The Birth of TV on DVD: How were shows selected?

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Mr. Ed, May 14, 2009.

  1. Mr. Ed

    Mr. Ed Stunt Coordinator

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    Were TV shows originally put on DVD to test the waters of a possible new craze? Were only popular shows put on DVD in the beginning? Why have so many once popular shiows that have won TV awards totally fizzled shortly after leaving the DVD starting gate? A million of us TV shows on DVD fans sit at the finish line where there is no ending in sight. Kinda lonely, huh?
     
  2. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    Yeah, they more or less started with shows with cult/sci-fi followings. The Twilight Zone and Star Trek came out in volumes and then The X-Files came out in a season set.
     
  3. Daniel-M

    Daniel-M Second Unit

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    Most likely the shows the audience at the time were most likely to buy, and considering the audience at the time was "geeks" Star Trek and X-Files probably was the likely choice
     
  4. Corey3rd

    Corey3rd Screenwriter

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    A&E seemed to be one of the big pioneers of TV shows on DVD. I remember picking up The Prisoner, The Avengers and Monty Python back during the days when internet stores offered outrageous discounts (around 1999).

    They seemed to pick shows with fans who actually bought things tied into the show - records, books, magazines, Franklin Mint plates and toys. This also went with Star Trek, X-Files and Twilight Zone.
     
  5. wh5916

    wh5916 Stunt Coordinator

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    Releasing TV onto home video was nothing new...it had been done with VHS, Beta, and even the LD and RCA CED videodisc formats.

    I have four episodes of the "Mary Tyler Moore" show, released by RCA around 1981 or 1982, on a single CED videodisc. The pilot was included, the third season "Put on a Happy Face" episode, the infamous "Chuckles Bites the Dust," and the final program.

    With VHS, the one I was most familiar with was Columbia House Video. Over a period of several years, I built up a library of every single episode of "Lost in Space," at a price of $19.95 (plus shipping, of course) for each two episode videocassette.

    Columbia House approached DVD in a similar fashion for awhile, but the first breakthrough in DVD releasing that I have memories of was M*A*S*H, season one. It was the first time that I remembered seeing an entire season of a program released at once, for a very reasonable price.
     
  6. The Obsolete Man

    The Obsolete Man Screenwriter

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    Yeah, I remember those early Star Trek: TNG sets for a hundred bucks a pop... same with X-Files and Buffy. Even the first season of Mary Tyler Moore from '02 was 50 bucks or more.

    I don't recall the prices starting to come down to rational levels until 2003 or 2004 or so, after Futurama and Family Guy and Chappelle's Show had become hits.
     
  7. Joe Tor1

    Joe Tor1 Second Unit

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    It was when the first season of LOST IN SPACE was released on DVD that I stood up, took notice, and started buying.

    Releases of STAR TREK TOS (marketed then just like the VHS tapes were – two to a set) and THE OUTER LIMITS TOS did not surprise me… but LOST IN SPACE did… very pleasantly!

    Shortly thereafter was the first season of THE FLINTSTONES.

    From then on, I was hooked.

    Oddly, I never really felt there would be all that much more… and now, just over five years later, we’re at a point where we expect and demand everything!

    When I’m tempted to condemn a studio for its release strategies, as so many do on this forum, I think back to wondering if I’d ever see a color episode of LOST IN SPACE or the birth of Pebbles Flintstone and marvel over the collection I’ve amassed since that time.
     
  8. Bryan^H

    Bryan^H Producer

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    I was into tv dvd's very early on. I think I paid $100 for The X-Files season 1! But I guess that's nothing compared to getting ST. Elsewhere season1, and the complete Kolchack the Night Stalker from Columbia house on VHS. That equaled about $500 of my hard earned money.
    :0
     
  9. smithb

    smithb Screenwriter

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    Wow...I'm glad (and so is my wallet) I didn't get into home video releases of TV until much later. While I had plenty of tapes from the lates 80's through mid 90's they were all movies.

    My first attempt at TV on DVDs were the Avengers when they first came out in the late 90's. While not really cheap it was a show I really wanted. Then Rawhide when it was first released. Now I have about $2000 warpped up in TV DVD releases purchased in the past year. Luckily, with all the sales my $2000 has gone a long way (even forced me to build a new wall unit).

    I think my first caveat regarding the original post is whether there really are "millions" of us TV on DVD buyers (at least with respect to classic TV)? I don't think there is any issue with more recent shows but one has to wonder if the experiment regarding the 50's and 60's shows worked or whether it will be considered mostly a niche product, and we will see less and less going forward.
     
  10. PaulP

    PaulP Producer

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    I do believe the first ever season set was The X-Files: Season 1.
     
  11. MatthewA

    MatthewA Lead Actor

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    I was one of those who participated in the Columbia House VHS sets. I'm glad I did, because even though I can get whole series of Sanford and Son, Good Times, and Soap for what I would have paid for 8 episodes on VHS, the CH sets have uncut versions of episodes that are edited on the DVDs (and vice versa in Soap's case).
     
  12. TVAdam

    TVAdam Extra

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    The Simpsons is the very first one I ever heard of and bought, though I later found out that shows like The X-Files and Sex and the city came first. Other early titles include M*A*S*H, All in the Family and Buffy the Vampire Slayer which I believe came out in 2002. The other shows listed came out in 2000 and 2001.

    One of my favorite DVD years was 2004. That had the debut of a lot of great shows and continuations of others.
     
  13. Regulus

    Regulus Cinematographer

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    My first TV Show on DVD was a $plurge. I was in a Best Buy when I saw an Employee stacking copies of A&E's Thunderbirds Mega-Set. Being that was one of my Favorate Childhood TV Shows I just HAD to get a Copy, so I took the one the Employee had right out of his hand![​IMG] From there I made a Bee-Line for the Checkout Counter, where they "Relieved" me of $112.00![​IMG] Another Gerry Anderson Show, Joe 90 became my second DVD Set, my sister got for me as an Xmas Presant. For the next few years my6 DVD Collection grew rather slowly, however in 2004 I saw the overall quality of TV Programming, which IMO had been in a decline for the last few years, (See my entry on the Early Edition thread for more details) take a turn for the worse. By the end of the Summer of 2006 I decided things weren't going to get any better, so returning from a Vacation I cashed in all of my unused Travelers Checks and RAIDED Several Stores, picking up Box Sets of 12 Differant Shows! When the New Year Came I cancelled my Subscription to Cable, My Signature testifies to what I've done with that money![​IMG]

    PS That $112.00 was my record for the most expensive DVD Set I purchased until this past March when I purchased the Sky King Set![​IMG]
     

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