Surprisingly, it's not just the expected, hot new films like Blood Diamond that are hitting the Amazon.com DVD best-seller list these days - there are a few oldies in the top 100 as well.
DVD best-seller lists are usually eclectic, but one thinks of a "top 100" list having the most recent films and TV shows, and certainly this is reflected in the Amazon top 20. Buffy the Vampire Slayer - Collector's Set at the time this writer checked Amazon was number one, followed by the BBC series Planet Earth, the blessed-by-Oprah self-help The Secret, and the newly-released film with Helen Mirren's Oscar-winning performance as The Queen. But a further look at the list can be revealing, for in a world of Buffy fans, there seems to be room for some items that we old-timers recognize, too.
Though it's not ancient, it's interesting that 1990's Twin Peaks - The Second Season charts in at 22. For those who may not remember, Twin Peaks, which asked "Who killed Laura Palmer?" was a cult classic starring Kyle MacLachlan (most recently Orson Hodge on Desperate Housewives), Lara Flynn Boyle, Sherilynn Fenn, Ray Wise, Joan Chen, Richard Beymer, and many others. Twin Peaks was one of those shows that started brilliantly and then became weird for the sake of being weird, but the characters are great, and the episodes directed by David Lynch are true standouts. I'm assuming the people buying season two bought season one - because this is one series where each episode stands on the one before it.
Number 28 is Bedazzled, a 1967 riff on Faust written by Peter Cook and starring Cook and his comedy partner, Dudley Moore. Cook and Moore, who were part of the "Beyond the Fringe" comedy troupe of the 1950s, were very successful, but this is actually the only film that showed their unique pairing to great advantage. Directed by Stanley Donen, the man responsible for films like Charade, Arabesque, and many musicals of the '50s and '60s, Bedazzled tells the story of a short order cook named Stanley (Moore). As he is about to kill himself because of his mad love for a waitress who works with him at Whimpy Burger, he meets George Spiggott (Cook), the devil, and sells his soul for seven wishes. It's not only a funny film but fascinating, as it was made before Dudley Moore became a movie star in 10 and Arthur.
At number 40, we have the sixth season of the highly successful Murder, She Wrote starring the indomitable Angela Lansbury as mystery novelist Jessica Fletcher, who solves mysteries in her personal life as well as in fiction. Murder, She Wrote was a true breakout show - who knew people my parents' age were watching television? And who cared? CBS did, and trotted out many old stars, including MGM players from Lansbury's contract days such as Van Johnson and Hurd Hatfield, as well as some of her Broadway costars. The mysteries weren't much, but for 12 years, from 1984 to 1996, audiences ate it up. Thanks to Angela, TV later got The Golden Girls.