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March 09 2005

Kill Your TV - but Keep Your DVD Player. USA Columnist Whitney Matheson talks about watching tv shows on DVD. Angel, Buffy, Firefly and Wonderfalls are all mentioned.

At the botton she asks readers to email her the answer to this question: Pop Question: What's your favorite TV show to watch on DVD? Whedon fans - start firing off those emails!

You know, since I started watching tv shows on dvd I find myself finding it harder and harder to wait a whole week for a new episode of a normal broadcast show. It really annoys me when an episode is over and I can't watch the next one right after to see how the story continues. So that's a negative consequence of dvd, I didn't use to get this feeling much if at all.

I might just have to indeed kill my tv as this columnist suggests and start watching every show on dvd instead. Dilemma here is to avoid spoilers and such until the dvd release.
This is not really related but...
Monday's Wall Street Journal featured an article of how Nielsen's rating system does not reflect the actual audience. (Not news really or surprising!!!)

They used the OC and how people in Universities really does not count but the networks use "case studies" (or such) to motivate advertisers. I KNOW the same case could be made for Whendonverse shows, right??? They stressed that the day when mom, dad and the two kids sit down to watch TV is long past gone. Dad is watching the ball game in one room and junior is watching MTV in the basement

The WB's Garth Ancier claimed that his network was a victim of this since most of their shows target younger viewers and "they do not count" because they are grouped with what mom and dad are watching.

Imagine if Angel REALLY had the ratings it had!!!
Ditto, Storyteller. I'm addicted to Netflix. I'm purposely waiting for Lost, Alias & 24 on DVD because I know the week to week suspense would be killing me. Besides, I don't have cable and so my tv reception is cruddy (to watch Angel & Buffy I had to balance my Radio Shack antenna in *just the right spot* or it was all static.
gingeriffic - my enduring memory of AtS S5 is a pain in the neck - literally. To get any kind of reception, I used to have to hold the antenna cable in place in the wall socket, about a foot behind the TV. The TV is in a fixed wall cabinet. To see the screen I could either lay down on my back and watch upside down (far too challenging for me) or sit with my neck twisted and bent at about 90 degrees! I picked the sitting and paid the cost! Had to be the only time I have looked forward to ad breaks during AtS!
I tried to send her an email, but got an error message, saying this:

Your message cannot be delivered to the following recipients:

Recipient address: wmatheson@usatoday.com
Reason: Remote SMTP server has rejected address
Diagnostic code: smtp;554 Service unavailable; Client host [206.46.252.40] blocked using bl.spamcop.net; Blocked - see http://www.spamcop.net/bl.shtml?206.46.252.40
Remote system: dns;usat-vocmail2.usatoday.com (TCP|206.46.252.40|39063|159.54.128.26|25) (usat-vocmail2.usatoday.com ESMTP Postfix)

Anybody understand that?
Your e-mail address is in a spam blacklist. Read more.
I couldn't agree with her premise more. I used to disdain TV, but have discovered I love watching shows on DVD. A friend and I were just talking the other day about how we were both a bit ashamed that more than half our Netflix rentals have become TV shows. And I buy more TV shows on DVD as well. Buffy and Angel and Firefly, of course, but also West Wing, the Simpsons, Twin Peaks, and, more recently, The Wire. (I was tempted to buy the first season of Gilmore Girls as well, but decided I couldn't really see myself rewatching many episodes).
I still enjoy having the occasional show that I watch from week to week, but there's something really nice about the uninterrupted, episode-to-episode format of watching the show on DVD. I didn't even start with 24 this year Ė just figured I'll see it whenver the discs are released. And even though I am watching Lost and Veronica Mars, it's nice to know that when i miss an episode, I'll be able to catch up whenever it's released.
Ditto to what has been said, I now give nearly all new TV series a miss and wait for them to come out on DVD, to either rent or buy. No ads, watch when you like, gorge yourself on episodes, better picture quality, whatís there not to like. I also definitely know the embarrassment she speaks off in renting stuff I used to like - so glad they started to release Miami Vice again, but maybe best not to admit that in public. Possibly at some point Iíll get a DVR, but with so few shows worth recording and still having to skip through the ads, it seems a bit of a waste of money and my time.

The real question is when will somebody finally make the logical jump, forget about TV and go straight for releasing a series on DVD (and incidentally legal downloading onto DVD). I read in some trade journal that it would take approx 200,000 DVDs sold to make it financially viable Ė if Firefly had gone down that route, we could still be watching it and the Fox Home Entertainment division could still be making money on it! Plus, no network censorship, no network interference in the creative process.

There must be business models that make this possible, for example if Joss put out a new series on a subscription basis, I would put money on the table, if it was reasonable.(Actually, given the ridiculous amount the whole verse DVD collection has cost me, I would do it even if it wasnít reasonable. Worth every penny though and Iíve decided that my husband does not need to eat.)

Network TV is so completely yesteryear, itís about the equivalent of having an electrical typewriter in the house. Advanced for itís time, but now sadly obsolete.
Sometimes, for me, watching a tv series on DVD doesn't work. I don't understand why.

On broadcast television I love watching West Wing, CSI Vegas, and I enjoyed Northern Exposure when it was first run on broadcast TV, but recently I ordered the first disc for each of those series via NetFlix, and found it difficult to get through them. These are not bad television series. They should be enjoyable on DVD but for me they were just a chore. Even after taking a break for doing errands then coming back, it was almost effortful to get through a DVD so I could send it back to NetFlix and get something new. I was surprised at how painful it was to get through the first episodes of Northern Exposure so close together. When that series first ran on broadcast TV I recall being very impatient from week to week waiting for the next one. Although any one episode of West Wing often leaves me wanting more, three back to back tends to give me a headache. Do people really talk that fast in real life? Yikes.

Admittedly, Firefly, Angel and Buffy I just flew through those DVDs, because I can watch those shows over and over, and I enjoyed Dead Like Me's first season of episodes in a similar manner, almost disappointed when I'd get through a whole disc and have to send it back. I even watched a couple of the episodes twice because I enjoyed Dead Like Me so. I could go through a disc of Dead Like Me in one sitting, and the time just flew by like it was nothing.

However, I can't even bring myself to order DVDs of Seinfeld because I know too much of that in a row would be unpleasant and annoying. The occasional rerun now and then is okay, but a whole DVD of Seinfeld episodes back to back? Ouch! And 24? No way. Can't even bring myself to order the first one, after experiencing the above. 24 just seems the sort of show you need to watch on DVD in one sitting, but it's so serious and dramatic that I imagine it'd be very tough to get through that way.

Y'know what really surprises me? A few years back I bought a whole bunch of the X-Files episodes on VHS, and I still have them, but whenever I feel like watching something on VCR or DVD, I can't bring myself to pull those things back out again. I don't know why. I used to love that show. You'd think I'd want to watch X-Files again, but now they're just gathering dust.

I don't understand how Nielsens or pollsters or any other kind of ratings system has any merit whatsoever. It's impossible for anyone to understand one person's viewing habits, much less try to determine the viewing habits of the general public as a whole.
Yeah Cause I'm a huge fan of BtVS, Angel, and Firefly and I've never watched a single episode when they were first aired which is really sad...
As a college student/television addict I get really frustrated by ratings systems. I live in a dorm, and it's pretty common to find me and a whole host of other people in my room watching shows that are not very highly rated, but are hugely popular on college campuses. When networks are thinking about cancellation they aren't thinking about my peers and me, who are part of their prime demographic.

I wonder what ratings would look like if the Nielsens were including college campuses and other non and under represented populations. I think the incredible little shows would have better numbers.
Charisma, i actually watched every single episode of both Buffy and Angel on their original airdates here in the UK, from Welcome to the Hellmouth onwards. In fact they are the only two shows that i can honestly say that i never once missed a new episode being broadcast. I've come close with Stargate and Alias but on occasion i have missed an episode here and there that i had to catch later on.

Actually, come to think about it, i can add Stargate: Atlantis to the "never missed" list now. Admittedly it's only been one season so far but still.

As much as i love my DVD sets, i think i would miss the whole episodic, television thing too much. As much as it can be annoying when you get to the end of the latest new episode of 24 and know that you have a whole week to wait until it will be continued, that is part of the fun and the whole reason why they leave you at an exciting point in the story. If i watched 24 the first time through on DVD i would lose that element of suspense, knowing that i had the next episode right away if i wanted. That, for me at least, would take something away from my enjoyment.
OK Warlock. I just said it was sad...

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