Academy in the PC Gamer Spotlight Again (February 10, 2020)

ChrisReid

Super Soaker Collector / Administrator



PC Gamer is now rerunning celebrated articles from a decade ago, so I guess that means we can rereport on them! Up on deck today is Richard Cobbett's big retrospective on the Wing Commander Academy animated series. It was part of his original Crapshoot column and delves into the history of the franchise with a focus on the show. He walks through the pilot and gives a number of examples that illustrate what made the cartoon stand out in the crowd. I don't recall his scorn for certain products like WC Prophecy, but that's beside the point. The one inaccuracy that does need to be pointed out is that the show is available on DVD now. This piece was written in April 2011, and in September 2011 we found out the series was to be released on disc. Amazingly, it's still in print, and Amazon carries it for just $8. I guess they'll keep making it if we keep buying it. If you don't have a copy in your collection, be sure to scoop one up - someday they won't be so easy to come by and fans will regret owning a set of their own! Check out the article here.







Perhaps most notably, the usual cartoon rule that everything has to be wrapped up nicely by the end of every episode… is not in force. Academy isn’t afraid to end stories on a downer, or present war as something other a cheery, glorious adventure. In one early episode for instance, one of the main cast has to blow up a comrade who recently declared his love for her. In another, a legendary hero turns out to have taken a turn towards Nietzsche. In others, the show plays with the fact that the cast – as fighter and bomber pilots – aren’t privvy to the high-level tactical decisions being made elsewhere on the ship, and often have very distorted ideas of what they’re risking their lives for. None of this is desperately earthshaking for fiction as a whole, but for this timeslot, it’s good stuff. It’s also a rare case where this kind of spin-off has both slipped into canon, and generally been embraced by the fans.

Fun show. Sometimes, spin-offs really do get it right.
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Original update published on February 10, 2020
 

ChrisReid

Super Soaker Collector / Administrator
Was this ever released as a region 2 disc by now?
The only DVD release is this one (although there are different printings, including later ones that lack the slip cover), and it's coded Region 1.
 

cff

Kilk'dymga'qith laq Ik'vikvi
Damn. Really would have liked to get an original set that plays on my systems :-(
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
Are there different pressings or is it a case of retailers pulping the slipcovers? (Which has become a more common thing in recent years.)

One important thing to understand is that this was a licensed release... a smaller company wanted to put the show out (in Canada) and so paid Universal a licensing fee to do that... but they have no rights to release it anywhere else. If you want to see a release somewhere else you should absolutely reach out to a boutique DVD company in your area (and since the digital work is already done it'll be a cheaper license than VEI paid!)
 

cff

Kilk'dymga'qith laq Ik'vikvi
One important thing to understand is that this was a licensed release... a smaller company wanted to put the show out (in Canada) and so paid Universal a licensing fee to do that... but they have no rights to release it anywhere else. If you want to see a release somewhere else you should absolutely reach out to a boutique DVD company in your area (and since the digital work is already done it'll be a cheaper license than VEI paid!)
If I had any idea where to start I might try. Also in my area would mean German sync which probably wouldn't happen. So a British company probably would be our best bet.
 

LeHah

212 Squadron - "The Old Man's Eyes And Ears"
Just throwing this idea out there: would Amazon do a MOD release in other regions if there was demand?
 

ChrisReid

Super Soaker Collector / Administrator
Just throwing this idea out there: would Amazon do a MOD release in other regions if there was demand?
What's that? Make on Demand? Does anybody do Make on Demand of professional DVD movies/shows? Does Amazon do Make on Demand anything aside from stuff like photo prints? I'm not sure what mechanism they'd use to gauge demand (and is there much demand for a Region 2 Wing Commander Academy DVD?). And that doesn't resolve the rights issue.
 

LeHah

212 Squadron - "The Old Man's Eyes And Ears"
What's that? Make on Demand? Does anybody do Make on Demand of professional DVD movies/shows? Does Amazon do Make on Demand anything aside from stuff like photo prints?
Anything labeled "WB Archive Collection" is a "Manufacture on Demand" disc, Sony has the "Choice Collection" for their MOD blurays. I could've sworn Amazon got the "print rights" to both of those but now I can't seem to find evidence of that on their website.

I'm not sure what mechanism they'd use to gauge demand (and is there much demand for a Region 2 Wing Commander Academy DVD?).
Thats the point of MOD. All they do is stock blank bluray discs at the plant and when you order one, they make it. Its much more cost effective than printing out 500,000 discs at a go and hoping they sell.

And that doesn't resolve the rights issue
Thats the real issue here. Rights change from place to place so I can't even touch that point. However, places like Germany and Japan have *very* loose laws on things like copyright (and I think Europe has different, seperate laws from them and the US as well) and often tiny imprint companies buy up stuff and print it on their own. Japan has a whole submarket of these; SonMay would be a good example but they went under in 2000, I think.
 
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