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June 10 2005

Why some TV shows appear on DVD and others don't. Registration required, though bugmenot.com works.

A brief mention of the success of Firefly on dvd and then a few paragraphs from Todd Holland about how the music on Wonderfalls effected it's dvd release.

Registration required.
Yeah, I said so in the description.
Oh, sorry. Didn't see that.
Not really a lot new in the article. Genre shows do better than mainstream ones, etc. And, they again pull out the "Firefly sold 200,000 copies" comment. That information is so old now as to be completely worthless. I wonder if 200,000 DVD units sold is some sort of magic number akin to the million copies for a platinum record.

On the plus side - another article mentioning Firefly (and Wonderfalls!)
Seems like a show that's rerun & syndicated all over the place won't do well on DVD, whereas a show like Firefly that aired all of once will beat the Friends DVDs easily.
That still doesn't explain to me why I don't have The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. on DVD yet...
Yeah, that and American Gothic. Any decade now...
kishi - AMEN!
I'm one of those types who refuse to register to news sites. Call me old-fashioned. However, I've read several articles both online and offline about this topic. As I understand it, a lot has to do more with legalities than just whether or not a show is 'mainstream' or 'genre.'

The truth is, prior to the invention of the DVD, lawyers didn't know to incorporate that into contracts for all the bits and pieces that make a given television show. The worst culprit keeping a lot of older stuff from making it to video is the music. If the lawyers for whoever owns said music thought to put it in, the producers of a show have to get okays from the owners of said music copyrights when the show is reintroduced into a new medium, which the DVD thing is. Whoever owns said music copyrights often say no, or they say yes provided they get the lion's share of any profits, which is pretty much just as bad as saying no. A lot of shows are in negotiations with these owners of said copyrights, as well as the lawyers of any on-air acting talent bright enough to have put similar clauses in their contracts. So a lot of it has to do with politics and money, as opposed to perceived popularity. Although, said perceived popularity will affect the speed of such negotiations.

Comparing Friends to Firefly is very astute I think. Friends has been run down to death in the public arena because those behind it (and rightly so!) milked it for everything it was worth. Some of them didn't know when to stop milking. I think the real reason behind why most of the acting talent behind that show jumped ship was cuz they smelled on the breeze that it was time to get out. Like mice fleeing from a sinking ship before the men at the helm realize their sinking. Except for Matt LeBlanc, who has chosen to foolishly go down with the ship. And he wasn't even the captain. The (comparative) lack of popularity for the Friends DVDs is indicative of the series' future I think, in the realms of memory. Friends won't go down in history as breathtaking and historical televised fare. It'll be remembered, but probably not as fondly as some think it will. I suspect Seinfeld will suffer a similar fate, as has Cheers and Night Court, two series which were quite enjoyable in their day, but time is not being kind to them. Cheers made it to DVD, but Night Court did not. At least not yet. Cheers hasn't done well, and I imagine Night Court won't fare much better. Though I recall enjoying it during first-run, I doubt it'll stand the test of time. Mutant X and She Spies are perhaps the worst. It sucked on first run, and it's sucking in DVDs. You simply can't substitute good acting and writing with cheesy special effects and bad editing.

Moonlighting's a bit of a wild card. Not sure how it will be remembered. I understand some changes have been made to it, so that it could legally make it to DVD. If Remington Steele is ever put to DVD, I imagine similar edits and alterations of music will have to be incorporated, in order to legally print the discs. This may help it or hurt it. Simply too soon to tell.

Most shows after DVD's inception have been made with these concerns in mind. Firefly is among those 'post DVD' programs. As is Charmed, Tru Calling, Numb3rs, Joan of Arcadia, and many more. Time will tell whether they'll be remembered well. It's too soon to judge today. With apprehension I feel it safe to say that Northern Exposure, MASH, All In The Family, Firefly, Farscape, Monk, Dead Like Me, Crime Scene Investigations (Vegas only).. these and a handful of others are shows from before and after DVDs inception, which will be remembered well, thanks in small part to the DVD phenomenon. (I say Farscape having not personally enjoyed it, but objectively aquiesce to its apparent popularity and longevity). The DVDs aren't going to make or break a show, but familiarity breeds both contentment and contempt. DVDs help a show stand on its own merits, rather than the collective memory of its original audience. Some shows will fare better than others, with that reasoning.

But then, I could be completely wrong. Twin Peaks is still selling relatively well, and priced competitively but reasonably. Personally I don't think that series holds up under repeated viewings, but despite my opinion that it should be remembered as confusing schlock, time's being kinder to it. So, probably if you read my ramble down this far, you just wasted your time, cuz I haven't the slightest what I'm talking about.
ZachsMind wrote:
If Remington Steele is ever put to DVD, I imagine similar edits and alterations of music will have to be incorporated, in order to legally print the discs. This may help it or hurt it. Simply too soon to tell.


Piping in since you mentioned it -- Remington Steele is indeed being released on DVD (Region 1) -- look for it July 26th.
[edited to fix release date]

[ edited by twofangs on 2005-06-12 19:55 ]
A poster on FFF.net brought up the late 80's show Beauty and the Beast. Still not on dvd, which is really too bad. Great love story, that. I remember being deeply moved by that show.

Maybe the music is what's holding it up? Doubt it though, as its been out on vhs for years.
Willowy ,The fact that it has been out for years on VHS doesn't really count for anything.

The BBC had this problem with some Dr Who releases.

In between the release of the video version and the DVD version of some stories some rights holders changed their policy allowing a release provided the appropriate fee was paid for rights clearance to no release no matter what.

Incidently I saw on another forum somebody noticing the fact that on Eastenders the music in the background of the Queen Vic cuts off at 29 seconds as apparently they can play 30 seconds of a song without worrying about rights clearance
Zachsmind, I thought your ramble was really cogent, myself.

Bit of trivia you folks probably already know: in addition to Buffy, Angel, Firefly, amd the current The Inside, Gareth Davies also produced Remington Steele. Pretty good resume.

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