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Wednesday, September 07, 2005
TV on DVD
In case you've been stuck on a tropical desert island, cut off from the outside world and haven't heard the news, the first season of Lost arrived yesterday on DVD. Which I admit it, I love this show and the thought of the nearly naked Kate scene from the pilot in digital clarity does make my heart skip a beat...but that's not the only reason to watch this show or why I picked up the box set yesterday (along with the latest Doctor Who DVD releases)

Now, I've posted before about my obsessive love of TV on DVD. And I don't think it's any real shock here that I'm a complete TV addict (if you're just figuring it out, Hi, I'm Michael...welcome to my blog.)

Yesterday, USA Today had an interesting article about the proliferation of TV shows to DVD. And it was intersting to read about the selling points of TV on DVD. For some people, it's a chance to catch up on a show you may have missed--such as I know Barry is doing with the first couple of years of The West Wing or Becky did with Smallville. Or for a show like Lost, it's a chance for those of us who are insanely obsessed with this show to watch it again and look for clues and foreshadowing (another great one for this is Babylon Five which I would say you need to watch through at least twice...once to catch the unfolding story and the other to see how it was all foreshadowed and laid out).

Now, I've read a lot of posters talk about how they don't watch such and such show when it's on the air, instead preferring to wait for the eventual DVD release. I've actually heard that season three of Alias plays a lot better without two week hiatuses between each episode, a theory I've not tested myself. And certainly releasing some shows on DVD can only help them or allow fans to see them again or discover lost gems (such as Sledge Hammer or another set I'm watching through Undeclared). And there is something very cool (at least to me the obsessive completist fan) about having a full run of your favorite show in an nice neat package that looks good displayed on the shelf (for example, I bought my original DVD player so I could collect all of classic Star Trek on DVD since the episodes are now just butchered in syndication on SciFi. And it's also why I want the complete run of Seinfeld on DVD since we lose about two minutes per episode to expanded commerical breaks...argh!)

But in thinking about my viewing of Lost, I have to admit part of the fun, for me, was the watercooler (or in this case blog-sphere) aspect of the show. Part of it was the fun of tuning in each week and trying to figure out what was going on and then having to wait to find out. It was kind of intersting to speculate with friends and fellow fans as to just what might happen next. I think back to the summer of 1990 when the greatest cliffhanger ever in the history of television aired with three little words..."Mr. Worf, fire!" And how much buzz and anticipation I felt in looking forward to seeing just how it would all come out. I used to joke with people that when the episodes of TNG went into daily syndication that people who'd never seen "Best of Both Worlds" should be made to wait four months between episodes just to endure the suffering I did in wondering how it would all come out.

But I just wonder about the different ways people experience certain shows. Certainly I think some serialized stuff plays out better if you can watch it in a relatively confined time frame (such as running all of 24 without interruption). And it can be fun to have the entire arc or story of a season all there and easily played out. Or if you get hooked on a show, there's not the waiting for hiatuses or repeats, etc. And I do admit that DVD is a great way to get caught up on shows that have a long-term storyline. (I remember having to buy releases of The X-Files back in the day on VHS that only included certain "critical" episodes to the storylines and would neglect some of the other, good stand-alone stories). And it does help if you come in late and want to catch up quickly--not having to wait for repeats or syndication to catch up on certain pivotal epiosdes.

And certainly everyone has their own way they want to do the TV on DVD thing. For me, I like having the box sets of shows I like so if I want to, I can pop in a favorite episode or catch an episode that I haven't seen for a while without having to wait for it to come up in repeats. Or I can have my own little marathon of my personal favorites. Also, I will admit in the case of Doctor Who, it's one of those things used from time to time to escape reality for a few minutes. I can remember on September 11th, sitting there just numb from the unrelented coverage and popping in a VHS of an old Doctor Who story and just escaping the harsh reality of the world for 24 minutes. Eventually, I had to come back, but for those 24 minutes it was nice to get away. And I will also admit, it's kind of fun to catch up on shows I used to enjoy but aren't always repeated--such as The Greatest American Hero or Undeclared or Sledge Hammer.

And yes, I know...I'm a TV addict. But I don't think the DVD companies are exactly doing anything to help me here.

So, what about y'all? TV on DVD--good idea, bad idea? And which shows do you want to catch up on?

posted by Michael Hickerson at 9/07/2005 09:01:00 AM | |
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