Several months ago, I put together a list of TV shows I’d like to see on DVD. Since we are talking about piracy this week, and using DVDs as an example, I thought it would be interesting to:
- See what movement there has been on that list
- Talk a bit about the lengths we’ve had to go to at our house to avoid buying a pirated DVD set of a show that will never come out on DVD.
So first, let’s look at that list:
- The Larry Sanders Show (Seasons 2 – 6) / It’s Garry Shandling’s Show — No movement whatsoever, and even the rumours discuss a best-of instead of the rest of the seasons. BOOO!
- Star Trek: The Animated Series — This just came out. Yayyy!
- Twin Peaks: Season 2 — According to TV Shows on DVD, this has been scheduled for April 10, 2007. It may actually beat Chinese Democracy.
- Andy Richter Controls the Universe — No news.
- Batman — It’s actually gotten worse. A few months ago, FOX was sued for $4.4 million over rights.
- Mystery Science Theater 3000 Full Seasons — Because there is so much involved with getting rights to the films, this is just a pipe dream really. Keep circulating the tapes. And buying the Rhino collections.
- WKRP in Cincinnati — Same thing as MST3K, only it’s the music clearances. Too bad.
- Get Smart! — You can currently only get this from the Time-Life website, though it’s supposed to be in stores in Fall 2007.
- Late Night With David Letterman — I’m actually not even sure how they would sell NBC Dave.
- Slings and Arrows — Both seasons of this have actually been released.
- Flying Blind, Cupid — No news.
- Grosse Pointe — Some confusion on this one. Originally this was Amazon-only, but there were delays with the shipping, though we got ours this week. It will also be in the stores in February.
That was the original list. I’m going to add a few more:
- Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, Fernwood 2Night, Fernwood Forever — Kirk suggested these. Apparently, on a trailer on the (hee!) Facts of Life DVD set, Sony hints that they are at least working on DVDs for Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, if not the other two.
- Life on Mars— The guess here is that this will eventually make it on DVD. Hopefully, the BBC America version will be released before the (ugh!) David E. Kelly remake.
- Everwood (Seasons 2-4) — We are currently having at our household what I am calling “The Everwood Dilemma.” You see, Roxanne fell in love with Everwood, which ran for four seasons on the WB, before it was canceled at the same time the WB was canceled.
We own season one of Everwood on DVD, and we would like to own the other three seasons. One small problem: Warner Brothers has no plans to release those seasons on DVD. Ever.
As Kirk pointed out yesterday, that right there is one of the reason people purchase pirated DVDs: availability.
In the case of shows like WKRP and Batman, it’s legal hurdles that need to be overcome. In the case of shows like Andy Richter Controls The Universe & Everwood, it’s just that the owners of the rights don’t think that there is enough of a market for the DVDs. These people, of course, need to read The Long Tail, and figure out why there is a market for those DVDs. Duh.
However, what the megacorps don’t know, the little pirates understand. So into the breach steps a company like TV DVD Planet, which will sell us all four seaons of Everwood for $199.00. But we already own the first season; so we would be paying $50 for something we don’t even need. Also, who knows if we will ever actually get it, or what the quality of the discs will be. We have to assume that these were recorded from the original WB broadcasts. Too many unknowns.
And yeah, I suppose that it’s probably wrong, as well. Though, once again, I would like to point out that we would happily spend that much on the full series if it was ever released legitimately, Warner Bros.
I also realized that we could probably download it from any number of websites. But we are talking about 66 episodes, which takes up a lot of bandwidth and storage space. And there is still the last few feet between our home computer network and the TV to consider, as well. We don’t yet have a permanent solution for that.
Meanwhile, Everwood is also showing on the ABC Family Channel, but once again, storing 66 episodes forever on our TiVo just doesn’t make any sense.
So instead, to avoid spending $200, or worrying about how we are going to find the storage space, we’ve decided to take a digital-era spin on the old fallback of saving things to videotapes, only we are saving them to DVDs. We’re recording the shows to our old networked ReplayTV, then using a program called DVArchive (which is a virtual ReplayTV for the PC) to copy them to one of our networked computers, where we are eventually burning them to DVDs.
I know that I could do this with my TiVo as well, but I’d already set up the DVArchive program before I bought the TiVo and I didn’t want to worry about recording conflicts.
This is an imperfect solution: I know that there are commercials to be fast-forwarded through (removing all of the commercial breaks in 66 episodes? I think not); scenes removed for syndication, etc. But it’s also essentially free and since I’m not ever going to benefit from the DVDs I’m making, probably even legal. Or no more illegal than the 20-year-old VHS tapes of Late Night With David Letterman I still have.
And who knows? Maybe WB will come to their senses and release it after all.