Monday, January 20, 2014

No, Seriously Lionsgate, Eff You

I’m a television-watching dude.  I was a binge-watcher before that was even a thing.  I consume television the way some people consume alcohol.  Television is one of my vices. 

And Mad Men is one of my favorite shows.  As much as I love Mad Men, the dvd release of the six season has left me rather sour.  Allow me to explain.

First let me give you some back-story.  

I’ve been sans cable for the past five and a half years.  That means that if I wanted to watch any acclaimed series from AMC, FX or HBO I’ve had to buy it from iTunes, buy it on DVD or wait for it to come to Netflix.  And for the most part I’ve done the first two. 

It might seem like I’m wasting money, I mean if I have the episodes digitally why would I need to own the DVDs?  But allow me to explain how I consume television. 

First off, I get the season pass from iTunes and I watch the episodes as they air.  For shows like Breaking Bad and Mad Men, I’ll generally watch the first thing the next day, so that I can peruse the internet without fear of spoilers. 

Then, months after the season finale I buy the dvds.  I look at them as a sort of substitute for film school lectures, since I can’t afford film school.  You get awesome stories about the creative process and filming.  You get great anecdotes about everyone involved in the show.  For me, commentaries are both informative and entertaining. 

As an added bonus, Ma Serpico is equally without cable, so I can send the dvds her way when I’m done with them.  Most recently I sent her Deadwood the complete series, Justified seasons 1-4, Rome the complete series, Boardwalk Empire season one and K Street.  So she’s like my secondary market for shows that I buy on dvd. 

Which brings me to Mad Men Season 6.
I've already explained that I love The Sound Garden.
Last November, around Thanksgiving I popped into my favorite place in the world, Baltimore’s The Sound Garden, to pick up a few things, one of them being the latest season of Mad Men on dvd.  I was super excited because Mad Men is good for commentaries, and Matthew Weiner loves to talk about his show. 

Also, I really wanted to hear everyone talk about the season.   The sixth season was divisive, it turned off some fans and everyone seemed to be gunning for it.  But I enjoyed it and I really wanted to hear all those involved in it discussing it. 

I was looking forward to curling up on a couch and just basking in some glorious Mad Men commentaries during the cold winter months, as a gear up to the show’s upcoming final season. 

So I tear the plastic off of the packaging.  I read the back of the box.  I see phrases like “DVD Features” and “Special Features” and underneath them I don’t see anything about commentaries.  But I’m cool; I don’t panic because commentaries on Mad Men are a foregone conclusion. 

Lest you think I’m exaggerating about commentaries being an expected thing on Mad Men dvds, let me spell it out for. 

In the previous five seasons of Mad Men there were a total of 122 commentaries on the dvds.  That breaks down to 24.4 commentaries a season, which is 13 episodes.  So the show is just shy of having two dvd commentaries per episode as the norm. 

Back to my harsh realization. 

I open up the package fully expecting to see which episodes have commentaries on the discs themselves.  But I see nothing.  Beginning to panic, I take to Google to confirm my suspicion that the sixth season of Mad Men is devoid to dvd commentary.  I get confirmation. 

I’m angry, frustrated, heartbroken, betrayed and crushed.  I’m crushed that my plans of enjoying the commentaries will go unfulfilled.  I’m betrayed by AMC and Lionsgate for completely dicking me over.  I’m heartbroken that I won’t get to any insight into Mad Men’s penultimate season by the people who created it.  I’m frustrated because I can’t quite understand why this is the case.  And I’m angry that I just assumed that commentaries would be a part of the package. 

But again, how can you fault me for believing that I’d get treated to commentaries.  As I pointed out, in the previous five years I’ve listened to 122 of them. 

You’d think that the silver lining would be that I’ll still get to send the disc Ma Serpico’s way.  Except that for X-mas 2012 I got her Apple TV, so now she can do the season pass thing that I get.  Which means that she’s already watched the full season. 

So basically I’ve purchased the exact same tv season twice.  Or if you’re an optimist; I spent way $28.49 (plus tax) for three bonus features. 

I genuinely hope that Lionsgate and/or AMC decide to do something meaningful to those of us loyal fans of the show, who purchased the dvd for Mad Men season six and feel that they’ve been cheated.  ITunes reimbursed whiney fans who complained about having to buy two blocks of Breaking Bad episodes, so maybe Lionsgate and AMC will have a moment of conscience
I was really hoping to hear Bob Benson explain his peeking in this scene.

I really want to hear stories about how many different actors have played Bobby Draper.  I want to hear Vincent Kartheiser make snarky comments about Jon Hamm and John Slattery.  I want to hear the obligatory awkward commentary featuring Kiernan Shipka and Marten Weiner.  I want to hear all of those things and hopefully I’ll get to. 

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