Posts Tagged ‘DVD


An open letter to Disney and Muppet Studios

To the powers that be at the Walt Disney Company and Muppet Studios:

I’d like to tell you about my niece, Maggie. Maggie is 19 months old and completely in love with the Muppets. She can recognize Kermit on the spine of a DVD from a wall of over 500 cases. She carries her Walter doll everywhere she goes. She is not yet speaking in complete sentences, but she will sing along with “Mahna Mahna.” Her current record for watching The Muppets is four times in one day, and it would have been higher had her parents not carefully snuck in some of the other DVDs when she wasn’t paying attention.

Although the most recent film, The Muppets, is her favorite, Maggie has gleefully consumed every Muppet movie and television special currently available on DVD, as well as the first three seasons of The Muppet Show. When she sees me, her Uncle Blake, working on my computer, she gives me pleading eyes until I hoist her onto my lap and start finding clips of Kermit, Gonzo and the others on YouTube. The number crunchers at Google probably find it rather unusual that a 34-year-old man can spend upwards of an hour watching the same clips over and over and over and over and over again.

We’re trying to branch out. We’ve started sneaking episodes of Sesame Street and Fraggle Rock into the rotation, and although Maggie enjoys these programs as well, her heart belongs to the Muppet Show Muppets.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful. I’m a Muppet fan from as far back as I can remember, and if Maggie is going to be obsessed with something, I’m glad it’s the Muppets instead of some of the truly insipid shows that are on the air for the preschool set right now. (I’m not going to name any names, but I’m sure you can think of a few.)

The thing is, we’re running out of stuff. Oh sure, Maggie is perfectly happy watching the same Muppet movie over and over (and over and over) again, time after time, but for myself, her grandparents, and especially her parents, we’re really starting to crave new material.

Which brings me to the point of this letter. Please. For the love of God. Get the next Muppet movie made as fast as you can.

And while we’re waiting, why not release the last two seasons of The Muppet Show on DVD to help tide us over? And for that matter, the 22 episodes of Muppets Tonight? (I’d ask for Muppet Babies too, but I understand the legal hurdles involved with clearing all of the short film clips that program included that make such a DVD highly improbable.) I would have happily purchased these DVDs to add to my personal collection even before Maggie was born. Now, they’re practically a necessity.

We need — desperately — more Muppet product. And you, my friends, are our only hope.

In closing, let me just introduce you to the little girl you’ll be disappointing if you don’t produce these DVDs as quickly as possible:

Seriously. How can you say no to that face?


The Blu-Ray Question: To Double Dip, or Not To Double Dip?

Last weekend I did something I’ve been resisting for quite some time: I purchased a Blu-Ray set that I already owned on DVD. Although I have begun buying Blu-Ray for movies heavy on the visuals I have not re-purchased anything before. I like a movie to look and sound great, don’t misunderstand, but the difference isn’t worth it to me to drop twenty, thirty, fifty bucks on something I already own. I didn’t have this problem when I went from VHS to DVD, because I never really collected VHS tapes. Oh, I had a few, mostly Christmas and birthday presents. I never really bought a lot of VHS myself. When DVD hit, though, I felt the urge to compile my own video store.

I finally broke and repurchased for three very important reasons:

  1. The Blu-Ray in question was the complete set of Joss Whedon’s Firefly, one of the greatest and most criminally underrated science fiction television series of the past decade.
  2. Amazon had the set on sale for $24, less than I paid for the DVD set back in the day and really cheap for a full season of a TV show (even a season that only lasted 13 episodes).
  3. My girlfriend Erin (hi sweetie) virtually commanded me to do so.

That said, I don’t plan on making a habit out of this. There aren’t a lot of properties that can make me turn out money twice. There are, however, a couple of releases coming out later this year that are making me think about it…

Superman: The Motion Picture Anthology will be released in just a few weeks, and you are all under orders to report to me the cheapest price you can find. This set will include all four Christopher Reeve Superman movies, the Richard Donner cut of Superman II, the film Superman Returns and the documentary Look, Up in the Sky. That’s one of my all-time favorite movies, several other movies that I enjoy to one degree or another… and Superman IV. If I could find this for a decent price, I would consider it.

Coming out at the end of June is the Lord of the Rings Extended Edition Blu-Ray. I loved these films, but I easily resisted the Blu-Ray edition of the theatrical cuts. The extended cuts, though… first of all, I don’t have all of those on DVD, so this wouldn’t be a complete double-dip. Also, this edition comes with a digital copy of the trilogy, and I like having the digital copies available to take anywhere. Like the Superman set, if I can find this at a good price, I’d consider it.

But one set I will not get on Blu-Ray, much to the consternation of one of my Showcase co-hosts? The Star Wars: The Complete Saga box set. To be fair, I don’t hate the prequel trilogy the way that a lot of people do. (It’s clearly inferior to the original, but I think the films have some merit, and except for Hayden Christensen’s performance, Episode III is actually quite good). But there is no way in hell I’m going to spend any money on this set, and mainly because I feel like is another blatant cash grab by Lucasfilm. First they put out the DVD of the original trilogy, but only the “special edition” versions. Then a few years ago, they finally released the original versions on DVD, but not in anamorphic widescreen. (WIDESCREEN IS THE WAY TO GO, PEOPLE.) They also released the prequels as they came out, which is to be expected. This boxed set? No original version of the original trilogy — again, only the “special editions” — which to me speaks of a plan to release those again at a later date, sucking cash away from the fans again. The set also lacks any real additional special features, meaning you’re just paying for something you already have all over again. And that says nothing of Lucas’s plan to re-release all six films in 3-D in a couple of years, which you know will be followed by yet another Blu-Ray release. Forget it, Lucas. As long as I own a device that can play the discs I already have, I’m not dropping another dime on those six movies.


2 in 1 Showcase Episode 187: On the DVD Shelf

It’s a quick episode as Blake and Kenny roam the DVD shelf of their local department store. We talk about the Blu-Ray vs. DVD controversy, digital copies, digital comics, early plans for Halloween, and lots of movies. In the picks this week, Kenny thinks you should sit down with your kids and watch a Studio Ghibli film, and Blake wants you to read Batgirl #14. Contact us with comments, suggestions, or anything else at!

Music provided by the Podshow Podsafe Music Network.

IMPORTANT NOTE: is undergoing a few technical difficulties. For now, the show is going to be housed at — but our e-mail isn’t working either. For now, you can e-mail me at, and if you’ve sent us an e-mail since August 24, you’ll need to re-send it. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Episode 187: On the DVD Shelf

Inside This Episode:


Time Travel Tuesday: When the Loonies are Running the Asylum

Welcome once again to Time Travel Tuesday, my friends. Let’s swirl back to 2003, when DVDs were taking off and boxed sets of TV shows were just becoming a big thing, and when my beloved Looney Tunes had yet to see the light of a DVD release…

April 5, 2003

When the loonies are running the asylum

At the risk of sounding frustrated, opinionated and rude, I’m afraid this week’s column is going to be dedicated to ranting about possibly one of the most pointed, burning political questions of the day: why can’t those nitwits at Warner Bros. studios do something right for a change?

A brief background on what inspires this rant — I am an unabashed fan (go ahead, try to abash me) of both the DVD home entertainment format and of the greatest animated shorts of all time, the Looney Tunes. In fact, I’d go so far as to say certain Looney Tunes shorts are among the funniest things ever produced by the human species, not including any branch of government. Oh sure, Shakespeare may have written a comedy or two in his time, but until Oberon and Petrucio have an argument to top “Duck Season, Wabbit Season,” I still give the crown to Chuck Jones.

Unfortunately, in recent years the people who run Warner Bros., the studio that birthed and owns all of these classic cartoons, have displayed an intellect that makes Elmer Fudd look like Marvin the Martian in comparison. These are the guys that buried the wonderful film The Iron Giant and instead hyped Wild Wild West, package all of their DVDs in the cheapest cases available and allowed Joel Schumaker to direct not one, but two “Batman” movies. That last one alone should qualify as a crime against nature.

So when Warner Bros. began to circulate buzz earlier this week about the long-awaited DVD release of the Looney Tunes cartoons, I was nervous, but excited. When I found out the plans, I just became nervous.

To put this in the proper context I’m going to have to tell you something that I really, really hate to say. The Walt Disney company did something right. A while back it began to release its own classic animated shorts on DVD, and they stumbled upon the perfect format — each DVD is a very nice set in a tin case with a complete selection of a certain type of cartoon. One set has every short Goofy ever starred in, another all of the Silly Symphonies, another features all of the black-and-white Mickey Mouse cartoons and a fourth has the first half of the Mickey cartoons in color. Sets with Donald Duck and the rest of the Mickey cartoons are reportedly in the works, and with the exception of a couple of patronizing “introductions” on the Goofy DVD telling us how much smarter people are now than in 1942 so please don’t hate them for the Japanese jokes, these Walt Disney Treasures DVDs are some of the best things a cartoon fan can buy.

Now come the Looney Tunes DVDs. To my mind, there are two logical ways to collect them — by character or director. I would personally prefer by director, but since I’m one of maybe three people in America who can watch a five-second clip of Bugs Bunny and tell if it was directed by Chuck Jones or Tex Avery, I’d settle for sets divided by character. The complete Bugs. The complete Daffy. The complete Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner. You get the idea.

Is this what Warner Bros. is doing? Of course not, you fool, if that’s what Warner Bros. was doing I’d be perfectly happy and writing this week’s column about how hard it is to find a parking spot in Metairie.
No, Warner Bros. is tentatively going to release four Looney Tunes sets, at least at first. Looney Tunes Hit Reality is going to be a set of 20 all-new Looney Tunes cartoons, mostly making fun of current hits like “Survivor” and “Fear Factor.” Okay, I’m cool with that. New Looney Tunes is a very, very good thing.

The other three DVDs are what bother me. There will be “The Bugs Bunny Carrot Collection” (14 Bugs cartoons), the “Looney Tunes Premiere Collection” (28 cartoons, including the first appearance of each character) and the “Looney Tunes Golden Collection” (60 cartoons, including the “best of” Bugs and Daffy and the first appearance of each character).

So here’s where the frustration comes in — I can understand having separate sets for people who don’t necessarily need every cartoon, who’d rather pay less for just the Bugs cartoons, who have those sort of concerns. But what about the completists, eh? Will this “Golden” Collection have all of the cartoons that are in the other two sets? If not, will the others be on a future “Golden” release? Will someone have to buy all three DVDs to have all of the cartoons? (Note to Warner Bros.: I am not about to buy all three releases, I still need gas and food and stuff). And is there any hope of having all of the Looney Tunes released on DVD eventually?

No response, eh? Fine, Warner Bros. Be that way. Keep your dirty little secrets. I’ll get you somehow. Just wait until I get my new Acme catalogue in the mail.

And watch out for falling anvils.

Yes, Blake M. Petit is perfectly aware that there are more important things going on in the world than Looney Tunes DVDs. If you want to read about that stuff, look virtually anywhere else. This column is for people who, deservedly, want a break from all of the hard news before it melts our brains. Contact him with comments, suggestions and your personal favorite Looney Tune at


Time Travel Tuesdays: Leggo My DVD

Welcome back to Time Travel Tuesdays, friends! This week, long after the Next Gen Format Wars have been settled, Blu-Ray has been declared the winner, and the way we get our movies is changing dramatically, I thought it would be fun to take a glance back to the early days of DVD. Here’s a column I wrote not long after I got my first DVD player, about just how the format was a game-changer. Oh, if we knew then what we know now…

Leggo My DVD

June 16, 2001

It’s “Great Secrets of the Universe” time here at Think About it Central, and this week’s Great Secret is: men like to have cool toys.

This is a universal phenomenon amongst men — we all love toys. Handymen need the best power tools, computer programmers need the fastest modems, back in the 60s the NASA guys needed to build a cooler spacecraft than the Russian guys, who were simultaneously trying to build a cooler spacecraft than the Americans. Ben Franklin discovered electricity when he was showing off the new kite he just made to Thomas Jefferson, who dared him to tie a key to the end.

And I am no exception to this rule.

Being a movie buff as well as male, my current Cool Toy of choice is the DVD. I’ve liked movies for as long as I can remember, but I never quite embraced the old VHS tape. Sure, I watched ‘em before there was alternative, but some time ago I discovered… well… something magic.

The DVD: a tiny, flat chunk of plastic that not only contains an entire movie with a crystal clear picture and sound, in widescreen format, but also has room for trailers, behind-the-scenes videos, commentary from the director and stars, outtakes, deleted scenes, games and lots of other stuff that they keep squeezing onto the discs!

And you wanna hear the best part? There’s only one way to access all of these features, a method loved by guys since the dawn of creation: you’ve got to push a bunch of buttons on a remote control.

If there is a Heaven, I’m not sure I want to go unless God has a massive DVD collection.

Which finally brings me to the actual point of this column, a story I recently read on a DVD website, where certain unsavory business practices by one of them there video stores was brought to my attention. Since I did read this on the Internet, I would like to preface this that the whole thing may just be a nasty rumor and, if that is the case, I apologize wholeheartedly to the giant money-grubbing conglomerate and all its mindless drones.

As the story goes a certain video chain, which I will not mention by name but which can be found in the phone book under “Buster, Block,” is upset that DVDs aren’t renting as well as they’d hoped. DVD enthusiasts, it seems, are actually buying the things instead of renting them, causing a dip in their profits.

Mr. Buster and friends are now apparently making “suggestions” to movie studios that, rather than giving DVDs reasonable prices and enabling people to purchase the toys at their leisure, they put out an outrageously priced DVD for the first few months or so, allowing only Big Monster Video Stores to afford them, before putting out a disc with a price sticker someone without 100,000 locations can afford.

The Buster family is proving what I think is one of the biggest problems we’ve got in this country today. In the past, when an obstacle was presented to either an individual, a business or even an entire industry, somebody with brains and guts would find a way over that obstacle if he wanted to move forward. These days, people just call in lawyers or bullies to come in and litigate the obstacles until they’re gone.

And you know what the big problem with letting courts or money solve every problem? It keeps people from thinking. And if people stop thinking, this country stops moving.

If Buster & Co. had been in charge of NASA back in the day, instead of building their own cool rockets, they would have sued the Russians for building them faster or just “encouraged” companies to start charging them exorbitant prices, the result being that Bugs Bunny would still be the only American to have set foot on the moon.

It has probably never occurred to this major video chain that, perhaps the way to compete is to sell DVDs themselves, in addition to renting them. It probably hasn’t occurred to them to start offering services that you simply can’t get when you buy your own discs, or even a different marketing campaign (because, as the American population has proven time and again, it will react to a good commercial).

Nah, these things never popped up at a board meeting. Those would require someone to be creative. Easier to just throw money at the problem, right?

Well, let ‘em throw it. I’ve already got a massive rack of DVDs and I haven’t even finished watching all the director’s commentaries yet. Until somebody comes to their senses, you can find me in front of the screen with a remote control in my hand.

Blake M. Petit is anxiously awaiting the DVD release of “Unbreakable” later this month so he can start showing it to people and making fun of them for not realizing what a brilliant movie that was. He invites anyone with comments, suggestions or some fresh AA batteries for his remote to contact him at


What I’m Watching: Peanuts 1970s Collection Vol. 1

It’s still a tad early to break out my Christmas DVDs, and as far as Thanksgiving goes, there are really only two DVDs worth watching (A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and Garfield’s Thanksgiving, both of which I’ve reviewed before). So with this week off work, to fill a little time, I took down a DVD I picked up about a month ago and popped it in: Peanuts 1970s Collection Volume 1.

Like the 1960s collection I reviewed a few months ago, this DVD includes several TV specials I’ve already reviewed in their original DVD releases. Also like that one, I got this DVD mainly for the specials I didn’t already have in my collection elsewhere. I can only hope that when this line gets to the 1980s, we’ll finally get a DVD collection of The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show. Rather than run through all of them again, this set includes the previously-released cartoons You’re Not Elected, Charlie Brown, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, and It’s the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown.

Now for the new cartoons. On DVD for the first time, we have the 1971 special Play it Again, Charlie Brown. Although almost all of the Peanuts specials made ol’ Chuck the title character, this special is really about Lucy and Schroeder, the Beethoven-loving pianist of her dreams. In an attempt to win his heart, Lucy arranges for Schroeder to have his first public piano recital. Schroeder is initially grateful, and it seems that Lucy’s plan may actually be working… until she discovers the recital she’s signed him up for is a rock and roll concert — no Beethoven allowed. As you can imagine, Schroeder is none too happy with this news, so Charlie Brown and the gang step in to help. This is definitely one of the better episodes on the disc, certainly the best out of the three “new” cartoons. There’s a lot of great music here, and it gives a spotlight to a member of the gang who usually spends his time in the background.

Next up is There’s No Time For Love, Charlie Brown, the 1973 special that ultimately inspired the epic motion picture Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Or something. With his grades struggling, Charlie Brown sees a chance to redeem himself by writing a paper on a class trip to a museum. But a misunderstanding strands Charlie Brown in a supermarket with Peppermint Patty and Marcie. And as if his grades weren’t a big enough problem, the girls’ conversation about how lovable ol’ Charles is may wind up being more depressing than anything else. The Charlie Brown-Peppermint Patty-Marcie pseudo-triangle has always been one of the most interesting relationships in Peanuts. Both girls, clearly, are in love with Charlie Brown, although Patty would never admit it, and while he’s completely oblivious to their feelings, it doesn’t save his own feelings from being shattered. It’s a kind of sad little cartoon, even at its funniest.

Finally, we get the 1974 cartoon It’s a Mystery, Charlie Brown. Sally, Snoopy and Woodstock take center stage here, when Sally is required to do a science project based on something from the natural world. The next morning, Woodstock is horrified to discover his nest has been stolen. Snoopy, in true Sherlock Holmes fashion, dons his deerstalker cap and sets out to crack the case. This is a nice little spotlight on Snoopy and Woodstock, and the nature of their friendship, and it also allows him to interact a little with a lot of members of the cast, including Linus and Lucy, Pig-Pen, and Peppermint Patty (who totally misinterprets Snoopy’s intentions) while trying to solve the crime. The climactic scene, with Lucy taking off her psychiatrist hat in order to offer “legal aid,” is a really good piece.

We also get a new short documentary on this disc: Woodstock: Creating Snoopy’s Sidekick. While every fan knows that Woodstock was a later addition to the comic strip, and didn’t even have a name for the first three years of his existence, this short discussion about the character does a very good job of discussing not only the circumstances of his creation, but analyzing the impact he had on Snoopy’s character, how he allowed more tales to be told that wouldn’t have worked with any of the kids. Woodstock was a character that more easily assimilated into Snoopy’s fantasy world.

This is a pretty good DVD, even if you already have half the cartoons in the set (as I do). For the fan, it’s worth getting.


More Star Trek stuff

I’m really getting back into my Trek geekdom in a way I haven’t in a very long time, probably since high school. This is when The Next Generation was in its prime and Deep Space Nine was just beginning, and I was eager as hell for both of them.

Last night I watched the Best of Star Trek: The Original Series DVD I mentioned yesterday. I’ve spent most of this evening watching the first season of Deep Space Nine. My sister, who on occasion finds ways to be awesome, got me the DVD for my birthday last year, but I’ve never gotten around to watching it before. Now I’m watching episodes I probably haven’t seen since they first aired in 1993, and I’m loving them. There are so many little bits and pieces of this series I’d forgotten — how Sisko’s wife was killed by Locutus, and how he resented Picard for it. I’d forgotten Bashir’s infatuation with Dax in these early episodes, and how tense things were between the Federation and the Bajorans — both “good guys” in this series, but constantly butting heads with one another. Heck, I’d even forgotten that O’Brien originally came over from his gig as the Transporter Chief on the Enterprise.

This show really was awesome.

Time for another episode.


Why it’s okay to love the new STAR TREK

Trek400While driving home from work this afternoon, I was listening to Michael Giacchino‘s awesome score for the new Star Trek movie. Yes, I listen to motion picture scores in the car. When I’ve finished listening to all the LOST podcasts I have downloaded. And as I listened, I got to thinking about the overall response to the new film, a whole week old today. As you may have heard me say, I loved it. So did my sister, a far bigger Trek fan than I am. So did most of my friends, and the relatives who got me watching Trek in the first place way back then. Almost everyone.


There were, amongst all the people who fell in love with J.J. Abrams’s new vision of Gene Roddenberry’s creation, a handful of die-hard Star Trek fans who hated it. And I can’t say they don’t have valid reasons. But the more I thought about it, the more I think those reasons are more of a blockade to appreciating a great movie than they really should be. This isn’t a review of the movie. If you want to read my review, you can check it out over at Comixtreme. Nor do I expect this to really change anybody’s mind, and that’s okay. This is just my thoughts on why it’s okay, even if you love the original Star Trek, to also love the new version.

There are, I think, four main arguments in opposition to the new version. The first is a matter of opinion — the feeling that the movie somehow doesn’t live up to the spirit of Star Trek. I disagree with this position vehemently, but like I said, it is an opinion issue and there’s really no point debating it. If you don’t feel classic Trek in the new movie, there’s nothing I can say that will make you feel it. I sure did, though.

The other three reasons are much more — you’ll excuse the term — logical, and I can even understand them. But as opposition to the movie, none of them stands up to serious scrutiny. First is the fear that this movie has “erased” the original Star Trek universe of five TV shows, a cartoon, and ten feature films. I’ve got to get into spoiler territory (and major-league geek territory) here to explain this, so if you haven’t seen the movie yet, stop reading. And… y’know, go see the movie. Because it’s awesome. In IMAX if possible.

They gone? Great. So, in the film we learn that the original series Spock (Leonard Nimoy) has travelled back in time from the era after the Next Generation television series. In a story that was fleshed out in the Star Trek: Countdown graphic novel, we learn that he was flung to the past with a Romulan named Nero (Eric Bana), and their presence in the 23rd century has resulted in an alternate timeline where things are playing out differently than in the original series: Captain Kirk’s father is dead, where he was alive in the original timeline. The planet Vulcan is destroyed, something that clearly never happened in the original. The Enterprise looks like the inside of a Mac store and Spock’s mom looks like Winona Ryder. Who can figure?

Anyway, all joking aside, the thing that has people upset is that in this timeline the entire original series, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and even (shudder) Voyager never happened. They can’t, at least not in the way we’ve seen. But that’s in the new timeline, which doesn’t have to alter the original timeline at all. Time travel, after all, is just a theory, and there are multiple interpretations of it throughout all of fiction. The question of how much this movie impacts the original all depends on what interpretation of time travel you subscribe to.

The way physics work on LOST, for example, we get the idea of “whatever happened, happened.” When you travel back in time, there’s nothing you can do that will change the past, because no matter how hard you try the universe will course-correct and the end result will be what it was originally supposed to be. (This is the theory for now, of course, who the crap knows what the final season of the show will reveal.) Clearly, this is not the way time travel works in this movie, even though about half of the creative staff was nabbed straight from the LOST set.

Then there’s the Back to the Future model, in which altering the past can re-write the future, and your only chance to fix things is to kick ass on “Johnny B. Goode” at the Enchantment Under the Sea Dance. This is the interpretation that fans would rightly fear, because if it was the case it would be as good as saying that Captain Picard, Data, Ben Sisko, and the war against the Dominion never existed. It would also say that Katherine Janeway never existed, but few of us would be tremendously upset by that news.

Finally, there’s the way time-travel works in Marvel Comics, as explained by the brilliant Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four. You can travel back in time and you can change events, but not for yourself. Any actions that would alter the timeline do not ripple forward into the future, but instead create an entire alternate reality in which the new events play out. In essence, instead of there being one universe, there are now two: the original and the new one. This model keeps all of the classic Star Trek stories safe and in-continuity, and since there’s nothing in the film that contradicts the idea, that’s the model I choose to believe.

Still with me? I know that was pretty damn geeky. This next bit is less geeky, I promise.

TrekDS9The second fear is that the original universe is simply being abandoned. And that’s not entirely without merit. But guys… I’ve got to be brutally harsh here. The original universe was already dead. Star Trek: Voyager and Star Trek: Nemesis killed it. Voyager was a tepid series that utterly failed to live up to the promise of the franchise. I was a die-hard, week-to-week viewer of The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine (which I still maintain was the best of the series, but that’s a debate for another time). I tried Voyager for a few months and gave up entirely. Nemesis was the last movie before the current one, and while I never thought it was the abomination that a lot of fans have declared it, you can’t argue that it wasn’t a weak way to end the series. In fact, fans who are still miffed about it should go read the Countdown graphic novel. It cleans up the Nemesis mess in one page and provides some real satisfying closure for several of our friends from the Enterprise-D.

“But Blake! Now they won’t make new movies or TV shows based on those series!”

Guys, let’s face it. They weren’t going to make any more of them anyway. The time for The Next Generation was gone. As much as I would love to see a movie resolving the sort-of cliffhanger ending of Deep Space Nine, it wasn’t high-profile enough to be profitable. A Voyager movie would be laughable. So what does that leave? They tried going back in time with the Enterprise TV show, and while that show certainly had good qualities, it didn’t have the audience. The only remaining options would be to bounce even further ahead in time (The Next Next Generation) or do something totally different in the 24th century timeline. There were actually some interesting ideas in this vein tossed around: a series focusing on the Starfleet Academy, or set on a Klingon vessel. They’re not bad ideas, but are they good enough to embrace a large audience outside of the green-blooded Trek fans? Honestly, probably not. Nothing they could have done with that timeline would have injected new life into the property the way this reboot has.

And it’s not like there’s no way to ever get stories with those characters again. There won’t be TV shows or movies, but there are novels and comic books that are still being produced and enjoyed, just as they have for decades now. In fact, if anyone from IDW Publishing is listening, I would break my rule about $3.99 comic books if they gave me a good series starring the crew of the Enterprise-E post-Countdown. That would rock.

The other thing die-hards fear is that with the wave of excitement over this new franchise, people will simply forget about the original. And you know, that’s a perfectly legitimate fear. After all, as popular as the rebooted Battlestar Galactica TV show was, it didn’t exactly generate a groundswell of support for the 1970s version. And how about The Wizard of Oz? Sure, the Judy Garland version is universally beloved, so much so that only die-hard fans of the original version even realize how poor an adaptation it is of L. Frank Baum‘s classic novel. Pop quiz! What color are the shoes Dorothy takes from the Wicked Witch of the East? If you said “red,” you’ve clearly only seen the movie.

Trekbest400So while it’s definitely possible for a new interpretation to quash the old, that doesn’t mean the new one isn’t good. In fact, I think it’s incumbent upon the fans to make sure this doesn’t happen. There are a lot of people out there now watching and loving Star Trek for the first time. Now’s a prime opportunity to try to introduce them to the classic stuff, or the spin-off TV shows. And give Paramount Pictures credit here: even if they’re only doing it to make a buck, they’re trying their best to make it easy to evangelize. There have been no less than five major Star Trek DVD releases this week:

  • Star Trek: The Original Series Season One on Blu-Ray. This release features both the classic version of the show and the new version produced a few years ago, with improved sound and visual effects. Don’t worry, the producers didn’t go all George Lucas on us. The new effects aren’t intrusive and, for the most part, look pretty good.
  • Star Trek: Original Motion Picture Collection, also available on Blu-Ray. This contains all six movies that starred the original cast, plus a seventh disc featuring a roundtable discussion, “Captain’s Table,” featuring William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, and… um… Whoopi Goldberg. Anyway, even with her, it should be cool.
  • Star Trek: Motion Picture Trilogy is a less-expensive alternative that features the three movies that are most closely tied together: Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek III: The Search For Spock, and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. These three films all take place one after the other, with each leading directly into the next one and together telling a pretty cohesive story arc for Kirk and Spock, the characters they’re really pushing the hell out of.
  • The Best of Star Trek: The Original Series is a less-expensive alternative, featuring four original series episodes: “The City on the Edge of Forever,” “The Trouble With Tribbles, “Balance of Terror,” and “Amok Time.” Good for someone who’s just getting their feet wet in Trek and may not be willing to shell out the cash for one of the boxed sets.
  • The Best of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Same thing with the next crew, showing us that Paramount isn’t forgetting the spin-off series either. Includes the episodes “The Best of Both Worlds Part 1” and “Part 2,” “Yesterday’s Enterprise,” and “The Measure of a Man.” God, I hope a Best of Deep Space Nine set is in the works.

The point is guys, there’s plenty of classic stuff that is available and will remain available, if you’ve got it in you to evangelize. Don’t be a jerk about it, don’t be obnoxious, and don’t come across like the stereotypical “Trekkie,” a perception that has dogged fans of Trek in particular and genre fiction in general for decades. But make them understand what you love about the classic stuff.

Because there is room for both Star Trek (2009) and Star Trek: The Original Series.

And Star Trek: The Next Generation. And Deep Space Nine. And The Animated Series and Enterprise.

And yeah. Even for Voyager.

Because in the end, we’re all fans. We’re here because we love it, even if we don’t love every version. We have more in common than we have differences, and what’s good for one really can be good for us all.



Once again, I thought I would regale you with some of my recent reviews over at As prolific as I am here at Evertime Realms, I also write a ton of stuff for CX, including mucho comic book reviews, and the occasional movie and DVD review. In fact, after I catch Star Trek tonight with the guys, I’ll be reviewing that one for CX. I also recently reviewed the DVD of PVP The Series: Season One. It was pretty good, for the most part. PVP, as you may know, is one of my favorite webcomics, and I enjoyed the webisodes that were produced a while back. Hopefully this DVD will do well enough to justify a second season.

And how about all the comic book reviews I write? Here’s a batch of the most recent.


What I’m Watching: Snoopy’s Reunion

Snoopy's ReunionOne thing I’m really glad to see is that Warner Brothers is putting out DVDs of the Peanuts specials that weren’t necessarily holiday-specific. A couple of months ago we got You’re a Good Sport, Charlie Brown, and just a few weeks back they released Snoopy’s Reunion. This lesser-known special from 1991 is basically Snoopy’s life story, beginning with him as a puppy on the Daisy Hill Puppy Farm, along with his seven brothers and sisters. As they’re adopted one by one, Snoopy goes first to a little girl named Lila (as we learned in the feature film Snoopy, Come Home) before winding up in his true home with Charlie Brown and the rest of the gang. After being with Charlie Brown for some time, Snoopy starts to grow homesick, prompting ol’ Chuck to make a grand suggestion: a family reunion.

The special, honestly, is a little light. The reunion itself doesn’t really feel like it has a story behind it, more of a vignette about Snoopy and his family, nor does it work as a climax for the life story aspects. It’s great to see the rest of Snoopy’s family featured so prominently, but there isn’t much of a tale here. The special is notable in that it’s one of the few times in any Peanuts special we actually see adults — specifically, Lila’s mother, the Daisy Hill farmer, and a bus driver. It’s actually a pretty jarring thing once you notice it, and with the possible exception of the farmer, it would have been easy to sidestep showing them at all. It’s an okay special, but not one of the greats.

This disc’s second feature is even more of an oddity, the 1984 short It’s Flashbeagle, Charlie Brown. This film apparently was made to rise the crest of the already-dying disco craze, casting Snoopy as a wild disco dancer. Considering the proliferation of other roles Snoopy has held over the years, there’s no problem with this one. The Flashbeagle scenes really only make up the end of the special, though — for the most part, the show is a musical about dance of all kinds, including an amusing workout routine led by Peppermint Patty and a variation of “Simon Says” in which Lucy lays out her plans for world domination. Which, let’s face it, is pretty much what we expect from her at this point. It’s cute, but mostly as a curiosity.

The featurette we get on this DVD  is a real gem. While the rest of the DVDs in this line have all featured interviews with cartoonists and people close to the late Charles Schulz about the development of the animated specials, this feature follows a reunion of former child actors who have voiced the Peanutsgang at the 2008 San Diego ComiCon. They’ve got a great, unique perspective on the franchise that we haven’t seen on any other DVD, and that feature alone is certainly worth watching.

It’s a DVD for the fans, really. This will be a nice addition to your Peanuts library.

May 2023

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