Shoppin' Around

I wrote the other day about the many shows that are incomplete on DVD and have no prospect of being completed by the studio that owns them. Gord Lacey at TV Shows on DVD has an encouraging if vague post about this issue, where he says that some studios are finally waking up to what some of us have been saying for years: if they don’t want to finish a series, someone else might.

Yes, I’m here to tell you there’s hope for your favorite “stalled” series! We (meaning Dave and I at TVShowsOnDVD.com) have been told a number of the larger studios have been shopping around their catalog of shows, including some of the “stalled” shows. The major studios are recognizing they have properties that are still desired, even when they can’t fiscally justify releasing the sets themselves. They’ve now “seen the light,” and are willing to license shows to the independents

He is unable to say which shows have been shopped around to which independent labels, and I have no idea which ones he means (I hope Fox would license out some of its ten billion incomplete series, but I don’t know if they will or won’t), but he does have an item today saying that Universal has licensed Adam-12 — aka “Dragnet in uniform” — to Shout! Factory: Universal released the first season and then stopped, and Shout! will take over with the second season. Let’s hope this is the start of a trend.

If this does become a trend, it would be a new and very welcome development. Studios have licensed out their titles to independent companies before, or, more specifically, every studio except Warner Brothers. But when they license out shows, it’s almost always a show that the studio has never been released on DVD at all, like when Fox licensed Titus, Doogie Howser M.D. and Profit to Anchor Bay. Once the studio releases even one season of a show, there’s a presumption that they are the only studio that can or should release the rest of the series, even if there’s absolutely no possibility of their doing so. But when you think about it, licensing out “stalled” series may actually be better for everybody. The studio gets some goodwill by licensing out the titles they can’t or won’t release. The independent companies get well-known shows that may be more valuable to them, even in their second or third seasons, than the first season of an obscure show. And fans finally get to finish their collections, or at least get closer to finishing.

Or they could just be raising our hopes only to crush them again. There’s always that possibility.

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