Keep Circulating The Tapes: Live-Action TV
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Mystery Science Theater 3000
is the Trope Namer
. The phrase "keep circulating the tapes" was a line in the credits from Seasons 1-4, inserted to give a winking consent to sharing tapes with others in order to popularize the show; it was removed in Season 5 for many of the legal reasons this entry concerns itself with. During the show's run, the hosts would give a Shout-Out
to fans in places where the series wasn't aired (including a group of tape-sharing aficionados in Paris, France during the third season). Although many of the movies shown fall into the Missing Episode
category and are unlikely to see wide release due to Copyright
issues, a fair number are available for purchase legally. In this case, the problem is the reproduction rights to the movies since nobody expected there to be such a market for home recordings down the line, so movie rights were only secured for the show's on-air run. Episodes are released on DVD as the rights issues are ironed out. Many episodes were uploaded by Best Brains themselves to Google
Video - many others are uploaded to YouTube
at random, with some having been pulled by NBC Universal
. Word of God
(well, word of Joel anyway) states that the phrase was not in reference to licensing/copyright issues but to the fact that Comedy Central was not available everywhere in the U.S. when the show premiered, similar to other channels in the early days of cable. So, the only way they could gain a national audience was for fans to trade tapes with people who could not watch it any other way.
One of the creators has actually said "Keep circulating some
of the tapes," meaning fans should buy the episodes available on DVD, but the others are fair game...which is what most of the dedicated fans do anyway. Special mention should be given to The Amazing Colossal Man
and Godzilla vs. Megalon
, released but quickly withdrawn due to rights issues. With the show's transfer from Rhino Home Video to Shout! Factory
, the odds of every episode eventually being released on DVD has greatly risen, especially when the five nigh-mythical Gamera
episodes were all released together.
Ironically, some of the films featured in MST3000
are themselves difficult or impossible to find on legal home video releases, such as the TV movie Overdrawn at the Memory Bank
or Operation Double 007
, yet these
are among the episodes that are actually available on DVD.
- Many TV series have been available on DVD in the past but, for whatever reason, are no longer for sale. As a result, some releases have become collector's items and tend to show up online for prices too high for the general fan, leading them to obtain copies by other methods. Examples have included Kindred: The Embraced and Black Scorpion, two series that were released to DVD; the DVDs are no longer available, and now it's not uncommon to see them for sale online for hundreds of dollars.
- Occasionally, a distributor will release one or more seasons of a series, but then, either due to low sales or licensing issues, will cease. As a result, fans find themselves having to "circulate the tapes" until such a time the later seasons are released. Examples of this have included Kojak (which took many years off after the release of Season 1), and The Mary Tyler Moore Show. The world is still waiting for the final seasons of Cannon and The Invisible Man. Of course, the biggest culprit of this phenomenon is 20th Century Fox, who have given this treatment to such shows as The Practice, Hill Street Blues, St. Elsewhere, NYPD Blue (except in the UK), Picket Fences and many others. It seems that Fox don't consider it worthwhile to release non-current, non-syndicated shows on DVD if they don't sell over a million copies. They're also very reluctant to sell off their licenses to other big studios or smaller enterprises.
- Just because a show or film is very popular in the country where it is released doesn't mean it will become available in your neck of the woods. There are innumerable examples of TV series that air, for example, in the UK but receive neither broadcast nor DVD release in North America (examples include the cop series Scott & Bailey, the 2005 revival of Captain Scarlet, and the later seasons of Hustle) - in this regard, the trope crosses over with No Export for You. The only way for fans to see these shows is to obtain recordings of them.
- There are still many films and TV programs that were released on VHS but not, as yet, DVD (or that have never been released at all), forcing fans to take the trope literally.
- In the last few years there have been a number of films and TV series that home video distributors have deemed not viable for regular retail sale (the criteria for deciding what shows fall into this category seems to be somewhat random). Instead, these shows are made available via a "manufacture on demand" scheme where the company burns DVD-Rs of the shows when they are ordered. While this has allowed some rare TV series and movies to be circulated, there are three downsides: 1. few of these DVD-R releases undergo any restoration or HD upgrading (and so it's a crapshoot how they might look on HD sets), 2. very rarely do they include any bonus features, and 3. (and the reason for this being mentioned here), not all DVD or Blu-ray players can actually play DVD-Rs and attempting to rip them into a media player-compatible format is stymied by outrageous copyright protection since those DVR-R's don't have to follow the DVD standard. So if your favorite show ends up falling into category 3, then you still need to keep "circulating the tapes."
- China Beach is yet another show where music-licensing issues meant it might never get a DVD release - although Time-Life finally sorted it out, so fans of Colleen, K.C. and the rest can relive the story in early 2013.
- Cupid: The original, not the remake. Poor copies can be found and enjoyed, but not even the flop remake seems to have prompted anyone to put it on DVD.
- Earth Star Voyager was a little-remembered but underground-circulated Disney Sunday Movie special intended as a backdoor pilot; poor ratings canned that. Disney fails to even acknowledge the film's existence these days, and other Made-for-TV Movie efforts that aired under this banner have faced the same fate.
- While episodes of the 1960s The Green Hornet have been run on various cable channels, the series has never been commercially released on home video (aside from a cheaply-made disc featuring a compilation "movie").
- Happy Days: While the entire series has been rerun endlessly for the past 30 years in syndication, only five seasons have to date been issued on DVD. Those that have replace the original 1950s rock songs with generic 50s music (because of copyright/royalty issues). If you don't want generic music, you can always try The Hub and INSP.
- The Hardy Boys Nancy Drew Mysteries Seasons 1-2? No problem; the DVDs have been available legit for years. Season 3? Forget it. This may likely be due to David Gates & Bread having their music not only all over the soundtrack, but also due to Gates & Bread playing a major role in the "Defection to Paradise" episode. Poor VHS dubs are available on the Internet.
- In Justice, which has the bonus of being difficult to search for since its title is a common phrase, was a fairly well-done Law & Order-type show on ABC in 2003 with a big subversion: most of their clients didn't do the crime and were wrongfully imprisoned, so the lawyers had to unravel the clues to find the real perp and free the innocent convict. In one memorable episode, a man faced execution for a murder he probably didn't commit. A Genre Savvy viewer may be surprised by the ending: he was put to death anyway.
- John Denver & The Muppets: A Christmas Together, a popular Christmas special first aired in 1979, has never been released on videotape or disc, most likely due to the large number of song rights that would have to be secured. (Fans have put the special up on YouTube, and it still generates a fair amount of views there, especially during the holiday season.) The album that inspired the special, on the other hand, has a seemingly eternal life, being released several times over the years on vinyl, audiocasette, and compact disc.
- The 1983 follow-up special Rocky Mountain Holiday is on DVD but is edited to remove a "Funny Aneurysm" Moment (a scene involving John Denver flying a personal plane, as he died doing just that). In addition, the usage of the Jaws theme as an underscore at one point was replaced by a Suspiciously Similar Song, due to rights issues.
- Similarly, 1987's A Muppet Family Christmas lost several songs for its video releases due to music rights issues. Later editions also edited out two scenes: one of Fozzie and Elmo turning on the Christmas tree, and the other when Fozzie talks to his mother about hanging stockings. To this day, the uncut version of the special remains a hot ticket on YouTube and in tape-trading circles (especially with the original commercials) when the holidays roll around.
- 1981's The Muppets Go to the Movies (a tie-in special to The Great Muppet Caper that doubled as a sendoff for The Muppet Show) and 1982's The Fantastic Miss Piggy Show haven't aired on American TV since they were shown on Nickelodeon in The Nineties. The former got a VHS release in the UK and a DVD in Israel, while the latter got a VHS that was distributed to schools by Films Incorporated, who also distributed The Muppets Go Hollywood (see further down the page).
- Muppets Tonight was supposed to have a full-series release once rights-holder Disney finished releasing the original The Muppet Show on DVD, but since Disney gave up on that series with two seasons left to go...
- Aside from a few VHS releases in the 1990s, the 1991 remake of Land of the Lost has yet to see an official DVD release. Still, there's bootleg DVD sets, torrents, and YouTube.
- Less Than Perfect had Seasons 1-2 released on DVD, but not 3-4. There is a bootleg DVD of the entire series (including the Season 4 episodes unaired in the U.S.), but it's over $100 and there don't appear to be any online sources. So fans are out of luck for now.
- The remaining three seasons of Life Goes On.
- Mork and Mindy: A Season 4 episode (more importantly, part of the three-part Grand Finale) has a joke about Mork not leaving the car until he finishes singing along with the last "Na-na-na-na"s of "Hey Jude". That would be no problem on its own, if not for the fact that Mork then enters the room singing said song. Since using songs from The Beatles catalog is near-impossible these days and the scene wouldn't make sense with the joke dubbed over or cut, it's unknown whether or not Season 4 will ever see the light of day on DVD. So hold on to your recordings...or seek out "Mork and Mindy Season 4" on YouTube. The show was last rerun on The Hub over 2012-13.
- NYPD Blue following Season 4 (of 12). Thank you, Amazon Instant Video - in HD, no less.
- Season 3 of Once and Again, thanks to music licensing issues.
- The Practice only a saw a release of Season 1 (and nothing else) back in 2007. This is a show that won awards every year it was on, was showcased in ABC's 50th Anniversary Celebration special, aired in the coveted post-Super Bowl spot in 1999 and spun off the highly-successful Boston Legal (which had all of its seasons released). The status of further DVD releases is unknown.
- Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place for some strange reason never got its official DVD release (it stars Hal Jordan and Malcolm Reynolds, after all!). There are DVD copies from TV recordings available, though.
- Vengeance Unlimited.
- The Wonder Years, due primarily to music copyright issues. The entire series is on Netflix, though.
- That was, until StarVista came to the rescue, releasing all of the series on DVD with only 4% of music needing to be replaced, in your choice of a complete-series boxset, the first two seasons in a boxset, or just season 1 on one DVD set so far.
- Blake's 7 is not available on Region 1 DVD (although it has been released in the UK).
- The Changes, a children's sci-fi series in which noises from modern technology cause people to abandon it and revert to a pre-industrial age, has never been released officially on video and hasn't even been re-run apart from on UK Gold way back in 1994.
- Charlie Brooker's Screenwipe, "a show all about television", will never be released on DVD. Charlie Brooker claimed as much himself because of the licensing issues related to all the shows and music played during the course of its current six-season run. In one episode, Brooker discusses the "fair use" clause, and how the BBC can use certain assets from television and music for free. He is known to (highly unofficially) support efforts to Keep Circulating the Tapes.
- David Bowie figures into two BBC productions that are stuck in video limbo.
- Cracked Actor, an Omnibus documentary that followed Bowie on his 1974 tour of the U.S., has never been made available on video despite its high regard amongst fans, historians, and even the man himself (and Nicholas Roeg decided to cast Bowie in The Man Who Fell to Earth after seeing it, as Bowie had exactly the alien quality he was looking for).
- The 1982 production of Bertolt Brecht's Baal featuring Bowie as the title character is another M.I.A. title. To add insult to injury, the tie-in EP with Bowie performing fully-orchestrated versions of its songs was released on vinyl and cassette, but only two of the five songs have made it to CD via anthologies. At least the Performance Video made for "The Drowned Girl" can be found on the "Sight & Sound" edition (U.K. only) of The Best of David Bowie 1980/87 Greatest Hits Album and at YouTube's VEVO service.
- Dick & Dom in da Bungalow; not rights issues here, as they did all the music in-house. Perhaps parents aren't keen to shell out for DVDs of anarchy and gunge? Snippets are on Youtube, and there's been a Clip Show and a DVD release which contained highlights from Series 3 (broadcast 2003-04), but the latter was released way back in Autumn 2004 and has since gone out-of-print. The 20 clip show episodes from 2009 contain a reasonable amount of highlights and such, but there is still a lot that has disappeared, particularly Series 1-2 (only shown on Digital CBBC when it was still in its infancy).
- Doctor Who:
- The BBC are happy for people to openly distribute audio-plus-still image "reconstructions" of destroyed episodes, as long as they don't do it on digital formats that might get file-shared. So videotapes are fine, but not DVD/Blu-Ray, video files on CD, digital files, or (for at least one group) ticker tape.
- The BBC archives have also been able to recover a number of lost episodes of Doctor Who thanks to collectors who obtained (or held onto) film copies of the episodes, and BBC Video has made use of fan copies videotaped off 1970s-era broadcasts of many Jon Pertwee-era episodes for the purposes of color reconstruction or, in several cases, full episode recovery.
- The thirtieth-anniversary charity Reunion Show "Dimensions In Time" will never be officially released on home video: The actors and crew all gave their time for free on the contractual agreement that it would be broadcast once and never be made available again in any form, apparently not thinking of the possibility of selling it with the proceeds going to Children In Need. Nobody actually minds much, as it's notoriously one of the most embarrassing things to ever happen in connection with the show.
- Fist Of Fun and This Morning With Richard Not Judy have mostly vanished into the BBC archive. Given the revival in popularity of Stewart Lee and Richard Herring on the stand-up circuit and on TV, perhaps they might emerge...Go Faster Stripe is your friend. Official legal DVDs of Fist of Fun Season 1 with lots of lovely special features. If it sells well, more will follow. (Herring and Lee will be selling them at their gigs so you can get them signed, too.)
- The 1988 BBC-produced miniseries Game, Set, and Match, starring Ian Holm and based on a series of novels by Len Deighton, has never been officially seen since its initial airing because Deighton so despised it that he's barred any future release. High-quality bootlegs are available (for instance, a remastered DVD set), but they're not cheap. Or you could always look for a torrent.
- The Goodies is seldom shown in reruns (except, apparently, in Australia). There were episodes on YouTube that have all disappeared. There are 16 episodes available on DVD in Australia, and they come with some commentary and extras too. It's not great, but it's better than fourth-generation copies. There were some butchered reruns on UK Gold and UK Arena in the 1990s. There have been four official Region 2 DVD releases (including all of the ones made by LWT after they ChannelHopped), but that still leaves lots of BBC episodes missing. They can be found as torrent downloads, but only as individual episodes...and even then it requires a lot of time and effort to get them.
- Horrible Histories, the CBBC live-action series, at least for fans outside of Region 2 DVD coding. Fairly easy to find online, though: besides an official YouTube channel with a good selection of the best sketches, full episodes are available for all of Series One & Two, part of Series Three, and the six-part Best-Of version hosted by Stephen Fry.
- Despite the show' s popularity, only series 1-4 (seasons 1-2 in the US) of Law & Order: UK have been released on DVD in Region 1, though the remaining (5-8) have been released in Region 2.
- Only one of the three series of Monkey Dust has been released on DVD. The status of further releases is unknown.
- The BBC ran the forerunner of pretty much all reality shows back in the 1970s called Living In The Past where a bunch of historical re-enactors tried to live successfully in an Iron Age lifestyle. They have never released the 12 one hour episodes, nor issued any reasons for refusing to do so (although it is suspected that they didn't get the proper permissions to sell footage of some of the participants).
- Not the Nine O'Clock News has had two "best of" DVDs released, but will never have a full release; for various reasons including copyright issues with music, and performer Chris Langham having been convicted on child porn charges.
- Subverted; while Only Fools and Horses is still the BBC's best-selling series of all time on both VHS and DVD, the Corporation's apparent desire to eradicate all traces of the original Ronnie Hazlehurst theme tune has led to the VHS releases of the first series (which, unlike the DVD, kept the original theme intact) becoming quite sought after by purist fans.
- The same applies to the original version of "A Royal Flush," which is unavailable on any home video format (the VHS release had about a minute of footage removed, and the DVD release removed nearly ten minutes of footage and added a laugh track). However, the original cut still appears from time to time on the digital channels, so it's not too hard to find decent quality versions of it.
- In a straight version, several mini-episodes such as Christmas Trees, Licensed To Drill and the Comic Relief Special have never been released on VHS or DVDs.
- The Phantom of the Opera: Behind the Mask is a 2006 documentary on the original London production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical (which had just hit its 20th anniversary). It features interviews with many of the original cast members, creative team, and otherwise on top of vintage rehearsal, show, and news footage. In the U.S., it occasionally aired on the cable channel Ovation before its Network Decay. It's never had a standalone home media release, nor has it been included on DVDs of related material such as the 25th anniversary Royal Albert Hall performance.
- Rentaghost: Only Season 1 has been released on DVD, and only very briefly. The other series are unlikely to see release any time soon due to contractual disputes with the surviving cast members and rights issues surrounding the music clips used in the series.
- Robot Wars. Only one VHS and five DVDs were ever produced. The first was a guide to the First Wars, the next three were clip shows and technical information from the teams about specific popular robots (Chaos 2, Hypno-Disc, and Razer), the fourth was about the house robots, and the fifth was a release of the First World Championship, the only episode to get a commercial release. While certainly interesting to watch, it's a far cry from what should've been released.
- The retrospective BBC news series The Rock 'n' Roll Years, a montage of news coverage set to popular music of the year, included hundreds of licensed music tracks that would need clearing for any kind of DVD release. It has turned up very occasionally on BBC Four.
- Rutland Weekend Television was Eric Idle's post-Monty Python show. It won't get a release because of music rights issues and because Idle considers it something of an Old Shame. He's partly justified some skits are pretty dodgy, but others are quite funny, especially the musical numbers. Just look up "George Harrison (yes, him) on Rutland Weekend Television".
- Any programmes featuring Jimmy Savile are unlikely to see the light of day again due to the can of worms opened up by revelations in the ITV documentary Exposure: The Other Side of Jimmy Savile regarding his involvement with child abuse. This includes a substantial chunk of Top of the Pops's run and the entirety of Jim'll Fix It.
- Subverted with an episode of Tweenies featuring a Jimmy Savile impersonator. This episode was accidentally aired by The BBC nine days after the investigation report was published, prompting complaints. An apology was made a few hours later, promising they wouldn't show that episode ever again.
- The Sketch Comedy Scotch And Wry has had a few compilation DVDs but the whole series has never been released in its entirety.
- Demon-hunting drama Strange, consisting of a pilot episode and a six-episode series, has never been released on DVD, and is only occasionally broadcast on other channels.
- Good luck finding any of the (surviving) episodes of The Wednesday Play or Play For Today that weren't hugely popular/controversial like Cathy Come Home, Abigail's Party, or Brimstone and Treacle.
- Abigail's Party at least was released on BBC Video in The Eighties, and can be watched on YouTube.
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
- The Beachcombers. Aside from being one of the longest-running Canadian drama series ever made, the series basically redefined the concept of "CanCon" (Canadian-made programming). Part of the problem may be the show's length; it ran for an astounding 19 seasons (plus a pair of made-for-TV movies). The only way you can watch the series right now is via old reruns on Canadian specialty stations.
- Even then, the reruns are only of the last few seasons. The first decade or so (considered by many to be the best years of the show) is still locked in the vault. The CBC has been refusing to release them for years, for unknown reasons.
- Seasons 4-7 of Da Vinci's Inquest have not been released on DVD, nor the spinoff series DaVinci's City Hall or the TV movie The Quality of Life (which in itself was a victim of Executive Meddling). The only legal releases were DVD sets given out to the cast and crew. It's believed that low sales are to blame for the missing seasons, which is surprising, considering that the program was consistently the most-watched show on Canadian television for most of its run. Thankfully the syndicated rights are so cheap in the United States you can find it from a good American friend willing to record it off RTV, WGN or syndication for you.
- The Edison Twins was a popular children's series that aired on the CBC (and on The Disney Channel in the US) in the 1980s. Except for a handful of episodes on VHS, the series has never seen a proper video release. While the entire run can be bought on Amazon Instant Video, it's available only in the US, and not Canada, its country of origin.
- Four on the Floor, radio comedy troupe The Frantics' attempt to break into television, ran for a single series of 13 episodes in 1986; it has not been released on video, although episodes sometimes show up on Youtube.
- The Friendly Giant. The show ran from 1958-85, but aside from scattered video tapings from syndicated airings, very few episodes have ever been released in their entirety. CBC doesn't have any shame in marketing merchandise based on the show (or using the puppets in lewd sketches, as evidenced by a controversial 2010 Gemini Awards broadcast), though.
- While Made In Canada (aka The Industry) is still aired on some US public television stations and the Canadian channel Bite, only the six-episode Season 1 was made into a DVD, which is now out-of-print.
- Mr. Dressup, a children's program that was to Canada what Mr. Rogers Neighborhood was to America.note The series ran for almost 40 years, and inspired entire generations of Canadian children. Ernie Coombs even won several awards for his work. Yet, aside from a one-off "Tickle Treasures" collection of 4 random episodes (picked by two of the show's puppet co-hosts) and a smattering of online episodes on Youtube, the series isn't available to buy anywhere.
- MythQuest: Aired 13 episodes in 2001. Reruns showed up occasionally, but were few and far between. The situation got better in 2012, when Netflix picked up the show, but only for the USA.
- Even though every episode of The Red Green Show has been made available on DVD at one point or another, the producers of the show have taken the (perhaps unprecedented) step of putting all 15 seasons and 300 episodes of the series on YouTube themselves.
- The landmark sketch comedy show SCTV. Seasons 1-2 (filmed in Toronto), most of Season 3 (shot in Alberta), and Season 6 (which aired on cable channels on both sides of the U.S./Canada border) still haven't been released in any way, shape or form. Seasons 4-5 (the Network 90 seasons broadcast on NBC in the U.S.) were released by Shout! Factory after a long period of music rights clearance issues, but sketches were dropped because the rights couldn't be cleared.
- Sesame Park. Yes, there was a Canadian version of Sesame Street produced on CBC in 1996. The show ran for six years, and consisted of almost-entirely Canadian content with unique Muppets created specifically for the show, including Basil The Bear, Chaos, and the wheelchair-bound Katie. Despite the fact that it was a critical darling during its run, the show was unceremoniously canned and nothing has been said of it ever since.
- DVD releases of This Hour Has 22 Minutes stalled after Season 2 due to unknown reasons. This could possibly be because of low sales - the show never really hit its stride until the 1996-97 season, which saw the cast start interacting in increasingly outlandish ways with Canadian politicians. This one's less painful than most, because you can still catch repeats of later seasons of the channel, but if you're looking for the famous incidents like Rick Mercer's "Doris Day" petition or Paul Martin putting Greg Thomey in a headlock, you'll have to go search it out on Youtube or try iTunes.
- The interstitials in CBC's children's programming blocks. Most of them aren't available anywhere. One particularly glaring example is Get Set For Life (2000-2003). It featured none other than Alyson Court as the main host, yet there's barely so much as a mention of it online—-let alone any available videos or pictures from the block.
- In the same vein, the one-off special Talking To Americans (where 22 Minutes co-host Rick Mercer travels around the United States getting random U.S. residents to verify ridiculous statements he makes, simply because he claims to be a journalist). It was the highest-rated special in the channel's history. It propelled Mercer to the big leagues. Had him making fun of future President George W. Bush and Mike Huckabee months (and years) before they would reach the national stage. Won several Gemini Awards. Got repeated in syndication for years afterwards. Online copies of the special still get tens of thousands of hits. Yet, the special still hasn't been released because Mercer feels it was in bad taste after the events of September 11, 2001. You can still watch it online, though.
- To be fair to the CBC, however, one can see why 22 Minutes at least hasn't been released, as the series focuses on topical humour about issues of the day, and thus would be considered outdated and likely of limited commercial appeal (though that hasn't stopped decade-old reruns from being syndicated...), considering many of today's consumers probably don't even remember who Paul Martin is. There may be interest from a nostalgia point of view at a later date, but the show is likely considered too recent for even that.
- Beakman's World is available to stream in its (almost) entirety on Netflix, but there is still no full DVD release forthcoming. I guess we're stuck with the "Best of" set made after Season 1...
- Bobby Vinton's Rock N Rollers, a 1978 hour-long 50's throwback TV special that also featured Stockard Channing, Penny Marshall and Eric Estrada among others. All that exists online is a promo, which is in circulation solely because it aired during The Star Wars Holiday Special mentioned below.
- Seasons 5-6 of The Bob Newhart Show are completely unavailable because of low sales for Seasons 1-4. Newhart himself pointed out the idiocy of using a partial release to test sales when people know that there's a strong possibility that they'll never get the rest of the show on DVD.
- This also happened with Newhart's other classic show, Newhart. After Season 1 — which was very different tonally from later years and is regarded as less funny — was released on DVD, it was years before Season 2 arrived in 2014, and the rest of the series has yet to be released.
- Central Park West was a Prime Time Soap about a pair of siblings (Madchen Amick and John Barrowman) living it up in the world of rich, backstabbing New York socialites. The show, produced by Melrose Place co-creator Darren Star, was an attempt by CBS to cash in on that show's success at a time when they were trying to court a younger demographic, and had a name cast including Mariel Hemingway and Lauren Hutton. It floundered in the ratings, though, and disappeared without a trace after a disastrous midseason Re Tool.
- Close to Home was a legal drama that ran from 2005-07. And nothing has been said of it since. Fans believe that the backlash that resulted when the main character's husband was killed off resulted in the studio deciding not to put any effort into releasing it.
- Cold Case used roughly five popular songs per episode. Unfortunately, removing them would ruin the flashback sequences, which are the whole point of the show.
- Cop Rock, an extremely divisive police procedural musical that aired for one season, has never been released on video or DVD, and only one episode is fully available on YouTube, despite the show gaining considerable notoriety for being "one of the worst shows ever aired".
- Early Edition was a victim of this for a long time, though Seasons 1-2 have since been released. No word on the last two, though, and it's been a while since it was rerun.
- EZ Streets: 3 episodes were released on DVD in 2006. No word on the remaining 6.
- Forever Knight's first season aired on CBS in their old late-night "Crime Time After Prime Time" slot, with the odd scheduling quirk that Season One aired for over a season and a half to hold the slot for David Letterman's talk show. While the show was fighting for a second season, some fans asked series creator James Parriott about the tapes they'd been circulating. His reply was widely reported to be, "Be fruitful and multiply!"note
- Frank's Place. A classic example of Too Good to Last, this critically-acclaimed but low-rated dramedy was cancelled after one season on CBS. A DVD release is unlikely due to music-clearance issues.
- Fresno, a miniseries that parodied Dallas and shows like it (it was set in Fresno on a raisin plantation), only aired once on broadcast TV and has never been released in hard copy.
- He & She, the sophisticated, Emmy-winning sitcom starring Richard Benjamin and Paula Prentiss which aired for a single season in 1967-68. Considered the precursor to the more "mature" style of situation comedy of the 1970s, it has never been released to home video in any form, and has been rerun very rarely.
- Julie Andrews: One Step Into Spring was to receive a DVD release by April 2013, which was briefly moved to March 2014 (to compete with Muppets Most Wanted, as The Muppets are heavily featured in the special) before being shelved entirely (though it is still listed on sites like Amazon). Again, can be found on YouTube.
- Lou Grant: Unavailable on DVD.
- Like ABC, CBS ran a few specials featuring The Muppets that are currently in video limbo.
- The Muppets Go Hollywood (1979): A variety special tie-in to The Muppet Movie, notable in that it was apparently never rerun,note even in syndication packages of Muppet specials (i.e., the one Nickelodeon had in The Nineties). However, it was released on VHS in 1988 by Films Incorporated; this release was distributed to educational outlets that year.
- The Muppets: A Celebration of 30 Years (1986 Milestone Celebration special): Palace Video in the UK released a VHS sometime in the late 80's.
- The Muppets Celebrate Jim Henson (1990): Created in the wake of Henson's sudden death, this Heartwarming Tear Jerker of a special (which won the Writer's Guild of America award) is caught in video limbo due to the fractured ownership of Henson-related properties: Disney owns the "classic" Muppets, Sesame Workshop has the Sesame Street crew, Sony has non-Muppet works like Labyrinth...
- Murphy Brown. Thanks to music rights tangles (and low sales buy the season, fans!), everything after Season 1 is stalled. That's 200+ episodes sitting around collecting dust in a Warner Bros. vault. Even when it was in syndication, it was usually shoehorned into horrible middle-of-the-night timeslots. The only way to have a semi-complete viewing experience is through torrents and downloads, which happen to be plagued by at least five missing episodes and the occasional removal of certain scenes for syndication (such as Mike Wallace's appearance in the Grand Finale). Since you can torrent 90% of the series, that already makes this situation better than most...but be prepared for long waits if you want to try, since the torrents rarely have seeds. Things have improved a bit since Encore Classic started airing the show in December 2013, but since that's a premium channel you only get as part of a multi-channel package, you're paying more to watch the show than you should be, and thanks to the always fun Copy Protection thrown on premium channel recordings, forget about burning it to DVD.
- Night Heat, a Canadian police drama series (produced by CTV) that aired as part of CBS' "Crime Time After Prime Time" block of drama programming — it and Forever Knight (see above) were the first Canadian-produced dramas to ever air on an American network. Even though the show was generally praised for its edgy content, and featured some early appearances by noted actors like Keanu Reeves, the series still hasn't been made available on DVD. Thankfully, it still runs in syndication on Canadian channels like TVTropolis.
- Now and Again was a one-season-wonder in 1999-2000 that has been perennially around the top of the requested list for unreleased shows on the website TV Shows on DVD, but it didn't receive an official DVD release until 2014.
- Partners, because of low ratings and was met with negative reviews, CBS stopped airing it halfway through. The only place that the complete series was aired was in South Africa, which means that North America will probably not get a DVD release any time soon.
- Phyllis: Unavailable on DVD.
- Rescue 911, though immensely popular in its own right, has yet to see a DVD release (likely due to the true stories involved). However, that hasn't stopped people from posting various episodes online.
- Rhoda: Seasons 1-4 on DVD, Season 5 MIA. Season 4 was an online exclusive release from Shout! Factory, and all the DVDs have episodes that were Edited for Syndication. Uncut episodes of Season 1 will remain a hot item. That said, Shout! Factory deliberately delayed the release of later seasons to get as much original footage as possible.
- The Gone with the Wind sequel miniseries Scarlett was a rarity even on VHS, but attaining a DVD is even more difficult. It's one of the most sought-after titles on the format.
- The Sentinel: Season 1 was released on DVD around 2005, none of the remaining three seasons have been released.
- Silk Stalkings after Season 5 has not been released, and the DVD releases of the first 5 seasons have gone out of print.
- The Star Wars Holiday Special, quite likely the most notorious bootleg ever circulated, and even moreso for the story surrounding its creation and reception by fans. George Lucas disowned it and washed his hands off it, but at least one part of the special (the Boba Fett cartoon) is still considered canon, and characters have been made into action figures in the last few years. Whether it will ever be officially released under Disney is still unknown. (The "keep circulating the tapes" nature of this created its own meme: The most commonly circulated version includes portions of a news update in which a reporter promotes a news story about "fighting the frizzies". The makers of South Park later utilized this version of the tape as the framework for the Season Three Christmas Episode "Mr. Hankey's Christmas Classics".)
- The White Shadow: Seasons 1-2 on DVD, Season 3 MIA.
- Wiseguy. The second half of Season 2 was the "Dead Dog Records" arc, and of course it involved a lot of music.
- Without a Trace, Seasons 3-7.
- WKRP in Cincinnati: Only Season 1 on DVD, with even more Home Version Soundtrack Replacement than in syndication. This is possibly the best example of music rights problems preventing the release of the show on home media. Every single episode used at least one original artist song. Many of those songs were a set-up or the punchline for a joke or skit. Taking out the song, or replacing it with a different one, weakens or ruins the joke. As one commentator put it:
"That means the choice came down to our getting the show (a) in a compromised version, (b) in a set priced too high for any reasonable business model, or (c) not at all. For years the "not at all" option reigned, but the fan clamor was loud and persistent enough that something had to be done. So here we have a three-disc set that even before it hit the streets caused a furor, and likely resulted in a large number of torrent streams and other less-than-legal options being utilized to circulate original broadcast versions f the episodes.
- If you're interested in watching a heavily edited (music-wise only) version of "WKRP" and are a satellite subscriber, the channel labeled Rural TV (usually partnered with its sibling channel RFD TV on the channel lineup) airs reruns of it every weekday night at 8:00 PM Eastern/7:00 PM Central.
- As of November 2013, the digital subchannel Antenna TV airs two episodes every Sunday night at 11 p.m. Eastern/8 p.m. Pacific.
- Yes Dear: Check CMT or Nick at Nite for reruns.
- Channel4's cult smash As If (2001-04) has completely disappeared off the face of the earth, seemingly due to the perennial licensing rights for the soundtrack problem. They'd mostly fixed this issue by the time Skins (basically As If with younger people and more MDMA, and in Bristol not London they still paid just as much attention to the soundtrack, though) happened, although there's still a few tracks where they wonked out (the replacement of Lily Allen's "The Fear" with Katy Perry's "I Kissed A Girl" in Series 3 being the most egregious).
- The only DVD products of the US Whose Line Is It Anyway? available are Season 1 Vols. 1-2 and a "Best of". For the British version, there's only one set of Series 1-2 on both sides of the Atlantic. A&E, the company who released the Region 1 British box set, has let it run out of print and no longer acknowledges its existence. There's no legal way to watch Seasons 3-10 in America anymore, since Comedy Central (its original U.S. syndicator, though BBC America briefly reran episodes in the early 2000s) took the show off their lineup a long time ago — and even then, they only showed Seasons 6-10 because, since the American version gained popularity, they thought nobody would want to watch Whose Line without Ryan and Colin. British fans get to watch the whole thing through 4 On Demand, but they lock out foreign IPs. And the vast majority of episodes you could find on the internet were either from Comedy Central or BBC America broadcasts, which were all edited for time and often for content (remember, these aired before South Park became popular).
- BattleBots. Only two DVDs/VHS tapes were ever released, neither with actual seasons on them (one was a clip show, the other showed one of the 1999 Pay-Per-View events). Not only that, but most of the episodes were only run two or three times. Season 5 episodes were only aired once.
- The Chappelle's Show DVDs are missing about half of the live music performances (probably because of rights issues). However, Comedy Central periodically reruns the episodes, so resourceful viewers can get copies of these.
- Like most talk shows, you only ever see recent episodes of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. The only DVD releases are a compilation of episodes dealing with the 2004 election and a "Best Of" collection, respectively. But every segment (all of them!) is available on their website. Even going back to 1999!
- Emergency Vets was a popular reality/medical series on Animal Planet that ran from 1998 to 2002 with a follow-up episode in 2005 and a special in 2006. There has never been official video/DVD release of any of it. Very few full episodes exist online.
- Later, a spin-off show, E-Vet Interns, started airing in 2007. It lasted more than a whole season, with only three episodes made in the second season before production stopped. It hasn't been released either.
- The 2005 Discovery Channel documentary series It Takes a Thief (2005) has this problem, as well. It was received fairly well (with the hosts making occasional rounds to various cable news channels) and lasted two seasons. Then, in 2007, it mysteriously disappeared and hasn't been released by Discovery on DVD. This is strange, as Discovery usually releases almost anything it shows on DVD. It gets stranger, as the network decided to rebroadcast the whole series in 2009...in full High Definition for both seasons.
- Junkyard Wars: Despite being the spiritual ancestor of of shows like MythBusters (and being co-hosted by one of the stars of Red Dwarf, to boot), there's been no sign of a North American DVD release of this show.
- Monster House (no, not that one) vanished off both the Discovery Channel and the Internet with little fanfare and hasn't been heard from since. Which is puzzling, given that its older-sibling series Monster Garage is available.
- Justifiably, Sons of Guns, which was easily found on all services at the start of 2014, is no longer available at all in any form due to the show's main cast member committing a Role Ending Misdemeanor involving the sexual assault of a child; Discovery pulled it as soon as they could, outside of a contractual obligation to Netflix that kept it there until the Discovery deal ended.
- Disney is notorious for not releasing complete-season sets of recent shows. For example, Kim Possible. And in some cases - again using Kim Possible as an example - the episodes released have been edited together. Kim Possible eventually achieved full-season releases... three years after the series ended, when no one cared about it anymore. Hannah Montana is another example: to date, Disney has only released the first and fourth seasons as sets in North America, along with compilations of scattered episodes.
- Adventures in Wonderland never got a DVD release, much to the annoyance of its fans. Currently, it can only be obtained through old VHS releases and on video-sharing sites like YouTube.
- Bear in the Big Blue House was released heavily in the United States on both VHS and DVD, but many episodes were never given a U.S. release. Still want them? Your best bet is to try and source a DVD copy of the episodes from a foreign website.
- Bunny Town, due to lack of popularity, only received one DVD release and has been off the air for a long time.
- Flash Forward (not the 2009 ABC show), which starred a pre-Firefly and Space Cases Jewel Staite and Ben Foster, and featured a few guest appearances from Ryan Gosling. Not only did the Disney Channel stop rerunning episodes around 2001 when Lizzie McGuire took off, it's nigh impossible to find any clips of it anywhere online.
- As soon as the final episode of Hannah Montana aired, they NEVER reran it again (in the US) for some unknown reason. One rumor was it was related to Billy Ray Cyrus. Thankfully you can watch the whole show if you have Netflix, and some episodes of the show can be seen at differing times on the channel's Disney Replay block.
- Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. While all three films have been released on DVD, the TV series never has, and now it's off the air again after the end of Hub Network.
- Johnny and the Sprites, a puppet/live-action hybrid featuring John Tartaglia, only ever received one DVD release and one music album. It was later picked up for repeats on Disney Junior after the change-over from Playhouse Disney.
- Kids Incorporated on DVD would be a fan's nightmare every single song (barring the original ones) would have to be cut; that said, since all the songs are performed by the kids and aren't the original recordings of the songs, so it'll be easier to clear rights. There's one other issue, though the rights are split between MGM (the show itself), Disney (holders of the physical tapes), and 20th Century Fox (MGM's DVD distributor).
- Out Of The Box was a Playhouse Disney classic - a live action skit show featuring a man & woman named Tony & Vivian and a group of kids who got together every day to do arts and crafts projects, story skits and musical numbers. It had a couple of VHS and very scant DVD exposure.
- Snow White Live at Radio City Music Hall hasn't been seen for years due to an ongoing pay dispute with one of the performers. To date, it's only been available on off-air recordings of the HBO and Disney Channel broadcasts and an out-of-print official VHS/Betamax release by Disney.
- So Weird.
- Under the Umbrella Tree was a Canadian series created for CBC (see above) in The Eighties but is more well-known for being syndicated through Disney. Check Noreen Young's site to buy DVD's - which are independently released, since Disney's rights to the show expired in 2005.
- Most of the pre-2004 Disney Channel movies aren't available on DVD. Some of them are on video, but those are long gone. One particular movie stands out in this regard - it's considerably easier to hear "My Hero Is You", the song Hayden Panettiere performs over the end credits of Tiger Cruise, than to see the movie itself. Many older DCOMs are more or less out of circulation, but this one was rarely shown even when it was new (admittedly the movie, in which September 11th plays a major part, is a change in tone from its stablemates) and despite the presence of Panettiere (in the lead role), Bill Pullman and iCarly's Jennette McCurdy has never been released on DVD. Those interested have to resort to YouTube (especially those living outside the US).
- The Bernie Mac Show beyond Season 1, likely due to music clearance.
- Good luck finding the original Fox run of Don't Forget The Lyrics, as the only episodes airing anywhere on television are the 2010-2011 syndicated version.
- The Fox Cubhouse in its entirety is like this, due to the multiple copyrights behind the shows that were a part of the show. The only one of the shows which ever got a complete release in North America was The Animal Show With Stinky and Jake. The other shows have been released in one way or another, but for U.S. fans, it's a problem:
- Johnson and Friends: Australia got the whole series on DVD, but the United States didn't have the same luck. It's easily found on the internet, though.
- Rimba's Island: There are only two VHS tapes in existence featuring this show, which was part of the Bright Beginnings Collection by Buena Vista Home video. The other episodes of the show are impossible to find.
- The Magic Adventures Of Mumfie: See the Western Animation page for details.
- Galidor: Defenders of the Outer Dimension. An oft-forgotten Saturday morning sci-fi series that aired on Fox Kids during the 2001-02 season (their final season as Fox Kids), which had a surprisingly good plot to it. Unfortunately, the show has yet to see a DVD release due to a lack of interest, because few people remember it. (The toyline from LEGO, which consisted of straight-out action figures with interchangeable parts, was canned after extreme backlash from Lego fans...so that doesn't help.)
- The Good Guys was a 2010 Buddy Cop Show made by Matt Nix, the creator of Burn Notice. Most likely due to music rights (the show was never very popular), the show will never see a DVD release. Netflix saved this one from being Lost Forever, as the music of Foghat, Queen and others contributed the atmosphere of the show.
- Key West, despite an overwhelming demand for a DVD release of its only season, isn't likely to be released any time soon. The usual reason given is that Fox doesn't believe it would sell, despite the vocal demands of the fans of this show.
- K-Ville, a short but relatively well-received series, has still not had any kind of DVD release, despite the show ending in late 2007. Fortunately, the episodes can be found on Hulu and Xfinity-for free.
- Much like Saturday Night Live, MADtv also has DVD release issues, though not because of Old Shame or music licensing issues but rather poor sales. Warner Bros. only released Season 1 and a "Best of" compilation drawn from Seasons 8-10. Despite promises of a Season 2 DVD release on the Season 1 set, it didn't arrive until 2013 — nearly ten years after the first set — and it was released by Shout! Factory instead of WB.
- Music rights were cited as the reason fans of Malcolm in the Middle are unable to obtain DVDs of Season 2 onwards, with no one entertaining the possibility of simply replacing the contested music. However, the show is available on Netflix (every episode from seasons one to seven is present and accounted for and the music that would have been removed from a DVD release is there).
- Models Inc., a spinoff of FOX's Melrose Place focusing on Amanda Woodward's (Heather Locklear) mother, Hilary, who ran a modeling agency. Aside from a marathon airing on E! Television, the show has never been officially released.
- The Mystic Knights of Tir Na Nσg only ever had one home video release, a long out-of-print VHS with the series premiere as a feature-length movie, and has never been released on DVD...except in, of all places, Germany.
- The 1990s hip-hop cop drama New York Undercover probably won't make it to DVD (and will take years if it does) because of music rights. Like Cold Case, they use a lot of popular songs; removing them would damage the show. NYU also featured a lot of live performances by top artists of the period (Keith Sweat, Boyz II Men, and Notorious B.I.G. among others). In most episodes, they were shown at the end once the case was solved, and so cutting those might not hurt the integrity of the show...but for episodes where the artists performed in the middle of the show, cutting them would mess things up. At least you can watch reruns on TV One....and Centric.
- Saban's Masked Rider has had very few episodes released on DVD. What's surprising, though, is the lack of online availability. For a series that debuted in the mid-90s and was a spin-off of the phenomenally popular Power Rangers, the fact that a good chunk of it has only in the late 2000s seen widespread circulation is unbelievable.
- So You Think You Can Dance. The legal issues surrounding the music involved make a DVD release next to impossible. Fortunately, most of the individual dances, if not full episodes, can be found on YouTube.
- The Street was a short-lived 2000 series that would probably be totally forgotten if not for the fact that it was the only TV show to feature Jennifer Connelly in the cast. Even after she won an Academy Award and became a familiar Hollywood actress, Fox never saw fit to release the series on DVD or sell rerun rights to another channel.
- Time of Your Life, a very obscure spin-off of Party of Five, has yet to see the light of day on DVD. However, the entire series aired on a French TV station, and a YouTube user was lucky to capture that.
- The War At Home surprisingly got a DVD release of Season 1, but not 2, which is currently only avalible online.
- Werewolf was one of the first shows the FOX network aired, and lasted two seasons. Unfortunately, it featured some popular music, and music rights are reportedly the main holdup on getting a DVD release. Airings on cable channels have included some, but not all, episodes because of this. Shout! Factory was supposed to release it on DVD, but the release was quietly cancelled.
- Arli$$, starring Robert Wuhl as an unscrupulous Jerry Maguire-like sports agent, has never been released on DVD. Despite the show running for six seasons and being modestly popular, its only DVD release was a "Best Of" collection that was released in 2001, and only featured 13 episodes from different seasons. Not only were no episodes from the second or third season featured, but it didn't bother to include the pilot or series finale. There has been no interest from HBO as far as releasing the series in a long time, and it's impossible to find online as well.
- There's a reason for this: it's something of an Old Shame for the network. Arli$$ was long considered the lone black spot on HBO's otherwise stellar line up. It was a punchline to jokes about bad 21st century TV shows on everything from Saturday Night Livenote to The Simpsons. Furthermore, the show only lasted as long as it did because of the fact that Robert Wuhl was best friends with a high ranking HBO executive who kept the show going as a favor to his friend.
- The Hitchhiker, a three-season anthology featuring a mysterious wanderer who tells stories about humanity's dark side, never had a complete series release, despite being marketed as such. A three-volume set of various episodes from throughout the show's run were released by HBO Home Video in 2004, but were later discontinued, as was a Canadian release of seasons 1 and 3 in 2004. A Hitchhiker: The Complete Collection was released by Alliance Entertainment in 2011, but is not actually "complete" - it only has 30 episodes of 85. Part of the reason why the full series has never been released is a rights dispute over the second season.
- The anthology series LifeStories: Families in Crisis (which dramatized true stories of families dealing with hot-button issues) ran for years on the network and briefly ran in syndication as well, but has never been seen on DVD. Even though the show featured a few actors before they were famous (such as Ben Affleck and Calista Flockhart) and airs occasionally on HBO Family, HBO has limited interest in releasing it.
- Art Attack. Yeah, the arts and crafts show. The show ran through more than a decade and was eventually cancelled in 2007, yet there's not much left, not even in the web. A few sporadic VHS releases (like the Top 20 Art Attack) are the only remnants of the show available. Even Disney Channel (well, it was Disney Channel Spain) confirmed that there's no such thing as Art Attack DVDs for sale. There was a short-lived magazine, a set of "games" to make different crafts, and even a room with the huge paintbrushes and other giant material in Disneyland, but no way to find the show itself.
- The first 246 episodes (covering Seasons 1-6) of The Bill are available for purchase in Australia. The company that produced the DVDs folded after that, and the copyright passed over to Village Roadshow, who have decided to sit on it and do nothing. 246 episodes might sound impressive until you realise that there have been 2,422 episodes produced in 27 years. The UK releases are still ongoing, but they're moving at a much slower pace.
- The DVD release rights in Australia have since been taken over by Shock DVD, who seem to be continuing with the releases. As of June 2012, series 1-8, which comprise 502 episodes, have been released.
- While there exist a few DVD releases of Harry Hills Tv Burp, they have been limited to compilations of the show's best bits, with full releases seemingly impossible due to the publishing rights associated with the other programs' clips. These same issues prevented the show from being repeated on ITV's catch-up website. Still, individual sketches and entire episodes are easy to find on Youtube.
- Knights of God, a sci-fi series produced by TVS note in the late '80s in which a future Britain has been taken over by a fascist religious order (the Knights of God of the title) following a civil war, isn't available officially on DVD, and seemingly not on VHS either. Given TVS' archive seems to be mired in rights issues, it probably won't be. There is a Novelization however, a few copies of which you might find available on Amazon.
- Series 5-7 of Law & Order: UK have only been released on DVD in the UK. Anyone in the US who wants to see them will have to either purchase a universal DVD player or scour the internet (fortunately the episodes are available in this format). However, anyone wanting to see Series 8 is out of luck as not only has it not yet been released on DVD, it hasn't even been aired on BBC America as yet.
- Seasons 4-5 of The Muppet Show. The Season 3 box set was released in 2008. (In addition, music rights issues led to several numbers getting left out of the Season 1 set.) A chunk of Seasons 4-5 episodes made it to the Time-Life compilation DVDs at the Turn of the Millennium, but not only are those out-of-print, but these episodes were mixed with ones from prior seasons, so double-dipping will be required for those who have the box sets. Rights-holder Disney doesn't seem to consider their Muppet holdings a priority, especially after the middling financial success of Muppets Most Wanted.
- Police, Camera, Action!, an extremely popular ITV show, has bootlegs floating around on torrent sites but has never had an official DVD release. Add the fact that fans want all versions, including the Edited for Syndication copies, and it looks impossible, but not unlikely. Copyright of police footage comes into play here. Music rights are an often-cited theory as to why the show hasn't been released.
- Police Stop!, which kicked off the police genre in The Nineties, was a VHS-only release between 1993-1995, and then aired on television 1996-2002, before returning on ITV 4 in 2008. Now, you can't get it at all unless you get the first episode via illegal downloading. Old worn VHS tapes can be found on eBay, but no digital copies.
- The 2gether TV series has yet to see a DVD release, while the DVD for the original TV movie is out of print and runs for very high prices on secondhand sites.
- On an episode of Headbanger's Ball, the host read on air a letter from a fan asking if he could buy a copy of a recent episode, in which a particular musician had been an in-studio guest. The host explained that MTV didn't sell copies of previous episodes, and directed the letter writer to investigate the classified ads section of various Heavy Metal-themed magazines. The host was openly explaining to the viewer that there was a significant videotape-trading underground, and implicitly endorsing making use of such resources.
- Human Giant got a DVD release for Season 1, but Season 2 has yet to be released. It stopped being re-run quite some time ago and season 3 is in Development Hell, so the only way to watch it at all is the "sneak peek" bits on the season 1 DVD. You'd think a series that stars a veritable All-Star Cast of comedians would be a little higher up in the release queue.
- Jackass currently does not have a proper release for the series. In the beginning season one was skipped in favor of season two and three being put out as two "Best of..." sets, both labelled "Best of Season Two" and "Best of Season Three" as a nod to the fact that MTV flat out refused to allow the show's creators to issue season one onto DVD uncensored (a good chunk of season one was recycled footage from earlier video project Johnny Knoxville and Bam Margera worked on co-opted for Jackass and censored for TV), as Knoxville retained veto rights over all home video release of the show. Season one didn't see a release as a "Best Of..." DVD until five-six years after the series went off the air, when the second Jackass film came out. The season one set was censored (meaning the "Self-Defense Sketch", which Knoxville wanted released uncut to include the ending, where he gets shot while wearing a bull-proof vest is cut) and moreso, the "Best of..." season two and three were re-issued with about twenty minutes of new content on them. Oh and it gets better/worse: there was also a box set containing the season one compilation and the revised season two and three sets along with an exclusive bonus set containing the uncut hour long "Gumball Rally" special and several "Where are they now" specials MTV produced to promote the first Jackass movie. For the release of Jackass 3, the creators put out a single disc DVD "The Lost Tapes" that basically serves as a end-all home for all of the unreleased segments as well as each episode's opening and closing credit segment.
- The Self Defense Test segment, from a "Big Brother" Skateboard video called "Landspeed", is only available on VHS and has long been out of print; indeed, all online versions of the segment are the MV edit of it.
- The Sifl and Olly Show aired from 1997-99, and has yet to see an official release. Unlike other MTV series, S&O didn't include recorded music; most of the music was original, with a few covers here and there. The only episodes to see a DVD release were the unaired Season 3, published by co-creator Liam Lynch.
- 227, one of NBC's hit programs of the 1980s, only had Season 1 released, and it's not likely the others will come out. Fortunately, reruns are shown on Up and Encore Black.
- ALF is a very special case. The entire series has been released, but only the chopped-up versions that were Edited for Syndication. The producers have insisted that it would be too expensive to compile the original episodes for DVD release, but that didn't stop Europe from getting an uncut version of the series.
- The Bold Ones - an NBC Wheel Program that aired from 1969-73, never released on DVD. As of November 2013, digital subchannel Cozi TV airs episodes Sundays at 7 p.m. Eastern.
- The Cosby Show: Though it's been released on DVD and episodes can be found within five seconds on sites like Google, TVLand and several other networks began pulling televised reruns of the groundbreaking Bill Cosby-starring sitcom in the wake of growing allegations of sexual assault against women. The cancelation order is indefinite at this point, at least on TVLand, whose website has even deleted all mention of the show; this is a rare step for them as even references to past rerun packages can be accessed, at least indirectly. As of this writing, the entire series is still available for streaming on Hulu Plus, as is Bill's later show Cosby.
- The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd: A well-regarded dramedy that aired on NBC for one season (1987-88), was rescued by Lifetime when NBC cancelled it, and ran until 1991. It hasn't been syndicated since 2002, and has never been released on DVD or even VHS. Even nigh impossible to find online.
- Experiment in Television: The series ran for five years, and while Jim Henson's episodes The Cube and Youth '68 are fairly easy to find due to the celebrity status of the man himself, good luck tracking down anything else from the show's run.
- Fame, the TV adaptation of the 1980 film, ran on NBC for two seasons (1982-83) and was Un-Cancelled in First Run Syndication, running until 1987. Only the two seasons that ran on NBC received season set releases, with the syndicated seasons still in limbo to this day. The whole show ran on the Canadian channel MuchMoreMusic from around the Turn of the Millennium until it underwent Network Decay around 2008 or 2009 (it's since gone by the name M3); as such, most online copies of the unreleased episodes have the network logo in the lower right corner. As of 2011 reruns can also be found on the cable channel Ovation.
- The Hogan Family isn't on DVD, iTunes or Netflix, and is quite hard to find on YouTube (only two-thirds of a full episode and about 2 random clips are there as of this writing), with the one YT channel that hosted all the episodes having them all taken down. Torrents of the show are even scarcer - good luck trying to find the House Fire Wham Episode "Burned Out" (or any episode guest starring Willard Scott, for that matter) even with torrents - and some don't even have peers to connect with in uTorrent. ABC Family and Canadian network CTS (since renamed Yes TV) have also aired the show during the 2000's, so you'll have to hold on to your recordings from those networks.
- According to That Other Wiki, the only episode to get a video release was "Bad Timing" (the one where the older son and his Girl of the Week contemplate having sex), released "especially for teachers and health educators to use as a tool to promote safe sex"; nowadays even that can't be found on eBay.
- The Jim Henson Hour exists only in bits and pieces on DVD due to the now-splintered ownership of the segments it featured. Usually, the first half of the show was a "MuppeTelevision" segment with Kermit and company, and the second half a standalone special or an episode from the first series of The Storyteller that hadn't yet aired in the U.S. The Storyteller is available in its entirety through Sony, and the specials The Song of the Cloud Forest and the full-hour special Dog City have been released by Lionsgate. But this leaves all of the MuppeTelevision segments (one of which only aired in the U.K.), Lighthouse Island, Miss Piggy's Hollywood, Monster Maker, Living with Dinosaurs, and Secrets of the Muppets (the last three full-hour specials) unavailable. However, the whole show can be found online in varying sources - while only the first two episodes, the "Secrets of the Muppets" special (which premiered on Nickelodeon in 1992, three years after the show was cancelled) and both pilots are on YouTube as of this writing, the rest of the show was available on Vimeo for a spell and can be obtained through torrents.
- Sesame Street: 20 And Still Counting was originally intended as a Poorly Disguised Pilot for The Jim Henson Hour, but was packaged as a standalone special and aired one week before Hour debuted. It was released on DVD twice, in 2010 by Lionsgatenote and in 2013 by Gaiam Vivendi Entertainment.
- Joey, the Friends spin-off, had its first season released in the U.S., but not the second (including the episodes that never aired in the United States), which was only released in Canada. That normally wouldn't be a problem since Canadian DVD releases are Region 1 and will work on any U.S. DVD player, except for the fact that season 2 has been out of print for several years and as such is rather pricey now. However, the season 2 episodes are readily available online.
- Journeyman aired its short (13 episodes) run on NBC back in 2007, got nixed by a combination of a late airtime (meaning lower ratings) and the fallout from the writers' strike, and never got released on DVD.
- LAX, a short-lived drama about the employees at Los Angeles International Airport. Perhaps understandable, considering the show's terrible ratings during its run.
- The Muppets at Walt Disney World was a 1990 special that was notable as Jim Henson's final Muppet project to premiere in his lifetime, as he died just ten days after it aired. One thing that might be holding this one up is the fact that it was created to celebrate the Muppets becoming part of the Walt Disney Company, and Henson's death threw the whole business into disarray, so it plays as something of a "Funny Aneurysm" Moment now.
- Night Court fits this from Season 4 onward if your DVD player can't play DVD-Rs. (If yours can, Seasons 4-8 are available through the Warner Archive service. Alternatively, try Encore Classic.) The series spent most of its life as part of their legendary Thursday lineup alongside The Cosby Show and Cheers and earned John Larroquette four consecutive Emmys for Best Supporting Actor a record that still stands to this day. The problem here is that most of the show's popularity came during the middle of its run; it didn't come together until Season 3 because of a LOT of early cast changes brought on by actor deaths (Selma Diamond and Florence Halop) and prior contracts (Markie Post appeared as Christine Sullivan in one Season 2 episode, but was still doing The Fall Guy and couldn't join the cast regularly until Season 3). It's a catch-22: Many of the show's fans don't care for Seasons 1-2 because half the cast they loved isn't present, but the studio won't consider releasing the rest of the series on standard DVDs until the sales for the first two DVD sets improve.
- Peter Pan with Mary Martin can no longer be found on DVD. The 1960 version had a release in 1999, old copies of which fetch prices in the triple digits. The 1955 and 1956 telecasts, which still exist in kinescope form, haven't come to home video at all.
- Police Woman: Only the first two seasons of this 1970s Angie Dickinson crime drama is on DVD.
- Both American versions of Red Dwarf (the aired pilot episode and pitchfilm). They've been circulating for years, and master-quality clips of #1 were even used in an official DVD featurette devoted to the Americanization. #2 was available on YouTube in an edited form whose only change was cleanly removing all clips of the British cast.
- Remington Steele only saw a release of Season 1 in the United Kingdom and other non-American territories.
- Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In: The series never got a proper DVD release besides 2 "The Best Of" editions which constist of 6 episodes each. Even sadder that the show hasn't been seen in syndication since Trio went off the air.
- Saturday Night Live. Season sets, as opposed to best-of compilations, finally saw the light of day in 2009, with the music rights sorted out for each episode to air uncut. However, the boxsets stalled at season five (1979 to 1980 season; the last one featuring the remnants of the "Not Ready for Primetime" players and featuring Harry Shearer before he did voicework on The Simpsons). The next couple of seasons constitute Old Shame on NBC's behalf (particularly season six, which is often cited as SNL's worst season ever). Netflix had Saturday Night Live episodes from 1975 to the end of season 38 (2012-2013)note , but only the 1970s episodes are shown uncut and uncensored. The episodes in the 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, and 2010s collections are edited to remove music and sketches that are either not funny, have been cut due to controversy note , or have licensing/copyright issues note . Now, Netflix has dropped the 1970s and 1980s collections. The Canadian feed of Netflix had the 1990s (but only from season 20 to season 25) and the 2000s collection (from season 26 to 33) until Valentine's Day (February 14) 2014, while the American feed has the 2010s collection of SNL episodes and only has seasons 37 (2011-2012) and season 38 (season 2012-2013) as of this writing.
- While full episodes may be becoming impossible to get (unless you actually stay up on a Saturday night to record it or use torrents), websites like NBC.com and Yahoo Video do have collections of the best sketches from SNL's near-40 years on the air.
- Sketches can be removed even after a day (when SNL appears on X Finity On-Demand or Hulu), especially if they have copyrighted music. The Lady Gaga hosted episode of 2013 had several sketches (including her opening monologue and the bittersweet sketch where Lady Gaga appears as an old woman named Mrs. Germanottanote who tries to convince her landlord that she used to be known for her songs "Poker Face" and "Bad Romance" and for her bizarre costumes and stage shows) removed when the episode was uploaded to Hulu the next day.
- Lionsgate released a (now sadly out-of-print) massive compilation of the best musical performances that originally aired as a quartet of specials for the show's 25th anniversary back in 1999.
- St. Elsewhere: Only Season 1 on DVD, although this is another one that UK folks can enjoy via Channel 4 on Demand.
- Seasons 3-6 of Third Watch, largely due to music copyright issues.
- If you're looking for a DVD of most of the NBC's TNBC Saturday Morning lineup, you're going to be waiting awhile. While Saved by the Bell and California Dreams eventually got releases, Hang Time, City Guys and several others haven't. (It doesn't help that most of the shows were canned after one season.)
- The Tonight Show, hosted by Conan O'Brien...and nearly everything he did with the network for the foreseeable future. Following the whole debacle in 2009-10, NBC has scrubbed nearly all evidence that Conan has ever been employed by the network even going so far as to replace his picture on the famous Rockefeller Plaza mural with Jay Leno. Prior to that, his Late Night run did yield two official DVD releases: the 2003 10th Anniversary Special and a Triumph the Insult Comic Dog best-of compilation.
- TV Nation, a 1994 TV show that mixed the prevalent news-magazine genre with humor and was hosted by Michael Moore (the show in turn influenced his later series, The Awful Truth). While the latter is available on DVD, the former only made a brief appearance as a best-of compilation on VHS (reportedly conflicts between Moore and NBC have prevented any chance of a DVD release, the Executive Meddling the show suffered also led production to cease after a single season).
- Viper has no reruns no DVD release. The only way to find it is on YouTube. A few people have put most of the better episodes up, but they're typically in VHS quality; the presence of local-station logos may be a point of contention.
- The Adventures of Pete & Pete — Season 3 has yet to be released on DVD.
- Many of Nickelodeon's early in-house productions, like the biography series Against The Odds hosted by Bill Bixby and the behind-the-scenes movie production series Stand By, Lights, Camera, Action! hosted by Leonard Nimoy seem to have been largely forgotten.
- All That has yet to see any home release, likely due to the musical acts. Even in reruns, the K-Ci & Jojo performance was removed from its episode (and all performances are removed in The '90s Are All That airings).
- Animorphs only had 12 episodes released on VHS, and nothing else. Fans have taken to uploading the rest of the series online, even though most consider it a bad show. Qubo (one of Ion's spinoff cable channels) is rerunning it as of 2014.
- Are You Afraid of the Dark? was never released on DVD in the US, but did receive complete season sets on Region 1 DVD in Canada by Cookie Jar (after its initial airings on YTV). Said sets are now out of print and go for upwards of $100, so occasional late night TeenNick airings are the only way to see them without breaking the bank.
- According to TVShowsOnDVD.com, Nickelodeon and Amazon will be releasing a pair of 3-disc MOD sets. No release dates, but you can pre-order them. That's something, at least.
- And now they're finally out!
- Attack of the Giant Vulture, a segment from Nickelodeon's Short Films by Short People that aired in the nineties has not yet seen the light of day online, despite being heavily sought after. The only confirmed existing copies are located at The Paley Center for Media (2 locations - NY and LA).
- Only the first season of Clarissa Explains It All was ever released on DVD, and only a select few episodes from the other seasons are available from other sources. Although it was one of the inaugural shows to kick off The '90s Are All That, it only ran for 2 months in 2011.
- Cry Baby Lane was lost for over a decade, having only aired on Nickelodeon once and never seeing a home release. After a Reddit user found a recorded VHS of it in 2011, Nickelodeon re-aired it that Halloween and advertised it as a banned film.
- The rights to The Donna Reed Show, an inescapable fixture of the early days of Nick At Nite, were partially reclaimed by the estates of Reed and onetime husband/producer Tony Owen in 2008. The Reed and Owen estates now hold the rights to the first five seasons, while seasons 6-8 are still held by Sony, making rebroadcast rights snarled enough that the series is currently unavailable to air. DVD season sets actually are starting to come out, but getting all of them isn't exactly guaranteed in the new order of things. Vindicated somewhat; everything's been settled and Tribune's Antenna TV network began to air the series in September 2012.
- After the demise of Nick GaS, most of Nickelodeon's Game Show library from the late 1980s and early 1990s has vanished from the airwaves and can only be seen on YouTube. Affected shows include Double Dare (original and Super Sloppy editions), Finders Keepersnote , Think Fast, Make The Grade, Get The Picture, and Nick Arcade. A few shows from the mid to late 1990s, such as Family Double Dare, Nickelodeon Guts, Legends of the Hidden Temple, and Figure It Out, have briefly re-surfaced on TeenNick's The '90s Are All That block. A few select episodes are also available for purchase on iTunes, including 11 episodes of the ultra-rare Fox Family Double Dare.
- Just for Kicks, probably the most short-lived and rarest Nickelodeon TV show to ever hit the airwaves. There is absolutely, positively no trace of the show left online at all.
- The Mystery Files Of Shelby Woo has all 12 episodes from the first and second season available on iTunes, but good luck finding the remaining 28 episodes of the third and fourth season.
- Pinwheel, Nickelodeon's flagship series in its earliest years, will likely never see a legitimate DVD release if only because of the rights issues surrounding the many animated segments. A few episodes have surfaced on bootleg DVDs and YouTube. Some of the animated segments, however, have seen full series DVD releases (just to name a few: Bod, Paddington Bear, The Rabbit With The Checkered Ears, and Charlie's Climbing Tree), though seldom outside their countries of origin.
- Roundhouse. The first two episodes were each released on VHS compilations with episodes from other Snick shows. The rest of the series is pretty much never going to get an official DVD release. Especially egregious since every song featured on the show was original, save for one song cowritten by Madonna (who never recorded it) and another written by the show's music director in The Seventies.
- Salute Your Shorts.
- Space Cases.
- Only seasons 1 and 2 of Victorious are available on DVD, with no apparent plans to release the last two seasons anytime soon. The series is available on Amazon Instant Video, though.
- You Can't Do That on Television, while airing on Nickelodeon and whose American distribution rights are owned by said network, has not seen any release outside a "Worst of" tape in 1989. Further compounding matters is that various changes in management at CJOH (where the show was produced) over the years have resulted in a lot of paperwork getting lost, particularly concerning which (if any) cast and/or crew members would be entitled to royalties/additional usage fees/etc. were the show released on DVD.
- You Do Too, an Nick Jr. UK show from 2002 featuring puppets and humans interacting with each other, is very hard to find. It might as well be The Brothers Flub of Nick Jr.
- 3-2-1 Contact. Broadcasters actually encouraged taping of the show. A handful of episodes were commercially released on VHS, but they're very expensive now. Worse, the first season is older than VHS, so many of its episodes, especially those that weren't rebroadcast later, have been lost forever.
- An American Family, the 1973 docudrama also known to be the very first example of "Reality TV" on American television, has had a 2000s revival reairing in conjunction with the 10th anniversary of eldest Loud sibling Lance's death, the DVD release of a "best of"-type package put together by Alan and Susan Raymond (without input from the surviving Loud family members), and the release of the HBO film about the making of the show called Cinema Verite. Before that, it had aired in full once in ca. 1990 (which, unlike the most recent series of repeats, came with its original music intact — some people recorded that reairing onto VHS and used it to convert into video files that were then uploaded online). Aside from that, you'd have actually had to have been old enough in 1973 to watch the series because, thanks to those pesky music clearance issues and the fallout between the Louds and the Raymonds (who took over control of the whole shebang from the show's creator Craig Gilbert or his estate), you are very unlikely ever to see the original 12 episodes get any sort of official release.
- Bill Nye the Science Guy continues to be a much-beloved science show that is still played in classrooms across the world, yet it has never received a proper commercial DVD release. Nye's own website doesn't sell it, there are only a few (overpriced) single episodes being sold through the official Disney store, and the first two seasons have been released in outrageously expensive sets that are only sold to schools and educators (and, on average, cost over $1,500 - yes, you read that right). However, this is somewhat mollified by the massive VHS release that proceeded it (which had all the episodes). In addition, there are certain websites that only teachers can access to watch episodes, if it helps.
- Mister Rogers' Neighborhood: Episodes from the show's first run (1968-76) have not aired on PBS since 1995. They were taken out of the rotation because, by then, there were a year's worth of episodes from the second run (1979-2001) in the can. It was also said that these episodes could confuse children since they looked different and had some different characters (although the 1974-76 episodes were more similar to the later ones).
- The first (black and white) season has probably not aired anywhere since the early 1970s. The first color season (1969) has not aired since 1983, and the 1970-76 seasons were gradually phased out between 1989 and 1995. 20 episodes from this era can be bought from Amazon, but many more remain unreleased, including all of the 1969 and 1972 seasons. Meanwhile, nearly all of the 1979-2001 run has been released.
- There is also one Missing Week from the second run: the 1983 "Conflict" week. It was originally created to help children cope with the war-related themes of The Day After miniseries, but was deemed inappropriate to air after 1996 because of real-life wars. This week has not been released on Amazon.com.
- Many classic Sesame Street segments can be found online and on compilation DVD's. However, only 21 complete (or at least near-complete) episodes from 1989 on back have been officially released on DVD or digitally, including a test pilot.
- Also, the episode with the Wicked Witch of the West is very hard to find, since it only aired once due to the fact that children were afraid of the witch and refused to watch the show. Good luck finding a copy now.
- Shining Time Station appears to be headed for this, likely never to get a DVD release despite having been nominated for three Emmy Awards and having Ringo Starr and George Carlin playing the Conductor. Luckily, episodes can still be found online. Rights issues are likely the problem, since it used footage from Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends, whose rights currently resides with HiT Entertainment.
- Square One TV. The series has not been re-run since the early 2000s (and even then, only 65 of the 230 episodes were re-run), and there are currently no DVD releases planned. Domestic recordings are known to exist of many episodes, and they sometimes show up on YouTube, but they are nowhere near exhaustive, and quality varies widely.
- One segment of Square One that has generated its own separate demand for release is the police spoof Mathnet, which featured big-name guest stars and storylines that appealed to adults so much, that PBS at one point edited together one Mathnet storyline into a made-for-TV movie that aired in prime time.
- There was a 1990s PBS miniseries called The United States Of Poetry that featured poems being read by the authors and widely varied cinematography like artistic music videos. You may be able to find a VHS copy languishing in your local library, but otherwise it's gone.
- The American Experience special Vietnam: A Television History was significantly edited from its original 1983 broadcast and VHS release when it made the leap to DVD. Most disconcerting are the removal of references to harsh treatment of Vietnamese rubber plantation workers and quip from a former French officer about comparing said workers to insects. Additionally the last episode, Legacy was excised in its entirety in the DVD set. This episode covered the aftermath of Vietnam post-1975. The only way you can see the episodes in their original format now is to check in to your local library.
- "The Voyage of the Mimi", a 1980s educational drama about the titular ship and its crew and starring a very young Ben Affleck as the ship captain's grandson, seems to be an almost entirely forgotten program, in spite of it being Affleck's first claim to fame.
- Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?, and all of the original tunes by Rockapella that its episodes included. Ditto its successor series, Where in Time Is Carmen Sandiego?.
- WonderWorks was a joint PBS/Disney series that created short made-for-TV movies based on acclaimed children's books, such as Jacob Have I Loved, Bridge to Terebithia, and The Hoboken Chicken Emergency. It also brought several BBC miniseries adaptations of classic kidlit to the United States. Despite most of the films seeing release on VHS (some were also fixtures of The Disney Channel in The Eighties, such as The Boy Who Loved Trolls and How to Be a Perfect Person in Just Three Days), only a few have seen the light of day on DVD, and never under the WonderWorks banner. (These include the first two titles mentioned and the BBC adaptations of A Little Princess and The Chronicles of Narnia.)
- Do you like either Zoom series and want to see them on DVD? Well you're out of luck. The 90s series only had a "Making Of" VHS and a "Party With.." VHS while the original 1970s had a single "Best Of" VHS release.
- Despite being one of the most iconic sitcoms in Australia, Hey Dad..! never got any full-season DVD releases in its home country, only a "Best Of" compilation. It definitely won't be getting any now, since show star Robert Hughes was convicted of multiple sexual assaults against young girls.
- The Showtime special Andy Kaufman Plays Carnegie Hall (1980), taken from the 1979 one-night-only production often regarded as the pinnacle of Kaufman's career, only had one VHS release in 2000.
- Doom Runners, a TV Movie from Showtime, is only available on VHS and even then in fairly limited supply. Since the film is hardly more than a blip on the nostalgia radar, the chances of it seeing any kind of physical rerelease ever are slim, but in 2013 it started turning up on the various Showtime movie networks (Flix, et.al.).
- Full Color Football: The History of The American Football League, a five part Showtime/NFL Films produced documentary, has yet to be released on DVD (though the NFL Network runs the occasional rerun). Warner Bros. owns the rights, but seems to be sitting on the title despite strong fan demand.
- Nightmare Classics was a four-episode anthology series produced by Shelley Duvall, Cannon Films and Showtime that was much different in tone than Duvall's previous anthology series Faerie Tale Theatre and Tall Tales and Legends. While those two were popular enough to warrant DVD releases, the Nightmare Classics episodes faded into obscurity after they hit VHS. It seems that the issue with a release is the fact that it was a co-production (Warner Bros. owns the rights to later Cannon titles while Showtime is owned by CBS).
- The Strangerers (sic) was a science fiction comedy drama made for Sky1, starring Mark Williams and Jack Docherty and written by Rob Grant. Sky cancelled the show after one season and has never repeated it (and Sky repeats everything), or released it on DVD.
- Ten Minute Tales: A series of shorts run over 11 days on Sky Television over Christmas 2009. Despite having some of the best actors around and some of the best writers (Neil Gaiman being one), the network has no plans to put it on DVD, so those who want to re-watch (which you will, as most of them are pretty deep and require several viewings to fully understand them) and/or those who don't have Sky will have to find them elsewhere.
The WB / The CW / UPN
- The Beat, a six-episode (13 were produced) police procedural series that aired on UPN. Despite being created by the same people as the critically lauded Homicide: Life on the Street, and featuring John Munch and a young Mark Ruffalo, the series has pretty much vanished, with no signs of it on YouTube, on demand or on DVD.
- Kamen Rider Dragon Knight has never been released on DVD in The United States despite rave reviews, though low ratings. Completely averted elsewhere especially in Japan where it was more popular than Kamen Rider Ryuki, the show its source footage originates from.
- Kevin Hill, an oft-forgotten series starring Taye Diggs and a pre-Mad Men Christina Hendricks, which focuses on a lawyer who is suddenly forced to care for his deceased cousin's 10-month-old daughter, Sarah. The show was cancelled after its first season due to low ratings, and it has since disappeared into the ether.
- Legend. Richard Dean Anderson and John DeLancie in a Steam Punk version of The Old West. Anachronisms left and right, but it's a fun ride. Too bad it only lasted one season.
- Mercy Point was an intriguing mixture of hospital drama and science fiction. Only eight episodes were made, and the last two were never aired. Those apparently remain completely unseen by anyone in the public to this day. There is no mention anywhere of the show having had a single rerun after its initial run in 1998-99. There are rumors that the series was heading for legal trouble due to similarities with 2000 AD series named Mercy Heights, which may contribute to the low profile.
- Red Handed, a four-episode hidden camera series on UPN (narrated by Adam Carolla). To judge by contemporary reviews condemning the focus on lowbrow, profane, and otherwise juvenile humor, its disappearance might be for the best.
- Ringer, the Sarah Michelle Gellar comeback vehicle, only lasted a season with no DVD release in sight. It is on Netflix, though.
- The Steve Harvey Show only has a 5 episode best of DVD and no plans to release any seasons. The Wayans Bros. only has season 1 available on DVD (Though all five seasons can be viewed on Amazon's digital service). Neither show is available on Netflix or Hulu. but can be seen daily with the occasional weekend/holiday marathon on BET sister station Centric.
- The short-lived WB series Tarzan suffered this fate. You can still find it online, though the quality is debatable.
- Everything after Season 1 of What I Like About You. Warner has no current plans to release the other 3 seasons. On the Season 1 set, the theme song was replaced with some completely irrelevant other tune. Fortunately the rest of the episodes are all availible online.
- The Adventures Of Shirley Holmes has been all but forgotten by Credo/Forefront, despite being very popular during its four-season run on YTV and gaining significant critical acclaim. More than a decade after the last season ended, the episodes are no longer being rerun, and there is very little hope of an official release in the future. Bootleg DVDs can be found online if you look really hard for them, though, and a few dedicated fans are working on uploading the episodes to the web.
- The Big Comfy Couch ran for seven seasons on YTV (over a period of 14 years), but it has never received a proper DVD release. Time-Life Video released many episodes of the series on VHS in the mid-90's, but releases have been all over the place as far as DVD goes. The series got a release of several early episodes featuring Alyson Court (the original actress who played Loonette) in the early 2000's, which subsequently went out of print. The "remake" season in 2006 is still incomplete despite receiving a partial release, and the only way to see the rest of the episodes is to catch a repeat on Treehouse TV.
- The YTV series Catwalk, about a group of young adults trying to establish themselves as a musical group. The show was notable for starring a pre-Party of Five Neve Campbell, and the episodes dealt with mature subject matter and themes, and was very progressive for its time. Despite the success of the first season, the show was cancelled in 1994, and half the episodes were never broadcast. It's never been released on DVD, likely due to a lawsuit arising between the show and a Connecticut-based band (also named Catwalk) regarding the name of the show.
- Maniac Mansion, the Canadian television spinoff of the Lucasarts game of the same name, hasn't been seen in North America since it stopped airing in syndication in Canada on YTV in 2002. Despite the level of critical acclaim the series received when it first debuted, the fourth-wall breaking humor, and a cast made up of alumni from the Second City Theatre Company, none of the three seasons have ever been released in their entirety on DVD (two Season 1 episodes were released on VHS more than a decade ago). You can find the complete series through torrents.
- System Crash, a sketch comedy series about a group of students in a media club at the fictional Lambton High School, aired from 1999-2002 and garnered a significant amount of popularity. However, it disappeared after the network began transitioning its programming block to younger audiences. It never received an official DVD release, and the only remnants of the series are occasional episodes that float around on Youtube or torrents.
pretty much across the board. With GSN
constantly moving away (and back, and away again, and...) from showing the "classics", it's become increasingly hard to find episodes of even iconic shows such as Wheel of Fortune
, Family Feud
, and Pyramid
. And this isn't even getting into the countless series that have been wiped, or those that simply haven't been transferred to a digital format for preservation (such as some of the holdings at the Library of Congress).
In addition, as explained in more detail under The Price Is Right
, home video release of product-based series would be problematic from a licensing and rights perspective. Plus, at least for more recent game shows but possibly older ones as well, a DVD release might also require permission from the many contestants who may have signed contracts approving rebroadcast but not home video release.
- Concentration NBC Universal hasn't touched the format in over 20 years, and won't authorize cable reruns or a DVD release.
- The bawdy Everything Goes (kind of a cross between The Hollywood Squares and Strip Poker), which ran on Escapade (1981-84) and the Playboy Channel (1984-88), has nothing other than a "Best of" tape in 1983 covering Seasons 1-2.
- Globo Loco, a children's game show from CITV, regarded as much as to be nominated for the "Best Kids Entertainment Show" award. There's one episode on YouTube from its second series and a snippet or two, but that's it.
- The Gong Show likely music rights. USA Network showed repeats in the 1980s, and GSN has aired episodes of the NBC, Barris syndicated, and Bleu syndicated versions; it's very possible that GSN still has the rights to broadcast it, so if people want to see it they should start campaigning hard).
- Have I Got News for You has a compilation DVD covering the first 23 series (albeit with some extras including a commentary the whole way through with Paul Merton and Ian Hislop, which isn't bad at all for a TV DVD from 2002). Then there's another compilation covering just the next year, but with four extended complete episodes including a double-length version of the first Boris Johnson-hosted one and some more special features, and a third compilation of the two years after that, with a single but lengthy behind-the-scenes special feature and a nearly triple-length version of the second Boris episode. If they won't put out more than five complete episodes, they at least know the way to our hearts. (And yes, this show too can be found online in its entirety.)
- The same applies to other topical panel shows such as Mock the Week and 8 out of 10 Cats (who have similar releases compiling highlights and Too Hot for TV material).
- Hit Man with Peter Tomarken the 130 educational films used during the show's 13-week run were only licensed for one showing apiece, and Jay Wolpert has been unable to renegotiate.
- Knightmare came to an abrupt end in 1994, and probably will never see the light of day again. A terrible shame, given how much fun it was and how important it was for its pioneering use of Chroma Key and virtual-reality technology. It reran on Sci-Fi Channel (UK) during the 1990s after it went off-air from CITV, and on Challenge TV in the early 21st Century. It has never been released on video or DVD, except illegally.
- The Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour dual ownership of the two formats. Contrary to long-held belief, while Gene Rayburn wasn't really pleased with the show (particularly the botched Squares format), he never put an embargo on it.
- Name That Tune music rights.
- Now You See It (Chuck Henry) he won't clear his run as he wasn't pleased with his work and thinks it'll ruin his reputation as a news anchor/reporter. Many fans think he's being way too hard on himself, plus there's the fact that he had to be rescued while reporting on a forest fire.
- The Price Is Right there's a number of theories why (CBS doesn't want reruns up against first-run shows/is asking too much for it, Fremantle Media is asking too much for it, Bob Barker has some say in the matter, etc.). With the GSN repeats and BCI/Mill Creek Entertainment DVD set, there was a moratorium on certain episodes by Barker, including but not limited to those where fur coats were given as prizes; said "fur ban" knocks out the series premiere plus the next two taped episodes, one of which had been shelved after taping due to an ineligible contestant (its existence remains in question).
- There are also claims that episodes featuring model Holly Hallstrom are also on the "do not air" list because of bitter (non-)relations between her and Barker - Hallstrom testified against Barker at several of his sexual harassment trials, and sided with another ex-model, Dian Parkinson, when the Barker-Parkinson affair blew up; Barker unceremoniously dismissed her from the show in the fallout.
- It's unknown why Dennis James' five-year syndicated run has never been repeated, although speculation has been due to the prevalence of fur coats as prizes. That doesn't rule out the non-fur episodes, but according to former Price staffer Scott Robinson something like five of the 301-episode 1972-80 nighttime series did not have a fur.
- Although virtually all episodes are known to exist of the current version, GSN stopped airing repeats in 2000 and only one "classic" has aired since then (the May 23, 1975 episode was shown by CBS in 2002). That aside, it is unknown when (or if) Barker's "ban" on repeats of his era will expire, such as upon his death or if a clause in his will will extend the ban.
- The original Bill Cullen series is widely thought to be a different color of horse than the current show, yet repeats of it are not shown either. GSN previously aired 67 nighttime episodes and one daytime show; several other episodes have turned up on YouTube (probably excluded due to cigarette sponsorship on some shows) and the ABC nighttime finale is on the DVD set.
- Home video release of Price might also be restricted by licensing issues, as each episode contains multiple references to real-life brand names, including logos and slogans. Pretty much every company featured would need to give permission (and some would probably demand a fee), and that assumes they'd even allow "outdated" branding and products to be featured. Granted, this issue applies to virtually every other game show with product prizes (Let's Make a Deal, the shopping era of Wheel of Fortune, etc.), but Price was all about product placement, so the issue would be even worse.
- QI is available on DVD in the UK (only Series 1-3, unfortunately), but due to copyright issues for the images they use it will never be shown or released elsewhere. One estimate puts the international image rights for one episode at over £10,000. Yet it's being shown in Australia on the ABC, so at least they can watch it legit; this probably has something to do with the longstanding legal detente that Australia has due to close legal and cultural ties with the UK. Unfortunately, fans in the US have to find alternate means, as it's not even shown on BBC America!
- As of 2015, Hulu has three seasons on at a time; currently, I,J, and K are available. Presumably this will shift up to J,K, and L by the end of the year. These are also NOT the XL cuts.
- Wheel of Fortune a King World representative stated in August 2006 that the Chuck Woolery era (1975-81) was wiped along with early Pat Sajak shows, and it appears that the archive begins around mid-1985. GSN has only ever shown certain seasons of the nighttime version, and even then there's some oddities:
- Season 2 (1984-85) received a single near-complete cycle; about a week or so of episodes were never aired.
- Season 5 (1987-88) was likely never shown in its entirety.
- Seasons 8-9 (1990-92) and 11 (1993-94) have never been aired, for unknown reasons.
- Very few episodes past Season 14 (1996-97) have been shown.
The vast majority of soap operas, especially of the Long Runner
Anglo variety, simply have far too many episodes to ever be released...at least not in full.
- Australian company Shock Entertainment are bucking the trend by actually beginning to put Neighbours to DVD - so far, DVD releases have been of the type that are collections of special episodes, but on April 4, 2012 Shock released "Neighbours: From the Beginning Vol 1" which comprises the first 56 episodes (of nearly 6,500 to date). Volume 2 is expected in November 2012, and will probably be of a similar length.
- Hispanic telenovelas are in no better situation. On one side, they tend to be shorter (a standard six-month run aired Monday to Saturday is about 180 chapters), so they could get a DVD release if they want. On the other side, selling them for syndication runs abroad allows the producers to recoup part of the costs, so they won't release any "recent" (up to 10 years ago) soap. Worse, when they do have a release, it's usually only a "best of" thing compressing the story (ex. 180 chapters reduced to 60), putting an epileptic monkey in charge of editing, and trimming scenes at random, creating an unwatchable mutant of a soap.
- In Venezuela, it has become increasingly common to see on the street sellers of pirate DVDs of Colombian soaps. Half of the titles are "narconovelas", soap operas with drug-dealing themes whose contents couldn't be broadcast under actual Venezuelan laws unless it was post-Midnight; the other half are current and former soaps about vallenato musicians, a musical genre which is popular but not mainstream (one of those, Oye Bonita, was eventually aired). The remaining one was Chepe Fortuna, a comedic soap which was broadcast but quickly pulled off the air when someone in the government decided that a villain-esque character named Venezuela was a Stealth Insult to the country (said character was a Fat Bastard Small Name, Big Ego lady with a teeny tiny dog named Hugo; draw your own conclusions).
- A notable inversion of this trope is the original Dark Shadows. Except for one single lost episode, all 1,200+ episodes of this soap opera were released on DVD in a single box set, constituting the greatest number of episodes ever released to home video at one time. Prior to this, incredibly, the entire series had been released on VHS as well, likely requiring diehard fans to build additions to their homes in order to hold all the tapes. It's also the only soap to ever see widespread rerun circulation, resulting in many unofficial tapes being circulated before the DVD set came out.
- In the early 2000s, the tide seemed to be turning for classic soaps, with a few rerunning on cable television, several offered via streaming websites, and the legendary Guiding Light and As the World Turns receiving official DVD releases. After a few years, all of these offerings disappeared. Currently, a Guiding Light DVD set of 20 episodes sells for nearly $200.
- There have been Best Of compilations of American Bandstand note , The Midnight Special, Don Kirshner's Rock Concert, and Soul Train...but aside from the last show being rerun on Centric, seeing full-season releases or full-show reruns doesn't seem to be in the cards, mostly because of the cost and effort involved in securing the rights of musical and (in the cases ofMidnight and Concert) stand-up comedy performances.
- A lot of 1970s and '80s episodes of "American Bandstand" (as well as a few from the 1960s) were reaired briefly on VH-1 in the mid - late 1990s, completely uncut and with all its original music. You're pretty much guaranteed to find that any YouTube uploads of "American Bandstand" performances from the '70s and early '80s will come from those repeats. Why VH-1 were allowed to rerun those episodes uncut is a question only the late Dick Clark could've answered.
- Effective early 2014, Soul Train is being broadcast on digital MeTV subchannel Bounce TV.
- Anglia Television's adaptation of Alice in Wonderland.
- Mostly due to the fact it was a local (Seattle) show and the station that created it is now part of a larger station group, Almost Live! has also never seen the light of a DVD box set...despite the fact that you could probably convince half the city to give up espresso for a month just to get one. For those outside Seattle, Almost Live was what established "Bill Nye the Science Guy", and his Almost Live colleagues made appearances on the show. Also well worth it to see Nye in some amusing but definitely-not-for-kids stuff like "The Street Walking Lawyers of Aurora Ave." and "Ree-bok Cross-dressers".
- Many, many, many prehistoric animal documentaries have not been released on DVD. Wanna see them? Your best friends are Netflix, Youtube, and torrents. They are the only places you'll find Animal Armageddon, Dino Lab, Dinosaur Revolution, Koreanosaurus, Life After Dinosaurs, Prehistoric, Prehistoric Assassins, and Prehistoric Monsters Revealed, along with many lesser, mostly-science and few-CGI documentaries, like Super Croc, Utah's Dino Graveyard, and others.
- Beat The Cyborgs was a CITV entertainment show broadcast in 2003, so for such a comparatively recent series it's disheartening to see not just a lack of VHS or DVD, but NO online clips of the show (just one trailer, all there is as visual representation on YouTube that this show existed). It can't be revived due to the tragic death of Mark Speight, who was the Borgmaster.
- Brothers, a Showtime original sitcom that aired from 1984 - 1989, was briefly reran in syndication in the early 1990s and then seemed to completely disappear from view. This is in spite of the program's groundbreaking take on homosexuality and gay issues and the novelty of getting to see Yeardley Smith in a live-action setting. (There is also a "hey, it's that famous relation" in terms of the eldest of the three fictional Waters siblings being played by Brandon Maggart, who is now best known for being Fiona Apple's father.) One possible explanation for the program not getting a DVD release is that it was always a cult program, since it was one of the first examples of original programming on pay TV and not as well-known as "Soap", another early gay TV pioneer (but which aired on a network).
- The 1987 TV movie Casanova, directed by Simon Langton, written by George Mac Donald Fraser and starring Richard Chamberlain, Faye Dunaway, Ornella Muti, Sylvia Kristel and Hanna Schygulla, has never been released on VHS or DVD in the United States other than a severely-edited 122-minute VHS version in 1992. A much longer version with nudity has been released on VHS in various European countries and Latin America, but there has never been an official DVD release anywhere. The best available version appears to be a Japanese laserdisc of the original U.S. broadcast version of the movie (with Japanese subtitles).
- Cloud9 have only released two of their series, The Tribe and The Adventures Of Swiss Family Robinson despite most of their shows being cult classics and/or starring big name actors like William Shatner.
- In 1998, CNN aired an amazing 24-part special on the Cold War. It was released on VHS, but then September 11th happened and large amounts of footage from the later episodes, which dealt with the USA's interventions in the Middle East, were reclassified. But those episodes were never recalled, so if you get your hands on them you can legally watch classified footage (which bits are classified is unknown, of course). Copies still float around online, and the series is shown in many history, international relations, and foreign policy classes.
- Somewhat averted as the series was released in full by Warner Brothers on DVD in early June of 2012 at a reasonable price, though it's definitely likely some of the re-classified footage has been culled out of the DVD release.
- Conquest, a show hosted by Peter Woodward on The History Channel a mere six years ago. The History Channel's website doesn't even list the show anymore and acts like the 28 episodes they made and aired never happened. Which is unfortunate, because it was a great show that depicted many classical weapons and their history/use.
- Crash Zone, a 1999 Australian TV show that aired on the Seven Network for 26 episodes was released over 6 VHS volumes that were made exclusively available to schools. The show never got a public home media release, VHS or otherwise, when the second season was made available on iTunes. The only trace of season 1 to be found online is a trailer, though it is hoped that the first season will also eventually be released on iTunes.
- Diners Driveins And Dives: Seasons 1-4 on DVD; seasons 5-11 are MIA.
- Divorce Court - The current version, featuring real-life arbitration hearings of divorce cases, is alive and well in syndication. Nobody, it seems, remembers (or is interested in airing) two earlier dramas bearing the name Divorce Court ... y'know, the one that featured fictional stories supposedly based on "real-life" divorce cases, and student attorneys arguing the cases with actors playing the litigants and witnesses. The original version of the original format debuted in 1957, with Judge Volitare Perkins presiding; despite running a then-impressive 12 years in syndication (to that time, it was one of the longest runs in syndication), the series has never been repeated and is largely forgotten today. An updated version, with even more relevant and sometimes raunchier stories, premiered in the spring of 1985, with Judge William B. Keene serving as the judge. That series has been re-aired (most notably on Court TV and earlier, on the USA Network), but except for occasional uploads to video-sharing services has not been seen since at least the mid-1990s.
- Don't Eat the Neighbours - a joint British-Canadian puppet series which aired between 2001 and 2002. There was only ever one video/DVD release with just four episodes, out of a total of twenty six.
- Any of the E! True Hollywood Story specials. Aside from the understandably daunting task of trying to release 14 seasons worth of unrelated media (ranging from TV and film stars to celebrity scandals and popular culture), many of the episodes have music or footage clearance issues. That said, many of the episodes could (and should) have been released as extras on DVD sets that didn't have any extras in the first place (Miami Vice, Married With Children, and others). This isn't helped by the fact that E! has only released a scant few episodes to Emmy Award voters only and has since limited reruns to episodes that feature reality TV famewhores. Thankfully in syndication, but mainly as late-night filler for TV stations and edited to fit a half-hour and remove E! branding.
- They (or at least Comcast) have also seen fit to pull down any uploads on YouTube for no apparent reason. Considering the above, don't expect to see most of them any time soon.
- The CTV news drama E.N.G.: Not only did this show (about a team of anchors at a politically-charged news station) run for five seasons, but it was one of the most watched programs on the channel it aired on. It won a whopping ten Gemini Awards (including Best Dramatic Series four years in a row) and practically swept every other Canadian series critically and commercially when it was on...until it was dumped from the network without explanation. Twenty years later, and it still hasn't been released.
- Freddy's Nightmares A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Series. Five episodes were released on VHS in the 1990s, which are long out-of-print. There was also a DVD set in Region 2 which contained the first three episodes, but alleged poor sales kept it from being released anywhere else and stopped any more episodes from being given a DVD treatment.
- Glasgow Kiss, an extremely well-done six-part series about a Glaswegian sportswriter and the financial management planner he falls in love with (played by Iain Glen and Sharon Small, respectively), has yet to appear on DVD. It can be found on the internet, but requires considerable effort to hunt down.
- Any TV series hosted by Rolf Harris will definitely not be getting an official home release after he was jailed for sexual abuse of children.
- David Lynch's three-episode miniseries Hotel Room.
- Any surviving episodes of the 80's syndicated talk show Hot Seat With Wally George (an early example of featuring a confrontational ideologue as talk show host) only exist in home video recordings or YouTube clips. Because they couldn't afford to store them, the television station that produced the series destroyed all the masters of the show.
- Infinity Limited, by the Australian Broadcasting Commission, 1980-84.
- The Invisible Man has had two different releases of its first season on DVD, plus a release of the pilot and first episode in France which a number of American fans ordered from overseas before the full sets were released in the states. However, there is still no sign of the second season being released on DVD in any form. Both seasons are available on Hulu, though.
- It's unlikely that Iron Chef will ever be released on DVD, due to a combination of length (there were over 300 episodes), copyright issues (much of the music was from Backdraft, Glory, and Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story), and licensing issues among Japan, the United States, and Australia. Also, many episodes never left Japan in the first place. note
- Iron Chef America has no excuse. Despite that, only the Battle of The Masters was released on DVD.
- Iron Chef Japan is still being shown on The Cooking Channel, albeit with the original music now swapped for copyright friendly tracks.
- The very popular Dutch 1960s series Ja Zuster, Nee Zuster is only available now as fragments and as recorded songs, not due to copyright issues but because most of the master tapes were lost.
- The Judge: An '80s dramatized court show that never aired on TV after repeats on USA Network in the early 1990s.
- About half of Kaze no Haruka is available to view online. Much searching has not revealed any part of the series to have been released either on DVD or for download.
- The original Latin American dubbed version of Kometto-san (Seρorita Cometa in Spanish), a 1960s Widget Series mixing live action, puppets and animation that aired in Mexico and other Latin American countries through the 1970s and mid-1980s was lost after an earthquake in 1985 destroyed part of the facilities (including some of the tape archives) of Televisa, the network that held the rights to the series. Home copies of some episodes that were recorded prior to 1985 in formats such as Betamax (home tapes were not as common then) have been posted online. Although the dub's master tapes were permanently lost, a redub of the entire series was made in 2013 to be aired on the Mexico City channel Cadenatres as well as to be released on home media in the near future.
- The 1960s anthology series Kraft Suspense Theatre has never been released on DVD, despite its high quotient of Hey, It's That Guy!.
- The Canadian-produced sister series to Kung Fu, Kung Fu: The Legend Continues. Despite starring David Carradine and running for four seasons in syndication (a longer run than the original, not the first time that's happened), the show still hasn't been released on DVD. It is available online and on torrents, though.
- The Law & Order: Criminal Intent episode "The Glory That Was" only appears to be available as a premium video from USA Network's channel on YouTube, presumably because of the lesbian sex scene that opens the episode. This is unfortunate, because it's also one of the few episodes in which the fate of Wheeler's ex-fiancιe is mentioned.
- Despite being released in Europe, there seems to be absolutely no plans for a DVD release for Lilyhammer in the United States. To make matters worse, the American rights belong to Netflix and they seem to see absolutely no value in releasing things outside the streaming section of the Web site (you can't even rent "rental only" discs of the show).
- There hasn't been a single DVD of the UK or U.S. versions of The Magic Roundabout. The last release was a "best of" on VHS in 1993. This might have to do with the fact that the English narration is technically a Gag Dub of the more moralistic French original.
- Unless there has been an act of God within the time taken to write this, fans of the absolutely epic show Martial Law will be left champing at the bit for a DVD release- as of 2012, no plans have been announced despite numerous petitions for one of Sammo Hung's defining performances.
- Memphis Beat, never released on DVD (entire two seasons) after its cancellation by TNT in 2011.
- The horror TV series Monsters. If you have Chiller, you can catch it, usually via marathons.
- MTM Enterprises seems particularly cursed. The studio was synonymous with "quality television" in the 1970s and 1980s, producing some of the most critically-acclaimed series in American TV history, but none of them (with the exception of The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Remington Steele, the latter no doubt thanks to Pierce Brosnan's megastardom) have seen anything close to their complete runs getting out on DVD.
- The New Adventures of Robin Hood, a kitschy 1990s series from TNT in the vein of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena, has only Season 1 available on DVD, and then not until 2010. The remaining three seasons are completely unavailable.
- The Made-for-TV Movie Oil Storm received a lot of attention after apparently predicting Hurricane Katrina. However, as it is a mockumentary made up in part from various forms of archival footage, it is unclear if it will ever be rereleased.
- The Original Amateur Hour began as an old-time radio show in the 1930's before moving to TV, Channel Hopping between all of the Big Three TV networks (and Du Mont), and should be considered groundbreaking in that it was the Trope Maker for the TV talent show, paving the way for everything from Star Search to American Idol, and it also launched the careers of luminaries like Ann-Margret, Pat Boone, Irene Cara, and Gladys Knight. While full episodes are hard to find especially on YouTube, the masters are presumably still out there - a documentary about the show hosted by Boone was released on DVD, and among the bonus features were two complete episodes of the show, including the original commercialsnote . A revived version with Willard Scott aired on the current ABC Family in 1992; despite its warm response and high ratings (not to mention the TV debut of Nick Carter) this new version only lasted one season. Good luck finding full episodes of that now.
- Our America With Lisa Ling on OWN has managed, through what has got to be the worst cable deal ever, to find itself in this territory despite being an active show producing new episodes. And one of the highest-rated shows on the network. A network that reruns just about everything else on the roster to death. If there isn't a new episode being aired, or a new episode about to be aired, good luck finding it online, on the schedule, anywhere. Lisa isn't overly happy with the arrangement either.
- Out of Jimmy's Head never got a DVD release due to its abysmal ratings. Apparently even Cartoon Network itself wants it to be forgotten.
- Out of This World not only has DVD distribution tied up in limbo due to legal issues with the showrunners being blocked from making any more money off the show. This prevents the it from airing on American television, where reruns last aired in the mid-nineties.
- Philadelphia had a number of fondly remembered, locally produced children's shows back in the Seventies and Eighties. WCAU had Starstuff and The Candy Apple News Company, while WPVI had the long-running Chief Halftown and Captain Noah's Magical Ark.
- Pop Up Video is presumably stymied by music rights issues (although it saw one VHS / DVD compilation release in 1999). A select few videos can be found on VH-1's website and YouTube. All the full reruns still air on VH-1 Classic, but unless you have a higher-tier satellite package, you likely won't see the show's complete run ever again.
- Speaking of VH-1: any I Love the _____ series. More movie, television, and music clip rights issues than you can shake a stick at. The decade-based series were often rerun up through 2009, but I Love Toys (2006) wasn't so lucky, and the 90-minute I Love the Holidays special only ran a few times in 2005. Good luck finding either of them in full, in any format (not even trading websites have them circulated).
- Behind the Music only had a handful of VHS/DVD releases, and music rights issues make them unlikely to show up again. VH-1 Classic reruns many of the more popular episodes, often in "remastered" versions which add relevant events which happened to the artist(s) since the original airings, but others seem to be lost forever (such as those chronicling a certain year in popular music, or one that looked at the final days of John Lennon).
- Professional Wrestling: In the pre-VCR/cable television era, most local or small regional promotions that were fortunate enough to have their own syndicated television programs have been erased to history. First, videotape (prior to the 1980s) was an expensive commodity, and promotions that were able to afford it simply reused the tapes when recording their material. Second, due to (perhaps) a perceived lack of future rerun potential, many promotions and/or television stations destroyed the tapes (or more likely, films) once they aired or wore out, their (wrestling) companies ceased their promotional activities or other reasons. This means that with the exception of those having foresight or individuals who recorded the show and still have the tapes stashed away somewhere the history of these promotions no longer exist in video form, much less in broadcast quality (due to derogation).
- World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) is a notable exception, having hundreds of thousands of hours of videotapes and films of classic programming available for broadcast or on-demand download; this includes programming from promotions the McMahon family has acquired the rights to, including the NWA, WCW, ECW, and AWA. They've even got some wrestling footage from Du Mont! But even in this case, it is possible that individual episodes of syndicated programs (especially those prior to the late 1970s) have been recorded over or otherwise have been destroyed for various reasons.
- That said, the sheer amount of footage would, sadly, make DVD releases of television shows all but impossible. In 1998, among the main shows alone, WCW, WWF and ECW had over 300 hours of footage. This would make even a volume release of the year impractical, even divided among promotion.
- This also applies to Owen Hart matches, as his widow refuses to allow WWE to use his image; and Chris Benoit matches, due to his murder-suicide.
- The new WWE Network which launched in February 2014 promises to make a large part of the WWE archives, along with the purchased tape archives listed above from other circuits available for their small subscription fee, including Benoit matches with a content disclaimer beforehand. How much of the archive will be available however is still yet to be found out.
- Radio Free Roscoe, a Canadian Family Channel production that was later picked up by The N (now TeenNick), had two (or four, depending on which country you saw it aired in) seasons, with a total of 52 episodes but has only ever received one DVD release; a compilation of eight fan-selected episodes from the first season. Copies of the remaining episodes can still be found online and for download, though like many Family Channel original productions, a full DVD release seems unlikely.
- The AMC period sitcom Remember WENN, an unfortunate casualty of the pre-Mad Men era, is not on DVD and not in syndication.
- Certain, uh, non-official translations of Retro Game Master, were taken down from YouTube or otherwise removed when Kotaku announced another episode that had already been previously fan translated. Once Kotaku's license to show the series expired, they pretty much officially sanctioned people watching fansubbed versions instead. Also, circulating the tapes is the only way for anyone to watch the parts of the show that aren't the challenges; rights issues make it so that even in Japan, the official DVD releases cut down each episode to just the challenge segments. It gots worse. The broadcasting company plans on taking down all the episodes in Youtube, subs and all.
- Sightings, a paranormal news program that aired in syndication during the early-to-mid 1990s.
- Space 1999 had two episodes released by U.S.A. Home Video, but both tapes were sued by two of its stars and blocked from further distribution within a year. The silliest thing about this is, the reason they wound up unavailable on video for over a decade afterward wasn't copyright infringement, but rather low quality. That's right, the very first uncut videocassettes of the series in the United States were banned because the video wasn't detailed or colorful enough. You can read some more about this silliness, among other things, here.
- Spectreman. BCI-Eclipse, the company that released other Toku series like Ultraman and Iron King in the United States, actually stated that they wanted to release it but were unable to determine who currently owned the rights to the English dub of the series.
- The award-winning, four-season syndicated TV show Starting Over (not the movie with Burt Reynolds).
- Superior Court: Another dramatized court show in the 1980s never released on DVD since it last aired in repeats on USA Network in the early 1990s.
- Most of the Japanese live-action Super Sentai series have never aired in the United States and none have ever seen any home media release. This includes the classic Goranger, which essentially kicked the genre off in the mid-1970s.
- Takeshis Castle was only shown at 7:00 AM on Virgin 1's cable channel. Those with basic Freeview could only see it at 4:00 AM.
- The final season of the Gag Dub Most Extreme Elimination Challenge never appeared on DVD, and the "Real Monsters vs. Commercial Mascots" episode on the Season 2 box set was subjected to Clumsy Copyright Censorship and is also unavailable on iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, and Hulu.
- And for that matter, the Almost live Special that kicked off Season 3, and the two Season 4 Clip Shows were also left out of the DVD releases.
- This Is the Life and other religious dramas from the 1950s through early 1980s were once a staple of Sunday morning television. In a nutshell, these Christian dramas underwritten by a Protestant or Catholic synod would present a story where the main characters faced a moral dilemma and attempted to resolve it through their own secular means before turning to the Christian solution; the host would then review the situation at the end, provide a brief commentary on how the lesson can be applied to the viewer's life, and give appropriate Scripture reading. Many of these programs starred both established actors and then-unknowns prior to their first big break. Since the last of these shows the Missouri Lutheran Synod-underwritten This Is the Life, circa 1988 ended first-run production, these Christian anthologies have virtually vanished. None of these shows have been uploaded to YouTube (until recently, when three episodes, one from the original ABC run and two others from the early-to-mid 1960s were uploaded to the video-sharing site) or offered for sale on home video (not even in the 1980s by Christian-based ministries, during or after first-run production), and finding any station that has saved the tapes may be more difficult than the proverbial camel passing through a needle's eye. The most likely place to find any of these shows would likely be a church that might have old off-air VHS recordings of the show in its library, or a rural public access station that has old tapes in its archive and are running them as filler, but even in remote rural areas, most public access cable TV stations don't publish their broadcast schedules. Many religious cable networks won't air them these days because their 'for everyone' morals don't meet the certain viewpoints they espouse.
- Related: Insight, a syndicated anthology drama series by Paulist Productions, which ran from 1960 to 1985. Notable for airing during late night, early mornings, and other strange times. Essentially The Twilight Zone with a religious twist. However, unlike most typical religious programming, its sectarian nature was seldom evident at first glance due to the lack of heavy handed preachiness. It guest starred many established actors of the time as well as up and coming actors who would later become stars. Out of the 25 years of the show's run (250 episodes), only ten episodes are avaiable from Paulist Press (VHS only as of 2011). Good luck in finding most of the rest of it. Many rumors exist as to why it's not headed for DVD anytime soon. One posible reason is that the show represented Catholic theology of its time and may no longer represent current Church doctrine on a lot of issues.
- Tracker only had a DVD release in the form of a cobbled-together pseudo-"movie" of a couple of episodes. Fans refused to buy it, and Lions Gate never saw the point of a whole series DVD release. Cue the fan-made DVDs.
- The English television company TVS (Television South) some time ago bought out the U.S. company MTM (Mary Tyler Moore's production company). Then somebody else, wanting the rights to the MTM shows, bought out TVS. A number of TVS programs have ended up never being released on VHS or DVD. For example, a lot of folks would give their eyeteeth to see The Witches and the Grinnygog again, which at the moment is only available as an illegal bootleg.
- A month after TVS ceased broadcasting it was bought by International Family Entertainment, who did use some TVS shows on the now defunct UK version of The Family Channel. IFE was bought by 20th Century Fox (who now have the MTM rights) and Saban, who in turn sold the rights to Disney as a very minor part of their takeover of Fox / ABC Family and the international Fox Kids / Jetix channels. Unfortunately at some point during this game of musical programme rights, all the paperwork relating to TVS's programmes was thrown out, meaning the entire library is basically in rights hell and unlikely to see the light of day. A few shows did escape this, in the months leading up to the end, TVS sold its current network shows like Art Attack and The Ruth Rendell Mysteries to independent producers (and How 2 to Scottish Television), complete with the back catalogues of those shows, and the local news and sport archive was sold to successor Meridian. However, the vast majority of TVS shows are buggered.
- The English dub of the Ultra Series show Ultra Seven, due to its Old Shame status for Tsuburaya Productions.
- The 1993 produced-in-Canada TV version of The Untouchables with Tom Amandes, William Forsythe, and John Rhys-Davies.
- The popular Swedish Vintergatan ("Milky Way") series, which were humorous science fiction adventures for children. The two seasons can't be released on DVD because of music rights issues. On the other hand, Swedish Television reruns it once a year, so you can tape it yourself with no legal problems.
- Young Blades hasn't been released on DVD, which is unsurprising due to its lack of popularity and its being on PAX. There are a few unofficial DVD copies out there, however: after one fan lost all her taped episodes during Hurricane Katrina, she wrote to the production company and they sold her all the episodes on DVD, including missing scenes. Several other fans followed her example.