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Red Right Hand: IMPORT TV
*He is not a secret agent. Not at all.



I spent a good chunk of Thanksgiving watching non-American television (and I started a new spec script). I watched some of the 2004 version of Canada's Murdoch Mysteries, a season of Spooks, commentaries on the second half of series four of Doctor Who and the first two hours of The Survivors, a remake of a Terry Nation series I have no interest in tracking down and watching. I'll maybe do a post on it later. For now, I'm going to talk about DVDs.

If you're a Spooks fan (or MI-5 as its known in the States) or, in fact, a fan of any BBC shows and you live in Region 1, either get a region free player or learn how to hack your current player (google it, it's not hard). Not just so you can get series not available here, but because in many cases, of the series that are available here, it's actually significantly less expensive to order the R2 version and pay for shipping than to buy an R1 version domestically, even on sale.

This is because Warner Home Video distributes BBC series stateside and WHV appears to have a certain philosophy regarding cult series. Charge the fuck out of it and rape the existing fans for it. This strikes me as very limiting. It precludes getting people to try it out, giving the product a decent and profitable shelf like. Fox doesn't do this. Firefly is an excellent example. It's was priced the same as any popular series, inexpensively. And when the faithful converted the unwashed (pun intended..think about it), those new fans went out and got their own set. One of the difficulties I face in trying to get people to visit the Doctor is the cost. It's priced to not make new fans. Especially irritating for a series that is still in production and airs here with only a slight delay after UK transmission. Even if I get them to watch some, they're not going to drop 70 bones and the disks where they might drop half that.

Even Acorn, which isn't even a proper video company (its does home accents and what-not), handles lots of British and Canadian TV with limited U.S. awareness or smaller followings and they still price very reasonably.

In the end, I think the dollar numbers would probably wash out the same, but you'd move a lot more units and there would be less need for distributor and retailers to occasionally have to strike prices on older sets, like La Femme Nikita, by up to 60% just to get some stock out.

I know a lit of people who would have bough Brisco County Jr when it came out, including myself, but the price tag was a hurdle all but one of us was interested in jumping. Even with a discount, it's 76 bucks for one slightly fat season. One sale made out of a potential five in my particular example. And that, by the way, is all people who knew the show. People who don't, who are just interested by the concept or by Bruce, they're not going near that price point for an unknown quantity.

In closing, let me pint out my expertise in this subject by saying that I have no expertise in this subject...except my Nobel Prize in Economics. Wait, that's not me...that's President Bartlet from The West Wing...distributed by Warner Home Video.
©2024 Michael Patrick Sullivan
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