Lobbying For Air Farce Complete Season DVDs

On November 19, 1997, HBO released Todd McFarlane’s Spawn on DVD.  Based on his comic book (which also inspired a live-action feature film that summer), it’s an adult animated series that debuted exclusively on the cable channel six months earlier.  All six episodes from its first season were featured uncut on this DVD.
 
Up to that point, only selected episodes of certain programs were available for purchase in the new digital format, following a formula long established by Beta and VHS.  The idea of offering a complete season of shows in one release was unique.  In fact, by the end of 1999, Spawn was the only TV program whose complete run (eighteen episodes in three seasons) was available to own on DVD.
 
Then came The X-Files.  On May 9, 2000, the complete first season of the Fox series was issued.  Besides offering all 24 episodes that aired during its first year, there were extensive bonus features including, according to TVshowsonDVD.com, 47 promo spots.  The seven-disc box set laid out the blueprint for all other shows to follow. 
 
Since then, numerous Television programs, whether they were hits with long runs or horrendous flops that barely lasted a year, have received similiar treatment.  Even Canadian shows like This Hour Has 22 Minutes and Corner Gas have been rolling out old shows one season at a time.  One such program that hasn’t is The Royal Canadian Air Farce.
 
Other sketch comedy staples like SCTV and Saturday Night Live have dived right into the complete season DVD phenomenon.  Why not Air Farce?
 
When the show airs its final episode on New Year’s Eve, it’ll mark the end of its sixteenth season.  Before The Farce began its second (and most successful) attempt at a regular series in the fall of 1993, there was a one-hour special that was broadcasted on December 31, 1992, so the show has come full circle.
 
Once production ends, plans should be drawn up to put together proper DVD releases which offer every episode of every season in the right order and loaded with bonus material.  That ’92 New Year’s Eve special would be a great addition to the season one set.  John Morgan, Don Ferguson, Roger Abbott and Luba Goy were interviewed by Pamela Wallin on her prime time CBC Newsworld talk show in 1996.  Why not include that on the season three release?  Hell, I’ll personally throw in the Andy Awards promo the troupe graciously recorded during my four-week internship that has only aired once.  I’ve got the original raw footage as well as the clip from the actual broadcast.  It would also be neat to hear commentary from Director Perry Rosemond, deadpan Stage Manager Pat McDonald, and all the other talented folks who looked after the technical and visual sides of production, about the origins and processes of many of the funny sketches that have aired over the years.  Any bits that got excised and ultimately never aired would be cool to see as well, if they exist.
 
Surely, there’s a ton of archival footage worth digging up for these releases like the troupe’s Just For Laughs appearances.  I would personally love to see old photos of The Farce put together in a video montage complete with music, like they do on those Seinfeld DVDs.  Surely it’s possible to get interviews with all the many luminaries who’ve appeared on the show over the years.  It would be particularly interesting to hear from Jann Arden who, according to Wikipedia, had a terrible experience with the show.  Considering the decency and total professionalism of everybody associated with Air Farce, it’s hard to accept an outsider coming in and not having a good time doing comedy with them.
 
It goes without saying that a tribute to John Morgan would be nice to see.  It would be cool to learn more about the backgrounds of each individual performer, particularly Alan Park and Jessica Holmes, through a series of in-depth profiles.  (I’d like to see one on Perry Rosemond, as well.)  Maybe they would be humble enough to offer rare footage of themselves exclusive to these DVD releases.  Most importantly, a thorough history of The Farce from its Jest Society beginnings to its recent CBC triumphs would be more than appreciated.
 
Even though the show will probably live on in reruns for some time to come, putting together comprehensive box sets one season at a time would be preferable.  (Yes, there have already been Air Farce compendium DVDs over the years but they only offer selected bits.)  Think about it.  You could watch any sketch you want to at any time without commercial interruption.  (Chapter stops would make it easier to go directly to a particular bit and prevent the annoyance of fast forwarding.)  You could check out all kinds of material not seen or heard anywhere else.  And you would learn so much more about the process of making funny sketches on Television thereby deepening your understanding and respect for the people who made this series a reality.
 
The Royal Canadian Air Farce is a very funny show with a long history to share.  The best way to preserve that history is on DVD, one complete season at a time.
 
Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Thursday, December 4, 2008
6:19 p.m.
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Published in: on December 4, 2008 at 6:21 pm  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. I’d love to see all seasons on DVD. Nothing fancy – just remove the commercials and leave each episode intact for pure hilarious uninterrupted viewing pleasure.


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