Paramount's No Extras Policy: Time to Revolt?

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Amy Mormino, Dec 3, 2004.

  1. Amy Mormino

    Amy Mormino Supporting Actor

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    Paramount does a lot right with TV on DVD. Their releases have good audio/visual quality, are usually uncut, and a lot of long-time faves have been released lately. I even like most of their cover art. And their prices are fairly low. All good things!

    BUT they seem to have a strict "no extras" policy (except for Star Trek and a few others) in effect. This policy covers show that are greatly loved and with large, devoted fan bases: Andy Griffith Show, Happy Days, Charmed, and a number of others (Taxi, Laverne and Shirley). As a Brady Bunch fan, I am sad to think that there may be no extras when it comes out.

    Paramount's movie DVD division has been a lot better about including special features lately, due partly to consumer complaints. Should TV on DVD fans be making a bigger deal out of this issue? If Paramount sells well, will other studios be tempted to stop producing extras?
     
  2. Scott Kimball

    Scott Kimball Screenwriter

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    The "except Star Trek" would include four television series.

    Paramount has included extras on:
    Star Trek
    Star Trek: The Next Generation
    Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
    Star Trek: Voyager
    CSI
    CSI Miami
    I Love Lucy
    The Honeymooners
    South Park
    Cheers
    Frasier
    MTV Punk'd
    Ren & Stimpy

    ... and probably more that I can't think of.

    This is hardly a "strict no extras policy."

    Granted, their "Paramount Television" branded sets are bare, but they are also priced to street at under $30. A quality presentation at under $30 is a great value, if you ask me.

    There are those who would prefer to spend under $30 for a set with no extras, just as there are those willing to spend $40 or more for the extra content. Extras cost money to produce, and that is added to the price you pay in the store.

    While I might have enjoyed some extras on The Andy Griffith Show, the uncut episodes with outstanding A/V quality is a real bargain at under a buck an episode.

    -Scott
     
  3. Amy Mormino

    Amy Mormino Supporting Actor

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    Its true that there are exceptions (thanks for listing them), but there is a lot of evidence for a general policy of "episodes, not extras" when it comes to Paramount. TVShowsonDVD.com itself recently stated this as Paramount's company policy.
     
  4. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

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    I'll take low cost, well presented, uncut episodes with simple, but functional menus over higher priced, compromised versions with extras anyday.

    While not entirely perfect, Andy Griffith is a good model for a TV series. While extras can be nice, I rarely watch them more than once.
     
  5. Claude North

    Claude North Second Unit

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    I agree. If the episodes are presented complete and uncut, with a high-quality transfer, then I really don't care whether or not there are extras.
     
  6. Juan Books

    Juan Books Stunt Coordinator

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    I, for one, applaud their policy. Extras don't mean a thing to me. I own hundreds of DVDs; have watched the extras from maybe three of them. No extras mean a quicker turnaround time for subsequent seasons and lower prices, both of which are much more appealing to me than silly extras. Just give me complete seasons, uncut episodes, DVD picture quality, and a quick release of all season, and I'm a happy customer [​IMG]
     
  7. Gord Lacey

    Gord Lacey Cinematographer

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    Scott, of those titles only Frasier and Cheers are pure Paramount releases; the others are just distributed by them (MTV, Nickelodeon and CBS).

    I think there were extras on Touched By an Angel, and they've included some on their minis (Shogun).

    It's possible that Paramount is doing no-frills season 1 sets, checking to see how well they sell, then budgeting for extras for the sets that sell well. I haven't heard anything from the studio regarding this, but it's one approach they could take.

    Gord
     
  8. SteveKNJ

    SteveKNJ Stunt Coordinator

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    If the price is lower than a TV Series DVD chocked full of extras, then I have no problem. Is this the case here? If there are extras, I only want ones that enhance the viewing experience. Seinfeld seems to be chocked full of extras, and most of them seem to be worthwhile having. Another series that did just about the right amount of extras is The World At War series. A nice introduction for each chapter by the series producer, a time line, and each chapter in the series divided up so that you can just look at a specific point for reference. It's just not overdone with useless nonsense. You can keep all the cut scenes (they were cut for a reason right?) and the bloopers (funny once in most cases).
     
  9. Casey Trowbridg

    Casey Trowbridg Lead Actor

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    I totally agree with Scott here. I also have to say that having Andy Griffith uncut to me is kind of like having an extra. The reason I say this is when was the last time that the shows were shown uncut on television? Probably not since I've been watching anyway.

    If Paramount went the root that Gord mentioned as a possibility I would have to call that a smart business move on their part.

    You know, I really can't attack Paramount for its policy because other than no extras they seem to be doing a pretty good job with their TV on DVD product. Besides there are other shows from other studios that I would love to have extras for, most noteably M*A*S*H.
     
  10. Scott Kimball

    Scott Kimball Screenwriter

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    Ah, but Paramount, MTV, Nickelodeon, CBS and more are all part of one megacorporation: Viacom... so I consider them one and the same.

    Viacom owns:
    Paramount
    CBS
    UPN
    MTV
    Nick
    TVLand
    CMT
    Spike
    VH1
    Showtime
    Sundance
    BET
    Comedy Central
    Spelling Entertainment
    Kingworld Productions

    ...and more

    Paramount is the Home Video Distributor of Viacom's family of products. Of course, Paramount distributes PBS and Batjac, but there is no ownership, there.

    -Scott
     
  11. John McM

    John McM Second Unit

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    well, I think it all depends on the price points, If Paramount is charging $39.99 for a barebones sitcom, and Fox and Warner are selling something else for the same price which is loaded.

    For example, Buena Vista charging $49.99 for Golden Girls, where the only extra is a Joan Rivers featurette that most true fans wouldn't wanna hear, is waaaaaaaaaay too expensive, especially considering Seinfeld and Simpsons are both at the same price point, two shows that are given nothing but love and affection on DVD
     
  12. Casey Trowbridg

    Casey Trowbridg Lead Actor

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    Just as something else to consider, we have This thread in film and documentary which is asking people how many times they view the extras on a disc. A larger percentage than I thought don't even bother with them at all.

    The only TV show extras I watch more than once are commentary tracks for the Simpsons, Futurama, or Adult Swim shows.

    So for a lot of these shows, important as they may be, I myself might not even give the extras a second glance or maybe even a first.

    Scott has it right in that all of the stuff he listed is under the same parent company, but from what I understand there are different levels in terms of who might have control over what. Paramount probably has more control over the Cheers set than they do over South Park because people from the comedy central division as well as Matt and ?Tray themselves will have some imput in the decision making process for that show. So while ultimately they come from the same place, they really don't because one division might have a greater say about a given product than another.
     
  13. Scott Kimball

    Scott Kimball Screenwriter

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    A valid point, and one that I have considered. It is really hard to know how much interplay there is between divisions.
     
  14. John McM

    John McM Second Unit

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    well, as easy as it is to complain about Paramount, at least they are consistant. I can buy shows like Taxi and Charmed and South Park from them and KNOW that I will see the complete series' of those shows, if Columbia had Taxi, we'd have to wait 9 months to a year to even know if season 2 is a possibility.

    While Paramount is no Fox in terms of extras and value for the buck, they are still good and respectful to the fans and realize the fans who buy one season, more than likely want all, and in a timely manner.
     
  15. AnthonyC

    AnthonyC Cinematographer

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    Exactly. Besides commentary and a handful of featurettes, I can't think of many bonus features I've watched more than once on a TV show release.

    Extras have never had any impact on a TV-DVD purchase I've made.
     
  16. David Von Pein

    David Von Pein Producer

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    You must therefore not own Dick Van Dyke Season Two, which has one of the best surprise treats ever attached to a Digital TV release -- A complete 27-minute episode of the 1962 game show "Stump The Stars", featuring cast members of the V.Dyke series. It begs a multiplicity of viewings. Mary looks mighty fine too. [​IMG]

    (It's now official -- I am a dirty old man -- leering at young comely matrons on DVD boxed sets from decades past. Is there a cure? A pill? An info-mercial product for taming the MTM desire? I fear there's not. ... What am I saying?! -- Who needs to be cured of THIS ailment anyway? *sheepish grin*)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  17. Jason Seaver

    Jason Seaver Lead Actor

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    Would that make you a dirty old man or a dirty young one? I've got the same issue, sort of; my friends are not allowed to remind me that Audrey Hepburn or Grace Kelley would perhaps be old enough to be my grandmother if they weren't dead.
     
  18. Mark To

    Mark To Supporting Actor

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    I couldn't care less about extras. Give me the shows uncut and good quality and I'm happy. The extras mean nothing to me. I wouldn't buy or not buy any set because of their inclusion or lack of. The one exception though is where there are unaired pilots. Those should be included but frequently aren't. Examples of shows with unaired pilots that haven't been included:
    Outer Limits
    All in the Family (2)
    My Favorite Martian
     
  19. David Lambert

    David Lambert Executive Producer

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    And yes, Cheers and Frasier are among the other exceptions among TV-DVD sets made by Paramount and not merely distributed by them (and perhaps that was somewhere in the contract with a producer, who knows?). Gord's right when he says "I think there were extras on Touched By an Angel", but Gord forgets that TBaA wasn't Paramount, it was CBS. Besides ST, Cheers, and Frasier, I can't think of any shows from the Mount that have extras on DVD, can anyone else?
     
  20. Brandon Gantt

    Brandon Gantt Second Unit

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    It would be a shame if none of the "Paramount Television" brand featured extras. Laverne & Shirley has 2 reunion shows, from 1995 and 2002. TAGS also has two, and Happy Days has one from the early 90s.

    L&S AND HD are unique in that they feature behind-the-scenes footage and bloopers, that we probably wouldn't otherwise see.
     

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