Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Hey Never!

I had seen the announcement floating around a few sites that a new Larry Sanders DVD set would be coming out, but that it would be Not Just the Best of the Larry Sanders Show, a sampling of about a quarter of the episodes of this great, great series, rather than additional season sets (season one was available at some point, but I think it's now out of print). I was not at all pleased, cause I want the complete series available, and couldn't figure out why such a much-loved series hadn't gotten a real treatment on DVD.

Well, the fine folks at Aint It Cool News have pointed out the reason. Music clearance. Back in the pre-DVD days, when a tv show obtained the rights to use a song, they'd get rights for first run airings and syndication. Home video wasn't a significant market at all, so why pay extra? Now that they want to actually release them on DVD, they don't have the rights, and the music companies seem to hold them hostage. I seem to recall hearing that the Felicity DVDs had random other music inserted instead of the songs they used originally.

Swapping out different music is unfortunate but doable for most shows, but Larry Sanders featured live performances by artists featured in the plot. If you've got Tom Petty hanging around the set all episode then he goes out to perform and some Kenny Loggins song starts playing, that really wouldn't make much sense. And often the song would be part of the plot (like Beck sounding like he was making the song up as he went, or Warren Zevon hating to play "Werewolves of London"). So if you can't get the music rights, the show is wasted.

So I guess this is the best we'll get, barring another return to syndication (at least I think it used to be on Bravo, didn't it?). But there are a lot of great episodes in the set, and the extra features sound pretty interesting.

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