Saturday, 13 March 2010

The DVD boxset

I'm up to watching the last disk of season 2 of The West Wing.

DVD boxsets are my little vice. There's this Just Joans song called Ma Baby (He's Boring), there's a line in it where Katie pines that "He's bought another boxset". That's me, I keep buying boxsets, not until I've finished the last one mind, I buy them consecutively.

It possibly started with Twin Peaks, I'd had a couple of Season 1 episodes on VHS from the nineties, but they became hard to find, besides Channel 5 repeated the season in the middle of the decade. I vaguely recall from the baggy, Madchester days of 1991 that season 2 was far superior, and waited patiently for it to be released.

That moment came with great celebration in 2007. I bought it, Region 1, broke my DVD drive and watched it in a weekend.

This is where I discovered something terrible about boxsets, TV shows are designed to be watched at weekly intervals, to watch an entire season in a far greater time span will never be the same as the original experience. Twin Peaks season 2 is a lot cheesier than I remember, sure its deep and fantastic, edgy and surreal, but cheesy. The comic sidekick from Hercules gets entombed in a giant chess pawn.

It was probably a better experience in the nineties, when I was an adolescent obsessed with a girl called Laura, reading the Twin Peaks Access Guide and The Autobiography of FBI Special Agent Dale Copper. This one time I was chatting to a girl who'd read The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer.

Then again I was going through a rocky period in 2007 when I watched Twin Peaks season 2 over a weekend.

At about the same time that I moved to London in the August I got season 1 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer on DVD. A friend off of the internet was studying Buffy at university and often ran Facebook updates on it. I was a big fan of Buffy the first time round with the movie and then the second time round with the TV series.

Almost a decade after Twin Peaks, Buffy was a lot better for watching over a weekend. Actually I think I watched it over the course of a week. A year or so later I gave the pack to Sheffield based acoustic pop singer Pete Green who was similarly embarking on a Buffy odyssey. I got up to season 3 before redundancy struck

I really fancied Eliza Dushku the first time round, the second time round too, but she was a little young for me by then. Well, when I watched it she was a bit too young for me, but in real life she's only a year younger than me. She should so have gotten her own spin-off series.

So late last year, back in full time employment, I got back on the wagon. The later seasons are masterpieces.

At this point I'm not sure where I heard it or read it, some random blog, possibly the radio, someone said that DVD boxsets are this century's novel. Rather than a movie which has you for two hours, and has to fit everything in to that limited time. With 24 hours worth of show, for each season, your get a far richer experience. You can embrace the characters, you can grow and develop with them. Graphic novels are so 90's.

I used to be into comics. In '93 I decided I hadn't done comics enough and proceeded to buy around five hundred Superman comics starting from '93 and working forwards and backwards. Got as far back as 1984 before I grew bored and had to go to university. There were brief forrays into Preacher comics and HellBlazer but comics kind of petered out for me.

Back in Bolton in my youth there were two or three comics shops, a handful of comic shops in Manchester. Glasgow had a handful, I used to stop by Forbidden Planet almost every day and flick through what was going on.

In 2006 I helped a girlfriend move from Glasgow to London, knowing that would be the end of our relationship. A year later in HellBlazer there was the Red Right Hand storyline, it was set in Glasgow the same weekend I was out of town. Maybe that killed off my love of comics.

Then again, when I read my hero Bill Drummond's book 17 in summer 2008, there's a pair of chapters where he's sitting out on the balcony of his flat in Shoreditch, musing, the same weekend I was unloading a Ford Galaxy. I haven't bought a Drummond product since.

I digress.

I'm up to the last disk of West Wing season 2. Its got its moments.

The first time round I didn't watch it regularly on TV. Just occasionally, and then around season 3 I was too busy to watch it at all. Around season 4 I just started getting the boxsets and gave up any thought of it being a regularly scheduled TV show. I couldn't bear the thought of watching a cliffhanger ending then, not only having to wait a week for the next episode, but possibly missing the subsequent episode and then inevitably waiting for the boxset to come out.

Hmm, so that's how I've ended up with seasons 4 and 5 on my shelf for months and months before acquiring season 1 thru 3.

My train got derailed, I watched up to season 6 of Buffy, acquiring them for between £10 and £15 each. Season 7 is twice the price of the others, or it was. HMV still has it for £35, Amazon's brought it down to £17. I'll wait a little longer.

My Amazon wishlist now includes most of Star Trek, all series, and most of 24.

I feel really uncomfortable putting Doctor Who on my Amazon wishlist. It doesn't start at the start, well, it does, but then it peters out again as the BBC deleted a vast number of episodes, lost for ever.

This one time in the nineties, over a Easter half-term, a school friend, Timbo, lent me his entire collection of Doctor Who videos, every video that had been released by the BBC by that time in the decade, and I watched them all, almost thirty year's worth of seasons.

1 comment:

  1. why not become more environmentally friendly and stream the lot off t'internet? Cheaper & quicker too...