DVDs of TV Shows that Got Cancelled or are Otherwise Short - Part I
Review By: Joe

You likes a television? You likes what they show on there? Oh! Well, you a stupid! YEAH! THAT'S HOW WE GONNA START THIS ONE OFF, HONEY! YOU A STUPID!

Television is not very good usually, Joe says. Once in awhile, however, something quite brilliant does present itself in the otherwise stagnant stinkland that is television...THEN IT GETS CANCELLED. Invariably, the most interesting shows that actually try something different for a change are the ones that people shy away from because I'd rather see more HOOKERS eat WORMS and CRY for MONEY.

The thing is, when TV is actually done well (this is a very, VERY infrequent occurrence) I often find it to be more memorable than a lot of films! What?! Yes! Perhaps this is because you have more time to learn more and more about the characters with each episode and they develop a history of sorts as all the plot lines from the various episodes cross and criss-cross will make you go jump jump and macdaddy make you jump jump a-daddymac will make you jump jump kriss kross will make you jump jump uh-huh yeah jump jump.

That said, when a good show is cancelled (or the creators just make a decision to end it long before everything gets stale), it's often NOT as bad as one might think. Sure, you question where they could've gone had the show continued for longer but a nice, short little series is often the best thing you could axe for. It's still longer than a movie so it's like watching an awesome little mini-series that will still take you a couple days to get through and, in the end, considering the series was in its infancy the whole time, you probably end up with few, if any, bad episodes throughout the whole thing. Unless of course it just got cancelled because it blew...and then it'll probably still be released on DVD anyway.

Anyway, if you want an example of what happens when a good show gets to keep going on and on for as long as people want to get money out of it, there's The Simpsons. Okay, it's definitely still really funny at times but I mean, Homer is the Pie Man? What kind of shit is that?

Now that we're through my requisite lengthy-ass diatribe, I will present you with a list of DVDs of cancelled or otherwise short television series. If there's one thing that DVDs have done that have served us positively at all (goodness knows renting DVDs is a shithell idea) it's the introduction of putting TV series on DVD. No commercials! And the ability to watch a whole series in order at your leisure. It's a dork with OCD's dream come true!!! And ALL dorks have SOME form of OCD.

I'm going to break this up into four sections:

PART I:

1 - TV series that are so short you can buy the whole thing all in one go!

2 - TV series that are split over a few volumes but can also be purchased as one set.

PART II:

3 - TV series that are short but are annoyingly split over several volumes and can only be purchased as such (unless you go through Amazon.com (sometimes)).

4 - TV series that are short but I think suck/don't know enough about them so I don't think you should buy them, man.

I break it up like this because if you DO have an OCD dork in your life (and god bless you for embracing our type if you do), these first ones would probably make good Christmas presents. Some of them aren't even that pricey! I'll even give you the price and a link to them on Amazon. FUCK, I'M THOUGHTFUL!

Assuming anyone's still with me at all after all that blah blah blah and me calling you all "a stupids," we'll begin.


TV series that are so short you can buy the whole thing all in one go!

Wonderfalls
Price: $30
BUY IT!

This show is relatively new. It was on in 2004. It got cancelled after only FOUR episodes had shown. I remember seeing ads for it and going "Oh a new show on FOX...so I don't care." Unfortunately, this is actually quite a decent bit of television. It's a weird concept to be sure: a girl starts doing the things that inanimate objects with faces on them (like a little wax lion in the first episode) tell her to do. So, if you want something quite a bit different, this show is great.

However, even without the insane concept, the comedy is actually very well written. Additionally, the lead character, Jaye, is played by a Canadian actress, Caroline Dhavernas, who's pretty hot and also manages to make Jaye probably the most likeable female lead in any TV show, if not anyTHING ever, assuming you're into really sarcastic girls, which I am, okay?

They somehow got to make a full season even though they were cancelled long before it even got off the ground so you get thirteen hour-long episodes. Admittedly, a couple aren't that great (one or two of them are so weird they're borderline nonsensical) and I was never a fan of the male lead but, overall, it's a good time, broham. Oh, also a couple episodes kind of get weirdly religious but it's more just questioning whether the things talking to Jaye COULD BE some higher power's doing rather than, "YES, SHE IS TALKING TO GOD. GOD LOVES YOU" so it's pretty much okay.

The Critic
Price: $40
BUY MY BOOK!

Gringo actually wrote a review of this very DVD so you can go read that, if you want. My personal opinion of The Critic (or Los Criticos) is that this show isn't as funny as I thought it was back when I first saw it and the animation can be surprisingly low budget at times but, overall, it's more than decent stuff and when it's at it's best it's VERY funny. Also, I don't think there's a show I've watched regularly more than this one where there are references that go over my head all the time. So that's either good or bad depending on how much...stuff....you know. There are also some pretty hardcore film major references to obscure, arty stuff too that I do understand so that's kind of cool.

You get twenty-three half-hour episodes and ten of the webisodes that were made afterwards but, let's put it this way: You get twenty-three half-hour episodes.

Mission Hill
Price: $21!
BUY THAT SUCKA!

As soon as I thought about writing this article, I thought "Man, I wish Mission Hill was on DVD." Awesomely enough, I saw a commercial the very same day announcing the DVD release of this fine series. This show is pretty dang old at this point. It came out in 1999 (SO OLD!) on DA WB and got cancelled right quick, following which the reruns got thrown around to a number of different places, most recently showing up on Adult Swim.

This isn't the greatest show, really, or even the funniest but sometimes it is very funny and something about it always just struck me as very cool. Perhaps the art style (which was an attempt to copy gay indie comics like Love & Rockets) or the fact that it used somewhat indie music (like The Flaming Lips) before indie kids actually started listening to it. Also, the sped-up version of Cake's "Italian Leather Sofa" for the main theme is awesome. Anyway, this is all good but I think the main thing is that the concept of this show, a recently graduated guy with two roommates living in a hip, artsy city with interesting characters all around, basically epitomizes exactly what I wish my life was like. I do, of course, recognize the fact that there is no real city where everyone is interesting because, in real life, people are stupid and annoying.

You get thirteen half-hour episodes on this and it's cheap as hell to boot. It's mostly good stuff but the last episode of the entire series unfortunately happens to be the worst. It's not only in no way conclusive, but there's a plot hole in it that makes the whole concept of the episode basically not work. OOOOOOOOPS!

Freaks and Geeks
Price: $52 or $120 if you're obsessive
BUY HER!
BUY THE CRAZY EXPENSIVE ONE!

Freaks and Geeks (which is another one of those cancelled after one season shows) has a rabid cult following of people who think it is the best show ever made or something. I'm definitely not a member of that cult. In fact, I don't even own the set (my sister does) and I put it fourth on this list to show how I like the shows before it better. Take THAT, Freaks and Geeks.

It qualifies to be in two annoying categories. One, it's a DRAMEDY which is a horrible term and, additionally, I found there to be a lot more dram than edy. Two, it's probably one of the first shows to look back at the 80's as though it was a decade that deserved to be looked back on long before VH1 and, you know, stupid people started doing that.

I'm not saying I dislike it. Overall, this show is pretty good and I enjoyed watching it. The idea of it was to represent the groups that tend to go under (or mis) represented in most teen dramas and it does a pretty good job there. Also, the acting is top notch and the gym teacher is played by freaking BIFF from BACK TO THE FUTURE. That, I cannot deny, is awesome. Too bad the lead (who is like a freaking thirty-year-old playing a seventeen-year-old) is now Velma in the live action Scooby Doo films. Also, the original score by Michael Andrews is awesome (even though the songs he did are almost all under a minute in length).

You get 18 hour-long episodes that are basically all pretty solid (except for Kim Kelly's kind of sudden change from mean to nice partway through the series). If you're crazy obsessed with this show, there's the really pricey limited edition version that's only sold through that website. I personally can't imagine ever caring enough to watch all the features that come with that one but the box looks like a yearbook, which is pretty slick.

OH, sorry to keep typing but I should mention that the same people behind this show also did Undeclared which I reviewed without actually watching back during my freshman year of college. My review was basically just me ranting about how I couldn't get any. I still can't but now that I know more about it (the show, not sex), I assume it's probably not that bad. It's about college life and it was also cancelled after a season. However, apparently it was a lot sillier than Freaks and Geeks and it was only a half-hour show so there's probably much less of an attachment to the characters. Plus, it has Monica Keena, who some people think is fat(?!) or something but I would totally do her.


KEEN!

Upright Citizen's Brigade - The Complete First Season
Price: $27
SAY I'M YO MOMMA!

Okay, so this one doesn't actually count as it's only the first season of a show but, the thing is, Comedy Central is showing no signs of releasing any further volumes, probably because this isn't selling well enough so, in effect, at least for the time being, you're getting all you can.

You get ten half-hour episodes. It's a weird sketch show and the first season isn't the best one (I think that would be the second) but, hey, it's pretty cheap, and the only way you'll get to see the awesomer stuff is by buying this one in DROVES. So, take this website which is completely non-reputable in any way's advice and buy this!!!


TV Series that are split over a few volumes but can also be purchased as one set.

The Office (BBC)
Price: $45
BUY IT ALREADY!

This is the first show I'm mentioning that was not cancelled and, frankly, out of everything I have mentioned and am going to mention, this is the best you can get. There's an American version of this show now which is NOT the one I am talking about. The original BBC verison of The Office is, in my opinion, literally the single BEST THING EVER done within the medium of television. Yes, The Simpsons in its heyday had better overall episodes but as far as a COMPLETE SERIES is concerned, The Simpsons has had a LOT of stinkers at this point.

This show is only twelve half hour episodes, followed by two hour-long specials and is just a brilliantly composed piece of work from start to finish. Plus, this set of the ENTIRE SHOW is not much more (and in the case of Freaks and Geeks it's less) than all of the other stuff I've mentioned on here. I'm not gonna bother to say anymore. If you were ever gonna take my advice for any reason about anything, make it this: BUY THIS NOW. Also, it's won a shitload of awards both in America and in Britain, so yeah.

Invader Zim
Price: $117
WOW YOU MUST REALLY LIKE THE GUY.

If you actually are shopping for an obsessive dork-type then they almost definitely love Invader Zim (that's the dork part) and they probably want the unnecessarily flashy Collector's DVD Box too (that's the obssessive part...and there's some more dork in there too). This show is a lot more about enjoying the style (the humor, art, and direction are unlike anything else, especially as far as American cartoons go) than getting real attached to the characters or way into the plots (which very often conclude with everything completely unresolved). This is a very fun, albeit silly and dorky show, to watch and, trust me, that dork you know is already more than aware of it.

Amazon actually sells a three-pack of all three volumes of this series for about half the price of this boxset but I am assuming that, like me, you (or the person you'd get this for) are crazy and would want the most complete possible thing you can get. Plus, this is the only OFFICIAL OFFICIAL REAL way to get all of the show together. Otherwise, you're just looking at something Amazon bundled together as a service to you, the consumer.

This way, you not only get all twenty-seven half-hour episodes, you also get an extras disc (the extras disc and the box are sold together, you can get the three episode volumes without getting the box and the extras disc and you can get the box and the extras disc without getting the three volumes but the box and the extras disc are at all times INSEPERABLE, GOT IT?). The extras disc is, quite honestly, full of a bunch of fairly uninteresting crap (you'd think hearing the voice actors performing the entire scripts to some episodes that were never animated would be kind of cool but, eh, not so much) but it's also the only way to get the unedited version of the last episode ever which, as it says on the cover, contains "UNSEEN SECONDS!" and that's quite literal. The only thing that was cut out was a tiny (admittedly pretty funny) little cutaway. What's a BIT more important is that the soundtrack was majorly screwed with on the edited version. Zim yells like a wrestler in this unedited one. NOT IN THE EDITED! OH NO!! NOT!

The box is definitely cool looking and wayyyyy bigger than it actually needs to be. It won't fit nicely on a shelf alongside your other DVDs and the roof opens up to reveal a little figurine of GIR which does absolutely nothing. In fact, it can't even stand up in there; it just rattles around when you pick up the box. But, hey, the door on the thing is magnetized so it stays shut, which is kind of cool and, like I said, if you're as obssessive as I am, you're gonna want this no matter what.



GOOD LORD THAT WAS A LOT OF TYPIN'! Well this is MORE than a good place to stop for the time being as I've covered the stuff that's easy to get in one shot. These are the ones that would be rockin' Christmas presents, in my humble, dorky opinion. After this, it's more (yes, more!) just going to be about me forcing my opinions about television on you with stuff that comes in multiple volumes and less about "look how easy it is to buy a whole TV show at one time."

This would be so much more rewarding if I thought anybody would actually take my advice on things. AH, BUT SUCH IS THE INTERNET. Later, my fellow brethen with too much time on their hands!!

READ PART TWO RIGHT THE HELL NOW!


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