Life isn’t fair, bubs.  So say Al Gore, Cooper Manning, and anyone who’s ever played second banana to Charlie Sheen. No one knows this universal truth better than the fine people involved in television, from the producers to the writers to the actors. Sometimes you’re the windshield; sometimes you’re the bug.  Sometimes you’re on Friends, sometimes you’re on Studio 60.

Nice guys don’t always finish first, and in the world of scripted television, sometimes According to Jim will stick around, unfathomably, for years, while the genius of Arrested Development gets curb-kicked. At least Jason Bateman gained post-Hogan-family visibility out of that Emmy-winning 53-episode run, and the world got introduced to Michael Cera.

But unfairness sometimes continues into the afterlife. The magic of DVDs (soon to be the magic of streaming video) means that we don’t need to bid adieu to our favorite shows just because the network yanks them or they run their natural course. Insult is added to injury, however, when a program dies before its time and doesn’t even make the DVD-cut.  Today’s Tuesday Twelve is a work in two parts: six “remember me?” shows that aren’t on DVD yet (and likely never will be) flanked by six shows that quite literally aren’t worth the pressed plastic they are burned to.

Please Come to DVD! (Or, Cliffhanging By a Moment):

1. Miss Match.

Who doesn’t love Alicia Silverstone?  She was dirty-hot in the Aerosmith videos, charming as Cher Horowitz, and inspiring as a crusader for animal rights.  In this dramedy, she was a plucky divorce attorney by day who falls into a side business of matchmaking.  Antics ensue. Ryan O’Neal is involved.  Only eight episodes aired in the U.S. but 18 were reportedly filmed.  18!  Ten more hours of Miss Match I could enjoy for $29 or so!  Sob.

Miss Match

2. Relativity.

Talk about life being unfair. Edward Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz wear the “critically acclaimed, ratings-challenged” badge with honor.  After success with thirtysomething, they attempted their own “teensomething,” My So-Called Life, which lasted one brilliant season but unfortunately debuted in the same time slot as Friends.  Fortunately, it’s on DVD (finally).  Their “fortysomething,” Once and Again, limped along for three seasons before fading gently into the TV graveyard. And their “twentysomething” attempt, Relativity, hasn’t even been lucky enough to live anywhere on disc.  A large, talented cast conveying plot lines that highlighted the diverse relationships that crop up among families couldn’t keep the show afloat longer than 17 episodes.


3. Reunion.

2005. Six friends.  One’s dead on the night of their 20th high-school reunion.  Why? And by the hand of whom? And which one is even dead, anyway?  Well, to find out, let’s have every episode follow a different year post high-school, complete with musical soundtrack, hairstyles, and fashion.  It was twisty, creative, and clever, but one wondered how it would manage a second season?  At least that mystery was solved, as it was canned after nine episodes. We found out it was raven-haired Sam(antha) who met her untimely end, but never learned the killer’s identity (and reading it on Wikipedia is hardly satisfying).  Ahhhhhhh!


4. The Nine.

What happened in that bank!?  No, seriously.  What happened! BAILEY!!

The Nine

5. Leap of Faith

Okay, so this show was silly and cute and doomed.  Great foursome: Sarah Paulson (from Jack and Jill and Studio 60), Lisa Edelstien (House), Ken Marino (The State, Veronica Mars), and Regina King (Jerry Maguire), it was a mid-season replacement about a single lady (Paulson’s “Faith”) dealing with her independence (and her meddling mother) in the big city.  It was smarter than it needed to be, and it lasted all of six episodes.

Fun Fact: Lisa Edelstein, George Costanza’s “risotto” girl and Gregory House’s main squeeze, was a series regular on this and Relativity.  Was she the female Ted McGinley?

Fun Fact Two: Jack and Jill also is not on DVD and it wrapped its second season with not one but THREE cliffhangers. I much prefer Justin Kirk on Weeds and Amanda Peet out of my living room, but I would have liked to see things wrapped up.

Leap of Faith

6. The Wonder Years.

What?  How in the world are Kevin, Wayne, Winnie, young Marilyn Manson, and friends not pressed for posterity?  Must be a contract dispute.  This one I still have hope for.

Wonder Years

Honorable mentions: Ed, Jack & Bobby, Rags to Riches

From the sublime to the ridiculous.  Market research indicated that these shows would have enough of a buying audience to warrant mass DVD production.

Drunken Marketing Execs! (Or, I Fear For Our Country):

1. Small Wonder

She’s a girl. She’s a robot.  She can’t act. In fact, I think “Vicki’s” poor acting skills made them re-write the entire concept of the show.

Small Wonder

2. Cops

Does anyone have a “favorite season” of COPS?  Also, isn’t it on at any given moment on any given cable channel?  Oh … “Too Hot for TV” footage included.  It all becomes clear.


3. Fear Factor

Unless you actually competed on this, why would you want to own it?  Joe Rogan fans would be better off scooping up NewsRadio or, God forbid, even the reboot of The Man Show.

Fear Factor

4. The Jamie Kennedy Experiment (JKX)

In honor of Scream 4 supposedly being produced, I thought I’d mention that Jamie Kennedy used to exist.

Jamie Kennedy Experiment

5. Stacked

I like Pamela Anderson more than most educated women my age. I find her completely endearing and likable. I even watched every episode of this dumb show with poor, poor, Christopher “Doc Brown” Lloyd.  That doesn’t mean I would ever consider watching a rerun, let alone adding this set (the DVD set, people) to my collection.


6. The Suze Orman show

Doesn’t she give financial advice?  Isn’t that, oh, I don’t know, kind of timely?  I appreciate that she’s smart and savvy and trying to help, but I consider this experiment a DVD fail.

Dishonorable mentions: Viva la Bam, Charles in Charge, Joey

So … reader(s) … what shows do you miss and can’t find?  And which shows can you find that you don’t miss?