Saturday, July 17, 2010

New Stephen J. Cannell DVD

If you're a regular reader for my "Under the Influence" columns (which appear in my Image comics), it'll come as no secret to you that I'm a huge fan of Stephen J. Cannell, the TV producer-turned-novelist. Cannell created (or co-created) tons of memorable TV shows from the 70s and 80s, including The Rockford Files, 21 Jump Street, Hunter, The Greatest American Hero, Wiseguy, and many, many more.

All of those shows have been released on DVD, but the upcoming release that has me really psyched is Mill Creek Entertainment's Prime Time Crime: The Stephen J. Cannell Collection. It serves as a Cannell primer by featuring one episode each of the following shows: Wiseguy, The Commish, Hunter, Cobra, Tenspeed & Brownshoe, Silk Stalkings, 21 Jump Street, Booker, and The Greatest American Hero. But that's not the kicker. The kicker is that this set includes four complete (albeit short-lived) Cannell series that have never been released on DVD before.

The unreleased series are:

Missing Persons, a procedural drama about the Missing Persons unit of the Chicago PD, starring Daniel J. Travanti (Hill Street Blues) and Jorja Fox (CSI). This show ran for 18 episodes and was really ahead of its time. It's essentially Without a Trace, only, you know, ten years earlier.

UNSUB, a crime drama about the Behavorial Sciences Unit of the FBI. An "UNSUB" is an "Unknown Subject." This one ran for 8 episodes and is kind of a combination of CSI and Criminal Minds, but again, it predates those shows by at least ten years.

Palace Guard, about a reformed thief who goes to work as head of security for the Palace hotel line. Each week he's at a different luxury resort, investating some theft or murder. 9 episodes were produced, but it was cancelled after only 3 aired.

Broken Badges, a comedy about a bunch of police officers with various "quirks" who end up saving the day. This one ran for 7 episodes, although it's not really my cup of tea.

This entire set retails for $29.98 -- an impossibly low price, considering everything you get. I bought Mill Creek's Wiseguy Collector's Edition, which was also shockingly cheap, and much to my surprise, it's a good product. The packaging is pretty cheap, but the DVDs themselves look and sound good, considering how old the source material is.

Anyway -- if you're a Cannell fan, I highly recommend picking this up to see some of his lesser-known shows.

13 comments:

Caine said...

I'm going to get this. If nothing else I want to see PALACE GUARD which looks really cool and Missing Persons and Unsub don't sound too bad either.

I wonder why there isn't an episode of MARKER, the series that followed BOOKER? Richard Grieco was a last minute possible replacement for Johny Depp on 21 Jump Street (they were afraid he wouldn't come back for season 3)and the fan response was so incredible that they spun off Booker right away. After that Richard Grieco went to Hawaii (where they are always looking to have a show made 'on location' since a full fledge high tech studio was put together for Hawaii 5-0 back in the day) to do MARKER:

Richard DeMorra travels from New Jersey To Hawaii to attend his estranged father's funeral. After the funeral he discovers that his father left him a mysterious legacy. Joe Rose gave out hundreds of markers to people who committed worthy acts, with the promise that they could be redeemed for help and protection in the future.
It was his father's will that Richard redeemed the markers when his life was over. Although Richard didn't feel much for the job, soon he realized that through the markers he had a second chance to get to know his father. He stays in Hawaii, builds a house on the beach and starts to redeem the markers his father gave out, which leads to several adventures.

Jay Faerber said...

The reason's simple: MARKER wasn't a Cannell show.

Caine said...

He's listed as Producer...

Jay Faerber said...

Huh -- you're right. I could've sworn that wasn't one of his shows.

At any rate, I'm sure it wasn't included on the DVD set because Mill Creek only has the rights to certain shows. Maybe if this set does well, they'll do another Cannell set. God knows he's got enough short-lived shows to fill up another set. I'd really love to see The Hat Squad and Top of the Hill get the DVD treatment.

saelrks said...

Good sharing.

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This one ran for 8 episodes and is kind of a combination of CSI and Criminal Minds

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