Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Shake hands and come out griping

I promise that this will be my final word regarding The Great Fugitive Controversy of 2008. As BobH (“Master of his [Public] Domain”) notes in the comments section of the first TDOY Fugitive music substitution post, has the press release issued forth from CBS/Paramount. I thought about copying and pasting it here…but they’ve got a block on that sort of practice, and I’m too lazy to type it over again word-for-word. (I suppose I could release the PR notice with an entirely new score in order to avoid any legal entanglements, but again…I’m lazy.)

In a nutshell, CBS/Paramount defends their gutting of the underscoring in the first fifteen episodes of The Fugitive’s second season by noting that there were a larger number of music cues in the show’s sophomore year and that because it was unclear who owned the copyright they decided to replace the music and not disappoint fans with a delay of the second season release. (They’re so good to us! Getting those split-season sets out ever so much quickly by leaving no stone unturned…) As the Fugitive thread over at HTF rages on, approximately 98% of its participants are still pissed off—a development that really shouldn’t come as any real surprise. I myself wasn’t expecting CBS/Paramount to be anything else but lame in their response and you’ll note that nowhere in the “explanation” is the phrase “We’re sorry” used. Still, Gord Lacey deserves a few props for his deft handling of the situation (his original editorial is here); I particularly liked the CBS/Paramount ad he strategically placed at the end, which crows: “We don’t just put TV on DVD…we put it on a pedestal.” (Which reminds me of an old Steve Martin joke where the punch line was “…high enough to look up her dress.”)

I received my copy of The Fugitive: Season 2, Volume 1 Monday and though my original plan was to send it back unopened, Deep packaged all three of my orders in the same bundle, which sort of put the kibosh on that. I haven’t bothered to open it yet; I’m still sort of debating as to whether I’ll send it back or not. (I’m sort of following BobH’s sound reasoning on this.) This website devoted to The Fugitive has a comparison of both the old and new music for the episode “Escape Into Black” and while you can definitely tell the score was monkeyed around with it’s not quite as terrible as I was led to believe. (It sure as hell beats the opening theme substitutions on public domain releases like Bonanza and Petticoat Junction.) Besides, keeping the DVDs and displaying them in plain sight will serve as a painful reminder to me to be a little more skeptical when it comes to TV-on-DVD releases; I did a similar thing with my third season box set of My Favorite Martian, which I purchased from Umbrella Entertainment, the Australian distributor, for roughly an arm and a leg American. You may remember back in January when I discovered that the third season of Martian was being offered over here at a greatly reduced price and how miffed I was at being talked into buying the set in the first place by a wanker named Peter Greenwood from Chertok Productions (the company that produced Martian from 1963-66). Greenwood sent me an e-mail through HTF and offered to compensate me (he swore he wasn’t aware the set would be made available here) by sending me a free copy of Martian’s music soundtrack on CD. (I’m still waiting for that, by the way.)

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