TVShowsonDVD.com is one of my favourite websites on the Internet. As a self-confessed addict of both TV shows and DVDs, it's a haven for me and despite only covering R1 (USA and Canada) releases remains a site I check several times a day.
The site stemmed from a petition for "Family Guy" to be released on DVD, and was originally set up as a way of voting for which TV shows you'd like to buy on DVD. Nowadays its focus is more weighted towards the news side of things but the voting system remains an integral part. Simply, you create an account with the site and then begin browsing or searching the TV show database to find shows you'd buy if they were released on DVD. When you come across one you can choose whether you'd buy it (or have bought it, in the case of shows already on DVD) in season sets, best of or volume releases (or any combination of the above) and add it to your list. The site has grown to reach a user base of millions now, and is one of the most-visited DVD websites on the Internet, so studio do take a show's popularity on the site seriously and several highly-wanted shows at the site have had influence, either direct or indirect, on a studio's decision to release a series (and more than one studio have mentioned TVShowsonDVD.com in promotional literature and press releases too.)
You get automatically e-mailed when a news item about any show on your list is posted - a very useful feature (though you can turn it off if you wish, of course).
Also in your user area, you can create your own collection list (and a wishlist), view interesting lists of popular recent and upcoming DVDs, and see a list of most-requested unreleased shows (as I write, The Wonder Years tops that list). You can also access a live chatroom (which is generally pretty quiet - much more TVon-DVD discussion takes place at the Home Theater Forum, where the site's staff are regulars).
Other features of the site include the show overview pages; where you can browse recent news items, links and releases on DVD if appropriate. There are also separate DVD Releases and Release Schedule sections where you can browse releases by show and month respectively.
There is also a DVD Reviews section, which usually contains an in-depth review of the show, the packaging, the AV quality and the extras, and specifically rating audio, video and extras out of 10. There are also two blogs - one at TVGuide.com, "Commentary Track", by site owner Gord Lacey, usually about TV on DVD in general and often discussing that week's "Pick of the Week" (displayed in the site's sidebar); and another hosted on Blogspot, usually more site-related or off-topic themed.
There are also FAQs, help pages, some archived polls, web links, an advanced search function, and a useful "Alterations List" which lists alterations and cuts of the releases. It appears quite exhaustive. There are also occasional articles, such as yearly favourites and interviews (there are two with Seth MacFarlane, creator of "Family Guy", which are very interesting). Finally, you can also adjust whether you want the site's welcome message to be displayed and whether news items should open in a new window (this uses a cookie rather than your user account info). All of this can be accessed from the site's sidebar, which proffers simple and intuitive navigation. The newly-added quick search box is very useful too.
Unfortunately you cannot stay logged in for a long period of time, a minor inconvenience.
But the news items are the main draw of the site nowadays for me. They are undoubtedly TVShowsonDVD.com's crowning glory. Anything from three to fifteen news stories are posted each day (and I do mean each day - I understand there hasn't been a day without a news story in several years now, including the likes of Christmas Day!) As well as posting official announcements, press releases and cover art issued by the studios, they often get news on release dates and planned sets before any other site on the web thanks to their numerous - and always reliable - connections in the DVD and retail industries. Their editorial is also very nice and light-hearted, and both Gord Lacey and news director David Lambert are clearly passionate about TV.
Gord and David are also very friendly in e-mails and are courteous, friendly and quick to respond to decent queries. They are surely among the best and most dedicated writers on the Internet.
Unfortunately their site, as it is based in R1 territory, only covers US and Canada releases, but I have decided not to let this affect my grade as it is not a fault per se. As I'm sure most people know, R1 DVDs can be imported to the UK from online companies such as Amazon.com.
There are other minor problems with the site. Since the site's acquisition by TV Guide adverts have become more prominent, although Gord and David have assured users the site's journalistic integrity will not be compromised. There is also an issue of DVD release pages lacking information such as available audio and subtitle tracks, which can be frustrating. But such information can usually be found in the actual news items posted so it's not too much of an issue.
On balance, however, TVShowsonDVD.com is a superb site and one of few I click through to several times a day.
I don't know if it's the same for you but I find that the TV shows I love are never the ones that seem to receive popular acclaim. This is especially true of US shows. I must be the kiss of death for some as, no sooner have I really got into them, they get cancelled. This seems to be especially true of shows produced by Sony. Admittedly, many of them are somewhat controversial. Do they think, That would be a Great show but then get cold feet and can it when the religious extremists of the Bible Belt start throwing their toys out of their cots?
Let me give you some examples.
Odyssey 5. An utterly brilliant Sci-Fi show starring Peter (Robocop) Weller that never even made it to the end of the first series before it was dropped. If you want more information, read my review of the series. OK, it was definitely Adult entertainment. There was no holding back on the strong language but, I always say, if you take easy offence at that sort of thing, don't watch it.
Dead Like Me. So original, very funny, a bit strong at times but only in context. Superb acting, great characters, compulsive viewing. Made it through two series but that appears to be it. Will it ever be re-broadcast? Who knows.
Joan of Arcadia. Yes, OK, controversial again. Young girl who talks with God and agrees to run errands for him. God appears as just ordinary people but only she can see them. That must of sent the Bible Belt into a fit of apoplexy. Come on. What makes you think you have the monopoly on belief? That too made it through two series but now seems to have been trashed.
There are many others and what really p****s me off is that utterly mediocre shows seem to go on and on and on and on... What does that tell you about the average American TV audience?
But now there is a solution to the problem of those shows that you loved but which look like you may never seem them again. It's a website called TV Shows on DVD. This website has been created purely for the purposes of getting the TV show producers to commit to DVD those series that you want to keep forever and enjoy at your leisure.
The Home Page lists on the left links to subject areas such as TV Show Voting, DVD Releases, DVD Reviews and News Stories. There's even a Blog Spot. Some of these categories require you to be a registered member and so, at the top of the page there are links to Log in or to Register. One of the links is even to another related website (Home Theater Forum), a blogspot that also discusses many of the subjects discussed here. There's also a link to a list of loads of the other DVD, TV and production studio websites.
Most of the links take you to a directory of shows with a fast skip enabled by alphabetical links. When you get there you see that the shows listed are not exclusively American. There are a smattering of UK shows there as well, probably nominated by frustrated Brit viewers.
The Articles link contains some very interesting links to interviews with illuminati from various shows. The Blog also has a load of interesting chat on various subjects, not just on TV shows. One that attracted my attention was about the move towards Streaming TV, the new devices that enable live TV to streamed wirelessly to your PC.
So, even if you aren't really interested in voting to get your favourite show committed to DVD, this is a great site to visit with lots or great information. If you do want to vote for a show though, then this is the place to do it because, it seems that it is a site of which the show production companies take notice.
This site allows you to vote for shows you'd buy on DVD, and how you'd want to buy them. All you need to do is become a registered member (it's free, don't worry) and then search our database of TV shows, clicking on checkboxes that correspond to how you'd like to see them released (Season sets, "Best of" releases, or individual episodes). It's really very easy, but if you need some help just browse our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) and the answer is probably there. We also list thousands of TV DVDs that have already been released. Browse our list of old, new, classic and cancelled shows - chances are you'll find something you enjoy. And if you're interested in seeing what's coming out, look at our release schedule which breaks down releases by month. So come on, let the studios know which shows you want on DVD! Register now, it's free!