Benson Complete Series (Shout! Factory)?


Stunt Coordinator
Feb 3, 2012
Real Name
Ian Hayden
What do you think about this idea? (More positive feedback, this time, please.)
To Shout! Factory:
I would like to suggest a Complete Series box set of Benson (1979-1986, 158 episodes, licensed from Sony).
All the episodes should be restored and remastered from the original film elements, and they should be unedited.
The original Columbia Pictures Television logos should be included at the end of the episodes.
Special features should be included, including audio commentaries with the cast and crew, text commentaries, retrospective documentaries with the cast, a Savings Bonds film with the cast ("Benson: The U.S. Goes To Market"), promos (ABC/syndication/TV Land), bloopers, photo galleries, and more.
A segment of bloopers from the show that aired on "Life's Most Embarrassing Moments" with Rene' Auberjonois and Steve Allen should be included.
The "Benson/Sports Night" promo from the Sports Night 10th Anniversary Edition should be included.
The Christmas message from the cast at the end of the "Mary and Her Lambs" episode, the series recap from the last episode, and the three alternate endings for the last episode should be included.
An excerpt from Robert Guillaume's Archive of American Television interview should be included.
The "Benson" cast's appearances on "Family Feud" should be included.
English subtitles should be included.
A collector's book should come with the set, including pictures, an episode guide, a history of the show, and more.
Since you worked with Robert Guillaume on the Sports Night 10th Anniversary Edition, and since you are working with Sony for new things (like the "All in the Family" Complete Series box set and "Diff'rent Strokes"), can you make an agreement with Sony for this box set?


Stunt Coordinator
Feb 4, 2008
Orlando, FL
Real Name
Albert Gutierrez
classictvfan91 said:
What do you think about this idea? (More positive feedback, this time, please.)
I admire your steadfast postings of these dream lists, and applaud the research that you likely have done to find various ephemeral material to be included into the set. I always like when TV-on-DVD sets include archival material in addition to standards like a new retrospective documentary and audio commentaries.
However, I'd prefer reading these dream lists in a more organized manner, preferably using the bullet-point option available here (and on display below), or even just double-spacing between each idea.
Like this.
That said, I can see a few items from your list possibly making its way to a Complete Series set, namely:
  • "Benson: The U.S. Goes To Market"
  • "Benson/Sports Night" promo
  • Christmas message from the cast at the end of the "Mary and Her Lambs"
  • three alternate endings for the last episode
  • Robert Guillaume's Archive of American Television interview
I had never heard of the savings bond film, so its inclusion would be most interesting just as a historical curio, likewise with the Benson/Sports Night promo. I can't imagine them cutting off the Christmas message from an episode. Most shows usually drop these special scenes in syndication, but they'll usually turn up on the DVD release. E.g. 20th Century Fox made sure to include the "final call" scene for the series finale of "Mary Tyler Moore."
Hopefully, the alternate endings still exist, and if they don't, they could always ask Robert Guillaume to host a brief featurette in which he discusses what each ending was.
The AoAT interview is freely available, it's just a matter of the studio deciding whether or not to use it.
Finally, just to echo what Richard said above, there's a lot of hurdles to clear when making a "Complete Series" DVD set, heck, even for a regular season set. Plenty of shows could be enhanced by a lot of archival material, but clearance issues simply prevent it from happening.
For example, when Disney was preparing "Zorro" for DVD release, one of the project's consultants - Bill Cotter - actually went to the UltimateDisney message board to ask for suggestions about material to be included. I was a regular poster there at the time, and one of the things I suggested was the "Sing-Along Song" version of the theme song. It was used on the late-80's VHS tape and featured a uniquely-masked Mickey the Bouncing Ball.

Unfortunately, it was not included in the final DVD, and on Bill Cotter's website, he discussed why some material that fans suggested was not included:
A few fans have written to ask why there isn't more in the way of supplemental materials. For example, why didn't Disney include the original commercials, or copies of public service announcements Guy did as Zorro? Or a collection of still photographs, or copies of press kits, etc? The answer, as you might imagine, is a combination of money and time, or more precisely, the lack of. Some things that seem simple are often complicated. Take the original commercials, for example. Although some of them, such as the 7-Up and AC Delco ads, might have been produced for Disney, they were done under contract for the original advertisers. Who owns the rights, then? Did the original voce-over contracts allow for use on DVDs? Obviously DVDs didn't exist then and all that would need to be sorted out. That would all take time and money, and to be fair to Disney, would it help sell the additional number of DVDs required to break even on the expense? I really doubt it.
Anyway, don't let this discourage you from sharing your ideas for different TV-on-DVD sets. Just make them more organized, and keep in mind what material would be harder to clear than others when listing bonus features. Stuff like game show episodes definitely seem non-essential, even if they are charming to watch on YouTube and the like.
In addition, requests like "audio commentaries and text commentaries on every episode" would be too cost-prohibitive. The only reason a few shows do this (current shows like "Community," "The Simpsons," "Futurama," etc.) is because they're still in production, and so the cast/crew are available to record these commentaries. But for classic shows, it would take too much time and money to ensure a commentary is on every episode. The only reason classic "Doctor Who" DVDs succeed in this is because they release individual DVD sets of each serial, which are essentially treated as their own project rather than part-of-the-whole. Even then, I personally don't listen to half the commentaries anyway, but just the ones for the stories that really interested me.
And honestly, as much as I love some shows, I would not want an audio or text commentary on every single episode. Key episodes, maybe. But every episode seems like overkill. I mean, to pull any old sitcom out of a hat, how much could someone say about 9 seasons of "The Facts of Life"?
Of course, if there is one extra I'd like for any Complete Series set, it is a documentary that provides an overview of the series as a whole, and does so without too much waxing nostalgia from the interviewees. And preferably, these things should be 45 minutes long for good shows, and 90 minutes for the better shows.

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