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Should-A Beens

It's criminal that these, among other, series aren't on DVD

AMERICAN GOTHIC, a sort of deliciously twisted Southern Twin Peaks, starred Gary Cole as the charismatic yet evil Sheriff Lucas Buck and Lucas Black (Slingblade) as an orphaned boy who is really Buck's son.

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST starred The Terminator's Linda Hamilton and Ron "Hellboy" Perlman in this 1980s romantic fantasy set in New York City which developed a fanatic cult following.

SQUARE PEGS was a one-season (1982) flop with a devoted following, centering on two teenage girls (one of whom was played by Sarah Jessica Parker) trying to be popular in high school.

THE UNTOUCHABLES was TV's first gritty police drama, centering on Treasury agent Eliot Ness' crusade against organized crime in Chicago in the 20s. Often slammed at the time for "excessive and senseless violence," which made everyone want to see it. Rumors abound that this will finally be available on DVD this year.

THE DEFENDERS, a successful yet now forgotten early-60s series with E.G. Marshall about a father-and-son legal team who tackled explosive issues like euthanasia, abortion, "un-American activities," and censorship.

BORIS KARLOFF'S THRILLER, an early-60s series which provided a weekly dose of horror that often went way beyond what parents were comfortable letting their kids watch.

COLDITZ with David McCallum and Robert Wagner among those trying to escape from the famed WWII German prison.

MY WORLD AND WELCOME TO IT, an endearing series based on James Thurber's works and mixing live action segments (with William Windom as the Thurber surrogate) with animated sequences.

RICH MAN, POOR MAN, a landmark event from 1976 that kicked off the whole miniseries craze (it preceded Roots by one year), with Peter Strauss and Nick Nolte stellar in a lavish adaptation of Irwin Shaw's novel.

WHEN THINGS WERE ROTTEN, the Police Squad! of its day (1975), a Robin Hood spoof (created by Mel Brooks) that failed to catch on with the masses.

ZORRO, Disney's late-50s, live-action version of the swashbuckler's escapades, with Guy Williams (who formerly played Wild Bill Hickock in the series of the same name) playing the masked hero.

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