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Night Gallery on DVD (MERGED THREAD)


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#1 of 65 Scott Skelton

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Posted May 13 2004 - 08:30 AM

Universal Studios recently announced an August DVD release for the first season of “Night Gallery.” Despite concerns from the DVD-preparation staff within the studio, who showed decision-makers a night-and-day comparison between an old print and a newly restored print, the marketing department decided to move ahead with the transfer to DVD using the old prints. Some episodes in the old mastering have music cue omissions and other errors that are now to be transferred permanently, for posterity, to silver disc, with substandard picture quality. With the new wave of high definition DVDs on the horizon, what does this executive decision say about this studio?
The icing on this rancid cake: no extras are being considered, even though they exist and could be easily added. No trailers, TV spots, commentary, interviews, paintings gallery, isolated scores, essays, nothing. The studio won’t even throw the fans a bone--another example among many of the careless attitude this studio has for the cultural legacy it stewards and for the customers who support it.
If you want to gear up to activist mode, there’s a petition to sign directed at Universal to reconsider their plan for an unremastered, no-frills release of “Night Gallery," but it can't be posted here. Rules, you know. So check out the NG site, www dot nightgallery dot net.

#2 of 65 Joe_Pinney

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Posted May 13 2004 - 11:49 AM

Apparently they think profit can be had by NOT giving the public what they want. Hmm. Sounds like crack-addicted chimpanzees could be Universal executives.

#3 of 65 Rick P

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Posted May 13 2004 - 11:53 AM

are these people NUTS? Weren't the 'restored' prints were used on the recent broadcasts on Starz Mystery channel? You mean they're NOT using those???

freaking morons..

#4 of 65 Scott Skelton

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Posted May 13 2004 - 12:30 PM

Sorry to be unclear. They are using the same masters as the ones you saw on Starz. This mastering is fifteen years old, however, and it can't reveal the detail under scrutiny that a new remastering would (technology has advanced, and a large-screen TV will reveal the grain), and, more importantly, there are mastering mistakes imbedded in them: crackling soundtracks, missing music cues, and the like.

#5 of 65 Paul_Scott

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Posted May 13 2004 - 01:58 PM

Damn.

with the flurry of TV titles that Universal has announced recently, i knew there had to be a "...but" somewhere.

the non-inclusion of extras, while they would have been nice, is not a deal killer for me.
to be honest, even the old transfers might not be either, but it sure would be disappointing.

this is the same thing that happened with Lost In Space, iirc.

being a big fan of this series, and highly doubting i would be seeing it this soon if ever, given Uni's track record, the one thing i DON'T want to see is Universal invest the time into remastering these only to see the sales be underwhelming- ala Mary Tyler Moore and have them then seriously drag their heels on EVER releasing any of the subsequent seasons.
that would suck worse, to me, than getting old masters.

on the other hand, if the first season sells well and surprises them, then i think we, the petioners, would be in a far better position to make requests.

just the feeling i get.

#6 of 65 Scott Skelton

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Posted May 13 2004 - 02:38 PM

Paul, I understand your position. This is something of a gamble, I realize. Universal, when they get wind of this campaign, could decide to quash the release altogether. I doubt it, however. It's already in the pipeline, and the past has shown they will change their approach if the impetus (in the form of fan interest) is there (check out the studio response to fans for the "Somewhere in Time" release). But they've allowed a corporate consultant to sway them to undervalue the fervency of the fan base on Night Gallery. This fan base is pretty rabid. I've traded communiques with them over the past 10 years, and I'm certain they won't stand for this sort of shoddy treatment. This is Rod Serling's last series involvement; it is historically important, putting aside that it delivered an impressive percentage of great dramatic small-screen moments. Universal is still pretty green when it comes to their TV properties. They are not savvy yet on the market, since they only started to plan regular releases this year. I'm just trying to prevent them from committing a horrible mistake that will ultimately short-change them, the viewing public, and the legacy of Rod Serling.

#7 of 65 Kevin M

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Posted May 13 2004 - 02:54 PM

Son of a bitch......I have been asking for these to be released to DVD for so long and now.....Universal, you are rapidly approaching Microsoft levels of corporate ignorance as far as knowing how to treat your patrons.

Has there been a change of guard at Universal's DVD department in the last three years? They used to be one of the best studios in the DVD arena.
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There's a human tendency to resent anyone who disagrees with our pleasures.  The less mature interpret that as a personal attack on themselves.
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#8 of 65 Scott Skelton

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Posted May 13 2004 - 03:10 PM

I have been informed by someone privy to Universal's inner workings that, because of the NBC buyout last year--which just got finalized Monday--all the executives are frozen with fear. NBC is going to make all of them, regardless of seniority, audition for their jobs. And since all of them have been ignoring Universal's huge television library while every other studio in town has been taking advantage of theirs, they are likely going to be handed their respective golden parachutes and replaced by someone with a little more foresight. But we can't wait to see if NBC's execs are any brighter than Universal's. Night Gallery and Columbo are in the pipeline right now. If we want to see them done right, with proper attention to mastering and at least a passing nod to special features, we have to make sure their deals are fixed now, immediately, within the next month or two. Only then will Universal see that, if they release them in a properly respectful fashion, these old series will sell very well. In this case we're dealing with a collector's market, which is quite different from the more casual market they are used to from their feature releases.

#9 of 65 David Lambert

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Posted May 13 2004 - 10:39 PM

Quote:
I have been informed by someone privy to Universal's inner workings that, because of the NBC buyout last year--which just got finalized Monday--all the executives are frozen with fear. NBC is going to make all of them, regardless of seniority, audition for their jobs.



This rumor has been floating around the DVD websites for quite some time. While I know it's true that for a while (a short time in retrospect) they were instructed not to release certain types of things, esp. catalog titles whether they be film or TV based, that was lifted and I never, ever heard that people's jobs were in jeopardy.


The other day, when the merger actually took place, this story appeared at Video Store Magazine's website:
Source: Little Impact Felt in Home Video After NBC/VUE Merger
Author: ERIK GRUENWEDEL
Posted: May 12, 2004

Consummation of the merger between Vivendi Universal’s entertainment division, VUE, and NBC, a unit of General Electric, is not expected to result in layoffs within related home entertainment divisions, according to a source familiar with the deal.

Media reports have suggested that up to 300 personnel would lose their jobs when the two companies combine similar units.

The new media company, called NBC Universal, which would have had $13 billion in revenue in 2003, has estimated assets of about $43 billion, with GE owning 80 percent, and 20 percent owned by VUE shareholders.

“There are always ongoing shifts of areas,” said the source regarding executive and divisional handling of various home entertainment properties.

“They are swapping, which is not really a restructuring,” said the source. “You are ending up with the same number of people.”

A Universal Studio Home Entertainment spokesperson referred calls to corporate spokespeople in New York, who were not available for comment at press time.

At the time of the announced merger, another source familiar with the deal cautioned that any changes in home video distribution wouldn’t happen for a while due to licensing agreements already in place...

DAVE/Memphis, TN

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#10 of 65 Scott Skelton

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Posted May 14 2004 - 01:36 AM

<>

The "auditioning for their jobs" information came from a New York-based television writer I know who has beaucoup de industry contacts. The climate of fear was confirmed by a freelance DVD producer who has worked with Universal several times over the past few years. I have no reason to doubt what they told me, regardless of the PR face Universal turns to the rest of the media.

#11 of 65 JoshuaB.

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Posted May 14 2004 - 01:25 PM

Despite the mastering issue, would the episodes of Night Gallery on DVD be uncut? The show has been butchered in syndication and I'll only buy a DVD set if the episodes are presented in their original broadcast length.

#12 of 65 Scott Skelton

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Posted May 14 2004 - 03:36 PM

If they used the old masters, they would be the original uncut version of the show. There were two omissions in the second season, however. One episode segment, "The Diary," had a music cue omitted. Another, "The Sins of the Fathers," had three music cues omitted. Just one more reason why a new remastering should be arranged, to correct old screwups. There was also a first season story, "The House," which has a crackling on the soundtrack for the first 10 minutes--the kind of stuff that becomes more annoying every time you see it.

#13 of 65 GlennH

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Posted June 14 2004 - 05:52 PM

Looks like Universal is not doing a very good job with this upcoming DVD release:

http://www.nightgallery.net/ondvd.html

Includes links to an online petition and studio feedback page.

#14 of 65 Paul_Scott

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Posted June 14 2004 - 06:08 PM

this has already been reported.
and there are a couple issues here.
1) quality of presentation (a/v)
2) quality (or lack of) extra material

taking #2 first, while i would have loved to have seen some supplemental material, this is not a factor in my buying decision for this particular set.
i love the show and its the individual epsiodes i want, not 10 or 15 minutes of extraneous material about the show.
would it have been nice to see some of that stuff? sure, but its not a deal breaker to me.

on the question of a/v quality-
while i would have loved to see a 2004 remastering of each and every episode, i definitely DO NOT want a repeat of the Mary Tyler Moore fiasco.
The first set of MTM looks gorgeous and has some grand supplements.
kind of sucks though that we can't seem to get anything beyond that first season now because of the expense thrown into the first set vs the return in sales.

Night Gallery is just not going to be a HUGE seller.
and i for one, want the second and third seasons more than i do the first, and if they sink a lot of money into that first season and then don't get it back, how likely are the next seasons going to be?

does anyone know when the masters to shows like Baretta and Hulk were made?
those episodes look great to me.
if those were from 1991 also, i say bring it on!

i don't want to sound like i'm championing mediocrity, but there are literally a dozen other Universal shows i want on this format, and none of those appear to be getting released anytime soon, so that when one does, i don't want to screw it up by being too demanding right off the bat.
we are lucky to be getting this show at all.


i will say that, as per usual, the cover art to the set sucks. For some reason they didn't include any of the paintings on the cover, instead choosing to use a pic w/ Serling photshoped into what looks like the hallway at Ithica college(?!).
guess the art director never watched this show.

#15 of 65 GlennH

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Posted June 14 2004 - 06:25 PM

Well, we'll have to wait and see what the reviews say. I'm concerned about mention of "mistakes" in the 1991 masters. At the very least that kind of stuff should be fixed.

Quote:
this has already been reported
Sorry, did a search but didn't see any obvious mention of it -- now I see a brief post pointing to the website in another thread.

#16 of 65 Mark To

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Posted June 14 2004 - 06:39 PM

I guess there's no reason to replace my off-air DVDR masters then. If I'm not going to get anything better than what I recorded 3 years ago off Encore then I'll stick with what I have.

#17 of 65 Paul_Scott

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Posted June 14 2004 - 07:55 PM

here is what the website is reporting the 'mistakes' are

1)clumsy commercial segues
2)the amputation of the first-season Four-in-One fanfare
3) sputtering soundtrack errors and distortion
4) missing music cues from two episode segments, "The Sins of the Fathers" and "The Diary"

the soundtrack distortion is the one aspect that would give me the most concern, but i will wait and see for myself just how noticeable this is.
i also don't know how impactful the missing music cues are.
its possible that these could be corrected independantly of remastering the entire season(s).
also, these eps are both from the second season.
if Season one tanks, i think its a good bet nobody has to worry abou the missing music cues because we won't be seeing a season two set AT ALL (which would be the greater aggrevation for me)

on the whole, i just can't get too worked up about the shortcomings here, if this is what it amounts to.
we'll see.

one thing that the dvds will definitely have in favor of over the air copies (which i can't get anyway)- no bugs in the lower corner.

#18 of 65 Mark To

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Posted June 15 2004 - 02:56 AM

Quote:
one thing that the dvds will definitely have in favor of over the air copies (which i can't get anyway)- no bugs in the lower corner.


Encore doesn't have an on-screen bug. They occasionally drop their logo in but for a few seconds and maybe every 15-20 minutes. Its far less annoying than stations that keep it in all of the time.

#19 of 65 Mark To

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Posted June 15 2004 - 02:56 AM

Quote:
one thing that the dvds will definitely have in favor of over the air copies (which i can't get anyway)- no bugs in the lower corner.


Encore doesn't have an on-screen bug. They occasionally drop their logo in but for a few seconds and maybe every 15-20 minutes. Its far less annoying than stations that keep it in all of the time.

#20 of 65 David Lambert

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Posted June 18 2004 - 09:31 AM

I really want this to get done properly, too. But I know it won't be.

I hate to be the one to break it, but if I'm being honest, then I must point out that Universal is releasing this - and Columbo - for a reason that can be summed up in two words:

[rant]Steven Spielberg[/rant]


He directed two segments on NG ("Eyes" & "Make Me Laugh") and one of the Columbo telefilms ("Murder by the Book"). Here's Uni's "Speilberg release list" for that timeframe:[*]8/17/2004 - Duel/Sugarland Express [*]8/24/2004 - Night Gallery: The Complete First Season [*]9/ 7/2004 - Columbo: The Complete First Season


Do you sense a pattern here? Posted Image I'm surprised "Marcus Welby, M.D." isn't releasing at the same time!

Frankly, they are trying to sell less to TV-on-DVD fans and more to Speilberg fans. His name is mentioned rather noticably on the trade magazine ads for both Night Gallery and Columbo. TV-on-DVD fans buying these sets is just sauce for the goose.

The Halloween tie-in timing for Night Gallery just makes it sweeter. But they know that this is gonna sell, fans be damned. Resistance is futile.


Sorry to be the messenger on something like this. It's reality, though.
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