Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Bionic Quandary: A Possible Solution

Well, the wait continues. For those in America waiting to have the original Six Million Dollar Man and Bionic Woman on DVD there seems to be no end in sight. Back in 2004, Universal (the owners of the shows) released a trailer of upcoming releases and there was a trailer for The Bionic Woman starring Lindsay Wagner. So, it looked like there might be hope. Well, 2004 came and went and nothing. Now here we are in 2008 and still nothing has happened with the original Bionic shows on DVD. At least in America. The reasons for this delay can be found here:

If you think that is a mess, try figuring out why the 60s Batman series isn’t on DVD yet. The legal issues holding up both Batman and the Bionic DVD releases are one big legal knot that doesn’t look like it’s going to be resolved anytime soon.

So, while the long negotiations continue to release these shows in America on DVD, there is a solution. At least a temporary one. While this solution isn’t 100% above board, it’s better than resorting to finding the shows on bootleg DVD. While I do not condone buying bootleg DVDs nor will I encourage anyone to do so, the ultimate decision is your’s and you must deal with your own conscience on that issue. What I did for myself, and many others have done this as well, was to buy a region free or multi region DVD player and purchase the UK DVDs of the first two seasons of The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman. I’m sure that in some people’s opinion, buying a region free DVD player is a little…well…underhanded shall we say? I don’t think that it is strictly illegal nor do I think that it is 100% legal either. I think it falls into one of those ‘gray’ areas. I really don’t know. I mean, how legal is it for a DVD retailer to break into the region codes on DVD players and remove them and then sell them as region free? Also, how legal is it for someone to purchase DVD (albeit 100% legal in the country where they were released) sets that aren’t sold in this country? With the whole ‘rights’ issues preventing these releases in this country, I can’t really see that this is legal. After all, I believe that this is why region codes are programmed into the DVD players in the first place. But again, these DVDs are 100% legal in the UK and other countries so where do you draw the line?

Well, the line for me was the fact that I could purchase a region free DVD player through a reputable online retailer and then use that same retailer to purchase the DVDs. In my opinion, if any of this was totally illegal then Amazon would have stopped it long ago. I don’t think that it is illegal for me to have the DVDs, but the region free DVD player is where things might be a little ‘sticky’ for me. I just plane got tired of waiting for two of my favorite shows of the 70s to be released in this country. So, I put aside my doubts and fears and slapped down the cash for the player and the DVDs. It took 20 days from the time I ordered the DVDs for them to arrive. Believe me, that wait seemed longer than the current wait for them to be released here at all. So, for the last three evenings, Steve Austin has once again been gracing my TV screen. It has been too exciting for words.

I shouldn’t say this, but if you are like me and are tired of waiting for these shows to be released in this country, do what I did. Get thee a region free DVD player and make that UK purchase for the DVDs. For me it was worth every penny.

The only question in my mind now is once these shows are finally released in this country will I go ahead and get them? Probably. In fact, I can almost say with 100% assurances that I will. In the meantime, I am totally enjoying my UK sets and hope that season three for both shows are released soon.