Sometimes I’m much too concerned with the business of entertainment, but we live in such changing times that it’s hard not to wonder how decisions are made to release certain projects.
For example, Shout! Factory has announced that they will putting out the second season of Fantasy Island on May 8. It contains 25 episodes on six DVDs, and list price is $39.97. The first season came out from Sony in 2005 (with 14 episodes and 2 TV movies), and fans have been wanting more ever since. (I’m basing that on how many of the Amazon product “reviews” of season one are really requests for more seasons.)
Starring, of course, Ricardo Montalban as Mr. Roarke and Herve Villechaize as Tattoo, Season Two’s guest stars include Desi Arnaz, Jr., John Astin, Scott Baio, Danny Bonaduce, Sonny Bono, Yvonne De Carlo, Troy Donahue, Samantha Eggar, Anne Francis, Jonathan Frakes, Annette Funicello, Eva Gabor, Peter Graves, Florence Henderson, Celeste Holm, Don Knotts, Michelle Lee, Janet Leigh, Maureen McCormick, Jayne Meadows, Rue McClanahan, Roddy McDowell, Leslie Nielsen, Cassandra Peterson, Michelle Pfeiffer, Regis Philbin, Robert Reed, Cesar Romero, Connie Stevens, and Abe Vigoda. As the press release has it, “each fantasy comes with mystery and suspense; and guests always get what they asked for, but rarely what they expect.”
They also note that “Fantasy Island is a production of Spelling-Goldberg Productions in association with Sony Pictures Television Inc. It has been sublicensed for home video distribution to Shout! Factory.” And good for them for doing so. I’m guessing that a smaller company, with dedicated fans, a reputation for quality, and experience getting the word out for their specialized items, can make a success of this better than an entertainment conglomerate.
It’s tough for fans of old shows. Fantasy Island ran a total of seven seasons, and viewers interested in all of it may not want to just buy the first one or two not knowing if they’ll ever see the rest. Yet companies won’t keep funding show collections if sales aren’t what they’re hoping for. (I’m guessing they drop on each volume, much like comics, so if you don’t start high enough, you’re not going to make it to the end.) Taking the property to a smaller, focused company may solve the problem on both ends.