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The era of TV shows on DVD is coming to an end (1 Viewer)

Neil Brock

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We really are in the end game of TV DVD releases. They are just not selling anymore and the companies which do vintage releases are dwindling. Sony, Universal, MGM and Fox have long been out of that business. CBS seems to be committed to finishing Gunsmoke and maybe Bonanza but that seems to be about it. Their MOD does pop out the odd title every once in a while, such as the forthcoming Spencer's Pilots. I can't imagine their releases selling since they basically don't do any publicity on them. Shout Factory hasn't done much other than High Chaparral recently. MPI has been quiet. VEI still seems to be picking through CBS titles but at a much slower pace. Warner Archive has also pretty much stopped putting out pre-1980 shows with the exception of the recent Mr. Novak release.

Speaking of Warner, I heard a sales figure for the Hank release of a few years ago. I know I was thrilled to get it and I know several other people who bought it. We were among the few. The amount sold is in the very, very low three figures. I would think that likely scared Warner off from doing future obscure shows.
 

Jack P

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My mind's been conditioned to it for some time. At some point even diehards like me have to acknowledge the push caused by having so much and getting older that one has to start recognizing the wisdom of when it comes time to take a step back and appreciate more what one *has* and watch and listen to that material instead of endlessly fret over what still isn't there. There are certainly some shows I still wish could be out. The failure to release S2 of "Burke's Law" is a black mark, and I wish we could have seen some completions with "Love Boat", "Fantasy Island" and seen some obscure items I would have been interested in. But as I reach a milestone birthday year in a couple weeks and also look at not just what I have in TV on DVD but also the things I have obsessively collected elsewhere like sports TV and radio, Johnny Carson and classic talk, classic game shows, old time and contemporary radio drama, I am more cognizant of how you can be so motivated to collect so much you then go by and realize how much of your life has elapsed and you haven't watch the stuff you were lucky to get enough. So I'll be thinking more about that and learning more to rest on my laurels and just take any new things that come as a nice bonus.
 

BobO'Link

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When I look over the number of unopened seasons I own I often think the very same thing. It's time to watch... stop purchasing... I easily have enough *unopened* seasons to last the next 5 years, if not more, with 4 hour per day viewing sessions. Add all the seasons I *have* watched and it's now up to 10 years. That doesn't take into account the movies. Sure, there are series I'd like to have, or have more of, but I could also stop today and be quite happy. Just the fact that I have copies of shows I thought I'd never, ever, see again is a minor miracle and something I dreamed of as a kid.

Don't get me wrong... there are still several series I'd purchase "Day 1" should they get released.

With sales numbers like they are I've pretty much given up hope on many, many, vintage series seeing distribution, even some I thought would be "no brainer" type releases (Green Hornet for one). Frankly, all those rights holders who thought they had a gold mine have missed the boat. Should they finally cave and do a release they'll get sales but nothing like they could have realized just a few years back and certainly not the fortune they imagine.
 

The Drifter

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Good points, everyone. I remember the days I would check the website tvshowsondvd.com on a daily basis in order to see what older (and newer) TV shows were being released to DVD. However, I stopped doing that years ago - right around the time I started streaming.

I'm still amazed at the sheer amount of both old & new TV shows that have hit DVD/Blu over the years, especially the more obscure series.

These days, there are only a handful of shows that I would really like to see get a physical media release, i.e. Midnight Caller (being #1), and some others. I wouldn't be surprised if none of those on my wish list got released to physical media at this point - and, if not, so be it. There's always streaming.
 

Lecagr

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Lee
I am among the few hundred who purchased the complete series of Hank from Warner Archive. I also purchased The Jimmy Stewart Show complete series. My DVD set of Hank is on pressed discs, while The Jimmy Stewart Show set is DVD-R.

I would like to see My World And Welcome To It released on DVD as a complete series. There was talk for awhile that Please Don't Eat The Daisies would be released but nothing has happened which makes me wonder if maybe there's an elements issue.

After Shout Factory released Mary Hartman as a complete series, I was hoping they would follow up and release the complete series of Forever Fernwood, but it seems they aren't interested to do it. This is disappointing because I'd really like to see this series.

Overall, I would say that I agree the era of classic TV releases (1950's to 1970's) on DVD is winding down. There will probably be an occasional release of interest now and then, but the heyday is over.
 

Jeff Flugel

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The market is certainly on its last legs. I think it's possible we might still see a few more western (or sci-fi, if there are any left) series crop up before the well runs completely dry. Those two genres seem to sell the best. On the Warner Archive front, I'm somewhat surprised that we haven't seen Colt .45 released yet. I know it's not as famous as some of the other Warner westerns, but I would still think they could sell a decent amount of sets of that show. There may be music rights complications that I'm not aware of for that series...or perhaps WA was not happy with the sales achieved on titles like Bronco, Sugarfoot or Lawman - although they at least completed those, and I thank them for it.

Very interesting to read about the very low sales figures for Hank. While the lack of sales surely made Warner Archive less likely to release other similarly obscure shows, I wonder just how costly a proposition a rarely (never?) syndicated, one season show like Hank was to produce on DVD. I'm guessing (again, only guessing) that since most of Warner's TV series have been kept in pretty good condition, that little remastering was done (or probably needed) for Hank. Still, there would be various clearances, the limited pressed disc run, etc. - certainly not a money-making situation for Warner's, no matter how you slice it. It would be interesting some day to find out the sales figures for most of WA's classic TV series output, and what exact sales numbers were deemed a success.

I agree with the sentiment that we should be happy with all the great stuff that did make it out on DVD (and occasionally Blu-Ray). And for those of us who came to the TV-on-DVD collecting game late, like me, this is an ideal time to cherry-pick titles at frequently very low prices. I already own more than 200 series on disc and still have dozens that I want to pick up while they are still in print and the prices are still good. Luckily, good stuff is still being released at a decent rate in the U.K. through outfits like Network, Simply Media and others. In other words, my collecting days are far from over...but like Jack P and Howie, I'm trying to make a more concerted effort to get through all the stuff I already own. If I stopped buying DVDs today, I'd still have years worth of shows to work through.
 
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LouA

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We really are in the end game of TV DVD releases. They are just not selling anymore and the companies which do vintage releases are dwindling. Sony, Universal, MGM and Fox have long been out of that business. CBS seems to be committed to finishing Gunsmoke and maybe Bonanza but that seems to be about it. Their MOD does pop out the odd title every once in a while, such as the forthcoming Spencer's Pilots. I can't imagine their releases selling since they basically don't do any publicity on them. Shout Factory hasn't done much other than High Chaparral recently. MPI has been quiet. VEI still seems to be picking through CBS titles but at a much slower pace. Warner Archive has also pretty much stopped putting out pre-1980 shows with the exception of the recent Mr. Novak release.

Speaking of Warner, I heard a sales figure for the Hank release of a few years ago. I know I was thrilled to get it and I know several other people who bought it. We were among the few. The amount sold is in the very, very low three figures. I would think that likely scared Warner off from doing future obscure shows.
I bought and enjoyed Hank. But I agree that Tv on DVD is near the end of the road.
I think that some companies will continue to release the recent shows, although none are of any interest to me.
 

Purple Wig

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I guess the recent "Decoy" and upcoming "Public Defender" are among the only encouraging signs.....maybe a few more low overhead obscurities will trickle out. Not going to hold my breath for "Judd, For The Defense", "The Outsider", or "Bracken's World" though.
 

tlc38tlc38

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Luckily, most of all the shows I really want have already been released in full.

There are still a few that I wish would come out before it’s too late:

The Beverly Hillbilles (remaining seasons)
Petticoat Junction (remaining seasons)
Amen (complete series)
 

Tom.W

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I guess the recent "Decoy" and upcoming "Public Defender" are among the only encouraging signs.....maybe a few more low overhead obscurities will trickle out. Not going to hold my breath for "Judd, For The Defense", "The Outsider", or "Bracken's World" though.

Also thankful that both seasons of How to Marry a Millionaire were released as well as Blondie, in nice quality. I'm holding out hope that Public Defender does well enough to encourage Classic Flix to continue with vintage tv releases.

I agree though about taking time to watch what we have. I have many Gunsmokes waiting, just working through the first season of Loretta Young 100th anniversary set. The blu ray releases of the 4th and 5th seasons Avengers has rekindled my interest. Brenner has been sitting on my shelf for years.
 

Purple Wig

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Also thankful that both seasons of How to Marry a Millionaire were released as well as Blondie, in nice quality. I'm holding out hope that Public Defender does well enough to encourage Classic Flix to continue with vintage tv releases.

I agree though about taking time to watch what we have. I have many Gunsmokes waiting, just working through the first season of Loretta Young 100th anniversary set. The blu ray releases of the 4th and 5th seasons Avengers has rekindled my interest. Brenner has been sitting on my shelf for years.

No wonder I never see him around anymore! Tell him to drop by sometime. :)

I've actually been meaning to check out Brenner for some time. Noticed a used copy recently, may go back for it soon.
 

Flashgear

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I of course agree with just about everything said here thus far...newly released vintage TV on DVD is a scarce commodity these days, especially the B+W variety, which for me is the most desirable. But a few choice releases continue to pop up irregularly, thankfully.

A persistent irritant for us is that television, even the most prestigious, ambitious and acclaimed series, have always been regarded as the unloved and lesser stepchild to the movies. Indeed, right now represents a new golden age in first time HD releases on Blu of classic feature films...Criterion, Warner Archive, Kino-Lorber, ClassicFlix and Twilight Time are putting out highly desirable classics at a clip far faster than I can afford to buy them. Olive seems to be in decline, but has also released a huge back catalog of great stuff. The golden age and vintage movies are coming out with first time remastered and restored HD transfers on BD at a surprising rate these days...physical media in that "Boutique" market realm is alive and kicking!

The contrast with the vintage TV releases market is stark...Warner Archive has been discussed to death (please finish Mr. Novak),...ClassicFlix is valiant in a very limited way with It's About Time and Blondie with Public Defender in the works, Olive has given us Hooperman and Flipper on Blu...KL has given us Coronet Blue and Outer Limits on Blu, and to quote the KL insider about possible future vintage TV releases, "We have to be very careful"...Criterion and Twilight Time have never released any series TV and aren't likely to start. The admirable Shout Factory continues to give us the odd desirable release. I will always be extremely grateful for S1 of The Defenders...Allied Vaughn gave us Movin' On...Film Chest might have Wire Service in the works (thank you for Decoy!)...perhaps a few other PD stuff like My Little Margie and the odd surprise from the inscrutable CBS MOD...the Mill Creek (Robin Hood) and MPI (Donna Reed Show) re-releases give some people a chance to pick up stuff they missed the first time around...bleak compared to 2004 to 2007 when it seemed a great old series came out every week. Damn that 2008 recession!

Thanks to CBS for Gunsmoke season 14 and the upcoming Bonanza season 9...

I will admit it would be nice for Warner Archive to put out S2 of "Eleventh Hour" and just let me see the end of that "Dr. Kildare" episode that crossed over with it! :D
I hope so too Jack...although I found Season one of Eleventh Hour to be a very mixed bag and a hard slog at times...but the truly brilliant episodes were something to behold...I want season two for that Dr. Kildare crossover finale too...but also for the Beverly Garland and Kathryn Hays episode What Did She Mean by Good Luck? (Nov. 13, 1963), a highly controversial (for 1963) episode with two of my favorite TV guest stars...here is a publicity photo for that episode...
53450779_1936863829756561_5004304488081653760_n.jpg
 
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Sky King

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My TV show collection consists mainly of shows from the 50's and 60's.
I also have a few shows from the 70's through the 90's.
With a few exceptions, most newer shows are not interesting to me and lack substance.
I regret that my HOLY GRAIL, Ben Casey was never released. CBS missed the boat here and their lame "music rights issue" was just an excuse to not pursue a DVD release.
 
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John*Wells

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For a long while now, I have been checking daily for news on Mayberry RFD season 2 and Perfect Strangers Season 7-8. Usually, I Check by using Google then I Search Warner archive's website, Amazon, and Warner Archive's Twitter page. I Tweeted Warner a few months ago and they said there was no information to release. Is there any place else I should be looking ?
 

HenryDuBrow

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If archive shows like WAC's output is made-on-demand titles, surely they don't need to press a whole bunch at first but rather as the orders come in, I thought that's the whole idea behind the MOD service.
 

bmasters9

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Luckily, most of all the shows I really want have already been released in full.

There are still a few that I wish would come out before it’s too late:

The Beverly Hillbilles (remaining seasons)
Petticoat Junction (remaining seasons)
Amen (complete series)

And as I said on that recent VEI thread, The Cavanaughs!
 

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