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Monday Notebook

By admin Published: August 10, 2009


Items from my e-mail re "Torhchwood," "Doctor Who," "King of the Hill," "Bonanza" and "One Step Beyond" on DVD and new stamps commemorating TV classics. After the jump.

Here's the stamps announcement:

Woof woof! What’s that Lassie? You’re on a stamp? But where’s Timmy?

One of America’s most revered canines was among 20 television icons that came out of retirement today to be honored on the U.S. Postal Service’s Early TV Memories 44-cent commemorative First-Class stamp sheet. Lassie participated in the first-day-of-issue dedication ceremony that took place at the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in North Hollywood.

Available nationwide today, all 50 million stamps, available in sheets of 20, commemorate Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet; Alfred Hitchcock Presents; The Dinah Shore Show; Dragnet; The Ed Sullivan Show; The George Burns & Gracie Allen Show; Hopalong Cassidy; The Honeymooners; Howdy Doody; I Love Lucy; Kukla, Fran and Ollie; Lassie; The Lone Ranger; Perry Mason; The Phil Silvers Show; The Red Skelton Show; Texaco Star Theater; The Tonight Show; The Twilight Zone; and, You Bet Your Life.

“All of the classic television shows represented on these stamps represents the collective memory of a generation well deserving of entertainment,” said U.S. Postal Service Board of Governor member James C. Miller III in dedicating the stamps. “It was a generation that survived the Great Depression and fought World War II. They were pioneers — creative geniuses — who brought television shows of the 1950’s into our homes, breaking new ground to provide entertainment for everyone.” ...

Art director Carl Herrman of North Las Vegas, NV, designed the stamps and worked with twenty2product, a San Francisco-based studio, to give the archival photos used in the stamp art a suitably “retro” look.

BBC America will begin televising the next round of "Doctor Who," with the newest Doctor, Matt Smith, in the second quarter of 2010, after its British premiere. Steven Moffat ("Jekyll") will be head writer.

The cable service included the announcement in a celebratory release about its ratings the week of July 20, including the 3.3 million viewers for "Torchwood: Children of Earth." The details:

BBC AMERICA's recent week of sci-fi gave the channel its best week ever. The week of July 20 saw the U.S. premiere of three key sci-fi titles - the five night miniseries Torchwood: Children of Earth, the first of four Doctor Who specials starring David Tennant, Doctor Who: Planet of the Dead and the latest buzz show from the UK Being Human.

Torchwood: Children of Earth is BBC AMERICA's most successful series ever, reaching 3.3m in Live+SD across the week. It delivered an average audience of 705,000 viewers per episode, with Friday's finale attracting 847,000, the largest average audience in the channel's history. Doctor Who: Planet of the Dead also performed strongly with 657,000 viewers in Live+SD.

Fox has set the date for a series finale of "King of the Hill" (although, according to reports from the recent concluded TV press tour, there are other episodes which will not be aired, and likely head to DVD instead). The finale news:

After 13 seasons of beer, barbecue, bickering and bonding, the Hill family delivers a Southern-style send-off in a one-hour series finale episode of KING OF THE HILL airing Sunday, Sept. 13 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.

Since its debut in 1997, KING OF THE HILL has followed the life of HANK HILL (Mike Judge), his wife, PEGGY (Kathy Najimy), their 13-year-old son, BOBBY (Pamela Adlon), their 18-year-old niece, LUANNE (Brittany Murphy), her husband LUCKY (Tom Petty), their newborn baby girl GRACIE and his beer guzzling neighborhood buddies, DALE (Johnny Hardwick), BILL (Stephen Root) and BOOMHAUER (Judge).

In the series finale episode, “The Boy Can’t Help It” / ”The Honeymooners,” Bobby becomes quite the ladies’ man when several girls in his class consider him a potential date for the Homecoming dance. When he realizes the girls are just playing with his emotions and are not really that interested, he asks his pal Connie to the dance. Also in the episode, Hank is shocked when his mother announces she is marrying a man she has only known for a few weeks. Soon after, the newlyweds celebrate by purchasing an RV and heading to Hank’s. When Hank's mom and new stepfather have a heated argument, she takes off with the RV and Hank is left to rescue his mother once again.

Many episodes of "Bonanza" have popped up in low-budget DVD sets consisting of telecasts on which the copyright had lapse (but minus the series' theme song, which was still copyrighted). It should get better treatment in new sets coming Sept. 15, three days after the 50th anniversary of the show's premiere in 1959. From the announcement:

It's time for a hoedown -- one of the longest running and most popular television westerns marks its 50th anniversary, as the first season of BONANZA officially rides onto DVD. CBS Home Entertainment and Paramount Home Entertainment celebrate the milestone with the September 15 release of two collectible sets featuring all 32 full-length brilliantly remastered episodes in BONANZA: THE OFFICIAL FIRST SEASON Volumes One and Two. A definitive collection, each volume is chock-full of bonus materials including a rare alternate pilot ending where the Cartwrights sing the "Bonanza" theme song, a series of recollections from creator David Dortort and a photo gallery for many episodes.

Loaded with more fist-fights than gun-fights, BONANZA captivated audiences for 14 years as they enthusiastically followed the charming Cartwright clan and their high-Sierra adventures during an era of violence and lawlessness in the middle of the 19th century. Lorne Greene established himself, and earned a Golden Globe nomination, as the patriarch Ben Cartwright - a man who cared deeply for his three sons, his neighbors and his thousand-acre Ponderosa Ranch. Pernell Roberts, Dan Blocker and Michael Landon rounded out the lead cast as Ben's three dissimilar boys - Adam, "Hoss" and Little Joe.

Television's first regular hour series in color, BONANZA soon reached number one and became the first series ever in the Top Five in Nielsen Ratings for nine consecutive seasons, drawing an estimated 30 million viewers each week. Nominated for an Emmy Award for Best Dramatic Series, the show was also named on TV Guide's Top 50 Greatest TV Shows of all time. The series is also known for its rousing theme song, one of the best-known pieces made-for-television from the Academy Award-winning team of Jay Livingston and Ray Evans (Silver Bells, Que Sera Sera).

A family-oriented action adventure, BONANZA featured strong characters and engaging plots tied around a revolving cast of interesting guest players, helping to make the series stand out among the usual gun-slinging formula Westerns of the day, trailblazing into a class of its own. Notable guest stars during the first season include: Yvonne DeCarlo, Alan Hale Jr., James Coburn, Buddy Ebsen and Vic Morrow.

Each volume of BONANZA: THE FIRST SEASON includes four discs featuring
16 of the classic show's 32 action-packed first season episodes, presented in brilliant color and sound. The DVD is Not Rated in the U.S. and rated PG in Canada with a total running time of approximately 792 minutes for volume one and 793 minutes for volume two. The SRP is $42.99 US/ $46.99 CAN.

This looks like the first attempt to treat "Bonanza" right on DVD since Republic issued "Best of 'Bonanza,' Vol. 1" in 2003, a selection of shows from the early seasons. But let's see if CBS/Paramount also issue later seasons in their entirety.

The company is also releasing the first season of "One Step Beyond." Here's that announcement:

Before The Twilight Zone, there was ONE STEP BEYOND, the groundbreaking 1959 series landing on DVD for the first time ever September 15 from CBS Home Entertainment and Paramount Home Entertainment. Debuting as a three-disc collectible set that includes all 22 digitally remastered first season episodes, ONE STEP BEYOND: THE OFFICIAL FIRST SEASON sought out stories of the paranormal - including tales of ghosts, disappearances, monsters and more - and recreated them each week in thrilling and suspenseful ways that led viewers to ask the question "What if it real?"

Released just in time for the series' 50th anniversary, ONE STEP BEYOND was hosted by John Newland, who also directed the series, and fed on the nation's growing interest in the paranormal in the late 1950s and early 1960s. This must-have for any sci-fi fan's DVD library includes the extended pilot "The Bride Possessed," which includes a five-minute monologue from Newland, and "The Devil's Laughter," arguably the best episode of the series, which tells the story of an Englishman convicted of murder and sentenced to be hanged though he somehow manages to repeatedly escape death. The first season also features teasers for upcoming episodes at the end of each episode, an iconic series promo, the original Alcoa-sponsored opening and the Main Title Sequence from the 1990s.

The first season also featured special guest appearances by Cloris Leachman (The Mary Tyler Moore Show) Pernell Roberts (Bonanza), Mike Connors (Mannix), Werner Klemperer (Hogan's Heroes) and Ross Martin (Wild, Wild West).

ONE STEP BEYOND: THE OFFICIAL FIRST SEASON will be available for the suggested retail price of $54.99 US and $57.99 CAN and is a three-disc set presented in Full Screen with English Mono sound. The DVD is not rated in the U.S. and rated PG in Canada. The total running time is 9 Hrs., 21 Min. The SRP is $54.99 US/ $57.99 CAN.

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