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Moonlighting (1985-1989): Any word on a Blu-ray release?

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by seastman, Nov 26, 2020.

  1. seastman

    seastman Forum Resident Thread Starter

    As far as I know this great series has only been released on DVD and is long out of print. I would love to own this series period, let alone in HD.
  2. Dan C

    Dan C Forum Fotographer

    The West
    I loved this series so so much when it first aired, and I have the DVD set which strangely I haven’t watched much of.

    It’s been a while but I think the DVD used the same old TV broadcast transfers rather than new ones, but I could be mistaken.

    Personally I wouldn’t buy a BD set, but I’d really like to see this series streaming with a shiny new HD transfer. It was such a brilliant show.

    dan c
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  3. Vahan

    Vahan Forum Resident

    Glendale, CA, USA
    Are the episodes on the DVD truly unedited? Some of the running times are VERY abnormal. An hour-long network primetime show around that time was typically 48 minutes in length, minus the commercials.

    I know it wasn't Syndicated too often, save for a stint on Lifetime.
  4. Steve Litos

    Steve Litos Forum Resident

    Chicago IL
    Yes...but "William Tell Overture" was replaced with different music for the Lady In The Iron Mask episode.

    Likewise the edited promos for "next on Moonlighting" sometimes with unused footage are not on the DVD and probably filled out the network running time back in the day.
    JediJones and Vahan like this.
  5. JediJones

    JediJones Forum Resident

    Trying to Google for info on a new release of the series, I found this 2017 interview with the show's creator Glenn Gordon Caron. Very cool anecdote about when Orson Welles guest-starred in the middle of it.

    Glenn Gordon Caron: Moonlit Noir

    Another interview here, where he talks about contemplating rebooting the show or doing a sequel series:

    ‘Moonlighting’ Creator Glenn Gordon Caron Has Big Ideas For A Reboot, But Isn’t Sure That He Should — Turn It On Podcast

    Unfortunately, he's just this year been embroiled in some controversy over behind-the-scenes matters on his show "Bull" and been let go by CBS, so his future career potential may be in doubt.

    ‘Bull’: Glenn Gordon Caron Dropped by CBS After Workplace Investigation – The Hollywood Reporter
    Bryan Harris and Dan C like this.
  6. JediJones

    JediJones Forum Resident

    Bryan Harris, Vidiot, Solaris and 3 others like this.
  7. Kyle B

    Kyle B Forum Resident

    I read the book. It’s well done, although Bruce Willis’ participation is sorely missed. The author said Willis actually committed but then schedules didn’t align.

    It’s fun to read if only to see how artfully Cybill Shepherd dodges the accusations of her being difficult and holding up production. Some of the creative staff still have affection for her despite that, and said that when she really liked the script or was giving something different to do, she always rose to the occasion. Even Glenn Gordon Caron, whom she forced out before the last season, has made peace with her.
  8. Do the original films even still exist? I assume it was distributed on videotape, even if it originated on film.

    I have the PAL DVD release - is region 4 but I believe they are direct duplicates of the region 2 release in the UK - and, while it is more than watchable and looks quite good, I do get the impression that older tapes were used.

    Also, funnily enough, in Australia, the pilot movie was released by MRA, a cheap-ass company that went out of business around 2008, while the series was released by Sony. Also, the DVD of the pilot is stretched length-ways into 16:9 which, so far, I've only been able to correct via software on my computer.
  9. Kyle B

    Kyle B Forum Resident

    It was shot on film, but the question is - was it edited on videotape? The later seasons of Cheers were shot on film/edited on tape. So when they remastered it for hi-def, they had to go back to the original film elements and put the episodes back together again.

    I can’t remember about the later seasons, but I think the initial seasons were both shot and edited on film. I remember it looking pretty crisp, as opposed to that kind of fuzzy look that the shot-on-film/edited-on-tape shows had.
  10. Quadboy

    Quadboy Forum Resident

    I have 2 UK DVD sets somewhere but can't recall if they contain the full 5 seasons?
    They looked ok but can't recall many interesting extras.
  11. 40WattPhasedPlasmaRifle

    40WattPhasedPlasmaRifle Well-Known Member

    Pineville, NC
    jamesc and Apollo C. Vermouth like this.
  12. seventeen

    seventeen Forum Resident

    Paris, France
    I was a complete Moonlighting nut, and yes, I think the hold-up is that the series was conformed to Beta tape (video), so they probably need to go the ST:TNG route to remaster it all. Only, please, make it widescreen, because ST:TNG shot themselves in the foot right there. But this show doesn't have the audience of ST:TNG, so I'm guessing it won't happen.
    Solaris likes this.
  13. Platterpus

    Platterpus Forum Resident

    I used to watch this show back in the 80s.
    JediJones likes this.
  14. Solaris

    Solaris a bullet in flight

    New Orleans, LA
    The first season or two was some of the best TV I've ever seen, and I think Atomic Shakespeare and The Dream Sequence Always Rings Twice might be the high points of the entire show. I rewatched a couple early episodes on youtube recently and they're still really good. Bruce Willis looks like he's having the time of his life.
    Dan C and George P like this.
  15. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR!

    Hollywood, USA
    I didn't work with Cybill on Moonlighting, but I know people who did. And I did work with Ms. Shepherd for 2-3 years off and on on her sitcom Cybill. From my perspective, she was very nice and cooperative, but we heard she drove the producers crazy. Chuck Lorre still has PTSD from getting fired by Cybill Shepherd...

    Big Bang Theory's Chuck Lorre Reveals The Biggest Creative Fights Of His Career

    As to Moonlighting: that was one of the last WB shows to be shot on film and cut on film, so "technically," the negatives still exist and it would be possible to rescan all of the film and release it on HD streaming and/or Blu-ray. WB just has to want to do it.
  16. Big Jimbo

    Big Jimbo Forum Resident

    If they do, can they come out with a set without the DiPiesto/Viola episodes they had to use because production was slow? Going through my DVDs a few months ago,those were a chore…”brain and brain-what is brain” type. The first fouple seasons aren’t quite as fresh as when first broadcast and women sure had broad shoulder pads in the 1980s. But it often matched Cary Grant-Rosalind Russell “His Girl Friday” and that’s an achievement.
    geo50000 likes this.
  17. seventeen

    seventeen Forum Resident

    Paris, France
    Thanks Vidiot, it might mean there's life beyond the masters that we have right now, which looks like video. I still have the UK box set, I'm only on the lookout for the french box set of season 1 as for some reason, the french dub is on every season on the UK set except the first.
    I also still have my commercial VHS of Lady In The Iron Mask the episode with the music replacement (only with the original music). Note that the foreign dubs actually have the original song left intact on DVD, so the swap makes no sense, legally wise.
    There are some problems with the DVD releases, for example they cut out one long intro from one of the later Dipesto/Viola episodes, I remember this was long and just filling in the running time, but why cut it out from the DVD? Have no idea.
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  18. Vahan

    Vahan Forum Resident

    Glendale, CA, USA
    I thought Disney owned Moonlighting, not WB?
    JediJones likes this.
  19. Apollo C. Vermouth

    Apollo C. Vermouth Forum Resident

    Wouldn't this have a lot of issues with music rights? I know the set was released on DVD many years back and it is a hard set to find...but I would think that these days with so many DVD's not getting released because they had to change music in the episodes etc. There is a whole episode with Billy Joel's 'Big Man On Mulberry Street' I could be wrong, but I think this would be one of those sets that the original DVD's might have to do if you want the series in its original form.
  20. JediJones

    JediJones Forum Resident

    If WB owned it, the DVDs wouldn't have gone out of print. They'd be continually pressing them for WBShop/Amazon. Wiki says it's Disney-ABC, while international distribution is Sony.

    Why would music rights be such an insurmountable thing? We've seen there are plenty of music-heavy shows that worked most or all those out for home video...Quantum Leap, Miami Vice, WKRP, Perfect Strangers, Wonder Years, SNL Seasons 1-5. And of course the original release of Moonlighting got all the music rights.

    According to a 2009 article on TheWrap, rights may even be paid out on per-unit basis of discs sold. So in that case, it doesn't cost anything upfront. It just takes away some of the profits. Yes, it does add some to the cost of labor of getting the rights worked out. Of course, they could simply raise the price of a Blu-ray set to offset some of the added cost.

    "these come in all varieties, from flat-rate arrangements to those structured on a per-unit basis. Typically, a rights holder can expect about 10 cents a song on a major DVD release per disc sold."

    This article is more recent, with more details on how they get rights. It says Shout Factory paid a million for the music rights to WKRP (which was about 90% complete). A million dollars is a lot for Dr. Evil, but not for Disney.

    The weird legal reason many of your favorite shows aren’t on DVD

    I doubt demand has changed much in the last 15 years. It was just as much a forgotten show then as it is now, but still had its fanbase. If Disney is intent on killing off home video so they can force everybody onto their streaming service, then they're obligated to their subscribers to make their whole library of content available. They're getting all the money through streaming that they would've gotten through home video. To say they can't afford to make content available that used to be available on home video is disingenuous. We know Disney can afford it.

    Whatever happened to the Lady in the Iron Mask music wasn't due to rights. It was public domain music. I'm guessing they went through a couple different versions during the original production and mistakenly didn't select the final version when making the DVDs. I can imagine putting on the William Tell music could've been a last-minute decision since it didn't involve clearing any rights.

    "When originally aired, the chase at the end of this episode was scored to the "William Tell Overture." When released on DVD, that music had been replaced by more sedate studio orchestration."

    Likewise there were a few minor omissions on the DVDs like intros, which I imagine were due to errors in locating and piecing together all the elements.
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2021 at 4:08 AM
    seventeen likes this.
  21. Cokelike-

    Cokelike- Forum Resident

    Columbus, Oh
    My biggest memory of this show is some episode where they finished the story early and had left over time or something and they filled it with Viola getting up on a chair and dancing and/or lip syncing to an oldie. Anyone remember this?
  22. Classic Car Guy

    Classic Car Guy "The greatest love of all is unconditional"

    Northwest, USA
    Cybill Shepherd was "The Babe"
  23. Kyle B

    Kyle B Forum Resident

    Yep, and it stood out for me because 1) the real episode ended early; and 2) I could never stand Herbert Viola. His showing up was an omen of things to come.
  24. Classic Car Guy

    Classic Car Guy "The greatest love of all is unconditional"

    Northwest, USA
  25. Mirrorblade.1

    Mirrorblade.1 Forum Resident

    I hardly remember this.. And there that demand to jump through all the rights hoops.?
    to reissue this.. Some people are selling the dvds cheap..

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