Since mid-January we've been trying to solve the mystery of an entry at Amazon.com (note that this is the USA branch) for Kate & Allie - The Complete Series
. The big e-tailer's llisting
for a 16-disc release from Toronto-based VEI contained several big question marks on it...not the least of which is how VEI's previous releases for the show - starring Jane Curtin and Susan Saint James - where all only available for release in Canada. Also, the pricing ($84.44 SRP) seemed odd, and even odder was an availability date that was super-quick: the listing was added to Amazon.com on January 15th, and showed a release date of January 22nd...a date which is still on there in the "Product Details" section of the entry. Despite the date, no product was ever shown to be in stock...until earlier this week, when readers alerted us it was now showing as having product available to ship (although since then they are now back to an "out of stock" status, showing a 1-3 week wait on filling orders).
Now we've gotten a detailed explanation of the situaton from VEI, explaining for starters that they have no USA rights to distribute Kate & Allie
DVD, and that they have nothing to do with Amazon.com's USA-branch listing for The Complete Series
. Moreover, they are clear that the release date and price shown at that entry are completely wrong, not even reflecting the reality of the situation in Canada (and the art shown is only a section of the package; see complete box art below). What happened was that on February 23rd the title became available exclusively at Costco stores in Canada, with a two month window where it can only be purchased there. The list price is CA$54.95 SRP, but Costco discounts it to CA$39.99 (or perhaps a bit less, depending on the location). The title becomes generally available to all other Canadian retailers on May 4th
Again, this is a 16-disc set, and the running time is approximately 48 hours for 122 unedited episodes from all six seasons. The set is coded for "Region 1," which means it will work in either the USA or Canada. However, VEI is only authorized to sell the title in Canada, so we have to assume that any USA sellers must be obtaining copies through what many people would refer to as the "gray market" (grey, if you prefer). The Canadian branch of Amazon.ca hasn't put up a pre-order listing for the set at this time, but shortly after they do we'll add a release listing here at the site. Here's a full picture of the packaging:
In our write-up yesterday (above), we quoted a VEI sell sheet that spoke of "122 unedited episodes from all six seasons
." One of our readers, "Adam," pointed out that the individual season sets for the first two seasons contained some edited (syndication-cut) episodes, and wondered if it meant that the new Complete Series
release would be unedited now. We checked with VEI, who informed us that the sell sheet they had sent us was an obsolete version with incorrect information about the "unedited" status. Unfortunately, source masters on 7 of the episodes were not of a high enough quality to use for the DVD release, so those seven episodes are using edited versions (approximately two minutes are missing from each). The problem episodes are: Season 1's "The Family Business," "Dear Diary" and "A Weekend to Remember," and Season 2's "If She Goes I Go," "Dead Cat," "The Bad Seed" and "Goodbye, Plumber." TVShowsOnDVD regrets the confusion caused by passing along incorrect information.