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we need to be good consumers, if we want good products


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#1 of 44 jimmyjet

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Posted November 26 2009 - 11:19 AM

here is a case in point.  read the reviews of the complete series release of "the odd couple".

another set that i wont be buying

http://www.amazon.com/Odd-Couple-Complete-Seasons-1-5/dp/B001DHXT48/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=dvd&qid=1259280860&sr=1-3


#2 of 44 Jason_V

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Posted November 26 2009 - 12:24 PM

I've never seen it like that, personally.  I won't pay good money for shoddy product, no matter how much I might want it.  My own case in point: Mama's Family Season 1.  Love the show and can easily spend hours with it.  But Warner didn't procure the unedited episodes and, thus, it got no sale from me.  Chances are a lot of other people said the same exact thing and that's why S2 and beyond has not been seen.

Look, we're not a year into the DVD format.  It's a decade old.  Every studio knows how to do it right.  The fact they don't do it right is on their heads.  All they have to do is look here or any other reputable DVD/BD site to know unedited episodes should be a given on any TV set.  If a studio or other content producer wants consumers to pay for product, they better make sure that product is worthy of spending money on.  This is not a "gee, give us your money and enough of you do, we might put more out" situation.  It's a "do it right the first time and consumers will buy the product." 


#3 of 44 jimmyjet

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Posted November 26 2009 - 02:46 PM

great jason,

we need more and more consumers sending that message back to the studios.

another case in point, with northern exposure.

http://www.amazon.com/Northern-Exposure-Complete-Rob-Morrow/dp/B000V6LSO0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=dvd&qid=1259293484&sr=1-1


#4 of 44 Jason_V

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Posted November 26 2009 - 06:48 PM

I really have no moral or ethical problems with not supporting releases which are not up to snuff.  I doubt you'll find many people around here who agree with you.

Think of it this way: would you buy a car you knew had problems just to support the brand or the model?  What incentive does the manufacturer have to do it right if they will get the money anyway?  None, because they see people will buy anything.  THAT, sir, is the wrong message. 

For every release a studio mucks up, there are 10 that are done right.  Heck, Fox knew how to do TV on DVD right out of the gate with The X Files.  And that was the first complete season available in one package on the format. 


#5 of 44 bmasters9

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Posted November 26 2009 - 10:19 PM



Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason_V View Post

Look, we're not a year into the DVD format.  It's a decade old.  Every studio knows how to do it right.  The fact they don't do it right is on their heads.  All they have to do is look here or any other reputable DVD/BD site to know unedited episodes should be a given on any TV set.  If a studio or other content producer wants consumers to pay for product, they better make sure that product is worthy of spending money on.  This is not a "gee, give us your money and enough of you do, we might put more out" situation.  It's a "do it right the first time and consumers will buy the product." 
I recall saying much the same thing to ChrisCook in a private message a while back. If studios want people to purchase their release(s), they had better give the series a professional treatment (unedited outings, good packaging, etc.). They need to get off this kick of "better purchase enough of this release or we're not putting out any more"-- after all, one reason that people are not purchasing up to the studios' extreme sales levels for some releases is that the releases were not done professionally to begin with (at least, that's how I remember hearing it).

Why, for example, has "Hawaii Five-O" sold through #7 (1974-75), thriving where a lot of other series have not? Because (with the exception of one missing outing, "Bored, She Hung Herself") the releases have, generally, been done in that professional manner. The discs of each release are easy to get to (three slimcases with two discs apiece, except in #1, where there was an additional case for disc 7), and the outings are unedited and remastered, and the menus are very easy to use. That, to me, is a professional treatment.

Much the same thing can be said of CBS' classic comedy "I Love Lucy"-- the episodes are uncut and remastered, the discs are easy to get to, and there are tons of bonuses on every release, even the 7-8-9 "Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour" release. This is why it sold all 6 individual seasons and the "LDCH," even a complete series.

Those are two sterling examples of the point under discussion here-- do it right and you'll get the sales (probably enough to meet expectations), but foul up and you'll lose sales and lose money.

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#6 of 44 jimmyjet

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Posted November 27 2009 - 05:31 AM



Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason_V 

I really have no moral or ethical problems with not supporting releases which are not up to snuff.  I doubt you'll find many people around here who agree with you.
 
i dont quite get your reply.  what in particular are you saying that people around here wont agree with me about ?



#7 of 44 Jason_V

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Posted November 27 2009 - 06:14 AM


Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmyjet 

i dont quite get your reply.  what in particular are you saying that people around here wont agree with me about ?
 
That we as consumers need to support any release a studio puts out regardless of whether it's done correctly or not.  Is that not your entire argument?



#8 of 44 Michael Reuben

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Posted November 27 2009 - 08:13 AM



Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason_V 



That we as consumers need to support any release a studio puts out regardless of whether it's done correctly or not.  Is that not your entire argument?

 
If that was his entire argument, why would he start the thread by saying that he won't be buying The Odd Couple set because of how badly the episodes have been chopped?

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#9 of 44 Zack Gibbs

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Posted November 27 2009 - 08:17 AM

Yes, Jimmy's sentiment seemed to be "We need to be good consumers [by not giving in and purchasing poor cash-ins on the properties we enjoy]."



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#10 of 44 Jason_V

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Posted November 27 2009 - 09:04 AM

If that's the case, then I totally misunderstood.  I felt the title "we need to be good consumers, if we want good products" implied we needed to buy whatever the studios put out in order to show there is an audience.  If I got it wrong, apologies.  This cold is kicking my butt right now.


#11 of 44 jimmyjet

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Posted November 27 2009 - 12:00 PM

great.  we got that settled - LOL.

i suppose a lot of studios do good work.  but there are lots of sets that have had enough negative comments on them - that i did not buy them, when i would have done so.

so i think that there are still many studios that try to get by with whatever they can, if we are willing to pay for it. 

if, on the other hand, sales are poor because of poor customer feedback - that sends the message to the studios that they need to put out a quality product if they want our money.

sites like these give the studios feedback - i am sure that there is someone at every studio responsible for reading feedback on their products.  every business needs to know what it is that they need to do, in order to make profit.

the studio has total control of how good the video and audio is.  so if the original is in good shape, there is no reason why we cant get a digital copy that is equally as good.

apparently, the music is not under their control.

i am disappointed at what a poor system that we have, in that regards.  the owner of the product should "own" it, such that they can now market it.  when the owner of the show has to get umpteen different sources to agree before they can put out an unedited product - that is just dumb all the way around.


#12 of 44 smithb

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Posted November 28 2009 - 06:14 PM

This subject is a real tough call for me. Personally, I get the feeling many involved in the decision making of these releases are oblivious to what makes a good release (e.g., content, quality, packaging, completeness). While every once in a while I think our message gets through, the majority of the time I don't think they are even trying to listen. This is why I think the same issues continue to get repeated over and over again.

I've been reading posts for a while now where potential purchasers say they are sending a message by not buying because:
- they don't like incomplete series so they will only buy when all seasons are available
- they don't like split season releases and will only buy complete seasons
- they don't like the inclusion of any syndicated/incomplete episodes
- they don't like music replacements
- they don't like subpar audio or video quality
- they don't like the price

If I felt they really were listening as to why we don't like a release, I'd say this is the correct approach to take because it should invoke change. But I don't think they really are, except for maybe 10% (my wild guess perception) of the time it sneaks through. Therefore, the more likely scenario is that they just record it as weak sales (the one area they look at 100% of the time) and drop any future seasons and don't even attempt what they would consider similarly positioned shows.

Some of the above bothers me more then others, or not at all. Depending on my desire to own a show determines how flexible and forgiving I'm going to be and how much my principles are not going to be included in my purchasing decisions. If I really want a title I will try to get it in any form I can rather then not getting it all, especially since I believe almost ever message I may send based on principle is being received on deaf ears.

We only have one life to live (as people like to say) and so we have to pick our spots on where we stand completely on principle. While I respect everyone's opinion and choices in this matter, for me personally, DVD purchasing is not an area where I am going to make too many stands on principle. Having something in a lessor form is generally better to me then having nothing at all. And in this case, I can see having a whole lot of nothing if too many people stood firm and boycotted the purchasing of releases for the reasons listed above.


#13 of 44 Ethan Riley

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Posted November 29 2009 - 07:46 AM



Quote:
Originally Posted by smithb 

We only have one life to live (as people like to say) and so we have to pick our spots on where we stand completely on principle. While I respect everyone's opinion and choices in this matter, for me personally, DVD purchasing is not an area where I am going to make too many stands on principle. Having something in a lessor form is generally better to me then having nothing at all. And in this case, I can see having a whole lot of nothing if too many people stood firm and boycotted the purchasing of releases for the reasons listed above.
Well as someone cited above, when it came to "Mama's Family," it was definitely a case of an inferior product. And I didn't want that piece of junk in my home. "Mama's Family" is one of my five favorite sitcoms of all time, and I wasn't about to reward that dvd's mediocrity in hopes of getting a second, equally mediocre follow-up. Life's not that easy. They did not give me what I wanted in terms of uncut episodes, so I didn't buy it. I'll have to rely on my off-air vhs tapings (I taped the whole thing back in the 80s right off NBC and those tapes still play).

They dropped the ball on "The Big Valley" as well. The discs were double-sided and problematic; people complained that they were having playback problems with the discs. Then Warners went and released only half of season two. People lost interest in an inferior product, weren't getting what they wanted, and therefore, no season 2 1/2.

"Alf" was a p.o.s. "Dark Shadows 1991" was cropped into letterbox format. These are bad, bad, dvds and I don't want to watch them. I am only a good consumer when I'm buying good products, so the thread topic is preposterous to me; should read: the Studios Need to put out Good Products if they want Good Sales. Again, why should we reward mediocrity? We'll just get more of the same.

The only saving grace is that tv-on-bluray is becoming more popular and perhaps some of these orphaned tv shows will be revisited on bluray in the future.

 

 


#14 of 44 IanD

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Posted November 29 2009 - 07:56 AM

I tend to get into this discussion on kung fu film sites. The quality control of nearly very company distributing HK movies, from Dragon Dynasty to Joy Sales, is poor but everyone tells me I'm complaining too much.


#15 of 44 Gary OS

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Posted November 29 2009 - 08:05 AM

Brad, you made some great points I want to respond to later in more detail.  But right now I don't have a lot of time so just a couple of quick points on what Ethan just wrote:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Riley 

Well as someone cited above, when it came to "Mama's Family," it was definitely a case of an inferior product... I'll have to rely on my off-air vhs tapings (I taped the whole thing back in the 80s right off NBC and those tapes still play).


They dropped the ball on "The Big Valley" as well. Then Warners...


The only saving grace is that tv-on-bluray is becoming more popular and perhaps some of these orphaned tv shows will be revisited on bluray in the future.


I think the fact that you had one of your favorites on vhs from off the air recordings is a huge factor.  Ask yourself this: If you didn't have them would you still have said "No" to the dvds?  I'm not saying we should ever be happy with, or even support, subpar products.  But it is much easier to "stand on principle" if you already have what you want through other means.

Pretty sure it was Fox, not Warners, that released the Big Valley.  And yes, it was horrible of them to stop mid-way through a season.  Looks like they may do that again with VTTBOTS.

I'd say there's less than a 1% chance most b/w shows will ever get released on Blu-ray.  I just don't see the format taking off to the point that most studios will be re-releasing older material.  But that's only my opinion.


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#16 of 44 smithb

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Posted November 29 2009 - 08:59 AM



Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Riley 

Well as someone cited above, when it came to "Mama's Family," it was definitely a case of an inferior product. And I didn't want that piece of junk in my home. "Mama's Family" is one of my five favorite sitcoms of all time, and I wasn't about to reward that dvd's mediocrity in hopes of getting a second, equally mediocre follow-up. Life's not that easy. They did not give me what I wanted in terms of uncut episodes, so I didn't buy it. I'll have to rely on my off-air vhs tapings (I taped the whole thing back in the 80s right off NBC and those tapes still play).

They dropped the ball on "The Big Valley" as well. The discs were double-sided and problematic; people complained that they were having playback problems with the discs. Then Warners went and released only half of season two. People lost interest in an inferior product, weren't getting what they wanted, and therefore, no season 2 1/2.

"Alf" was a p.o.s. "Dark Shadows 1991" was cropped into letterbox format. These are bad, bad, dvds and I don't want to watch them. I am only a good consumer when I'm buying good products, so the thread topic is preposterous to me; should read: the Studios Need to put out Good Products if they want Good Sales. Again, why should we reward mediocrity? We'll just get more of the same.

The only saving grace is that tv-on-bluray is becoming more popular and perhaps some of these orphaned tv shows will be revisited on bluray in the future.
 
As Gary referenced, for "Mama's Family" you have an alternative not all to do so it is easier to boycott a particular release. I don't know anything about that particular release to comment. But I will say that inferior and mediocrity are subjective terms. What is inferior to one may be more then acceptable to another.

As for "Big Valley", the DVD-18's are problematic for some but it is still hard to say how many are actually affected. Those that have had issues are easy to identify while those that don't generally don't respond. So I really doubt that was what failed that series. The quality of the prints were more then acceptable. I seem to recall a high initial cost and I suspect they just didn't meet their expected margins. As a result, it was like they tried to make up for it with an equally expensive and split season 2. That is what I believe killed it, not the format of the disks. But it is good to see in genereal they are getting away from DVD-18's all the way around.

I absolutely agree that studios need to put out a good product to get good sales. The question though is what is a good product and what is a good return. These are subjective. Not all consumers agree and neither do the studios. If I found a product to be completely inferior I wouldn't buy it either, but I also would hold little hope that the studio's would rectify it and correct the problem. When I buy a product I find acceptable (even if not perfect), I don't believe I am rewarding mediocrity. If that means getting the same then I would prefer getting the same for what I choose to buy then to not get anything at all.

Again, if I thought this was a negotiation between consumer and studios where each side was positioning themselves to get the best deal they can, then I would say boycott. But I don't honestly think it is. Just my opinion but I think studios look primarily at the cost vs sales sheet and very little to what consumers gripe about. If that is the case (more often the not), boycotting just guarantees no more releases not a revamping of how releases are done.

And I will agree with Gary about Blu-ray. I think it will only be prevelant for current shows and a few vintage shows that have an extremely strong following. It is not that they couldn't look good because many really could. It is just that I don't think studios really feel that vintage shows on DVD has been a gret success, so why would they venture to try again with another fomat.

#17 of 44 Professor Echo

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Posted November 29 2009 - 10:00 AM

It's always been a Catch-22 situation for both the studios and potential consumers.  Would something have sold better if they had done a better job or is there an inherent deficiency to a particular title which might have always kept it from turning a profit regardless of quality?  One has to remember that while a specific title may be a personal favorite, that doesn't always mean it has enough general, popular appeal to transcend whatever limitations may be represented by its core fan base.  Unless and until a studio goes back and re-releases a show with the appropriate revisions and a paradigm is established, it's probably too much of a gamble for them to put something back in production, especially given that they are often clueless to begin with.  Even then it's possible that customers could still avoid the corrected release, for whatever reason, so who knows how to gauge it?  On the one hand, poor sales for the egregiously edited WKRP indicate that educated consumers can make a stand from the outset, but on the other hand, steady sales for THE ODD COUPLE, even with its various cuts, seem to indicate that there is also apathy. 

Granted, the studios need to learn that the best way to covet the financial attention and "gotta have it" affection of the public is by turning out the best product from the very beginning, not underestimating the loyal followers and their influence on the rest of the buying public, as CBS/Paramount has continued to do with their abstract versions of THE FUGITIVE.  That is  just plain corporate inanity and has a runaway fire effect time and again.   Yet for as many success stories as when it has been done right, e.g.  HAWAII 5-0, I'm sure there are failures, as evidenced by say THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW at Fox or THE BILL COSBY SHOW at Shout, both of which were produced with care and respect, yet apparently have not sold very well.  So even though it seems to most of us who post in this forum, and all the collective common sense therein, that doing it the right way will ultimately prove successful, there is still no formula to prove it.  It's unfortunate, but it continues to provide the studios with a way out, i.e. outside of some exceptions, such as WKRP, there is no provable way to say that a particular show would have ever sold much anyway.

As it stands now, the studios seem to be weary of all the gambling and are exploring methods of library exploitation through means other than DVDs, which appear to be fading away.  The more successful plans like the Netflix model of streaming content directly to your TV are, the more you will see us moving once again into a rental instead of an owning mode.   Eventually the technology of an iTunes plan in paying per download to burn or store individual copies will also develop, but that too may discourage owning in the long run.  Studios have never been very happy about the public being able to own their property.   With each new technology that puts a copyrighted title in somebody's private hands, they have been dragged kicking and screaming into acceptance.  And as for things like Blu-Ray and the WB Archive project, they seem to be nothing more than last ditch efforts to keep DVD alive for the moment and allow time for another system to take its place, whatever that may be.  So to expect them to revisit any of their flawed releases at this point seems unlikely, but I would be glad to be proven wrong, especially since I love THE ODD COUPLE and hate what they did to it.


#18 of 44 MatthewA

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Posted November 29 2009 - 11:34 AM



Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Riley View Post

The only saving grace is that tv-on-bluray is becoming more popular and perhaps some of these orphaned tv shows will be revisited on bluray in the future.
That's what I'm hoping for, but with the studios I'm cautiously pessimistic (if it is possible to be that). We might see mea culpas. Or we might see entire series of "Mama's Family", "ALF", and "WKRP in Cincinnati", which were all videotaped, treated as shabbily as they were on DVD, but over fewer discs. Shout! is the only distributor that ever acknowledges problems, even after they keep making them.

CBS apparently doesn't even inquire how much a song costs and cuts it automatically instead of trying to make a deal. I don't blame them for saying "up yours" to the Music Machine, but regretfully they can't do that without affecting their shows negatively.

As for shows that failed to sell, I still say "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" was overpriced and underpromoted, and that's why it needs Oprah to push it over the finish line. Couple that with the fact that a lot of people just plain don't like the first season of that one. It's possible the 1960s "The Bill Cosby Show" didn't do well because people (and possibly stores) confused it with the later "Cosby Show" of the 1980s, which has never been off the air in a quarter century. But when supposedly popular shows handled by the studios are flopping while never-shown-anymore shows handled by indies, like "The Doris Day Show", make it to the end, you have to wonder if it isn't merely a symptom of the studios' inability to keep costs down without cutting corners (contrary to what Hollywood believes, it is possible).

YouTube has a wonderful series of interviews with "TV Legends" conducted by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences; there are many in-depth, unedited interviews with a wide variety of personalities from throughout TV's history. I watched the Angela Lansbury interview, and she talked at length about "Murder, She Wrote." What stood out to me was the part when she talked about becoming an executive producer late in the series' run, and being horrified at the excesses when she saw the itemized budgets. But she was unable to do anything about it.

The cost of making movies is exceeding the rate of inflation. We haven't had double-digit inflation since the early 1980s; at that time the highest paid TV stars were Larry Hagman and Gary Coleman, making five-digit sums per episode for their respective series. Flash forward to the 21st century: Kelsey Grammer was making over a million dollars an episode when "Frasier" left the air, and the principal "Simpsons" voice actors now make $400,000 an episode. In the early 1990s, a decade after the notorious $40,000,000+ "Heaven's Gate" brought United Artists to its knees, people were horrified when movies cost $50,000,000 (if I recall correctly, "Forrest Gump" cost about $55,000,000). Now even Hollywood movies shot in Canada cost more than that (the musical version of "Hairspray" was shot in Toronto and reportedly cost $70,000,000). And "Avatar" will probably break all of "Titanic's" budget records and have to smash all its box office records to break even. Where is all the money going? It certainly isn't going as much into greater production value, as it used to (I'm numb to the glut of photo-realistic CGI where everything looks real but nothing is real). Meanwhile, Tyler Perry's studio in Atlanta can make nationally released movies for about $5,000,000 each, with recognizable cast members. Love his films or hate them, the studio does not seem to be wasting money, has found a hugely successful niche in an underserved demographic, and is making mountains of money. What has happened to MGM/UA can happen to the rest of the studios if they don't do something about their costs. But what will they do? NBC's answer to declining revenues and increasing costs is, of course, "The Jay Leno Show." They may technically be making money, but they have alienated everyone in the industry (including a Los Angeles-based cameraman I talked to this past Thanksgiving, who says that Jay's show has put thousands of crew members out of work for shows that would have aired at 10:00 otherwise) and nobody's watching except on the nights they have "The Biggest Loser" or the Thursday sitcoms leading into it. Margins over volume will only get you so far.

I consider myself a good consumer. I don't mindlessly purchase stuff I don't want because it is there. If I want the show, that's obviously the first thing I consider, then I find any info I can about whether the product is worthy of my purchase. If it is, I buy it, and if not, I don't. The first time I pre-ordered a TV show DVD in five years was the Walt Disney Treasures releases of both seasons of "Zorro", because of what happened with the small numbers, quick sellout and rampant speculation on "Dr. Syn: Alias The Scarecrow". And there's a reason. Without reviews, I could be the one who finds, to my horror, an edited episode (I did find one "Golden Girls" to be missing 30 seconds, and that's only because I had a network broadcast of that episode which had it intact) or lousy picture and sound.

If anyone from the studios is reading this, then this is for you: My money is not a right. It is a privilege that you earn by producing products that meet a certain standard of quality. If you fail to meet that standard of quality I will use it to reward a company that does. And it may be in a completely different medium. I heard a rumor that they still publish books.

Enough is enough, Disney. No more evasions or excuses. We DEMAND the release Song of the South on Blu-ray along with the uncut version of Bedknobs and Broomsticks on Blu-ray. I will not support anything your company produces until then.


#19 of 44 smithb

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Posted November 29 2009 - 12:33 PM

Just to be clear, I'm not saying we shouldn't complain or can't be frustrated by what gets released. It is very possible that has received some attention and may be why we did get a re-release of Fugitive season 2 volume 1, or why Shout went the extra mile with Sony to get complete FKB (as rare as some of these occurrences have been).

And it is obviously fine to not buy a release one is not comfortable with. However, to propose that people as a group should boycott certain releases based on some premise that we will teach the studios a lesson and get better releases in the future has not panned out in my eyes, but potentially just led to stalled series. I recall reading comments on Amazon when Rawhide season 2 was first released as two volumes with each volume being a comparable price to the first season, and that people should not buy it until they re-release as full seasons sets at the original first season price. Whether the studio lost sales to this or not we have not seen them go back to the full season releases, and it looks like the series may have stalled.

Can anyone provide evidence where potential boycotting of a series actually led to positive results? There are obvioulsy plenty of examples where it may have led to a stalled or cancelled series.

#20 of 44 Gary OS

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Posted November 29 2009 - 01:18 PM

Wow.  I can't really add much to what Brad and Walker have said.  Good points all the way around, IMHO.  I do believe the studios, for the most part, don't really care what we think.  Some of the smaller outfits like Shout seem to care a little, but the big boys only seem to care when they get called out in Variety magazine (ala the FUGITIVE issue) or a huge celeb like Oprah gets personally involved. 


Gary "definitely don't think Blu-ray will be the answer to the slowdown of classic TV on dvd" O.

"Do not challenge supernatural unless armed with sword of truth"
                                             ...CHARLIE CHAN AT TREASURE ISLAND