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Help Us, Shout Factory, You’re Our Only Hope


 

I refer, of course, to television on DVD, something that nobody else wants to do (for non-current shows anyway). Unless Shout! Factory picks up the rights to a show, it’s hard to see it getting released. So it’s great news that the company has struck a deal to handle some of the more obscure shows from Warner Brothers, previously the only company that wouldn’t license out their properties to anybody.

Their first release under the new arrangement was just announced; I got the press release earlier today, but it was embargoed until now. I felt like such a big shot for the two hours in which I knew that Max Headroom is being released on DVD. One of the strangest of the many strange drama series that turned up on major networks in the late ’80s and early ’90s. (Remember, cable drama wasn’t as big then as it is now, so if you wanted to do something unusual with a decent budget, network was the only place to go. I’d say network television was a lot more experimental in that brief period — the period of Thirtysomething and Twin Peaks and Cop Rock and sitcom characters mentioning their own laugh tracks — than it was before or since.)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TNzGSglPZ48

The other Warners show announced at the start of this deal is Norm McDonald’s sitcom, but the bigger news is a Sony property: after working with Garry Shandling on the release of his self-titled show, Shout! will now be releasing The Larry Sanders Show in the same format: the complete series released all at once, presumably followed by individual season releases. Because of all the guest performances that need clearing, this is probably a bigger and more expensive undertaking (that’s why, after a weak-selling first season, Sony released only a best-of set). But it’s the definitive cable comedy of its era as well as HBO’s most famous show before The Sopranos — not to mention before they decided they had to own every show they aired. Its release is excellent news.

Finally, TV Shows On DVD also has an item that season four of Boy Meets World might finally be released after years in limbo. For those who want to see that show get simultaneously more  surreal and more soapy, this is good news; these cheesy-looking taped shows could sometimes take more chances than their classier cousins, and that’s definitely true of this one. Besides, I still think “Good Looking Guy” should be the new theme song for Chuck. “You solved that crime, you fat, fat man!”


 
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Help Us, Shout Factory, You’re Our Only Hope

  1. Aw, be nice to Warners. They DID license out The Man From UNCLE, to Time Life, so the whole swell spy series could arrive in one big swag attache case (which immediately falls apart when you actually touch it — oh well).

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