Matt Thommes

My personal web log about technology, music, software, life, and more. Written since 2002/03.

The Wonder Years on DVD: costly music licensing

Photo of The Wonder Years How come The Wonder Years is not out on DVD yet? The nostalgic, coming-of-age series that aired from 1988-1993, featuring the familiar narration of Daniel Stern has yet to be released in any digital format. This is beyond disappointing for millions of fans, who wish to reclaim a part of their lives with the television show that was as profound as life itself. The Wonder Years was my adolescence - in so many words. The reason is the music licensing. The Wonder Years borrowed some 300 uncut, undistributed songs for it’s vast array of episodes - songs that will never see the light of day under current digital rights regulations. Back then, music licensing was as foreign as an iPod, so the creators of The Wonder Years didn’t hold back. They freely selected any music that “fit the mood,” and the mood is what the show was all about. The only way this series will be released (any time soon) in a digital format is without the music. This is sad news for fans, who are only hoping for a completely intact series to have in their own collection. You can’t just remove or replace the music, and have the show be as effective as it was. The music is what resonated across adults and children alike. Every age could probably find a part of themselves in The Wonder Years. It makes me wonder why the creators didn’t realize this as they were doing it. I mean, it wasn’t that long ago. They had to have had at least some notion that the music licensing would come back to haunt them. The creators must be kicking themselves now, because not only have they possibly eliminated a source of revenue, they did a complete disservice to the fans of the show. By not allowing fans to once again see the episodes as they were presented is just wrong. But then again, without the music that was used, the show wouldn’t have been as great as it was. So I digress.

Sources and other information

  • The majority of information for this post was collected from articles on the web. But let me tell you, even with Google, it wasn’t easy finding information. I had to do a Google News archive search to find articles from years ago.
  • The most informative article was this one from the Denver Post, from July 2006, titled “Pricey nostalgia.” This is where I got most of my information.
  • The web site TVShowsOnDVD was also helpful, with this news release also from last July, linking to the same Denver Post article.
  • To be fair, there has already been two DVD releases of The Wonder Years (The Best of the Wonder Years and The Christmas Wonder Years: The Holiday Episodes), but both are incomplete collections with different music.
  • Beverly Hills, 90210 is in the same boat as The Wonder Years. The “official” DVD release finally came from FOX in November 2006, but as you probably guessed, with entirely different music.
  • FOX is also behind the potential release of The Wonder Years.
  • It’s hard to believe The Wonder Years started airing almost 20 years ago.
  • 24 June 2007