Did you see 24 last night? Me neither. The whole two-night, four-hour premiere is resting nice and snug in our TiVo Series 3. Since there is only so much adrenaline rush “Do it, NOW!” we can take in a single sitting, we will probably watch it in one-hour dollops over the next couple of nights.
So no spoilers, please. Obviously things explode, people die, Jack yells, Chole pouts, Bill frets, Wayne looks better than any Prez ever (just ask Rox), and so on and so forth, but I just don’t want to know why these things happen.
And this year — this week, anyways — I have the extra added comfort in knowing that if my TiVo somehow malfunctioned, I could always run out and buy those four hours on DVD.
We’ve talked about this before, but one of the reasons that 24 has become a hit show, despite being the most serialized show ever — it’s all plot, all of the time, and don’t even blink, because you might miss a nuclear explosion from which there seems to be very little fallout (in any sense) a few hours later — is that FOX has always found a way to help you along if you missed the opening episodes.
This year, they’re throwing DVDs of the first four episodes onto the shelves today. This is cool and everything, but as the LA Times points out:
Fox’s release of the “24” premiere on DVD is as much a promotional device as it is an experiment in collapsing the windows that traditionally separate a show’s network run from its appearance in other formats. The latest “24” DVD will contain the first four hours of the new season plus 12 minutes of the episode that is scheduled to air Monday.
Exactly. Because this isn’t a full season, I don’t really see it as an experiment with the window.
I have a couple of additional problems with it as well.
- I don’t think that it is nearly as effective as showing repeats on, say, FX or FOX News (where it would be their best four hours ever, and also the truest) for the rest of the week.
- It has a shelf-life of exactly one week: until next Monday. Then, if you didn’t watch or record episodes 5 – 24, you’re SOL.
- I have a problem with non-full-season sets of TV shows in general, and in this case, 14.98 is a bit steep. Prorate that out, and you’re talking nearly $90 for a full season. Too much for anything (even HBO shows). So there is a tiny bit of upfront profit taking here. Of course, I guess that they’re trying to make up for the lost ad revenue.
Here’s a off-the-cuff thought: set up a subscription service. For $60, FOX will send you a disc of four episodes every four weeks for the next five months. At the end of the season, they’ll send you the box for the entire season, and when the retail box comes out (a few months later), they’ll send you a disc of the extras.
I’m not sure that this will work, of course — as a consumer, your tradeoff is that you have to wait up to a month for the next installment (and avoid spoilers), but you’ll have the entire season long before the rest of the world does. Meanwhile, FOX gets your DVD money upfront, while the hype surrounding this particular season is at its highest.
My guess is that some of the craziest fans of the show might do this and watch or record the broadcasts as well.