Complete Series Repackaging Obsession

While as I’ve said before, many shows are never finished on DVD, studios really, really like it when they are able to complete a show on DVD. Why? Because then they can sell it all back to us as a bulky “complete series” set. Today’s TV Shows on DVD announcements list no fewer than five upcoming complete-series packages from Time-Warner: three HBO favourites — The Sopranos, The Wire, Deadwood — and two popular animated series, The Flintstones and Batman: The Animated Series.

Is the complete-series set a cynical marketing ploy that totally shafts the people who collected the series the first time around? Of course it is. The point of releasing a complete set of The Sopranos with two additional discs of bonus features (including one feature I think is really a good idea: a collection of Sopranos parodies from other shows) is to, a, force people who already have the complete series to buy the new set if they want to see the bonus features, and, b, disincentivize people from buying the old sets at low prices as they become increasingly available at discounts and in used-DVD stores. It’s cynical, but it works.