It seems like everything is available on DVD. I mean, when Bill Cosby’s Leonard Part 6 has an official DVD release, it can be hard imagine that anything has failed to make the jump. But that wouldn’t be true. There are scores of movies, TV series and cartoon – or, as is often the case, parts of TV shows and cartoons – that aren’t available… and it’s pissing us off. Here are a few of the worst offenders.
1) Star Wars: Non-Special Editions
Might as well get the obvious ones out of the way, right? We’re still waiting for George Lucas’ pre-CG vision to come to DVD, and don’t give me any crap about the non-anamorphic widescreen versions that were put out a few years ago, because those were essentially just VHS cassettes on a disc. Someone who has devoted as much of his life to making movies look and sound better with ILM and THX should be ashamed. Here’s hoping now that Lucas has stepped down, someone at Disney decides they’d like to make a quick bajillion dollars and finally approves ‘em.
2) Batman: The ‘60s Series
The only property that comes close to the frothing demand of the non-special editions is, of course, the 1960s Batman TV series. Fox owns the show, but DC owns the characters, and somehow the two companies have never managed to figure out a way to make a lot of money together by releasing them. Probably because it’s not nearly as simple as getting the two media giants to agree to a deal; I’m sure they’d love to release the show, but they’d have to deal with all the other rights holders – the cast, the crew, the composer, the guy who designed the Batmobile, the guest star villains, the guest star cameos, that time Col. Klink from Hogan’s Heroes showed up – all of which would get a piece of the pie, because no one could even conceive of a home video market back when the original contracts were drawn up. It’s a legal nightmare, and one I’m sure Fox and DC wish would be solved at least as much as we do.
3) Kill Bill: The Whole Bloody Affair
It took eight years for Pulp Fiction to get an extras-laden special edition DVD, despite DVD not existing for a significant portion of that time. It’s been eight years since Kill Bill Part 1 and 2 came out, and we’re still stuck with bare bones DVDs and Blu-ray. Quentin Tarantino has assured us there’s an awesome special edition on the way, with the movie reedited into one, giant masterpiece with new scenes and an additional 7-minute anime sequence. This version has existed since 2006, when Tarantino showed it off at Cannes. I seriously have been not purchasing the shitty individual Kill Bill DVDs for eight years waiting for this goddamn thing. Was Death Proof really so important that Tarantino couldn’t take a couple of weeks off to finally approve this thing?
4) Generation X
Honestly, I have no idea why this 1996 TV movie based on the Marvel comic isn’t available on DVD yet. Marvel and Fox get along fine, it was made late enough in the game that I’m sure home video rights were settled, things based on comic books are doing pretty well nowadays, and there’s no way it’s worse than X-Men Origins: Wolverine. So what’s the hold up? Hell, current X-Men movie continuity is so fucked up Fox and Marvel could pretend this is even part of it. Admittedly, I doubt to many people are losing sleep over the lack of Generation X on DVD, but its bizarre, needless omission is kind of annoying.
5) The Muppet Show Seasons 4 and 5
Disney has released DVD sets of The Muppet Show seasons 1-3, but not seasons 4 or 5. This would be less frustrating if 1) Season 3 hadn’t come out in 2008, 2) Disney hadn’t told people Season 4 was coming out in 2010 and 3) Season 4 didn’t include the Star Wars episode. Disney hasn’t said a word about what the hell is happening or why it’s taking so long, despite an earnest plea from the star of its own recent Muppets movie, begging for this set. Is there some kind of rights issue holding things up? I mean, Disney owns the Muppets and Star Wars at this point, so what’s the problem? Is former guest-star Jonathan Winters being an asshole or something?
6) The Tick Season 3
I own seasons one and two of the brilliant, bizarre Tick cartoon series on DVD. The only reason I don’t own season 3 on DVD is because it doesn’t legally exist. For some reason Disney – you’re going to see that name in this article a lot from the point on – released seasons 1 and 2 back in 2006 and 2007, and then… nothing. Other than me gnashing my teeth in rage at this gaping hole in my collection. Disney clearly doesn’t understand that for nerds, having part of a collection is actually sometimes worse than having none. I had no Tick cartoon DVDs, I’d be annoyed but I probably wouldn’t think about it that much. But having seasons 1 and 2 means every time I look at my DVD collection I see that metaphorical hole that may never be filled. It’s incomplete. It makes me incomplete. And speaking of…
The Tick is not the only cartoon Disney has dicked over in this way. If you’re a fan of Gargoyles – and many people are – you bought Season 2: Vol. 1 back in 2005, and since then you’ve been plotting the death of various employees in Disney’s Home Video department. But there’s more! Darkwing Duck‘s third season has never been released, nor has DuckTales season 4, TaleSpin season 3, Chip & Dale’s Rescue Rangers season 3, and probably more. Now, the reason Disney stopped these releases is almost certainly because they were profitable enough, which is understandable. But give the nostalgia for all these things, I am 99% certain every single one of these series was at least a little profitable – just not profitable enough for a company as big as Disney. Disney execs don’t even have time for any projects that are going to earn them less than $10 million, which I am certain Darkwing Duck Season 3 would not make. And thus every single fan of these cartoons are screwed.
8) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Season 7
The 2003 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon has had the first six seasons available on DVD, but not season 7 (subtitled Back to the Sewer). Given how pissed I am at owning 66% of The Tick, I imagine owning 86% of this series must be agony for TMNT fans. At this one isn’t Disney’s fault; Nickelodeon owns the TMNT license.
9) X-Men: Evolution Season 4
Since Fox had the home video rights to this cartoon – I don’t know if they still do, or if the deal expired – maybe it’s a little trickier to release now that Disney owns Marvel. But at least all the episodes are available on Netflix. If only Disney were so kind/could be persuaded to give a shit and do the same with its cartoons.
Obviously, this list isn’t even close to exhaustive, but these are the non-existent DVDs that are causing us the most collective pain. But make sure to add the biggest gaps in your collection in the comments!