Salt Lake City Weekly | February 14, 2005
There’s nothing quite like the magic of the first season of a favorite TV show being released on DVD—really, it’s all downhill from there. Second season? Still cool, but the thrill is gone. Third season? No one cares about third seasons. Fourth season and beyond? Like buying insurance—you know you should have it, but damned if that shiny new car or Harley or 20-something mistress/boy toy doesn’t look a whole lot better.

Fortunately for discerning TV fans, February is positively lousy with first-year TV series DVD releases—and don’t forget the Golden Tube Rule: The best shows only last one season, anyway.

The Brak Show: Vol. 1 (Warner Home Video): Probably the weirdest entry in Cartoon Network’s already bizarro Adult Swim late-night programming, The Brak Show stars lovably dumb space-creature-of-unknown-origin Brak and giant mantis Zorak, both from the O.G. of loony wee-hours ’toons, Space Ghost: Coast to Coast. No further explanation should be required after “weirdest” and “Adult Swim.”

DeGrassi Junior High: Season 1 (WGBH Boston): Sex, drugs, booze, pregnancy, rock & roll … Canadian teens. During the late ’80s and early ’90s, no high-school drama was more realistic than DeGrassi, a show many a Gen-Xer watched simply to give their parents night sweats. Xers can now fondly relive the original on DVD; their coming-of-age kids are advised to watch the newer-and-intensified DeGrassi: The Next Generation on Noggin and begin the cycle of terror anew.

Deadwood: Season 1 (HBO Home Video): Foul-mouthed cowboys settle the Old West, screwing and/or killing whatever gets in their way—HBO non-subscribers have heard this shorthand many a time, but it ain’t quite that simple. Whereas HBO’s other period drama, Carnivale, can be summed up with “Dirty carny folk wander around; nothing much happens,” Deadwood’s epic mix of historical frontier elements and Sopranos-worthy lawless power struggles really is the resurrection of the Western. Don’t expect to jaw about it ’round the campfire at the next Cowboy Poetry weekend, though.

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air: Season 1, Full House: Season 1, The Jamie Foxx Show: Season 1, The Wayans Brothers: Season 1, Murphy Brown: Season 1, Night Court: Season 1 (all Warner Home Video); The Mad About You Collection (Columbia Home Entertainment); The Greatest American Hero: Season 1 (Anchor Bay Entertainment): Seriously, the nostalgia-to-necessity line has to be drawn somewhere—until the glorious release The CPO Sharkey Collection, that is.

Murder One: Season 1 (Fox Home Entertainment): It ran for low-rated two seasons in the late ’90s, and now everyone who thinks they know jack about TV is calling it the predecessor to 24: Each episode of 24 represents an hour in a long, impossible day; each episode of Murder One represented a day in a long, impossible trial. Personally, I prefer Late Night With Conan O’Brien’s recurring spy thriller, 60, where each episode represents a second in a long, impossible minute. Now there’s a DVD for the wish list.

Stripperella: Season 1 (Paramount Home Video): Remember Spike TV’s “edgy” animation block, à la Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim? This was the anchor: Pamela Anderson voicing a cartoon stripper-by-night who becomes a superheroine-by-later-night, Stripperella. Didn’t really work out, but Stripperella’s slick animation (with all pixilated-for-TV ’toon boobies restored on DVD—the only extras) and copious double, single and zero sexual entendres (one villain’s name is Queen Clitoris—men can’t find her, but Stripperella vows to “lick” her once and for all) was better than Spike required.

Wonderfalls: The Complete Viewer Collection (Fox Home Entertainment): The real motherlode of the month, the headliner in a DVD subcategory that should be titled The Great Shows That Fox Canceled Series in home-video marketing; it’s becoming an industry unto itself. While Fox has killed many a too-good-for-network-TV series, most at least get 13 eps on the air—Wonderfalls was only allowed four last year, leaving nine (!) in unseen limbo until this fan-demanded Complete Viewer Collection. The four that did air introduced a 20-something slacker who works in a Niagara Falls gift shop, when talking toy animals begin telling her to set seemingly random events into motion that eventually end up causing good to happen—think Joan of Arcadia on different drugs. That’s far from the wonderful whole of Wonderfalls; you’re highly advised to check out what Fox let slip away in favor of quality programming like North Shore and Jonny Zero, shows you’ll (hint, Fox) never see fans clamoring for on DVD.

Bill Frost can be reached at

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