When fans of ALF
purchased their DVD sets and brought them home, they were upset to find that many of the episodes were syndication versions missing a few minutes from the original episode. We received a number of angry emails, so we contacted Lions Gate to see what happened. Here's their response:
We released this version because the masters that were available to us were cleaned up and in so much better shape to be released on DVD, and also happened to be the ones that were re-done for syndication.
Lions Gate doesn't own ALF
, so they can only release what they are supplied with. It sounds like they would be faced with high costs to clean up the original broadcast versions, so they decided to go with the cleaner syndication episodes. Obviously fans would disagree, and would probably prefer uncut episodes over cleaner episodes.
Studios need to include certain information on the back of the package for sets that contain changes. If there are syndication episodes on the set then it should be listed along with any music changes. It's only fair to let the consumer know what they're buying, or be prepared to refund them when they're unhappy. Lions Gate can learn from this situation and make better decisions in the future. We'll offer to lend them a hand if they need it.
What is syndication?
Once a show gets enough episodes behind it (usually 80+) it will be sold into syndication, which means local channels belonging to other networks can pick up the episodes that have already aired. Shows like Seinfeld
and The Simpsons
are in syndication and can be seen on a variety of TV channels during the day. When a show is syndicated they often edit out a few minutes from each episode so they can show more commercials and make more money. DVD fans hate it when companies include the syndicated episodes because it means they're missing material that originally aired.