DVD Roundup

Yes, like the proverbial dormouse, I have woken up and am ready for action. Unfortunately, this means a long and boring news story, on stuff that you all already know about anyway. Sorry about that.

TEH DWARD: Firstly, Amazon have The Bodysnatcher Collection for £21.97 – a frankly absurd price for such a great DVD, and well worth buying if you had objections to the cost before. Meanwhile, HMV have the individual 1-VIII releases (along with Just The Smegs) for a patently ridiculous £5.99 each. They really weren’t kidding, were they?

SPITTING IMAGE: After banging on about wanting it for years, I can’t believe I haven’t actually talked about this yet – SERIES 1 OF SPITTING IMAGE IS OUT NOW. I’m determined to review this one for once, so stay tuned for that – in 2034 – but despite the lack of extras, it’s brilliant that something like this can get a release; I never thought it’d actually happen. It looks like Series 2 is due on the 23rd June – although as usual, that date could change. Anyone want to place bets on how many out of the 18 series they’ll get to before calling it a day? Mind you, with amazing stuff like this going on, maybe they will release all of them…

JOKING APART: The other big release at the moment – at least in my world – is the release of Series 2 of Joking Apart, which is out now. We all know the story of how fan of the show, Craig Robins, set up his own company and made the first series release happen by himself – but as time passed, I was getting worried that it just hadn’t worked out for him, and Series 2 would remain unreleased, so this is great news. I loved the first series – both the actual programme and the release itself – and the second series release seems to have taken my entire review to heart (although I’m sure he was going to do it all anyway…), with commentaries across all six episodes, and the original pilot included. Check out Replay’s website for further details – including a fascinating article on restoration, and a wonderful behind-the-scenes piece for the Series 2 DVD. And the news that there are three more releases currently being negotiated is bloody excellent – who could read this and not find it heartwarming?

(Incidentally, Craig Robins got in touch with me to tell me that my wish for a Colin’s Sandwich release might be granted – but not by Replay. Apparently, the show was already on his list of things to look at before my NTS review, but 2 | entertain said that they had plans to release it themselves. Which is great news, although – unless Adam Tandy gets involved – I doubt the release will be anything like as good as Replay would have managed. It comes to something when a small outfit like Replay can shame a company like 2 | entertain…)

M.I. HIGH: In mad binman-baiting-freak news, the first half of M.I. High Series 1 was released in January, with the the second half due at the end of this month. The show has been recommissioned for a third series, and at some point before the next Ice Age, I might actually get round to watching an episode.

CHRIS BARRIE STUFF: The horror series When Evil Calls, originally released for mobiles, came out on DVD in January – but only in Region 1. It seems that a Region 2 release is planned, but it’s not listed in any of the online shops as of yet. In other Chris news, Brittas was apparently re-released last year (PDF) at a lower price – and Amazon now have it for a shade under £30, which is a stupid price for 36 excellent episodes of comedy, and 16 acceptable ones (one of which at least has an excellent sequence involving a load of kids being graphically electrocuted, which will bump the score up of any sitcom). FINAL CHRIS BARRIE THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: whilst Massive Engines and Massive Machines have both been released by Eureka, Massive Speed is nowhere to be seen. Did the first two series just not sell enough?

STARHYKE: This was due out on DVD late last year, but information about the release seems to have disappeared from the official site (which has a nasty habit of crashing my browser, Camino) – to be replaced with hints that a broadcaster may finally be buying the show to air in the Spring. We’ll see, although with six episodes shot, surely it has to come out at some point…

And that’s the weather – *points* – for now.

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26 Responses to DVD Roundup

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  1. >Amazon have The Bodysnatcher Collection for ?21.97

    Shit! And I just bought a bunch of internet-sale-only Pete Townshend CDs. Hmm. Maybe I can afford ONE more media purchase this weekend…

  2. Why is everything all italicised?

  3. …………………………’get yerself to HMV while they still have the ‘Hammer Horror box set’ for 40 notes, they say it was reduced from ‘?120’ but i think thats a porky pie!.

    still…a great buy, lots of cleavage and fake blood!.

  4. > TEH DWARD: Firstly, Amazon have The Bodysnatcher Collection for ?21.97 – a frankly absurd price for such a great DVD, and well worth buying if you had objections to the cost before.

    See, I would do, but I’ve been burned twice with Amazon recently (a keyboard took two weeks over the delivery estimate to arrive, and something else took a full week), and I’m loathe to risk a third time…

  5. Play.com has got the individual I-VIII releases for ?6.99, the Bodysnacter hasn’t had much taken off and is ?39.99, but the t-shirts on the other hand are down to ?9.99…make me wonder why I brought my t-shirts at the Play.com live thing. *sigh*

  6. G&T Admin

    Why is everything all italicised?

    Is it fixed now?

    This is the problem with Firefox/Camino – it fixes all my mistakes, so I don’t see if I’ve forgotten to close a tag…

  7. See, I would do, but I?ve been burned twice with Amazon recently (a keyboard took two weeks over the delivery estimate to arrive, and something else took a full week), and I?m loathe to risk a third time?

    I recently ordered this from Amazon and it came very promptly and in good condition. By that I mean I ordered one night and a couple of days later it was on my step.

    Not arguing your bad experiences with them, but I think if you order Bodysnatcher from them you won’t be disappointed.

    I might have just gotten lucky of course…

  8. G&T Admin

    I must admit, I’ve never had any problems with Amazon either. But I can understand why a few bad experiences would put you off.

  9. > I must admit, I?ve never had any problems with Amazon either.

    Ditto.

    > But I can understand why a few bad experiences would put you off.

    Ditto.

    My experiences with Amazon have been excellent. Even in sorting out a refund when I bought from one of their Marketplace guys who never delivered. Everything’s arrived on-time, in-tact. Runs of bad luck happen (I have a friend who won’t use them again after just such a run), but 90% of my online DV/book shopping is done with them.

  10. Re: The Massive Series, I’ve got them on My V= box At the moment, but would be happy to Buy The DVDs if the had some nice shiny extras, I was considering them when they were recently reduced, but I’m kinda hoping that they will release a nice shiny Triple set. That I’d Buy.

    That’s my answer.

    It’s interesting to me the point’s you make about The Spitting image DVD and the resent Indy ‘Joking apart’
    I tend to be a bit of a DVD/features Snob. If 2|Entertain/the restoration team can find 44 year old footage to put on to the Doctor Who DVDs then there is no excuse to not have a few extras on a more resent production.

    Just my 2pence.

    :)

    Phe

  11. G&T Admin

    Re: The Massive Series, I?ve got them on My V= box At the moment, but would be happy to Buy The DVDs if the had some nice shiny extras, I was considering them when they were recently reduced, but I?m kinda hoping that they will release a nice shiny Triple set. That I?d Buy.

    I must admit… the lack of extras didn’t really bother me on those two releases – because they’re factual, rather than fiction. And I’m just not as interested in extras on factual documentaries. That’s not to say that it wouldn’t have been nice… but it doesn’t bother me nearly as much.

    It?s interesting to me the point?s you make about The Spitting image DVD and the resent Indy ?Joking apart?
    I tend to be a bit of a DVD/features Snob. If 2|Entertain/the restoration team can find 44 year old footage to put on to the Doctor Who DVDs then there is no excuse to not have a few extras on a more resent production.

    The thing with extras is that it always needs someone to say “Hang on a minute, why don’t we put *this* on?”

    With the Dwarf DVDs, GNP do that. With Joking Apart, they guy’s a fan, and also seems to greatly care about telly – so he’ll do it. With Doctor Who, they’ve got a whole Restoration Team, who look after the show – you can guarantee that if they weren’t around, 2 entertain would be sticking out bog standard releases of Who, much as they wanted to do with Red Dwarf originally. 2 entertain, unless they’re prodded by other people, are bloody awful at bonus content – they’ve released so many clsssic sitcoms that deserve to have more attention given to them with absolutely nothing extra. Which is shameful. If Steptoe and Son can’t get a proper release, they’re doing something wrong.

    At Network, it’s an odd mix – some releases have wonderful extras (the new Prisoner release is amazing) – but some releases have nothing extra at all. It’s perhaps more understandable with Network – they’re a smaller company, and Spitting Image isn’t going to do huge numbers – but when one person manages to do so much on the Joking Apart release, it’s annoying. But I suppose the counter-argument to that would be that if Network spent the time and money creating extras for *every* release they do, then they wouldn’t be able to do as many releases as they have – and to be fair to them, they’ve single-handedly put out great swathes of vintage telly out on DVD, that otherwise wouldn’t see the light of day. You have to commend them for that.

    Having said all of that, the lack of extras is still a huge shame – if they’d included one or both of the original pilots on the Spitting Image release, and a few commentaries, that would have been excellent. Let’s just hope it sells well enough that they get a chance to put some extras on later releases – it would be a shame for such an important series to go completely without.

  12. > 2 entertain, unless they?re prodded by other people, are bloody awful at bonus content

    There’s no denying that an overseeing interest makes all the difference. Dwarf, Little Britain, Who…

    But a lot of that has to do with ‘the system’. There’s a lot of back and forth, and generally a yield only happens when the projected sales are good. (Hence Dwarf’s small-scale start.) So small-scale releases will have a hard time no matter who’s doing them.

    Joking Apart wins a lot of points because of its nature – I doubt anyone wanted paying for the commentaries, for example. People go the extra mile when Replay are already risking everything to release the thing at all.

    Also, I suspect the overheads are wonderfully low compared to a mainstream release – cleaning the masters alone, my God! But those masters were polished with LOVE, y’see.

    There’s no definitive proof that extras equal extra sales – though I think the Dwarf releases could make a compelling argument – and when a company has to answer to shareholders, it’s easy to see how a release that breaks even and covers staff salaries (as JA likely does) is considered unacceptable compared to one than went out vanilla, but hit actual profit much sooner.

    The Fast Show and Father Ted DVDs are interesting. How do 2e detractors feel about those? My own feeling is that they picked up some hints from the Dwarf discs – but I’m incredibly biased. They still rely mostly on the easy to amke, and bought-in, content, but they’re surely a step in a good direction.

  13. Oh, yeah, Not having extras on a factual DVD is fine, but as I said, I have a copy of the eps already, Features would have made me buy the DVD.

    Had I not had a copy of them any other way, well then yes I probs would have bought them by now, or maybe I’d still be hoping for a triple set.

    *Shrugs*

    ~

    I’m confused, did we just agree, or not? o_0

    Yes, having some Classic TV that may never have seen release is a good thing, and they will always have an audience, but if ‘One-bloke-in-his-shed’ can find some added value then why not a larger company.

    Replay are proof that if, within one team you assign one individual to a release and say; “See what you can find” that person should be able to find something.

    I’ll Most likely get the next series of S.I. As I Did buy S1, I just think features are fun.

    :D

    Phe

  14. G&T Admin

    I?m confused, did we just agree, or not? o_0

    I think we half-agree! I’m just saying that I think the situation is a bit more complicated than you make out.

    Yes, having some Classic TV that may never have seen release is a good thing, and they will always have an audience, but if ?One-bloke-in-his-shed? can find some added value then why not a larger company.

    Replay are proof that if, within one team you assign one individual to a release and say; ?See what you can find? that person should be able to find something.

    The thing is, the Replay guy didn’t “find” this added value. He *created* it – and not only that, but worked on creating the extras for free. Which is easy for him to do, as he’s an ex-BBC videotape engineer. I know I would work for free for Network to help them create extras – but I wouldn’t actually be able to create extras for them. That’s a skilled job, and not many people will do it for free.

    I generally agree that Network should create more extras for releases. But I also think they would find it difficult to keep their current release rate (after all, you’ve read on the Replay site what problems Craig Robins had getting the package together) and a lot of shows might not have got a release otherwise – including Spitting Image. That’s not to say I completely agree with the release being put out extrasless – I *really* think they should have dug out at least one of the pilots, if they’re clearable (which they may not be!) – just that I can understand the reasoning behind it.

  15. > (the new Prisoner release is amazing)

    Didn’t even know there was a new release! And it’s only $100 American. Come on, payday!

  16. > Replay are proof that if, within one team you assign one individual to a release and say; ?See what you can find? that person should be able to find something.

    Not exactly. Like I said, it only works if that person is overwhelmed with love for the show and willing to lay his own financial security on the line.

    And they already have a strong grasp of the technical requirements. Craig Robins is the DVD equivalent of Robert Rodriguez, and his type are few in number.

  17. John, Andrew I see your points.

    I have to be honest I did not read all the info on the Replay sight and was unaware of Craig Robins Professional background.

    As I said above I’m a bit of a features Whore and when I see one release loaded with features next to one with nothing, it makes me a bit sad.

    I could say something about the latest Harry Potter release standard vs HD but that is a whole other can of worms.

    Peace.

    Phe

  18. G&T Admin

    Me and a friend were seriously considering the possibility of buying the rights to, and releasing “is It Bill Bailey?” on DVD with some extras.

    Obviously that idea died very quickly, but still, I wish they would release that on DVD it’s such a waste. Edgar Wright, bless.

  19. >lots of cleavage and fake blood!.

    DVD extras have come a long way

  20. Frankly, the Dwarf part is just depressing. I hate offers when you already own the product.

  21. G&T Admin

    I tend to think that selling the Dwarf DVDs for ?5.99 devalues the product. The KFC I had today cost more than that (admittedly, because I’m a GREEDY FAT CUNT). They’re worth more than that at this point, especially the later releases.

    But what do I know? It’s clearly making money for the right people – and DVDs *are* relatively cheap to actually produce. And it’s more of a philisophical issue than a practical one – I’m always snapping up stupidly-cheap DVDs, and very grateful I am for them too.

  22. Yeah, that’s the thing – the DVD market is flooded, and everyone’s snapping up cheap discs. The third Bourne film was available ON RELEASE at under a tenner; when that’s going on, well, it’s a very different market from the one we started in.

    For Series I, released in 2002, to only now be down to ?5.99 (in one store, and only for a limited period) shows how well it was able to keep selling at the regular price. Which bodes well for the franchise.

    Sure, the more recent series could be said not to have lasted so long, but it’s absolutely incremental – when we started the DVD project in Spring ’02 we were JUST at the point where ‘everyone’ had a DVD player. (I’d had mine for about 18 months, I think.) The market was still growing as we went along, and peaked just as we were coming to VII and VIII.

    In truth, you have to see the fact that the Dwarf DVDs held their value so long as immensely encouraging. Only Disney manage better, really, than some of the BBC releases.

  23. Well, ?6 might be new, but they’ve been down to a tenner in most places I’ve seen for a while now.

    And I think there’s a degree of “correction” about it – in 2002-ish, vanilla DVDs cost about twice as much as a VHS of the same item did (a level which had been maintained for a while, even pre-DVD). Now, with VHS effectively gone, DVDs have been pulled down to the sort of level VHSes were at. And don’t more people have DVD players than ever had VHS machines?

  24. > Well, ?6 might be new, but they?ve been down to a tenner in most places I?ve seen for a while now.

    Depends on the store – it’s about half and half. But that drop usually happens within 6 or 8 months of release. Red Dwarf lasted a lot longer.

    > in 2002-ish, vanilla DVDs cost about twice as much as a VHS of the same item did

    Not quite half – but yeah, emergent technology has to start at a higher unit price (as VHS did), while VHS cost had stayed low despite inflation thanks to its popularity. It’s not so much a correction – which implies that there’s a ‘right’ price for a thing, as opposed to just a relative value at any given time – as a constant adjustment.

    > Now, with VHS effectively gone, DVDs have been pulled down to the sort of level VHSes were at.

    But in terms of percentage of income, the same number isn’t the same VALUE. ?10-?15 now isn’t what that price was in the late 90s when VHS was around a tenner. Respectively, DVDs are far cheaper than VHS, which is why more people have dozens of DVDs than ever would have had more than a few VHS tapes.

  25. Finally gave in on Bodysnatcher when a “PlayTrader” (Play.com Marketplace, basically) had it for ?18.50 yesterday.

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