J. KEVIN TUMLINSON

Being a TV and film junkie is a little more expensive these days than it was “back in the day.” It used to be that I’d go out and spend my money on movie tickets and maybe a really good VCR, some video tapes and a lot of popcorn. Those were my expenses. Now, though, I have DVD to contend with.

Not that I mind. DVD has opened up a whole new door for junkies like me (should I be saying “aficionados?” Sounds better…). VHS video tape was big and bulky and…well…looked like crap on screen. DVD, in complete contrast, is clean and crisp and includes lots of extras to make me come back for more! And they’re stored in those nice, slender cases that can be stacked in various ways. Trust me, there are a lot of ways to store DVDs… I have the stacks and piles to prove it. And their size makes them great for tossing into your suitcase so you’ll have something to watch on a long flight or once you’ve reached the hotel. They’ve changed everything.

Even TV hasn’t been unaffected. Now it’s just as common for people to rent a season of their favorite television series from Blockbuster as it is for them to pick up the latest movie release. I myself own several different shows on DVD. Some of which I consider to be “Must Have” quality. In this issue of BlogRave, I thought I’d highlight some of the best DVD Must Haves –

Stargate: SG1 –
Season 7 was just released on DVD in the past couple of weeks. This is a series that has just gotten better with each season. The characters are 3-dimensional and interesting, and the techno-babble is kept to a bare minimum. One of the most endearing qualities about this series is that the writers don’t forget what happened in seasons 1-6. If Colonel O’Neill (with two “L’s”) finds a mutli-infarked-fractal-ray-geneobobber-inhibitor in an episode that’s just perfect for shooting up the G’aould, he’ll likely still have access to it in seasons to come.

As a TV sequel to a movie goes, this series far surpasses the original. The characters are outstanding (check out MacGyver’s Richard Dean Anderson as O’Neill), and the stories are what you always wished Star Trek would be. I own all 7 seasons of this show and I’m eagerly awaiting season 8.

Dead Like Me –
The first season of this hidden hit is out on DVD and I’m only disappointed that there aren’t MORE. This Showtime series (hey, SG1 was ALSO a Showtime series… hmm…) tells the story of a young girl named Georgia (George to her friends and family) and her life-after-life experience. George is a Reaper, and she hangs with a small group of other Reapers who collect the souls of people before they die. It’s a “by appointment” kind of job, and George and the others are given Post-its ™ with first initial, last name and ETD (that’s Estimated Time of Death) of the soon to be departed.

What’s really great about this show is the cast of odd-ball but loveable characters. I have to admit that when I first started watching on Showtime, I didn’t care much for all the ‘tudes. Some of these Reapers have a mouth on them. But after watching a few episodes I was hooked, and the Season 1 DVD set made it to my Must Have list.

Arrested Development –
I actually thought it was a little soon for the release of this Fox show’s first season. But as a dutiful junkie… er, aficionado… I bought it and watched it and LOVED it. After watching the first couple of episodes I realized that there were a lot of jokes I missed while watching the show on broadcast television. Being able to pause during a laughing fit is a real plus.

My favorite joke? When the Bluth family’s publicist Jesse says to George Michael, “Daddy lost his shot at happy and it’s all your fault, Opie.” The narrator (former “Opie,” Ron Howard) says, “Jesse had gone too far, and she had better watch her mouth.”

Instant classic.

Firefly –
This short-lived series by “Buffy…” creator Joss Whedon never really got a fair shake on Fox. But on DVD, it’s gold. It’s a sort of sci-fi/western mix with all of the trademark humor and pathos that Whedon has brought to his other creations. The characters are people you’d either want to know or want to never meet. And unlike its clean and lean sci-fi counterparts, this show is gritty and dirty and generally just a lot of fun.

Best and Worst of all… the entire series is available from Pilot to Finale on DVD, with some great extras thrown in the mix (including commentaries that really should be listened to). Of course, the WHOLE series on one DVD set. That will make you sad when it’s all over. I’ve watched this set several times, and every time I come to the end wishing there were more. There is a rumor of a movie… but we’ll just have to see.

At any rate, this is a Must Have because it’s so rich and colorful. And totally unlike anything else that’s on TV right now, which is pretty much why it died (too bad it wasn’t a reality series, huh?).

I could throw in “Family Guy,” “Futurama” and “The Simpsons,” but those are givens in this game. And of course, this is hardly a comprehensive list. But these are series that some people may have overlooked on broadcast TV. Take some time to rent them and check them out and you’ll soon be just as hooked as this aficionado.


J. Kevin Tumlinson is the Editor & Publisher of ViewOnline (www.viewonline.com), the author of the weekly syndicated column ViewPoint, and the owner of Hat Digital Media (www.hatdigitalmedia.com). He is on a 12-step program. The program came as a DVD set


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Kevin Tumlinson is the author of numerous novels, novellas, and non-fiction books, and the host of the Wordslinger Podcast. Try three of his best books for free when you download his starter library at kevintumlinson.com/starterlibrary.
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