Anomaly Appraisal: Daria: The Complete Series

This is a bit of a rare post, just warning you in advance. I don’t normally tend to rant about stuff, but when something as idiotic as I am about to describe occurs, I can’t help but bang my head against the wall.

Daria. We all know the show (or should for that matter). Broadcast on Music Television (which is what I prefer to call it, not only out of respect for Fred and Frank, but also because the acronym “MTV” has been turned into a redundant one, ironically enough as a result of shows such as Daria) starting in 1997, the show was a spin-off from the teenage animated show of the 90s, Beavis & Butthead. Centred on the eponymous Daria Morgendorffer and her life at home and in school, it was notable for being perhaps the most sarcasm filled show ever made.

This fact however, was to the show’s benefit. Daria was hugely popular with teens because it pretty much mocked authority in a much more subversive way than Beavis & Butthead. Not withstanding the usual high-school stereotypes (the jock footballer, the blonde cheerleader, nerds and geeks, etc.), the core of the cast were perfectly poised against each other while we, the audience, got the chance to sit back and enjoy the fireworks.

Should you watch this show? The short answer is yes, yes you should. The writing is still as sharp today as it was back then, which for a TV show is a pretty difficult thing to achieve, especially one such as Daria that uses poop-culture references fairly often.

But that is only part of the story. The real talking point about the Daria DVD release, is that all (or rather, 99%) of the original music has been substituted with original works. Why is this so? Well, according to series creator Glenn Eichler,

…the cost of licensing the many music bites we used would have made it impossible to release the collection (and for many years did).

So the bottom line is, because Daria used actual music samples in episodes, they must then be licensed again for a DVD release. This once again shows how ridiculous the whole music business is at the moment and why they continue to shoot themselves not only in the foot, but in the bloody face as well.

The long and the short of it is that because record companies demand a quick buck from 30 second recordings, a show must be altered. The studios don’t get a penny, so they end up with nothing. Why on earth would you do something like that?

If Music Television, the one channel that has perhaps done more to grow the music industry than any other, and indeed create a whole new industry in music videos has to pay for short bursts of actual songs, there is something seriously wrong.

Why oh why couldn’t someone have realized that if the actual music was used, there might be a upsurge in demand for the music? Don’t say it doesn’t work. Look at the Sporanos, they used that one Journey song and suddenly I can’t change the radio without hearing them. Once again, short-sightedness gets in the way and ruins everything for everyone in the process.

Does the change in music ruin the show? Not entirely, and it shouldn’t stop you from buying the boxset, It’s well worth the money, especially for 8 discs packed with episodes we all know and love.

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