Are the 90’s the most under represented decade on DVD?

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Dear Guys:

Just getting some opinions here. Are the 90’s the most under represented decade when it comes to DVD releases? was thinking some series of those years have yet to come out on DVD. Maybe “under represented” aren’t the right words, but I kept thinking some big tv series have never come out.

Shows like:
Sisters
I’ll Fly Away
Chicago Hope
Ed
Midnight Caller
Brooklyn Bridge
Remember When
Honey, I Shrunk the Kids 
(late nineties)

Or was it the late 80’s that need to be finished up?

St. Elsewhere
LA Law
Hello John
The John Laroquette Show
Caroline in the City
Veronica’s Closet
Suddenly Susan
Amazing Stories (season 2)
Call to Glory

Opinions needed

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  1. Definitely the 1950's . We could go on and on about the successful series from that decade with 3 or more seasons that have never been on home video in any form.
    Incidentally most of these series we're referring to were filmed on 35 mm and look amazing when properly mastered.

  2. I think existing 50s shows (those shot on actual film) are probably in better shape than 90s shows that were edited on videotape. At any rate, it seems like a painful process to transfer those 90s shows to hi-def. You have to somehow track down every scrap of the negatives and reassemble them (as they honestly should have done in the first place). It's costly and in the case of some of the dang shows–disastrous (read: Buffy). They did a good job with Star Trek TNG and Twin Peaks, but they rarely try with any of these other shows. It just costs too much.

    As for the list in OP…"Sisters" has been on dvd for years! "Chicago Hope" is at least in Region 2 and complete. "Ed" is actually early 2000s, but it deserves to be on dvd. "I'll Fly Away…" now that was a damn good show. Whatever happened to that one? Both "Midnight Caller" and "Brooklyn Bridge" have been rumored over the years. I remember the producer of "Brooklyn Bridge" trying to get something going for it online…although that was probably about 14-15 years ago. "Remember Wenn" another terrific period show. That one deserves to be seen again. "Honey I shrunk the Kids:" forget it. Disney.

    "St. Elsewhere" is possibly the best drama not on dvd. Season One came out AGES ago but it didn't sell. "Caroline in the City" is complete on dvd as of last month. "Susan" and "Veronica" were decent but short-lived and pretty much forgotten today. "Call to Glory," another good, good show that I never failed to see. But it was too short-lived to leave an impression. I think you meant "Dear John." I never saw that one, no opinion. Never saw "John Laroquette" either, although I am a fan of his. LA Law…I dunno. Ask Shout if they plan to go back to complete it. I think if Shout can't sell it, no one can. I remember really enjoying it, but I only watched maybe the first two years or so when it aired.

  3. Only Major Dad is left for me for a 80's/90's show that I'd like to see on DVD (4 seasons from 1989-1993).

    I wasn't aware of there being much at this point left for multi season shows from the 1990's that were lacking DVD releases. There were some of course, with Chicago Hope being a name on your list that I can remember hearing a lot back then and assume was quite a success with audiences. But percentage wise, I suspect it has one of the best representations on DVD for multi-season television programs that succeeded enough to stick around for a little while.

    The 1950's though only has a small taste of what American audiences were watching back then and the 1960's, which is reasonably well represented, has numerous glaring holes.

  4. The really annoying part about tv shows from the late-1980s into the early-2000s, is that many were edited on digital videotape at ntsc 480i resolution.

    Unless the owners are willing to finance an extensive restoration to 1080p or higher resolutions, then such shows are "frozen in time" to the 1990s ntsc 480i resolution (with or without the telecine left in).

  5. I won't get into the debate over which decade is more underrepresented/more deserving/etc than others. But in terms of 90s shows, I think most of the biggest series are already available. Many of the shows that aren't available were either short-lived, featured enough music to make a release unlikely or both. While not my favorite TV decade, there were still plenty of 90s shows I found enjoyable.

    I'd say if you're waiting for Chicago Hope, just do what I did several years ago and get the Region 2 sets of the entire series. There was enough music used in this series that I'm sure it would never get a Region 1 set. And with the unfortunate state of physical media today – not dead, but no longer close to its best days – companies are far less likely to invest the time and money to release a show with intact music unless it's a cult favorite and/or it takes place in outer space.

    Here are some 90s series that haven't been released in Region 1 which I would gladly purchase if they were to become available. To my knowledge these haven't been released in any other region either. I'm also realistic (and cynical) enough to know that if even one of these got a release it would be a surprise.

    • 704 Hauser (The pilot was included on the All in the Family box set.)
    • Agony Again (I haven't seen this continuation/revival of 70s British comedy Agony, but I liked and own the original.)
    • Bagdad Café (with Jean Stapleton & Whoopi Goldberg)
    • Big Brother Jake (This was a Family Channel original sitcom.)
    • Civil Wars (Bochco-produced legal drama)
    • Daddy Dearest (with Don Rickles)
    • George and Leo (with Bob Newhart & Judd Hirsch)
    • The George Carlin Show
    • The Golden Palace (Not great, but it had its moments.)
    • Good & Evil (Susan Harris' attempt at a Soap for the 90s; unlike in the 70s, ABC wouldn't give this one time to develop.)
    • Goode Behavior (with Sherman Hemsley)
    • Jack's Place (with Hal Linden & Finola Hughes)
    • The John Larroquette Show
    • Kiss Me Kate (British sitcom)
    • Land's End (with Fred Dryer)
    • Man of the People (with James Garner & Kate Mulgrew)
    • Nasty Boys (Dick Wolf police drama)
    • The New WKRP In Cincinnati (Not a classic like the original but it had its moments.)
    • New York Undercover (music-filled Dick Wolf police drama)
    • Orleans (with Larry Hagman)
    • Pacific Station (with Robert Guillaume)
    • Pointman (with Jack Scalia)
    • Reasonable Doubts (with Mark Harmon & Marlee Matlin)
    • Roc (Fox sitcom)
    • Room for Two (An episode was included on the Murphy Brown Season 1 set.)
    • The Trials of Rosie O'Neill (The creator discussed DVD plans a few years ago, but I guess they fell through.)
    • WIOU (with Mariette Hartley & Dick Van Patten)

    (Note: The above list does not include any shows that started in the 80s. Nasty Boys began as a 1989 TV movie but the series proper aired in 1990 as a midseason replacement.)

  6. BobO’Link

    Frank's Place is another 90s show that I'd love to see get a release. Music rights are the holdup with this single season show.

    Frank's Place is an 80s show, specifically the 1987/1988 season. But I do agree with you that I wish the series could be released (though only with the original music).

    I seem to recall an article from the old TV Shows on DVD site where there was discussion of possibly releasing an edited version of the series on DVD. The original music would be removed, and Tim Reid said a new score would be created to try to recreate the mood of the original. I'm guessing there was enough pushback to make sure that project never happened, thankfully.

  7. BobO’Link

    But the 90s being "most under represented?" I'd say no. I currently have 75 US TV series (100 if you include UK series, mini-series, and documentaries) in my collection that began life in 1990-1999. That does not include those which began in the 90s and finished in the 90s – not even the 1989/90 season.

    To put it in perspective, my collection consists of this:

    60 – 1950s
    100 – 1960s
    33 – 1970s
    75 – 1980s
    100 – 1990s
    90 – 2000s
    43 – 2010s

    Those numbers include regular US series, UK series, mini-series, and documentaries. The 50s and 60s are the only decades with less than 5 titles which are not standard US TV series. And I'm totally surprised to see the 1990s ties with the 1960s for number of series represented. Of course if you remove the UK stuff it drops to 75 – but that ties the 1980s, another with a surprising number of series represented.

    Do I want more from most decades? Absolutely. But I'd say my personal wish list leans more heavily towards the 1950s/60s than any other decade.

    Wow, Howie…by my count, that's over 600 TV series you have in your collection!!! Where do you find the time?

    I hardly have any '90s TV series in my collection (Buffy, Angel, a few UK shows like Father Ted, Ultraviolet, etc.) So the '90s are underrepresented in my collection, at any rate. 😉

  8. I had forgotten about that "Trials of Rosie O'Neill" announcement until now. Too bad, I would have purchased that on day one. As far as other '90s shows, I'm good with what I already have. "Delta" has too many music issues for an official release and I already have all the episodes of "The 5 Mrs. Buchanans" and "Golden Palace". The one I'm most surprised we haven't seen is "The Powers That Be" which would be worth releasing for it's prestigious cast, alone.

  9. Ethan Riley

    LA Law…I dunno. Ask Shout if they plan to go back to complete it. I think if Shout can't sell it, no one can. I remember really enjoying it, but I only watched maybe the first two years or so when it aired.

    My parents used to watch it all the time but eventually stopped. When NBC tried to make the same hullabaloo over its finale that they did over their other long-running 1980s hits when they gave up the ghost*, they couldn't have cared less.

    The fact that Disney owns that show through the Fox deal scares me and should scare you, too. Maybe it'll end up on Hulu.

    Ethan Riley

    "Honey I shrunk the Kids:" forget it. Disney.

    This was actually on for five years in syndication, making it Peter Scolari's second longest-running show after Newhart, yet never gets replayed. Outside of Golden Girls and whatever's currently on ABC that they actually produce, only animated TV gets any disc attention from them. The first two movies just got Blu-rays, so you never know. Disney+ is probably its best hope unless Disney Movie Club decides to actually do season sets.

    Ethan Riley

    "St. Elsewhere" is possibly the best drama not on dvd. Season One came out AGES ago but it didn't sell.

    Fox essentially tried to market it as "The Denzel Washington Show" but paid nary a dime to clear any music rights licenses that expired when Pat Robertson's company owned MTM. This was especially painful when Dr. Erlich (Ed Begley, Jr.) was listening to The Beach Boys' "Surfin' U.S.A."** and someone breaks into the operating room and shoots the radio. Now it's just a generic soundalike. Most of the publicity at the time focused on Mark Harmon's ill-fated character when he wasn't even on until season 2. Yet William Daniels' other shows, Knight Rider and Boy Meets World, get finished! Hulu has it but the running times are all over the place.

    Season 2 was also the season Austin Pendleton played Mr. Entertainment and brought with him a set list that's sure to set Disney-Fox back hundreds of thousands of bucks. It's the new WKRP (in terms of how hard it will be to clear everything) now that that's finally done.

    *And speaking of something old, how is it possible that both Facts of Life's Jo Polniaczek Bonner AND Silver Spoons' Kate Sommers Stratton had nicer wedding dresses than Golden Girls' Dorothy Petrillo Zbornak Hollingsworth? Even her own mother's wedding dress was nicer!
    **Also performed by Joel Higgins a capella on Silver Spoons. Dexter had the heart not to tell him about Chuck Berry's "Sweet Little Sixteen" and the lawsuit over it. Shout! Factory acted like that other Ricky of sitcom fame — Ricardo — when asked about a release; they said "we can't afford it, we can't afford it!" They could have had more chance of making their money back before the star's unfortunate incarceration.

  10. LouA

    Yes , but how much of this stuff still exists ?

    Perhaps somebody living in Alpha Centauri is receiving and recording all this 1940s stuff over intergalactic transmissions traveling through space?

    😉

  11. Professor Echo

    Note the winking emoji, Lou. I wasn't being serious.

    LOL! I m just noticed that after you pointed it out . But still I wonder : do any of the 1940's transmissions still exist?

  12. LouA

    LOL! I m just noticed that after you pointed it out . But still I wonder : do any of the 1940's transmissions still exist?

    If they escaped the earth's ionosphere, they will be currently 70-80 lightyears away from planet earth.

  13. jcroy

    If they escaped the earth's ionosphere, they will be currently 70-80 lightyears away from planet earth.

    Well that's nice !. The Purple People Eater out there in space enjoying his own appearance on American Bandstand !~

  14. jcroy

    The really annoying part about tv shows from the late-1980s into the early-2000s, is that many were edited on digital videotape at ntsc 480i resolution.

    Unless the owners are willing to finance an extensive restoration to 1080p or higher resolutions, then such shows are "frozen in time" to the 1990s ntsc 480i resolution (with or without the telecine left in).

    Bingo.

    X-Files had to be meticulously restored from various film elements, and even then they still had to use NTSC Broadcast tape sources to fill in missing gaps.

  15. Ethan Riley

    As for the list in OP…"Sisters" has been on dvd for years!

    That one sold like hotcakes in its releasing history; poor picture quality notwithstanding, there must have been something about it that had it selling like hotcakes!

  16. Guys, what's the name the program that's on the top of this thread? The one with Mark Harmon and Patrick Warburton?
    I don't remember it. OK. OK. I'm sorry, that I didn't double check on Sisters being out on DVD. I beg apologies.

    -james

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