Saturday, August 24, 2013

That's a lot more than "a mere bag of shells"...

Remember when the initial hype for then-fledgling video formats Blu-Ray and HD-DVD included speculation about entire seasons of TV would be able to fit on a disc or two, thus making long runs of shows more feasible and affordable? Well, some years later, there is not a lot of TV on Blu-Ray, certainly not a lot of classic TV, and what we are finding is--surprise, surprise--the gimmick is in many ways just another way to get fans to buy what they already have, only this time at a higher price.

Case in point: My all-time favorite TV show, "The Honeymooners," is finally getting a Blu-Ray video release from Paramount this fall. This is not the Lost Episodes, mind you, but the 39 episodes from the single season Jackie Gleason did the classic as a stand-alone half-hour sitcom and not a sketch on his variety programs. The Classic 39 have been available on DVD for years, and the set is adequate, but it's not really remastered, nor is it loaded with extras.

So while I don't know if I NEED to "upgrade" a set I own now that I have a Blu-Ray player, well, if anything were to tempt me, this would be the thing. When I heard the news, I started thinking about possible archival footage that could be included. I began wondering how much better the show could look given a legitimate remastering. And it IS my favorite show. "Yeah..." I thought, "I might consider that."

Then I saw the pre-order price at a certain major online retailer: $75!

And that was with a 32% discount! The suggested retail price was well over 100 bucks for one season of 39 half-hour episodes. It IS an excellent show, but in the immortal words of Gorilla Monsoon, "Gimme a break."That is way too much unless it comes with a free bowling bag ball--I mean a bowling ball bag--a few cans of KranMar's mystery appetizer, and maybe even a string of poloponies.

Mind you, I am not complaining about Amazon's--uh, I mean a certain major online retailer's--price. It offered a heavy discount on the outrageous MSRP provided by the M. I'm often irritated by seeing online commentators defend the initial pricing of a DVD because "it'll be much lower than that on Amazon, anyway." Well, yeah. But it would be even LOWER if the studio gave us a break!

After venting but before publishing this post, I realized it had been a week or two since the announcement, so I figured in the interest of fairness and accuracy I should double-check the listing and make sure the pricing wasn't a simple error. Hey, those things happen, right? So I went back to Amazon and found that the pre-order price is no longer 75 bucks.

It's $114.99.

Maybe I should be thankful here; after all, Paramount's apparent $130 price point will make it a lot easier for me to avoid double-dipping this October. That'll free up some bucks to check out what's coming from Shout or Timeless...
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