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No, You're Out of Order!

By RD Heldenfels Published: October 26, 2005

Here's another beef about television shows on DVD: Episodes that are not arranged in the proper sequence.

Case in point is the new ''American Gothic'' DVD set, which hit stores Tuesday. The DVD does boast 22 episodes of the show -- 18 that CBS aired in 1995-96 and four that weren't seen until Sci Fi Channel televised them. On the three discs, the 18 are arranged in order of telecast, followed by the four unaired ones.

Here's the problem: Those four unaired episodes were meant to be woven into the show's serialized narrative, not to end it. (You can find a list that indicates the order in which episodes were made here .)

Even if you don't have an episode guide, just watching the show will tell you something is wrong. ''Strangler,'' the 22nd episode on DVD, makes absolutely no sense after you have seen ''Requiem,'' the 18th episode on DVD and the actual finale of ''American Gothic's'' single season.

As I have said, I'm happy that ''American Gothic'' is on DVD. And ''Requiem'' alone is a pretty amazing piece of television -- twisted in ways that few shows would have dared to be a decade ago. But Universal, which released the DVD, should have put the episodes in narrative order instead of in this awkward arrangement based on air date.

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