2018 Holiday Gift Guide

It’s that time again, time to start thinking about buying gifts for friends and loved ones. If you’re searching for the perfect present for someone who loves forgotten or obscure television, my 2018 Holiday Gift Guide will give you plenty of ideas. You’ll find DVDs, books, and even collections of reprinted TV tie-in comics.

My focus here is on rare and short-lived TV shows, so you won’t find iconic shows like Star Trek, I Love Lucy, Bonanza, or The Dick Van Dyke Show. But items related to those shows are always fine gift options for a classic TV lover.

New to DVD in 2018: Classic TV (and the 1980s/1990s)

2018 hasn’t been quite as impressive as 2017 when it comes to short-lived “classic” TV shows being released on DVD for the first time. Blondie (NBC, 1957) and the first season of Mr. Novak (NBC, 1963-1965) are two of the more obscure TV shows released during the past year. Hopefully, we’ll see the second season of Mr. Novak in 2019. Also, The Time Tunnel (ABC, 1966-1967) came out on Blu-ray.

New to DVD in 2018: Recent Obscurities

A few short-lived TV shows from the 2000s and 2010s were also released on DVD during the past year. Some of the most recent obscurities include shows like Pitch (FOX, 2016), Son of Zorn (FOX, 2016-2017), and Ten Days in the Valley (ABC, 2017-2018). Forgotten UPN cyber drama Level 9 also came out on DVD this year.

More DVD Options: Classic TV

Dozens of other one season wonders and short-lived TV shows from the 1950s through the 1970s (and beyond) are available on DVD. I’ve curated a selection and even grouped them into categories for your convenience. I’ve been working slowly through the first season of The Rebel and it is quite well done. It’s About Time is ideal for anyone who enjoys Gilligan’s Island. If you’re looking for a family friendly TV show, The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams is a good option. Decoy is very popular with visitors to Television Obscurities, as is the first season of The Defenders.





More DVD Options: Modern Sci-Fi TV Shows

I’ve been a science-fiction fanatic my entire life. I’ve watched almost every network sci-fi show since the mid-to-late 1990s. Earth 2 (NBC, 1994-1995) is one of my favorite TV shows of all time. I rewatched Jericho this year. The first season is incredible but the brief second season isn’t nearly as good. Cleopatra 2525 is silly but a lot of fun.


Unfortunately, gift options for high definition classic TV enthusiasts are few and far between. Only a handful of short-lived TV shows are available on Blu-ray. It’s rare for one season wonders from the past decade to get a Blu-ray release. rarely released on Blu-ray. Fortunately, there are some options.

Just this month, one season wonder The Time Tunnel (ABC, 1966-1967) came out on Blu-ray. 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. Both seasons of The Californians (NBC, 1957-1959) are available on Blu-ray.

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 uncommon 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.


Unfortunately, most of the books I’ve reviewed here at Television Obscurities are out of print. Even the ninth (and final) edition of The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows, 1946-Present from 2007 is only available used. However, a Kindle version is available.

Likewise, Lee Goldberg’s two-volume Unsold Television Pilots is no longer available new. In 2015, Goldberg published a new version but not a revised edition. It covers more than two thousand unsold pilots from 1955 through 1989.

Comic Books

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.

Revised December 5th, 2018

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5 Replies to “2018 Holiday Gift Guide”

  1. Thanks for your research on all of these great shows and books. I am definitely interested in Coronet Blue and My Living Doll and would like those for myself

    Also, many of the books you have listed.
    I have Single Season Sitcoms, 1948-1979: A Complete Guide and was pretty happy with that purchase so it makes since to obtain the other volumes.

    Can anyone tell me if The Complete Encyclopedia of Television Programs 1947-1979 by Vincent Terrace was ever updated? I think I got that book from Walden Books when I was about 10 in 1980 and I wore that volume out! I was able to find a copy in much better shape a few years ago to replace my dog-eared, pages written on and pages-falling out edition!

    Thanks again for your wonderful web site! I check it out just about everyday!

    1. Vincent Terrace published a four-volume Encyclopedia of Television Shows, 1925 through 2007 back in 2008. A second edition updated to include TV shows through 2010 came out in 2011. A supplement covering 2011-2016 came out last year. They’re very expensive if you want to buy them in paperback (the supplement costs $75) but very cheap if you’re willing to buy them on the Kindle.

      Check out his Amazon author page for more information:


  2. I was able to get the “Unsold Television Pilots” and “The Best TV Shows That Never Were” on Apple Books. Took me three days to finish the former book, but I learned a lot about what seemed to be fantastic TV shows that, in many cases, never made it before the cameras! Some I remembered watching as specials or made-for-TV movies. My birthday is at the end of March, and I plan to get “Spinning Laughter” and “Forgotten Laughs”. I’m glad these are available to read electronically—I have too many print books, most of which are well-worn and dog-eared!

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