and "the West Wing" when really upset.

The more important culture impact of "Girls" relates to the primary theme of the show  during the period of its broadcast run. It being a staple on television sets at gay bars long before marriage equality or even widespread enlightened views reflects the seemingly rare ideal of spending one's golden years living with good friends (rather than having a solitary and restrained existence) in an atmosphere in which you do not need to worry about being polite.

2. Smallville

This coming-of-age Superman origin story hits the trifecta of providing good light-hearted fun that is perfect for summer fare, paving the way for the very similar "The Flash" and other recent super-hero TV sagas, and being a good choice in the period before the premiere of "Supergirl."

This is not to mention a scene in the pilot in which a stripped-to-his-boxers Clark Kent is bound to a scarecrow post presenting an erotically "grey" issue regarding the appropriateness of such a scene in a family show.

3. The Girl From U.N.C.L.E.

The reasons for including this late '60s spin-off of "The Man From U.N.C.L.E." are similar to choosing "Smallville." This '60s "Batman" like series about undercover super spy April Dancer, played by Stefanie Powers, travelling around the world simultaneously looking gorgeous and thwarting nefarious schemes is wonderful summertime fun. The similarities between the timing of these viewings and watching Smallville continue with co-ordinating them with the theatrical release of the "Man" feature film.

"Girl" further deserves credit for featuring the exciting adventures of a fabulous heroine years before the premiere of the '70s "Wonder Woman" series.

4. Friends

The simple reasons for including this one in the list are its participation in arguably the golden age of "Must-See TV" and always enjoying watching it when coming across reruns on basic cable.

5. My Favorite Martian

"Martian" holds a special place in the heart of Unreal TV due to the DVD release of the first season being the first of 1,000s of DVD reviews since 2006. Related relevance of this series is that the rejection of "TV Land shows" by the site on which this review appears and by two subsequent sites is a primary reason for starting this current forum.

The "Martian" lore continues with the love of the series prompting spending $70 for an Australian version of the DVD set for the third season of the show in response to the (long-defunct) Rhino division of Warner repeatedly postponing the American version of that DVD set.

Former child star Harlen Carraher of the fellow '60s fantasycom "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir" provides further validation of the quality of the latter. A recent interview with Carraher includes a report of his laughing and stating "me too" on being sincerely told of great love for "Muir" but stating even higher regard for "Martian."

Anyone with questions or comments regarding this list (or anyone wanting suggestions tailored to their personal tastes) is encouraged to either email me or to connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.