Brad, from my standpoint it comes down to common sense.
"As for the quality of the masters, we're using those we acquired from the original owner (not to be confused with the previous licensee)."
This implies going back to the source material and promising that this is going to look better than what Roxbury did.
"Many of these episodes, particularly in the first season, had multiple sources. We went through each one and found the best source available and are using those. Like I said, the footage looks good."
And if this doesn't all but telegraph an EXPECTATION that the results will look better for S1, which was the one that people were most annoyed about, I don't know what else could. He could have issued a cautionary caveat that "We're working from the same material Roxbury had, so don't automatically expect a significant difference overall" that would have represented honesty in advertising, that we should exercise a cautionary judgment call on whether we think its worth a VERY expensive double dip I might add because while the material will not be "ported" neither can we expect it be significantly better. But what Brian did here was spin everything in a manner designed to lull the customer into thinking, "Of course this will be better, you don't have a thing to worry about." I call that a snake-oil pitch of the first order, and when it comes from the same person who for two years kept repeating a falsehood about Shout already having a license to do all eight years of "Ironside" and who then tried to obfuscate the screw-up job on AITF S7, I think I can be forgiven for viewing his remarks in an unfavorable light.
I'm glad shout did "Barney Miller" and is fasttracking "Kojak" and finished "Adam-12" at last, but this is another reminder of why I wish we could stop seeing people speculate about future releases being something only Shout should be entrusted to do (and you don't have to be a fan of Neil and his tactics to feel that way I might add).
Again, I'm sorry but i read none of that in those statements. Maybe i'm a bit jaded but I don't expect any sort of language coming from someone selling something to be completely honest or forthright. Whether it be Shout!, WB or any of the others. I try to stay away from reading between any lines and take things at just face value until all the facts come out.
I see nothing in what you wrote that distinguishes Shout! from anyone else in this industry. Whether it be the advertising approach, creating double-dip scenario's, information being forwarded on that ends up being incorrect or not forthright, promises of completion that turn into stalled releases. Any release by any producer can end up being a perfect release or a complete failure, or a "grail" release for one to a bad choice to another. Decisions are made and then changed all the time.
I guess I just see things in the middle instead of b/w. I don't expect "fandom" perfection from an industry out to make money, and i try not to throw stones when i lack the facts to back it up.
While i don't really appreciate the "Neil" reference. I actually agree with you about over the top fandom references like the "only XXXX can do it right comments". That was a poor choice for a thread title in anything but a Shout! specific forum. The problem I see in many of these threads is that all it takes is one person to make a completely biased comment, which leads to a defensive retort, and then the wheels come off in the back and forth responses. Obviously, it is hard not to favor a company that happens to release a favorite. I have my favorite releases like anyone else, I enjoy certains genre's more then others so that may favor one producer more then another. But in the end, I don't really see that much of a difference in operation between any of them, other than an independent generally has less resources at their disposal (money and content), which tends to lead to lower profile titles much of the time.
So in this particular scenario, I do not see all the negativity in what Shout! released. It was exactly what i expected and I ordered it knowing that fully well. And i will be happy when it arrives. And not because it was done by Shout!, but because it is a title I wanted that is now complete that didn't look like it was going to be for some time. I think you know and have expressed that feeling yourself in the past.