Search This Blog

Monday, March 25, 2013

Reality Stinks

The roughly one-year anniversary of this site has coincided with both an apparent scaling back of public relations efforts by the tremondous Shout Factory and a further slip in the quality of primetime network television. Consequently, Shout Factory for Joy is becoming Unreal TV.

The name change additionally reflects the expansion of this site's coverage from the great vintage releases by Shout Factory to the equally great comparable offerings from Warner Archive and other studios. 

I will always love Shout Factory's "Mystery Science Theater 3000" releases and am eager for Shout's next release of "Hazel." However, my fanboy juices get just as revved up when I learn that Warner Archive is releasing a new season of the '70s-'80s sitcom "Alice", "Starman" or an equally loved short-run vintage series, or a '70s Hanna Barbera cartoon such as "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kids." 

Having said this, Shout Factory deserves Nobel Prize level credit for being one of the first studios to successfully release vintage shows. This company likely paved the way for Warner Archive, which I am very pleased spectacularly excelled where former Warner Brothers division Rhino failed. 

As a side note, Shout Factory took over releasing "Mystery Science Theater 3000" DVD sets when Rhino closed up shop. 

The title "Unreal TV" refers to both the fictional, and occasionally fantastical, nature of beloved shows from the '60s through the '80s and to the high quality of even the silliest of these offerings. 

This title also reflects the contrast between these shows and the reality TV that is dominating the current airwaves at the expense of sitcoms. 

I apparently was among the very few who loved the quirkiness of the Fox failedcom "Ben and Kate" about a charmingly odd guy, his more grounded sister, and their wacky friends. Unfortunately, this show did not seem to have a chance (no "Raising Hope" pun intended) against the more highly rated and less expensive "American Idol" and other reality shows. 

The lower quality but decent ABC sitcom "Don't Trust the B**** in Apartment 23" and many other scripted shows shared "Ben and Kate's" sad fate.

For the sake of not alienating the apparent majority of the viewing public that like reality shows (or the studios who provide the DVDs that I review :-)), I will (mostly) refrain from the tirade against that genre that my friends have heard many times. I will say that I follow the  principle that one primary goal of prime time television is to escape from the world. 

I will share that the appeal of watching the same despicably cruel psychopaths on television with which one must deal in real life escapes me. In sharing this thought with a friend this weekend, he told me that a co-worker had shared that he could not tolerate reality shows based in our home region of Boston for that exact reason,

The escapism aspect of television is a significant reason that so many Vietnam-era sitcoms were so silly. The same relief is needed in this era of  tough economic times, super storms, overcrowding on the roads and our neighbors, and a lack of any moderation in Washington.

I will share as well that I started collecting DVDs by buying "I Dream of Jeannie" releases during a period in which I was the subject of brutally hostile attacks at a prior job. 

I additionally turn to DVDs of "TV Land" shows when the animosity with my neighbors from Hell has escalated, the conservative "widows and orphans" investments on which I heavily rely are taking another hit, or a friendship ends over a minor dispute. This video therapy really helps until I reach the next relative period of puppies and lolly pops.

The bottom line of all this is that I hope that this revised site will help spread the word regarding the release of DVDs that truly make the world a little brighter. Anyone with thoughts regarding this is encouraged to email me.