The holiday season is upon us and that means gift giving. If someone on your list is obsessed with rare, forgotten, or obscure TV shows, my 2017 Holiday Gift Guide will help you find the perfect present, from DVDs to books to TV tie-in comics reprinted.
Do keep in mind the following categories focus on rare and short-lived TV shows. You won’t find iconic shows like I Love Lucy, Bonanza, M*A*S*H, or The Dick Van Dyke Show. Items related to those shows are always fine gift options for a classic TV lover.
New to DVD in 2017: Classic TV
A surprising number of short-lived TV shows from the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s came out on DVD over the past year. Many of these were unexpected surprises for fans eager for the opportunity to rewatch a forgotten favorite. The news that Coronet Blue was getting a DVD release was particularly shocking.
Decoy and How to Marry a Millionaire have proven very popular purchases with visitors to Television Obscurities. So have Coronet Blue and It’s About Time. I’ve written articles about both these shows. I’ve seen every episode of It’s About Time. It’s not as bad as its reputation suggests. As for Coronet Blue, I’ve only seen a handful of episodes. I look forward to sitting down and viewing the entire series at some point.
Fans of The Incredible Hulk or Planet of the Apes may enjoy The Immortal, another twist on The Fugitive. Fans of Bill Bixby may like The Magician, which Bixby starred in before playing David Banner on The Incredible Hulk.
Here are all the rare and short-lived sitcoms and dramas new to DVD in 2017:
- Angie – The Complete Collection
- How to Marry a Millionaire, Season 1
- How to Marry a Millionaire, Season 2
- It’s About Time – The Complete Series
- Coronet Blue – The Complete Series
- Decoy – The Complete 39 Episode Series
- Hondo – The Complete Series
- The Immortal – The Complete Series
- Longstreet – The Complete Series
- The Magician – The TV Series
- Movin’ On – Season 1
- Movin’ On – Season 2
- The Westerner – The Complete Series
New to DVD in 2017: Recent Obscurities
2017 also saw quite a few short-lived TV shows from the past two decades come out on DVD. I recommend Galavant (ABC, 2015-2016) as a gift option for fans of musical sitcoms. If anyone on your list enjoys quirky, sci-fi action comedies, consider getting them Special Unit 2 (UPN, 2001-2002) on DVD.
- The Astronaut Wives Club – The Complete Series
- Chicago Justice – Season 1
- Emerald City – Season 1 [DVD]
- Emerald City – Season 1 [Blu-ray]
- Firefly – 15th Anniversary Collector’s Edition [Blu-ray]
- The Player – Season 1
- Special Unit 2 – The Complete Series
More DVD Options: Classic TV
Dozens of other one season wonders and short-lived TV shows from the 1950s through the 1970s are available on DVD. I’ve curated a selection and even grouped them into categories for your convenience. There’s something for everyone here: comedy fans, drama fans, sci-fi fans, Western fans.
I recommend My Living Doll as a gift for lovers of 1960s sitcoms like My Favorite Martian or Bewitched. The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams is a family friendly option but might be too slow for anyone raised on today’s dramas with their quick cuts and fast paces.
- Hank – The Complete Series
- Gidget – The Complete Series
- The Jimmy Stewart Show – The Complete Series
- Mr. Lucky – The Complete Series
- My Living Doll – The Official Collection Volume 1
- The Defenders – Season 1
- The Girl from U.N.C.L.E. – The Complete Series Part 1
- The Girl from U.N.C.L.E. – The Complete Series Part 2
- The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams – The Complete Series
- Honey West – The Complete Series
- Man From Atlantis – The Complete Television Series
- Logan’s Run – The Complete Series
- Future Cop – The Complete Series
- The Invisible Man – Complete Series
- SEARCH – The Complete Series
- Custer – The Complete Series
- The Loner – The Complete Series
- The Rebel – The Complete Series
- Shane – The Complete Series
- Nichols – The Complete Series
More DVD Options: Modern Sci-Fi TV Shows
I’m a huge fan of science-fiction on television, although my interests tend to lean more recent than many visitors to Television Obscurities. Earth 2 (NBC, 1994-1995) is one of my favorite TV shows of all time. It’s not heavy on action or explosions, so keep that in mind if buying it for a sci-fi enthusiast. Surface (NBC, 2005-2006) isn’t perfect, but I enjoyed watching every episode. It ends on a cliffhanger, like so many of these one season wonders do.
- Cleopatra 2525 – The Complete Series
- Crusade – The Complete Series
- Dark Angel – The Complete Series
- Earth 2 – The Complete Series
- Jericho – The Complete Series
- Limitless – Season One
- Moonlight – The COmplete Series
- Now and Again – The DVD Edition
- Space Rangers – The Complete Sci-Fi Cult Classic TV Series
- Surface – The Complete Series
- Terra Nova – The Complete Series
- Threshold – The Complete Series
If you’re shopping for a high definition enthusiastic, you have limited options. Few short-lived TV shows are available on Blu-ray. Even one season wonders from the past decade are rarely released on Blu-ray. But there are a few gift options.
The 1954-1955 CBS sitcom version of The Honeymooners (aka “The Classic 39”) is available on Blu-ray. So are Battlestar Galactica (ABC, 1979-1980) and Galactica 1980 (ABC, 1980). Buy the Definitive Collection if you’re looking for the original full screen episodes (alongside widescreen versions). The cheaper Remastered Collection only includes the widescreen episodes.
Star Trek: The Original Series – The Roddenberry Vault contains 12 episodes from the first two seasons of the famed sci-fi series. The special features are the big draw. The set features outtakes, alternate scenes, deleted scenes, special effects shots, and more. Star Trek: The Animated Series (NBC, 1973-1974) is also available on Blu-ray.
Blu-ray releases for beloved classic TV shows are few and far between as well. Star Trek, The Dick Van Dyke Show, and The Twilight Zone have are available on Blu-ray in their entirety. But only the first two seasons of I Love Lucy and just the first season The Andy Griffith Show made it to Blu-ray.
The majority of the books I’ve reviewed here at Television Obscurities are long out of print. Even The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows, 1946-Present is no longer available. The ninth–and final–edition came out in 2007. It’s only available used. A Kindle version is available.
Lee Goldberg’s Unsold Television Pilots is likewise no longer available as a two-volume set. In 2015 Goldberg published a new version (but not a revised edition). It covers more than two thousand unsold pilots from 1955 through 1989.
Here are a few gift options for book lovers:
- The Best TV Shows That Never Were
- The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows, 1946-Present [Kindle]
- Forgotten Laughs: An Episode Guide to 150 TV Sitcoms You Probably Never Saw
- Man from Atlantis: A Novel by Patrick Duffy
- Mr. Novak: An Acclaimed Television Series
- Single Season Sitcoms, 1948-1979: A Complete Guide
- Single Season Sitcoms of the 1980s: A Complete Guide
- Single Season Sitcoms of the 1990s: A Complete Guide [Pre-Order]
- Spinning Laughter: Profiles of 111 Proposed Comedy Spin-offs and Sequels that Never Became a Series
- Unsold Television Pilots: 1955-1989
Hermes Press has republished comic books based on Dark Shadows, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, Land of the Giants, My Favorite Martian, The Time Tunnel, and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. Many of these reprinted volumes are only available used through Amazon. Some may still be available new at the Hermes Print website.
Gold Key published 61 comic books based on Star Trek between 1967 and 1979. Checker Books began reprinting the comics in 2004 (as the Key Collection) and published five volumes before abandoning the project. IDW started reprinting the Gold Key comics in 2014 (as the Gold Key Archives) and appears to have given up after six volumes.
Here’s a list of comic book reprints, including those that are out-of-stock or only available used at Amazon:
- Land of the Giants: The Complete Series
- My Favorite Martian: The Complete Series Volume 1
- Buck Rogers in the 25th Century: The Western Publishing Years Volume 1
- Star Trek: Gold Key Archives Volume 1
- Star Trek: Gold Key Archives Volume 2
- Star Trek: Gold Key Archives Volume 3
- Star Trek: Gold Key Archives Volume 4
- Star Trek: Gold Key Archives Volume 5
- The Time Tunnel: The Complete Series
- Dark Shadows: The Complete Series Volume 1
- Dark Shadows: The Complete Series Volume 2
- Dark Shadows: The Complete Series Volume 3
- Dark Shadows: The Complete Series Volume 4
- Dark Shadows: The Complete Series Volume 5
- Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea: The Complete Series Volume 1
- Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea: The Complete Series Volume 2