At this point, I’d say the chances are pretty slim that we’ll ever see official releases of Dragnet (1950s version), Seasons 2 & 3 of One Step Beyond or more of The Jack Benny Program (apart from Shout’s Jack Benny: The Lost Episodes, which I already own).
Sure, miracles can occasionally happen; perhaps the two remaining seasons of One Step Beyond were quietly remastered, and eventually could get a “definitive” release through Kino Lorber or Shout/Timeless, who knows. Shout has its relationship with Universal, so perhaps more Jack Benny might arrive someday (as has happened with Ernie Kovacs), though there are always music rights issues to contend with, and perhaps the first set didn’t sell well enough to warrant a second helping, but nice-looking episodes have run on Antenna TV, so… again, who knows. Conversely, given that early Dragnet has never been transferred to tape/digital, however, it’s pretty safe to say it’s a lost cause, though I certainly hope I’m wrong.
Anyway, I’m tired of waiting… I know I can get the rest of One Step Beyond through various public domain collections released, plus a smattering of both Jack Benny and Dragnet. The trouble is, there isn’t much in the way of reviews of the p.d. releases that I can find. I realize these will generally be in rougher, softer-looking shape, sourced from old 16mm prints, which isn’t a problem (I don’t insist on pristine perfection), as long as they are reasonably watchable. What I’m interested in is which collections have the most episodes, whether any of the music has been replaced (I’ve seen some of the ’50s Dragnet episodes on one of the religious/classic TV cable channels, not long ago, with the theme music replaced with a cheap, horrible synthesizer version!), have any of the episodes been edited, are there a lots of “jumps”/splices that affect dialogue/scenes, is the audio muffled at all, is there too much digital compression, and are there any obtrusive watermarks added by the company releasing the collection(s).
From my own research, as far as I can tell, this 5-disc tin may be my best bet for Dragnet (am I wrong?), from Madacy:
For One Step Beyond, I think some here have previously recommended this set from Film Chest, which ports the remastered Season 1 from CBS/Paramount’s “Definitive Season 1” release (which I already own), but are the other two seasons in reasonably decent shape (no cuts, jumps and/or music replacement)?
This Mill Creek “best of” set of Jack Benny boasts 39 episodes, and I wonder if it has any outstanding issues at all, or if it’s basically the one to beat:
Thanks in advance for any guidance you can provide.