IMHO: 17 June 2002
Time for a multiple-choice quiz:
Which is more important?
My beef is that some people actually sound as if they don't want (A) without (B). Forgive me if I am starting to sound like a broken record. But at the risk of repeating myself... all I want is The Avengers.
Extras are nice. Extras are fun. But they are what they are called: extras. They are not the all-important episodes, so believe me, I for one can live without them.
Some so-called extras have proven to be anything but; certain "special features" on the Canal Minus French DVDs (and subsequently Contender's first releases) were more trouble than they were worth, sending many a DVD player into fits and making some episodes unwatchable—defeating, in fact, the whole purpose of the product.
Still want extras that badly?
Then we have something rather like the opposite of an extra: the dreaded "missing four seconds" of "The Town of No Return" (more details here). This is a bona fide tempest in a teapot, if you ask me. If it were a minute or two of dialog, I might take notice. But we've had to live with far worse all these years. Those who count film frames don't seem to be too disturbed, for instance, that the title sequences for the Emma Peel episodes were all digitally mass-produced—with the side-effect of incorrect credits for "The Town of No Return" and "A Touch of Brimstone." To me this is just as noteworthy, if not more so, what with the potential of copyright issues.
Still, in the grand scheme of things, I can live with this digital tinkering because it does not impact the episodes themselves. And even if a few seconds are missing here or there, I won't be slashing my wrists or writing nasty letters to A&E, who, in all likelihood, had nothing to do with the missing four seconds.
Finally, I must remark on the reaction to the Tara King episodes as they appear on the A&E DVDs. No argument, some of the prints are well and truly dreadful; "You'll Catch Your Death" looks as though it was rescued from someone's flooded basement.
But, once again, I make no complaint—least of all to A&E, who have no control over the source material. The episodes are all still quite watchable, they appear to be intact, and, most importantly, they're in my hot little hands.
And now, I would like to close this sermon with a prayer:
Thank you, A&E (and Contender, too) for persevering. Thank you for providing us with these treasures—bad prints, missing frames, flimsy boxes and all. Thank you for taking the financial losses, bad press, bumps and bruises in the process. As for the remainder, take your time; it's a 40-year-old show—what's another year or two to wait?
And please pay no mind to those who yet remain unsatisfied—given the world on a silver platter, they would no doubt want extras with that as well.
And that's my humble opinion.
David K. Smith, 17 June 2002
materials copyrighted per their respective copyright holders.