Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Warner DVD Archive

Another bit of DVD release news that I've neglected to mention is the Warner Archive. In order to get older, lesser-known catalog titles out on DVD, Warner is releasing on-demand discs in waves. This started in March.

There have been issues with the quality of some transfers -- in some cases, using older video masters rather than a new cleaned-up transfer. Also, the price ($14-19.99) can be a bit steep for a burned disc when compared to recent prices for factory-pressed DVD releases.

Those problems aside, there have been some gems released so far, and plenty more to come. The initial wave has a few titles I had been waiting for: Captain Nemo and the Underwater City, Captain Sindbad starring Guy Williams, and ... Doc Savage! Most of the Archive discs are movie-only, but Doc Savage has the theatrical trailer and, from what I've read, the feature print is in decent shape.

A recent wave of Archive releases included two TV pilots/movies produced by Gene Roddenberry in the early '70s -- Genesis II and Planet Earth. When Genesis II wasn't purchased by CBS, GR went back and reworked it into what became Planet Earth. Video clips and quick background here, disc reviews and production history found here. I remember seeing both of these on TV a couple of times in the early eighties, probably on WFLD-32.

If you decide to purchase any of the Warner Archive titles, take a look at this forum posting for a 20%-off coupon code and news of a contest.

There's some talk about Sony/MGM and Fox starting their own disc-on-demand services for their back catalog. I'd welcome that; there are plenty of great titles owned by each and deserving of a release. Maybe that would be a viable way for MGM to continue the fantastic Midnite Movies line.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

This is a fantastic album, man...turn it up!

Here is a special "Favorite Music Friday" post, Sunday Night Edition. Last night after SNL, I watched a Time-Life infomercial for their new '70s soul music collection. TL has put out some great collections in recent years. I bought Mrs. Kaiju their "Sounds of the Eighties" set a few years ago, and I have my eye on the Classic Soft Rock set (I have weakness for '70s soft rock...Shhh, don't tell anyone).

The infomercial last night had clips from groups such as The Chi-Lites and The Stylistics. It sparked a memory of another music compilation from years ago. Anyone who watched late-night TV in the mid-eighties should remember this. I remembered the tag line since we used it very often back then, but I had forgotten the album title. But with a little Google-Fu, I found it:

And as long as we're going back to the days of TV-offer-only compilation albums, I have to include this for Edige:

There's a shorter version here with the track list. This one has the production company's lead-in.

I need to look through my dozens of off-air recorded VHS tapes. I'm sure I have some gems like these that should be posted on the interwebs for posterity...and laughs.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Player-generated premises

Another posting that's been in the back of my mind for a while... two weeks ago, Robin Laws posted on his Livejournal about player-generated premises that he's using in his house 4e game. These are plot hooks for each character but the interesting part for me was the way they should be written: in the style of a TV Guide episode listing. These find their way into the game in a random order during play.

When I read the posting, it also reminded me of the pulp novel titles and cover blurbs that are written as part of character creation in Spirit of the Century, including the writing of stories for other PCs.

I'm all for ideas that make RPGs seem more like a cinematic experience. That's one of my preferred styles. I also like sharing the story creation with the rest of the group. This is a great idea that I'd like to try someday.