Friday, September 09, 2005

Killing some time - TV on DVD

I'm killing some time at work, which officially for me is done for the day but I am going somewhere nearby so I am waiting a bit before heading out.

I have been watching a lot of old TV shows on DVD lately. In fact, I just picked up Charmed season 2 this week. So far I hit 2 shows I had not seen before. I am also in the process of watching, through NetFlix, Angel Season 4 and the entire Monty Python collection.

For me there are two main reasons I watch these shows. Either I missed the earlier seasons (such as I am doing with Charmed) or I really liked the show (such as Monty Python & Angel).

With this I have noticed a lot of difference in how different shows have been handled. With that in mind, here is my IDEAL way to handle TV shows on DVDS:

1) I want to be able to skip the opening theme song. I might listen to one a disc if I really like the song, but lets face it - if I am watching 22 episodes of a show in a short time frame I can do without the opening credit sequence that is the same for every show.

2) I want to skip the ending credits. This is particularly important when using Play All. I realize the crew deserves credit, but like with the opening theme I don't want to sit through the same thing over & over.

3) I want a play all. Those fancy animated menus wear thin after the second disc. Since most DVD players will start up where they were left off at when you turn them off, it is easy to pop in a disc, play all, and turn the player off when you are done and then pick up where you left off. See item 1 & 2 for further usefulness. Submenus are nice for commentary on episodes, but personally I like to play through all the episodes and then go back and pick up commentary.

4) Fill the damn discs. Farscape had 2 episodes per disc. When the first released the original Star Trek the discs mimiced the VHS release. Take advantage of the medium.

5) Balance the discs. I have gotten crammed discs and then a final disc with 1 or 2 episodes on it - not even bonus material. Buffy the Vampire Slayer & Angel do this well - disc 3 & 6 have 1 less episode but have the bonus material. Charmed Season one dumped the extras at the end, which is not bad either (the disc had 2 episodes).

6) Make it clear that these are the original, as aired episodes. As I understand the Rosanne set is the syndicated, and shorter, episodes. Keen Eddie did not ship with its original music. If we are shelling out money (and even more valuable, time), we should know what we are getting.

7) Give me an easy way to get to the episodes. Maybe a relatively recent development, but Charmed Season one came out in thin DVD cases, much like the thin CD cases. You got a cardboard box with 6 little cases. Season 2 took it even further with 3 thin cases (2 discs per case). Earlier series have this weird foldy thing going on which reduced the amount of shelf space but made it difficult to get to discs. When I wanted to get a disc from Angel or Buffy I have to lay the thing down and unfold it like a road map. Actually, I would like to suggest the use of the thin DVD case for all DVDs, not just in used in sets.

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