Could The Defenders Be Released on DVD?

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Ian K McLachlan, Apr 9, 2007.

  1. Darby67

    Darby67 Supporting Actor

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    it is unfortunate that The Defenders has yet to see a DVD release. I recently purchased the original two-parter from the Studio One series on DVD and it is excellent. I am hoping that with CBS' recent decision to license out Barbary Coast for release on DVD (which granted lasted only 14 episodes compared to The Defenders' 132 episodes), they may be open to licensing out other shows such as The Defenders. Whether you loved or hated the politics of the show, it was certainly groundbreaking enough to warrant a complete series release on DVD.

    Darby
     
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  2. jperez

    jperez Stunt Coordinator

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    Talking about private vendors, does anybody knows what happened to Dr. Ron Evans? He had an enormous collection on his site, which he operated with the singer from the rock band the Chesterfield Kings, but it disappeared a couple of years ago.
     
  3. Frank Soyke

    Frank Soyke Screenwriter

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    I'm sure it was taken down, either by him or the authorities.
     
  4. Darby67

    Darby67 Supporting Actor

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    I recently emailed the following message to CBS Home Video about releasing The Defenders on DVD:

    "Mr.Wentworth:

    I have been a longtime consumer of CBS DVD/Paramount products including collecting the entire series of Have Gun Will Travel, The Invaders, Mission Impossible, Perry Mason, The Wild Wild West, and The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles on DVD. Your company does an outstanding job preserving the legacy of many classic television series. The audio and video quality is always exceptional, the episodes are always uncut, and I have never encountered any technical glitches with your discs. I would like to suggest that you consider a complete series DVD release of the groundbreaking legal drama The Defenders which ran on CBS for 4 seasons from 1961-1965. This was such a historically important television series, it would be a tragedy to let it linger in the vaults and not introduce it to a new generation of viewers. If it is not feasible for your company to release the complete series, I am hoping you would consider licensing it to another company such as Shout! Factory, RLJ Entertainment (which previously The Twilight Zone under their Image Entertainment label and which will be releasing the complete series of Barbary Coast on June 3, 2014), or Timeless Media Group (which is considering a complete series release of The Rebel). Thank you for your consideration."

    The message was sent to John Wentworth at john.wentworth@cbs.com and cc'd to the following other staff members:

    Leslie Ryan - leslie.ryan@cbs.com
    Adam Stern - adam.stern@cbs.com
    Madison Bell - madison.bell@cbs.com

    I strongly encourage everyone to email them about your interest in seeing The Defenders released on DVD.

    Darby
     
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  5. Charles Ellis

    Charles Ellis Screenwriter

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    Another question- why hasn't the show been put on a cable network like Me-TV or Antenna TV?
     
  6. Darby67

    Darby67 Supporting Actor

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    I received this very interesting response back:
    "Thank you for your thoughtful e-mail regarding THE DEFENDERS.

    Unfortunately, the series only exists on film and the cost of transfers alone lead our contractual distributor PARAMOUNT to PASS on their distribution rights to the series…and allowed me the opportunity to approach other distributors.

    In addition to transfers, the music clearances for the series are costly and complicated.

    These costs have scared away SHOUT! FACTORY (who now also own TIMELESS) and RJR/IMAGE has not expressed any interest.

    We will probably release a few of the later DEFENDERS movie-length titles done for SHOWTIME. If they do well, maybe a case can be made to invest in saving this classic series that I myself loved growing up."

    Darby
     
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  7. FanCollector

    FanCollector Producer

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    Thanks for reporting that response. I was afraid the transfer costs were the major problem. It's kind of a Catch-22: shows that weren't rerun much didn't get transferred to various formats, and then shows not available in those formats don't get rerun. And then the subsequent dilemma is that shows that didn't get rerun much don't have much of a following, and thus don't get DVD releases because the transfers are too expensive. Still, I'm glad the studio is aware of the show and will at least make an effort with those E.G. Marshall/Beau Bridges Showtime follow-up movies. Maybe there is a bigger audience out there than the studio realizes.
     
  8. Flashgear

    Flashgear Second Unit

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    Thank you Darby for taking the time to elicit this candid response from CBS...and FanCollector has perfectly illustrated the Catch 22 dillema explaining why this classic show lacks any decent or recent transfers...I wonder about the magnitude of the music clearance obstacle here...surely this is a much lesser reason than the lack of transfer elements? Anyway, this amounts to a damn dirty shame...
     
  9. Ian K McLachlan

    Ian K McLachlan Stunt Coordinator

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    Many thanks for your work Darby. Is there no chance that someone could release selected episodes of the series to see how popular it was. what about the company that released Sea Hunt?
     
  10. John DeAngelis

    John DeAngelis Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for writing such a great letter, Darby, and for also sharing the very honest and informative response. I'm very impressed with both!
     
  11. Darby67

    Darby67 Supporting Actor

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    Thank you FanCollector, Flashgear, Ian, and John for your kind words. I'm more than happy to do anything I can to support a complete series release of The Defenders. It was so nice to get such a detailed response in comparison to the typical canned responses that most studios provide in responding to such inquiries.

    While it certainly is a long uphill road, there is still some glimmer of hope that perhaps CBS can be persuaded that there is a strong market for the original series.

    Darby
     
  12. Neil Brock

    Neil Brock Cinematographer

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    Another obstacle, among many, is that in order to roll the show out after such a long period of dormancy, it would need to be started as a "best of" release. The majority of the first season is spotty, with the show not really hitting its stride until about 2/3 of the way through. So, for the vast majority of people who have never seen the show and have only read about it, a season one first release may prove to be a disappointment. Of course once you get past the first 20 or so episodes, practically every episode after that is great.Regarding transfer costs, that becomes an issue with just about every studio and it comes down to the fact that the studios do not want to send their film masters out of house where they could be done at a fraction of the costs that in-house work would be. If studios would be willing to do that, and there's not indication that they ever will, it would cease to be an issue.
     
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  13. Frank Soyke

    Frank Soyke Screenwriter

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    I have no recollection of this show ever being in syndication since I really started watching TV in 1974. That will hurt it's chances too. I didn't see it until about 1994.
     
  14. Ron1973

    Ron1973 Beverly Hillbilles nut extraordinaire

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    Darby,

    Would this be the contact info for other CBS shows as well or are they simply over the drama releases? I don't know that I would be interested in the show but I would love to e-mail them for those of y'all who would like to see it but I also wanted to compliment CBS HE on how well their remastering was on The Beverly Hillbillies.
     
  15. John DeAngelis

    John DeAngelis Stunt Coordinator

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    I couldn't agree more!
     
  16. Darby67

    Darby67 Supporting Actor

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    Ron:

    Yes, I believe those would be the folks to contact about other CBS shows.

    Darby
     
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  17. jim_falconer

    jim_falconer Supporting Actor

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  18. Darby67

    Darby67 Supporting Actor

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    Jim:

    Thanks for posting the article link; it was a great read. It really is too bad this show has not seen the light of day in terms of a DVD release.

    Darby
     
  19. Wvtvguy

    Wvtvguy Stunt Coordinator

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    I've never seen this show but read many good things about it. I've so enjoyed the shows from this period that I've discovered like Naked City & The Fugitive. I'd love to see this on DVD.
     
  20. jim_falconer

    jim_falconer Supporting Actor

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    I've seen a few of those fan copies floating around, and cetain shows leave such an impact, that you sometimes need to sit back and reflect on what just took place.
     

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