Warner Archive Update

I’ve written about the Warner Archive, a manufacture-on-demand program offered by Warner Bros. in which films otherwise unavailable on DVD can be ordered, burned to a DVD-R and shipped to customers, on several occasion in the past. Although it primarily contains theatrical releases, there have been a few dozen made-for-TV movies and television miniseries released since the Warner Archived launched in March 2009.

I haven’t kept up to date on these releases for the simple fact that I found the Warner Archive website incredibly difficult to navigate. Today, however, I discovered that there is a section of the website just for made-for-TV movies/miniseries, which I believe is a fairly recent development.

I don’t know how often new releases are added to the Warner Archive, but the latest batch came out this past Tuesday (May 18th). Included were several made-for-TV movies: Cry Rape (1973), Friendships, Secrets, Lies, Strange New World (1975), Zuma Beach (1978), Champions, A Love Story (1979), Secrets and Lies (1979), Shattered Innocence (1988) and Terror in the Mall (1998). Strange New World was the third and final attempt to bring Gene Roddenberry’s story of a devastated Earth to television, although Roddenberry wasn’t actually involved in this one. The first two were released on DVD through the Warner Archive last year.

Most of the made-for-TV movies cost $19.99; a miniseries like The Awakening Land costs a bit more, $24.95. You can purchase these titles at the Warner Archive itself or through Amazon.com, among other online retailers. In the future I’ll try to report on new television releases from the Warner Archive.

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4 Replies to “Warner Archive Update”

  1. I’ll give Warner credit for embracing the BOD venue for releases and constantly expanding their offerings (are you listening Sony, Universal etc.?). Although some find it a tad pricey, where else are you going to get some of this material they’ve got buried in the vaults?

    The only complaint some have had is the wide variance in quality. Of course not everything is going to be wonderfully re-mastered, but some of the items released (at $20 a pop) have been “dirty transfers” from some fairly horrid 16mm battered prints. I don’t know if they’ve fixed it, but early buyers of the “Man From Atlantis” pilot discovered it was plagued with some bad emulsion lines running through a good chunk of the film.

    At this point, most people are waiting to see if they are going to being offering TV season sets and at what price point. Insider rumors indicate that they are planning to begin opening the television vaults soon, beginning with an extremely obscure and unlikely choice…which I’m not allowed to divulge at this point. (sorry).

  2. MGM has released two season sets through its MGM Limited Edition Collection through Amazon.com, although they were relatively recent shows, and the prices were about what I would have expected. Four other season sets have been announced — including Flipper – Season 2 and Highway Patrol – Season 1 — but no release dates as of yet. So there is some precedent for manufacture-on-demand season sets, but not much.

    Personally, with regard to quality, if The New People were to be released as a manufacture-on-demand/buy-on-demand/made-to-order DVD, I’d buy it even if it wasn’t in pristine condition. I’d obviously prefer a restored, traditional DVD set, but I’ll take what I can get.

    The real sticking point is going to be cost. The two MGM season sets I mentioned were consistent with the price of a traditional season set. If Warner prices season sets the way it prices its made-for-TV movies, I can’t see many people willing to pay. I’d probably pay just about anything for The New People, but I’m the exception.

    I wonder if the first season set from the Warner Archive is going to be Conflict, which was hinted at in an article late last year.

  3. So nice to see a selection of made-for’s up on the Warner Archive site. I think their pricing is a bit high, but I hope they add more telefilms to their offerings.

    I too would pay an above-average pricing for a full-season set of ‘The New People’ if it became available, even in a manufactured-on-demand version.

  4. STRANGE NEW WORLD was the third but not the final attempt at that particular story. It was revived and revised (with a switch of setting from a post-apocalyptic Earth to outer space) many years later, as the syndicated series ANDROMEDA. Kevin Sorbo played Dylan Hunt, the character previously played by Alex Cord in GENESIS TWO and by John Saxon in PLANET EARTH.

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