This week, one of my all time favorite shows finally hit DVD: The State. Well, technically it hits in two weeks, on Bastille Day. Which, if I understand correctly, is a day to celebrate bastilles.
Anyway, I preordered it, so I got it early, along with a snazzy grey t-shirt that I intend to wear as soon as possible. It’s a 5 disc set with all four seasons, an unaired pilot, as well as some filmed and later cut sketches. Included in the box is a note from the cast of the show, advising we the viewer of something that we’re going to have to deal with regularly as MTV releases some of its older shows on DVD.
We’ll call July 14th “The Day The Music Went Away.” Due to the extreme cost of licensing, the music that was freely available for MTV to use in their shows while they were airing is no longer available for DVD release without additional licensing costs.
Sometimes it works out fine, but some sketches are inextricably linked, either thematically or through direct references, to the music playing. The best example is Barry and Levon (aww yeah) talking about the Marvin Gaye song playing in the background. The producers have done their best to match the music as closely as possible but sometimes it just doesn’t work. I’d rather have the DVD sans music than not have it at all, but I’m more worried about Daria, for which the DVD has a preview.
Daria, even more than The State, was a show where the music’s role was integral to many scenes. It established the tone and emotion for the characters and the story, and removing that music is really going to hit the show hard.
I don’t hold these problems against the creators of the show or against MTV itself, but rather against the labels that are asking exorbitant amounts of money to use even a segment of their song. “Hey guys, here’s six hours of advertisement for your songs, and millions of people will purchase it!” “Okay, pay us a billion dollars!” Now, instead of getting some free advertising, they’re forcing the producers to change the music completely. Both of those shows had tons of great music from the time and the shows both got me buying CDs. I’ve gone and bought single mp3s because of the shows as well.
So MTV, thank you for bringing us your best shows. We’re happy to have them.
Record labels, why you jackin’ us and messing up our shows?