Back on January 25th, The Digital Bits
reported that the first season would be released this fall. No word on features, or how frequently WHV will be releasing the sets. (Fox does an X-Files
every six months, but Paramount is planning to release a Star Trek: TNG
set every other
month.) The Bits
is a pretty reliable source; even when they're wrong, they're right.
For instance, in the late summer of 1999 they reported that Warner Bros. would be releasing B5
on DVD. Obviously the discs never arrived, but they were
planned at the time. Warner Bros. just changed their minds later. That isn't likely to happen this time, because conditions have totally changed.
WB was originally planning a B5
release similar to Paramount's Trek: TOS
discs - single disc releases every few months, two episodes per disc, $20 MSRP, essentially no extras. And, in WB's case, 4:3 TV ratio only, since no suitable widescreen masters existed, and they weren't about to pay for them.
But then several things happened. Paramount's TOS
discs sold more slowly than expected, Fox scored big with an X-Files
boxed set, and WB began to hear from fans insisting on a widescreen release. Then the VHS tape sales dropped. The studio was convinced that if B5
could be sold on DVD at all (and they were dubious) it would have to be in widescreen and in boxed sets. But that was too expensive, so they just shelved their plans.
Almost three years later there are new hi-def widescreen masters that they didn't have to pay for, their first test disc sold (to their surprise) well enough to justify continuing with the episodes and almost the entire industy has been forced to see the virtues of the full-season set. (Even WB itself recently announced, "Friends:
The Complete First Season" after failing with their "Best of Friends
So I'm very confident that the current report is true, and that we'll have at least season one by the end of the year. Now the question is, "Will there be any extras, and what will they be?"
If you have any thoughts on that
subject, allow me to suggest that you write a nice letter to this fellow (who ultimately decides this sort of thing at Warner Home Video):
Mr. Douglas Wadleigh
Vice President, Marketing & Special Features
Warner Home Video
4000 Warner Blvd.
Burbank, CA 91522
Pat Tallman Division