Friday, May 21, 2010

NBC's "A Different World" Bootlegged Online

Recently while surfing Facebook, I noticed an ad for NBC's "A Different World" on DVD, a complete series boxset. As a huge fan of the show, I clicked on the ad hoping to add to my own "A Different World" DVD collection of the first season. But fans of the show know it didn't really take off until season 2. That's when famed choreographer turned director/producer, Debbie Allen, led it to tv hit status. Here's the ad:

I clicked on the ad and was led to this website, For a mere 50 bones you get ALL the episodes of "A Different World"--all 144 uncut episodes! Sounds like a great buy, right? But hold up, playa!

Notice the Amazon "Buy Now" button? It's a fake! I'm an Amazon Affilate so I know! Secondly, site now is a mere page! WTF? Obviously somebody is bootlegging one of my favorite tv shows of all time and selling it online! I'm sure they've got plenty of other titles for sell too.

Now to be totally honest, if "A Different World" was show I didn't give a damn about, this post wouldn't exist! I'm ringing the alarm because the show DESERVES to get all the financial success it has coming to it, like any other show. When NBC dropped it, we felt the loss and there's been NOTHING close to it on television sense.

What made "A Different World" special was that it was the first time campus life of HBCU students--that's Historical Black College & University-- was portrayed on television. That struck home with me and millions of other HBCU graduates, many of which are Hollywood's most successful stars. Most of the writers too were from a similar background and Debbie Allen made the sitcom important by tackling many of the serious issues from racism to date rape to student activism.

"A Different World" also provided a "master class" if you will not only for some now well-known actors (Jada Pinkett-Smith, Jasmine Guy, Alan Payne, even Tupac Shakur) but also writers and producers like Reggie and Gina Bythewood ("NY Undercover", "Love & Basketball"). I dare say too the show also helped give birth to the coveted The Cosby Writing Fellowship.

So no! I don't want to see it bootlegged! "A Different World" is NOT merely just another black sitcom! And second there's NO GUARANTEE any of the show at all is on that boxset. I mean really, did they record EVERY episode on VHS-which was then the visual medium du jour--then transferred it to DVD? If so, the quality of what's supposed to be on those discs isn't worth your money.
And lastly, just what is the damn hold up on OFFICIALLY releasing the rest of the seasons on DVD? No audience? That's bull and we know it! Here's what a little Googling found. According to this 2006 post on Carsey-Warner, the original production company has to re-license the show to distributors. Unfortunately, UrbanWorks, the original distributors, was acquired by another company several years ago. A summary on supports this.

So in the end that leaves "A Different World" fans with catching seemingly the same three episodes on cable a couple of times a month. Maybe one day soon, the powers that will stop holding the show hostage and make a deal beneficial to errbody, including the fans. In the meantime, resist the bootleg! What are your thoughts?


Rhonda Marie said...

Wow! This is absolutely crazy. I feel like I saw this same ad on FB as well. Thanks for researching and getting to the bottom of this as usual. Bootlegging Black TV shows is so wrong. I will always be a fan of "A Different World" and I am happy that TvOne is showing it again in the evening with back to back episodes.

Sylvia Franklin said...

It's wrong, and more to the point, it's illegal. Don't know why the show's not on DVD -- and have often wondered why this series wasn't available, but if current-day demand is as big as the show's audience was back in the 80s, this would be a slam dunk! As usual, people have to speak up, and DEMAND to see the show on this new platform. said...

As stated in the post, it's not on DVD cause of licensing issues between Warner-Carsey, the producers, and distributors. It's such a shame too, we loved that show and I love to watch it now when I can catch it.

Anonymous said...

Licensing Issues? Really? WAKE UP!! Look at all the DVD box sets available for shows from the 1950s to now. However, the one that portrays HBCUs positively is the one that has licensing issues. Gullible is not my middle name.

Anonymous said...

Please everyone wake up!!!! Clearly they want to ruin anything that can be beneficial to the uprising of our people. Doesn't matter how many times we ask to have it made, or how much money they will make off of it. They want us to be entertained not educated, and this is one of the few shoes that attempted to do that. Fuck these Nazi pieces of shit, buy the bootleg and show everyone you know- real talk! Peace and love to all of you (even those devils who are holding the show back from the masses)

Anonymous said...

Well....there has been many petitions and such going on for YEARS for a box set to be released. It has not. It has also been rumored that during the time of A Different World, enrollment in college for African Americans increased. One "conspiracy" theory I've heard is that it will never be released because it portrayed Blacks so positively. So, to be honest..I don't see it happening. It is a popular show and yet it does not exist. I will take a bootleg over not ever having it. Sorry.