I was at Best Buy this afternoon buying printer ink. With some time to kill afterward, I took to my usual ritual of admiring all the things that I can’t afford: so everything. This is always something of a masochistic exercise. Let it be known that I am the consummate consumer. I love buying new things, and as a result I have more than a few video games and movies at home that I have never completed and in truth, might never.
That being said, my wife and I have had a lot of big bills lately. Between smaller paychecks, a bigger apartment, finally getting renter’s insurance, and of course a lovely new monthly payment to the IRS (always put zero on your W4s kids!) we’re totally and utterly tapped out.
Things are getting better. With a few months of careful budgeting we’ll be up and running like a Kenyan sprinter. That said, with little left in the coffers for necessities like food it’s hard to justify putting money toward luxury purchases.
That said, why does the Batman Beyond: Complete Box Set have to look so nice? It just sat there on the shelf, taunting me like a shiny, pointy-eared idol of nerdy-ness just begging me to take it home. And I stood there, staring at it just contemplating the awesome held within knowing that no matter how much I wanted to, I couldn’t bring it home.
Not that there would be much point to my buying it any ways. I already own the first season and the direct-to-stores movie on DVD. That leaves just the second season, which I could purchase on Amazon for a far more reasonable price. That being said, Batman Beyond was a plain and simple awesome show and a part of me wants to buy it if only to show the nitwits that own these old animated properties that there is a point in trying to sell them to the public.
Perhaps if I buy this, then someone will say, “Hmm, maybe we should make a complete set for Gargoyles, Beast Wars, Beast Machines, Shadow Raiders and Are You Afraid of the Dark!”
Gargoyles saw its first one and a half seasons hit DVD, but they sold so poorly that Disney decided not to continue. Similarly, Beast Wars, Beast Machines and Are You Afraid of the Dark are monstrously rare.
My wife likes to pick on me because ways back, when we were buying every season of Are You Afraid of the Dark I insisted we stop at season four. “I think four seasons is enough for now,” I reasoned. “We’ll buy the last one when we get through these and make some more money.” By the time that happened, the DVD sets had been discontinued. That fifth season now sells for hundreds of dollars instead of the twenty we would have paid if I hadn’t been such a miser.
Now, perhaps someday this won’t even be an issue. I love physical media. I love my shelves of DVDs and love the way they broadcast my tastes to anyone who walks into our home. That said it’s a dying medium. The CD section of Best Buy grows smaller by the year. The movie section is joining in that decline and someday, inevitably, video games will join them. It doesn’t matter how hard fogeys like me kick and scream; convenience always wins.
Even so there’s still no guarantee that shows like Batman Beyond will be preserved. The companies that own them are beholden to their bottom line and often unwilling to put forth an effort unless it will yield some sort of tangible reward. Were it not for the grace of some YouTubers, there would be no way for me to watch some of these shows, and I’m always aware that there’s no guarantee that they’ll stay available. All it will take is one shrill cry of “copyright infringement” for them to disappear, potentially forever.
Would the world end? Perhaps not, but it would be a bit less fun and things suck enough already.