A few years ago, I started a small petition on this site for the release of the Northern Exposure television series on DVD. I am mocked to this days by my friends and co-workers, and justifiably so, for having undertaken a cause of such massive dorkitude.
Since then, completely unrelated to my embarrassing crusade, Universal has released Season One and Season Two of the show.
Fellow die-hard Northern Exposure fan, Art Pattison, posted an update after the second season DVD release in a reply here Acts of Volition:
“The latest word on commercial releases by Universal is that since they did such a poor job on Season 2, by substituting much of the music which needed (expensive?) copyright approval by the artists with elevator muzak, many fans are complaining to Universal about what they call “fraud” (since the music is such an integral part of the story lines). As a result, Universal may not issue any more releases of our beloved Northern Exposure. Too bad! We would all lose if this happened!”
Another disappointed fan writes:
“Something was vaguely dissapointing about it and then I realised it was the annoying music which quite often simply fails to synch with the scenes in a convincing manner. Now it is hard to enjoy watching it once you realise what has been done.”
Apparently, the issue of licensing music for DVD releases of TV series’ goes far beyond Northern Exposure. Wired News writes about how Copyrights Keep TV Shows off DVD.
It’s sad to see a copyright issue holding back the release of shows that people want to watch and own. I’m not sure if it’s the television studios, the record companies, or both that are most to blame. Regardless, they’ll all lose out when they realize that fans will go underground and get copies of the original shows, soundtrack and all, without paying a cent to the record companies or studios.