Sunday, May 24, 2009

The failed promise of digital content – Part 2: Video

As with recorded music, many movies and TV shows have not made the transition to digital.


I’m still waiting for the 1980 drama “Resurrection” to be available on DVD or digital download. The movie is a four-hankie tearjerker about a woman who experiences the afterlife for a brief time after a car wreck that kills her husband and soon discovers she has the power to heal others with her touch.
“Resurrection” was nominated for two Oscars, including Ellen Burstyn for best actress in a leading role and Eva La Gallienne for best actress in a supporting role.
It’s hard to believe that a movie as well regarded as “Resurrection” isn’t on DVD yet. The movie was produced by Universal Pictures, now a unit of NBC Universal, which is majority owned by General Electric. (GE owns 80% and French utility operator Vivendi owns the rest, according to Hoovers.)
A lot of old movies are deteriorating in film vaults, but this movie is only 29 years old.
Here’s an idea: NBC Universal should put “Resurrection” on its Hulu streaming video Web site.
Kudos to Warner Bros. for recently putting many of its lesser known movies and TV shows on a Web site for purchase as custom DVDs or for digital download.
Warner Bros. has more than 6,800 movie titles in its vaults, but only 1,200 have ever come out on DVD, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. The company put out 4,000 titles on VHS videocassette tapes but those are now out of print.
The company has more than 2,000 titles that it never released in any format, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
I’m still waiting for a number of TV shows to be available on DVD or for digital download. I’m hoping that these shows don’t get lost in the transition from analog to digital.

"Harry O"

Those missing shows include “Harry O” (1974-76), a private detective show starring David Janssen of “The Fugitive.” Janssen played Harry Orwell, a San Diego cop forced into retirement when he is shot in the back. To support himself, he works as a private investigator.
The critically acclaimed show ran for two seasons on ABC, with two pilot movies and 44 hour-long episodes.
Guest stars included Jodie Foster, Farrah Fawcett, Cab Calloway, Sal Mineo, Anne Archer, Robert Loggia, Roddy McDowall, Kurt Russell and Martin Sheen.


Another show I’ve been longing to see again is “Brimstone” (1998-99). The Fox show lasted less than one season. It starred Peter Horton as a dead police detective on a mission from the Devil to return 113 spirits who have escaped from Hell to Earth. Only 13 episodes were aired.
Both “Harry O” and “Brimstone” are owned by Warner Bros. Home Video, so I can only hope that they show up on the Warner Archive soon.

Other TV shows missing in action

I have a habit of choosing to watch new shows that end up getting cancelled in their first season.
Here are five more quality short-lived TV shows that aren’t available on DVD or digital download: “Cupid” (1998-99), “Robbery Homicide Division” (2002-03), “Miss Match” (2003) and “Karen Sisco” (2003).
Will they be lost in the digital transition?
More info on these shows can be found at the Internet Movie Database and Wikipedia.

Photos, top to bottom:
Movie poster for “Resurrection” (from IMDb)
TV Guide cover of “Harry O” (from
The Harry O Page)
Promotional art for “Brimstone” (from
The Brimstone Zone)

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