I still have my VHS tape recordings of the originally airings of one of my favorite TV shows, "China Beach." Now, with the 1988-'91 series finally coming to DVD, it looks like I can retire them--and my VHS player. (That's the only thing I watch with it.)
"China Beach" is without a doubt one of the best TV series ever about the Vietnam War, and sits high up on my general "best ever" list as well. It told the story of the soldiers, doctors, nurses and others working at a U.S. mobile hospital during the war, and started the careers of Dana Delany, Marg Helgenberger (Nebraska shout out!), Robert Picardo, Michael Boatman and others.
The series was co-created, written and produced by John Sacret Young ("The West Wing") and Bill Broyles ("APollo 13," "Cast Away"). John Wells, who has since worked on such series as "The West Wing," "Southland," "Shameless," "ER" and "Third Watch," came aboard during the second season and wrote some of the most memorable episodes.
This is the first time "China Beach" has been released on DVD (or VHS--my recordings don't count), and it is timed to the show's 25th anniversary. The 21-disc set includes all 62 episodes, 268 classic songs and 10 hours of bonus features. And a whole lot more.
You can preorder directly at timelife.com. The set is expected to start shipping April 15-19.
But thanks to the folks at Star Vista Entertainment and Time Life, I've got a copy of "China Beach: The Complete Series" to give away to one lucky Show Patrol reader. Since this is such a massive set and I have just one, I want it to go to a fan who loves the show as much as I do or wants to love it that much. So I'm making you jump through an extra hoop to get the set: Find the "China Beach" post on my Show Patrol TV Facebook page and leave a comment telling why you would like to own the set.
Deadline is April 19, and I'll pick a winner over the weekend, then contact him or her for mailing info to pass on to the folks at Time Life, who will mail the DVD set. This is open to residents of the U.S. only.
In the meantime, check out all the extras on the DVD below, and watch as cast members remember the series in the videos.
From the press release:
Back to the Beach...
From the moment "China Beach" debuted in 1988, with its iconic opening credits set to the Supremes' "Reflections" as its theme song, it was hailed as groundbreaking television. In an era of testosterone-driven war movies, China Beach delivered a unique perspective: the Vietnam War through the eyes of women!
Never before released on DVD or VHS! You can now own the entire TV series with this deluxe collector's edition housed in a beautiful display box. Includes 268 classic hit songs as they were played in the original broadcast.
This long-awaited set features over 10 hours of new bonus features, including a reunion with the China Beach cast, including Dana Delany (First Lieutenant Colleen McMurphy), Marg Helgenberger (K.C. Kolowski), Michael Boatman (PVT Sam Beckett), Robert Picardo (Captain Dr. Dick Richard) and many more.
And, you'll enjoy an exclusive booklet, "Tales from the Five & Dime," with character bios, interview transcripts, letters from vets and much more.
Online Exclusive Collection includes:
- 21 DVDs in deluxe collector's packaging featuring metallic artwork and removable dog tags, along with a 36-page collector's book, "Tales From the Five & Dime" and liner notes penned by Dana Delany, Robert Picardo and series creators John Sacret Young and William Broyles
- 10 hours of specially-created bonus material, including interviews, audio commentaries, featurettes and more
- Reunion footage and featurettes from the recent December 2012 China Beach Reunion held in Los Angeles. Featurettes include: "China Beach Memories--Tales from the 25th Anniversary Reunion," "Castles Made of Sand--The Lasting Impact of China Beach," "Life's A Beach--A Look at the Real China Beach" and "Hit The Beach--How It All Began."
- New, in-depth interviews with stars Dana Delany, Marg Helgenberger, Robert Picardo, Brian Wimmer, Jeff Kober, Nancy Giles, Troy Evans, Michael Boatman, Chloe Webb and Concetta Tomei, along with John Wells and creators John Sacret Young and William Broyles Jr.
- Three roundtable discussions with cast and crew: "The Legacy of China Beach", a roundtable discussion with series creator John Sacret Young, John Wells, Lydia Woodward, and Mimi Leder; "China Beach and the Vietnam War", a roundtable discussion with John Sacret Young, Carol Flint, and Toni Graphia, and "China Beach Origins" a roundtable discussion, with John Sacret Young, Bill Broyles, Jr., Rod Holcomb and John Levey
- Four Audio commentaries by a combination of Dana Delany, John Sacret Young , writers Lydia Woodward and Carol Flint and director Rob Holcomb on the episodes: "Pilot Episode," "Vets," "Souvenirs" and "Hello/Goodbye"
- Rare, Behind-the-Scenes footage shot by John Sacret Young and Robert Picardo from the final China Beach episode
- Season 3 gag reel