Thursday, February 13, 2014

This Week in DVD and Instant Watching EXTRA

Since yesterday's post went to press (I love saying stuff like that), I have come across some tidbits and news ITEMS that just couldn't wait till next week's column. Plus I have to write about this stuff before the winter weather drives me batty.

ITEM: The Wonder Years is finally coming to DVD later this year from Star Vista (formerly Time-Life, and it bothers me that it's not Time-Life anymore, but then again, heck, it bothers me not to see "Life Magazine" on the newsstand, and come to think of it, it bothers me not to see newsstands), with "virtually all music intact." Hacked-up versions have been streaming for a while, but it looks like one of the most requested TV on DVD releases ever is on the way.

So we get "Batman" and "The Wonder Years," long coveted but long thought unreleasable,  in the same calendar year. Can Cop Rock be far behind?

ITEM: A few weeks ago, I mentioned "Family Matters" season 4 was out. Now comes trouble in paradise, as the episodes were all syndicated versions with scenes removed! How does this happen in 2014? This passage from TV Shows on DVD struck me, though:

A week ago yesterday, Warner Home Video released Family Matters - The Complete 4th Season on DVD into stores. And fans immediately began complaining about the episodes in this set

Yes, I'd love to make a joke about fans complaining about "Family Matters" episodes, but even the crappy shows deserve quality DVD releases. Therefore I will make no remarks about how the last thing fans should be complaining about is that there is LESS of the show to endure in any single sitting.

ITEM: Warner Archive releases Marine Boy Volume 2 and Free and Easy with Buster Keaton. The interesting thing about the Keaton picture is that it includes the Spanish-language version shot at the same time with a Spanish-speaking cast alongside Buster. It's an interesting treat for fans and another indication of the creativity and dedication of the folks running the Warner Archive.

ITEM: Hulu Plus expands library deal with CBS, will add more old-school TV to its roster. I am quite pleased to see news like this because it sometimes seems like all the acquisition dollars are thrown at new series like "Elementary" and "Blue Bloods," when there are tons of classic shows not being seen anywhere, not even in this era of rerun-heavy digital subchannels like ME-TV.

Specific titles mentioned in news coverage of the deal include "The Brady Bunch" (I love watching this with my kids), Taxi (an all-time great), and "Happy Days" (hasn't held up as well as I hoped, but I'd still to be able to cherry pick individual episodes and see them on demand).

But here's the thing, Hulu: We want all seasons of these shows, not just the "first 3 seasons" junk you pull with many of the oldies you license, like the MTM programs.

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