DVD Tuesday: Wanted Dead or Alive

Every Tuesday I take a look at obscure and/or classic television programs, specials, miniseries or made-for-TV movies being released on DVD. For the record I consider anything broadcast prior to 1980 to be classic or else there wouldn’t be much to discuss. The releases referred to in these posts are encoded for Region 1 use in the United States and Canada.

Out today from Mill Creek Entertainment is Wanted: Dead or Alive – Season Two, with all 32 black-and-white episodes from the 1959-1960 season of this Steve McQueen western. The series ran for three seasons, all of which were released on DVD by BCI in 2007 (they are now out of print). New Line released the first season in 2005. Mill Creek released a complete series collection in August of last year along with a re-release of the first season and will likely re-release the third and final season later this year. I’m not sure why anyone would want to buy the Mill Creek re-releases individually when the complete series is available relatively cheaply, but if you only want the second season on DVD, now you can get it.

Speaking of Westerns, you may or may not be able to find Timeless Media Group’s The Virginian – Season 1, Part 1 and/or The Virginian – Season 1, Part 2 at Sam’s Club. According to TVShowsOnDVD.com, both sets were due to be released today but were later pulled in favor of The Virginian – Complete First Season on 10 DVDs – Limited Edition Embossed Collector’s Tin!, which comes out on May 25th. Apparently, Timeless routinely offers exclusives to Sam’s Clubs and/or Costco and posters at the Home Theater Forum are reporting that they’re also finding Season Two in half-season sets, despite absolutely no news about it being available.

Finally, from Mill Creek Entertainment comes Tenspeed & Brown Shoe – The Complete Series. The show ran on ABC from January to June of 1980, so technically it does not fit my pre-1979 requirement for these weekly posts. But only 14 episodes were produced, so it is a bit of an obscurity, and I’m not sure anyone expected to ever see it on DVD (except perhaps Stephen J. Cannell, who created it).

2 Replies to “DVD Tuesday: Wanted Dead or Alive”

  1. This was one of the series that Mr. Tony Thomopoulos shepherded after he took over from Mr. Fred Silverman, who had jumped over to NBC in 1978. He marshalled an absolute tidal wave of promotion for the series, and gave it a 2-hour Sunday premiere at 8 pm out of the premiere of ‘Galactica 1980’, the spinoff/continuation of ABC’s ‘Battlestar Galactica’ from the season before.

    I wish I’d kept all the weekly numbers for ‘Tenspeed and Brown Shoe’ because it was a downward sloping curve of pure viewer erosion, and the network tried every promo tactic to keep viewers watching it. Television critics loved the show, but even their support couldn’t save this series.

    In the end, ‘Tenspeed and Brown Shoe’ averaged 20.0HH for nine episodes aired during the 1979-80 regular season (it was pulled off the sked in March), and then it averaged a near invisible 11.0HH for the five episodes that ABC burned off that summer on Fridays at 10 pm.

    I have fond memories of the series, and I just received my copy from Amazon on Friday. ABC had a real knack for light detective dramedies during this era…’Hart to Hart’, ‘The Feather & Father Gang’…and ‘Tenspeed & Brown Shoe’ was very in keeping with the ABC brand then (and even today with ‘Castle’). ‘Tenspeed and Brown Shoe’ had all the makings of being a megahit on paper, but it just couldn’t hold on to viewers.

    Whenever I see the enormously talented Mr. Jeff Goldblum on ‘Law & Order: Criminal Intent’, or his absolutely sublime ‘Raines’ from a few seasons back, I always believe he’s riffing somewhat on his Brownshoe Whitney performance in this series.

  2. What you probably didn’t know (or forgot), was that Stephen J. Cannell was SO certain “Tenspeed” Turner deserved another chance at a weekly series, Ben Vereen returned as Turner as “J. J. STARBUCK”‘s partner towards the end of Dale Robertson’s short-lived 1987-’88 NBC series.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.