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Why TiVo When You Can DVD?

On November 5, Disney will release the full runs of Sports Night, Once and Again, and Felicity on DVD.

Felicity isn't all that surprising. I never watched the show myself, but I'm told that it had a wide-ranging fanbase who liked the show for many reasons, including the characterization, romantic troubles, and Keri Russel's kicky hairdo. There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth when Felicity finally went off to college, or graduated from college, or got married, or whatever happened in the finale. I wouldn't be surprised if people rended their garments and flung themselves off buildings when they realized they were facing a world without Felicity. So the DVD release is just a logical cash-in by Disney, who are known for their cashing-in ability.

However, the other two shows together lasted a total of five seasons. Disney's stooge-network ABC put a bullet in Once and Again's brain just three months ago, and now they've turned around and decided to reward the small (but very, very vocal) audience with a DVD?

The Sports Night situation is even stranger. It lasted two seasons, and its last new episode was broadcast two years ago. Aaron Sorkin has moved on to the somewhat-more-successful The West Wing and seems to be trying to put the whole experience behind him, if you don't count the occasional recycled dialogue and plots. Comedy Central showed Sports Night reruns with impressive zeal for a few months, but eventually decided that foul-mouthed puppets were the way to go. And yet, as though an answer to a prayer (or online petition), Sports Night fans with $80 can have all the episodes for their very own.

This is part of a general trend toward rereleasing TV shows on DVD. Not only current shows like Buffy and The Sopranos are getting the treatment; following in the steps of M*A*S*H and Star Trek: The Next Generation, old classics are about to get the digital treatment. No, old classics. On August 6, The Jeffersons and Sanford and Son step out of Nick at Nite and into your DVD player.

Naturally, I view this as a very positive development. Some of my favorite shows were cancelled before their time. In fact, pretty much all of my favorite shows met criminally early demises. And now it looks like the networks are going to start throwing us niche fans the occasional bone. Who's to say where it will all end? The A-Team seems possible. How about Max Headroom? Or Misfits of Science? Heck, I bet there'd be a market for a Square Pegs DVD. That thing would sell like hotcakes.

The crazy thing is that it's hard to write a punchline here. I certainly wouldn't bet against a Square Pegs DVD. If Sports Night and Once and Again can get new lives after cancellation, there are no limits. And I, for one, can't wait. Heck, maybe someone will finally get around to giving a DVD release to It's Your Move.


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