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ISSUE 117 VOL 15 PUBLISHED 4/9/2004

From TV to DVD

By Derek Zobel
Contributing Writer

Friday, April 9, 2004

Remember waking up at 7 a.m. on Saturday mornings just to watch six straight hours of cartoons? Some loved "G.I. Joe," "Transformers" and "Masters of the Universe." Others couldn't miss an episode of "My Little Pony," "Care Bears" or "Jem."

Until recently, children of the 80s believed those days were gone forever, but with the development of new technology, TV show favorites are now available for purchase on DVD.

Hearing memorable phrases such as "Go Joe!" and "I have the power!" will remind young adults of their blissful childhood days. Furthermore, DVDs offer the added benefit of being able to watch countless episodes -- or even seasons -- of any TV show back-to-back.

In addition to old cartoons, many other TV shows are making their way to DVD. Classics such as "Star Trek," "M*A*S*H" and "Cheers" are joining newer hits like "The Sopranos," "Alias," "Sex and the City" and "The West Wing" on store shelves. The majority of the shows are grouped by season.

Newer cartoons are also appearing on DVD. On the air for over a decade, seasons of TVs popular comedy "The Simpsons" are continuously released on disc due to the impressive rate at which the DVDs sell.

The most amazing feat that this new "TV-to-DVD" phenomenon has accomplished involves the controversial cartoon "Family Guy." People began buying DVDs of cartoon (which aired for three seasons) and word of its hilarity swiftly spread. Sales reached such a peak that the series was resurrected; new episodes are being written for release in 2005. Not surprisingly, most of the highest-selling DVD titles are those TV shows that enjoyed tremendous success on network television. Shows such as "Friends," "The X-Files" and "Frasier" are enjoying substantial sales. What could be better than watching one's favorite show without commercial breaks?

Many St. Olaf students own boxed sets of their favorite television shows. Timothy Vanadurongvan '06 already owns "Futurama," "Family Guy" and "The Simpsons."

"They are a good solution to the lack of cable television on [the St. Olaf] campus," Vanadurongvan said, "and serve as another means to distract myself and my roommate from doing homework."

Because of the success of the TV-to-DVD frenzy, companies owning the rights to older TV shows are releasing more and more material. Out of television history have come the "Dick Van Dyke Show," "I Love Lucy" and "The Mary Tyler Moore Show." These are bound to attract the attention of older viewers who long for the nostalgic days of "good old television," just as the DVDs featuring cartoons from the 1980s are attracting a strong base of young consumers.

Assuredly, TV shows from every generation are now available on DVD. With the library of TV DVDs growing, more people will be reached ... and this new craze will only get stronger.

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