I Got a Right To Sing Something That Sounds Vaguely Like the Blues

I had that clip of music from Frank’s Place last week (Frank’s Place was to the ’80s what Freaks and Geeks was to the ’90s, a one-season flop that inspired “save our show” campaigns practically from the first episode onward), and this week there’s good news and bad news about the fate of that show on DVD:

No timetable is set, but star and co-creator Tim Reid said he has convinced CBS to allow him to release the show’s 22 episodes on DVD. However, purchasing rights to the music used in the series is still prohibitively costly..

Reid said his current plan is to “re-create the mood of the music, the original stuff” with a newly written score performed by musicians who can accurately render New Orleans music.

That does not sound promising at all, though it’s pretty much what you would expect when a show is owned by CBS/Paramount.

Speaking of Freaks and Geeks, the limited-edition “Yearbook Version” of Shout! Factory’s DVD set is being released to stores on November 25. I’ll have more on this later, but while the reissue is theoretically a celebration of F&G’s tenth anniversary, it’s really a celebration of the fifth anniversary of something just as important: the 2003 release of the F&G DVD. That may well be the most important TV-on-DVD release of all time; it not only put Shout! Factory on the map and helped make Judd Apatow famous (or, rather, the one-two punch of the F&G set coming out around the same time that he stumbled into a successful movie producing career with Anchorman), it transformed F&G from a cult show into a genuine classic, something that could have a broad influence on popular culture rather than just being admired by a small, loyal contingent of fans. Fairly early in the history of TV on DVD, Freaks and Geeks demonstrated that the DVD format could rewrite television history, turning flops into hits and vice versa (since many hit shows were bombing on DVD, while F&G or Family Guy flourished).

None of that would have happened, of course, if Shout! had not shelled out all that money to get the music for Freaks and Geeks. Which is why a DVD release of Frank’s Place with “re-created” music, while it might be better than nothing, is certainly not going to have that kind of impact.

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