DVD can help good television live forever

By Kevin Wilson

There’s a running joke around the office regarding my media collection, and how it’s just a little too large. With a collection of more than 200 movies and television series on DVD and VHS, it’s an understandable joke.
In fact, I could actually build a collection of media like the shelves of a Blockbuster video, grouped by individual celebrities. I have, for instance, a three-piece set of Donnie Wahlberg items. The first two are New Kids on the Block videos (kids, go ask your parents), intended for the purpose of a gag gift someday.
I received the third piece of my Donnie Wahlberg collection in the mail last week. It’s a little piece of forgotten television beauty called Boomtown.
Donnie Wahlberg, the former New Kid on the Block, is no longer recognizable as a boy band member. He plays Detective Joel Stevens, with a receding hairline and an unstable family.
His partner is Billy “Fearless” Smith, played by Mykelti Washington (Bubba from Forrest Gump). Fearless is a man with a sworn duty to do what’s right and a list of 100 things to do before he dies.
It’s important to mention everybody in this show, because of the way the creators chose to tell the story. The viewer is presented a crime, which may look pretty simple from one viewpoint. In small segments, though, the viewer sees the action only through the perspective of all characters involved.
There are the detectives, the uniformed officers, the district attorney, the journalist, the paramedic and even the victims and criminals. Each point of view shows you a different piece of the puzzle, and you only know the whole truth one hour later.
Sounds like a show you’d like to see? I guess you’ll have to find the DVD set, because NBC canceled the series.
It does upset me to see good television like Boomtown get canceled by the same network that will make Matt LeBlanc a star in two series. Then again, NBC was the only network that would have taken a risk on a show like Boomtown — a point the producers are adamant about in the collection’s special features.
Critically acclaimed series with a small core audience gets canceled unfairly? That’s been happening for years. I’m just glad that we’ve got DVD now to help a show’s fans from suffering for the network’s mistake.
It’s obviously what happened with FOX’s Family Guy cartoon. Now, thanks to Cartoon Network syndication and strong DVD sales, the show is coming back (there are 35 new episodes coming in 2005, and FOX is actually showing a two-hour block of Family Guy tonight).
Hopefully, we’ll see more series like Boomtown survive thanks to DVD. Here’s a partial list of shows that we should petition networks for:
The Dana Carvey Show: The show got canceled after just six weeks, but ABC at least had some justification. Carvey’s show had scared away every single sponsor because of how off-the-wall and offensive it could be.
TV Nation: This is a series from Michael Moore, when he was more focused on comedy and less on getting the Bush family out of office by any means necessary. Some of the shows are complete bombs, but the ones that worked were sheer beauty. There’s the time Moore tried to hug all 50 governors, or when he showed viewers that a white felon could hail down a cab faster than black actor Yaphet Kotto. If you know who Crackers the Corporate Crime Fighting Chicken is, you understand my point.
And if these don’t come out? I won’t give you my Boomtown collection, but I’ve got a pair of New Kids on the Block videos I can sell you really cheap.

Kevin Wilson is the managing editor of the Portales News-Tribune. He can be reached at 356-4481, ext. 33, or by e-mail: