Change The Music, Change The Show
March 4, 2008 7:35 AM   Subscribe

Can someone give me details about the reports that the Northern Exposure DVD's do not have the original music on them?

I want to spend some B-Day money buying up the whole series, but I've read in multiple places online that the music has been changed for the DVD releases. If this is a minor background song here and there, then it's no big deal - but many scenes on that show were built around certain music, so if the changes are substantial, I might reconsider.

Does anyone own them, and know the original series well enough to comment? Can anyone give a couple of examples of songs that have changed? Can anyone give a general opinion about whether these are substantive changes or not? Thanks.
posted by crapples to Media & Arts (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I am not sure how old this post is, but:
The first three seasons are out on DVD! Check everywhere from Target to Amazon to find these sets that are easy to spot with their colorful quilted and zippered jackets. The first season of eight episodes is intact, while the second season of seven shows has most of the original copyrighted music removed.

Eleven episodes on VHS tape were released several years ago from Columbia House, a few of which you may be able to track down (yes, only 11 shows out of the whole 110 were available commercially). These are still a collector's item since they include all of the original music! You can sometimes find them on eBay or from other online stores.
But then you have this post:
Fan Karen has been catching me up on missing music (from the original episodes, not DVD replacements), so there are lots of episodes updated in Seasons 5 and 6.
This page list every show and from what I saw lists every song.

After continue my search - HERE Old article, but I think it explains why the music is different.
posted by B(oYo)BIES at 7:49 AM on March 4, 2008

Another article
posted by B(oYo)BIES at 7:51 AM on March 4, 2008

TVShowsOnDVD has alteration notes (including altered music) for seasons 2 and 3, but be sure to also note their disclaimer regarding their alterations notes. (In short, some of the information may be incorrect, and they've suspended additions to the alterations list.)

I have seasons 1-4 on DVD but I wasn't enough of a fan that I'd be able to identify changed music just by seeing the episode. But if there's specific songs/scenes from the first four seasons you want me to check, let me know.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 8:09 AM on March 4, 2008

Boy, I'm sure glad I taped a bunch of them when they originally aired.
posted by languagehat at 8:35 AM on March 4, 2008

Having watched it when it originally aired and then recently on DVD, I could reallly sense the difference in overall feel this made, even if I couldn't put my finger on exactly which songs were changed most of the time.
posted by mikepop at 8:45 AM on March 4, 2008

I have Season 4 on DVD, and the canned background music is irritating in spots. I noticed some chintzy muzak mostly in the bar scenes or on Chris's station. However, where the music was integral to the plot I get the feeling it was left in. For example, at the end of the Aurora Borealis episode when Chris reveals his light sculpture.
posted by exquisite_deluxe at 9:45 AM on March 4, 2008

I was/am a huge NoEx fan, and I purchased the first three seasons before I found out that they were leaving music out. Since I found that out, I have decided to wait until they "fix" the dvds before I buy any more.

There are a lot of times that the difference is very apparent, and I think this show more than a lot of others really has a strong sense of the "Feel" or atmosphere the characters are in, and it immerses the viewer as well. Of course, there's a chance I'm just being way too much of a superfan, and the casual viewer couldn't care less. But the best way I have heard the situation described to me is that the music was a character in the show, and when you watch the edited dvds, it's like they've edited all the appearances of a character out.

So... yeah. I'm waiting. And if it's not big deal, you might say "hey, whatev. I just need my fix". I understand there's licensing issues with the music that was used, but I'd rather wait and get the real deal than the watered down version that's available now. As it is, it's like watching Scarface on TBS.
posted by indiebass at 11:59 AM on March 4, 2008

indiebass: it's unlikely they will 'fix' the problem. Music licensing is always a challenge when readdressing tv-on-dvd, as the original licenses that the shows got likely did not include home video or dvd usage (especially for a show that predates DVD). The fees can be exorbitant when compared to the overall budget of the project and expected return, therefore it makes much more financial sense to replace non-essential music with cheaper alternatives.

Dawson's Creek (which was a show very much centered on careful music choices) did this a lot, including replacing its theme song from Seasons 3-6 on the DVDs. Of course the most glaring example is WKRP in Cincinnatii.
posted by softlord at 5:44 AM on March 5, 2008

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