Yet again, as happened the last time I sought to shout out the names of series that I hoped would get belated releases onto DVD, I have been happily stifled. A couple of months ago, as I was compiling my list of hoped-for series, it turned out that Wild Wild West, Brisco County, Jr., Animaniacs and Pinky and the Brain, all top choices of mine, were already set to come out this summer. Great! My work was done before I had even thought to begin it. I still pointed out my desire to see sets for Batman, Get Smart and Jack of All Trades, and called the matter finished, if not a good deal shorter than I had planned it to be. Nonetheless, I promised a second installment with a handful of other series (or versions of other series) at a later date.

Fast forward to today. This time, a list of five potential series has been knocked down to a possible three (maybe four) after doing a bit of early morning research and finding out that one series is already out on DVD (surprise, surprise!) and another is rumored to come out in the very near future. While some of my friends and acquaintances like to rip on it, I have a great fondness for Filmation's 1979 Saturday morning series of The New Adventures of Flash Gordon. In fact, when the 1980 feature film version came out afterwards, I was immensely disappointed as I felt that the series version captured the mood of the original strip and '30's serials far better. (I must profess a goofy love for the film, too, though.) Though sometimes I am wary of getting burned by the "love it as a child, hate it as an adult" rule, luckily, the set comes fairly cheap currently on Amazon, so I've lined it up for purchase already and a mere $20 shouldn't hurt too bad should the series truly reek. (I did see it a few years back on Sci-Fi and it was still enjoyable.)

The other set that I have been dying to see has been a collection of the original skits and cartoons from Sesame Street. Though I would tune in occasionally over the years to catch old Ernie and Bert skits, along with seeing any new ones that had popped up, the last decade or so has been marked by such an increase in baby-talking Elmo insanity and political correctness (though this last bit is probably necessary) that the show is well-nigh unwatchable in its current incarnation. At least it is for one who remembered the series when it seemed a little more... well... adult. Sesame Street was the chief instigator of my interest in Muppets and puppetry, and while it was a series aimed at preschoolers, some of the jokes and references on the show were quite clearly and sometimes not so subtly aimed at the adult set. Even in recent years, I've made sure to catch at least a few episodes of each new season (I believe they are due to start the 37th at this point), and every year, it seems more and more of what I enjoyed about the show has been locked away in the Sesame Vault somewhere deep below Mr. Looper's ("Hoopa'! Hoopa'!") Store. Some would call it evolution; I call it devo-. While some would argue that today's kids are more sophisticated, I would blast that point. They may be more technologically advanced, and thus the show reflects these changes with segments involving PCs and cell phones, but it doesn't mean the current Sesame audience is any sharper. Especially with a goo-goo babbling red idiot as the Muppet of focus.

The other thing that I recall from my youth was that often the show could get a little dark or weird ("Bumble Ardy's Birthday 9" comes to mind), and early on, some of the monster segments could actually be a little scary. I recall particularly a Kermit bit where he believes he is sitting on a wall, but then the wall starts to move, eerie music starts up, a tremendous growling monster puppet is revealed and a startled Kermit has to dart to safety. While CTW put out several collections over the last twenty years of songs or character skits, they always (probably most appropriately) tailored the videos to the current crop of kids watching the show. So, I have been hoping for a long time that they would (much like their recent Electric Company disc set) give the overly nostalgic among us a decent dose of old school Street. Dropping onto Amazon today to check the status of such a set, I was surprised to find a listing for "Sesame Street: Nostalgia Set First Fiv" (what I presume to mean either "Five Episodes" or "Five Seasons" is cut off), a release date of October 24, 2006 and a retail list price of $39.98, which Amazon has graciously cut by 25% and given the ability to pre-order the item, even though there is no information or not even an image on display. A check at the excellent Muppet Newsflash blog reveals its curator's assurance that he has been contacted by the Sesame Workshop, who confirmed that they do indeed have something in the works for that date, and that a second Electric Company set is also due to come out in the future. A check at the Sesame Workshop itself, however, and a perusal of press releases back to Sept. 2005 reveals nothing. So, until I actually see a .jpg on that Amazon page, I shall remain skeptical.

And now, with the preliminaries out of the way, I am now prepared to discuss the next three series on the Wish List. However, time has made it necessary to continue this discussion at a later date...


EggOfTheDead said…
Yeah! I scored a used DVD set of season one (season only??) of Wild Wild West at work last week. Being on the front line at the Buy Counter definitely has its perks. I should just pre-write my name on a pad of Post-Its so I can slap them on incoming cool items that much faster! Sadly, not two months ago I also scored 5 double episode VHS tapes of WWW which are now redundant. Ah well, a bird in hand and all that.
Stay frosty!

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