Above: Gary Lockwood as William Tiberius Rice adorns the cover of the new DVD release THE LIEUTENANT.
Gene Roddenberry's pre-STAR TREK TV series THE LIEUTENANT is available on DVD for the first time. The one season series stars Gary Lockwood and Robert Vaughn.
Christopher Mills at DVD Late Show writes about it:
Exceptionally well-written and produced, with consistently good direction by a slew of TV veterans including Richard Donner and Don Medford, THE LIEUTENANT is engaging and compelling drama. The guest casts include a number of familiar television faces like Bill Bixby, Rip Torn, Norman Fell, Neville Brand, Linda Evans, Richard Anderson, Barbara Bain, Ricardo Montalban, and future TREKkers Leonard Nimoy, Majel Barrett, Nichelle Nichols and Walter Koenig - all of whom do extremely good work here.
THE LIEUTENANT was well-received, but lasted only one season as the escalating conflict in Vietnam made the subject matter too risky for NBC. As with TREK, Roddenberry's desire to address controversial subject matter also made the network uncomfortable - NBC refused to air (or pay for) an episode dealing with racial bigotry starring TREK's Nichelle Nichols.
The rest of his review is here (including a link to order the series, as well as THE LIEUTENANT made for TV movie).
Like a lot of these manufactured on demand DVDs, the price is more than a typical DVD. But given the video and audio quality, and the absolute scarcity of the series (it's been virtually unseen since its 1963-64 network run), it's worth considering economizing a bit for a while so as to justify the purchase if you're a fan.
I'm not sure, but I think this means that pretty much all of the television work that Roddenberry ever did -- from his first scripts for HAVE GONE WILL TRAVEL, to his 1970s TV pilots -- is on DVD.
EDIT: As of October 18, 2012, THE QUESTOR TAPES, Roddenberry's 1974 pilot about an android in search of its creator, is now available in on-demand DVD format from the Universal Vault.