Thursday, March 13, 2014

How’s This for Forgotten TV?

I never thought I’d see this happen: RLJ Entertainment is planning to release a DVD set of Barbary Coast, the long-unavailable 1975-1976 ABC-TV series starring William Shatner as a disguise-obsessed government agent working to fight crime in 19th-century San Francisco. The series also starred Doug McClure as his reluctant, saloon-owning partner. TV Shows on DVD says this four-disc set will go on sale June 3, priced at $59.99, and offers this précis of the show:
Golden Globe winner William Shatner (Star Trek, Boston Legal) is Jeff Cable, an undercover agent patrolling the wild streets of 1880s San Francisco. Filled with casinos and saloons, this bustling slice of post-Gold Rush California runs on corruption, greed, and violence. And it’s Agent Cable’s job to crack down on the numerous criminals who have made a home there. Even top public officials can’t be trusted, so Cable weaves elaborate ruses to uncover the Barbary Coast’s many plots.

He also relies on the slick but beleaguered Cash Conover (Doug McClure,
The Virginian), proprietor of the Golden Gate Casino. Conover reluctantly puts his business and well-being on the line for Cable time and again. The charismatic pair often find the cards stacked against them, but that doesnt stop them from having a rollicking good time as they police a town mired in vigilante justice. Also starring Richard Kiel (The Spy Who Loved Me), this Emmy-nominated series is a playful take on traditional Westerns with a terrific cast.
TV Shows on DVD doesn’t specifically address the matter, but this forthcoming set may well contain the 1975 Barbary Coast pilot film, which was written by Douglas Heyes and starred Dennis Cole as a more laconic Cash. How else would this be a 14-episode offering? There were only 13 hour-long episodes shot, following the success of that pilot.

Meanwhile, Warner Archive has just released a DVD of the 1972 pilot for The Delphi Bureau, starring Laurence Luckinbill as Glenn Garth Gregory, a government agent possessed of a handy photographic memory. In the pilot, explains IMDb, Gregory “is assigned to solve the disappearance of an entire fleet of old Air Force planes.” Only eight episodes of the subsequent ABC series were produced, all shown as part of a Thursday night “wheel series” titled The Men. (The other two “spokes” of that wheel were Robert Conrad’s Assignment: Vienna and James Wainwright’s Jigsaw.)

A few years back, Mystery*File’s Michael Shonk reviewed the Delphi Bureau pilot, which was subtitled “The Merchant of Death Assignment” (even though almost all of the series’ later episodes ended in “Project,” not “Assignment”); you can read his remarks here. The new DVD is priced at $18.95 and can be purchased here.


Tony Renner said...

I don't remember the Barbary Coast TV show but watched the film Barbary Coast (1935) and thought, wow, Deadwood without the cursing!

Morrison2525 said...

Which other forgotten mystery, crime, and suspense TV series deserve to be released on DVD? I'm still hoping for Hec Ramsey, Marshall, Push Nevada, Raines, Terriers, and Vengeance Unlimited.