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Old 07-14-2018, 09:35 PM   #1
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Default The misadventures of the never-released 'Pete & Pete' season 3 box set

https://digg.com/2018/pete-and-pete-...ng-nickelodeon

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Season three's elusiveness bugs me not just because I'd like to watch it again (the internet, naturally, provides subpar ways) or because I think the show is extra deserving of it (even really special TV comes to show its age). What's annoying is that "Pete & Pete" met this fate because of legal snafus over music, and it's just one of many shows to do so.

The first time I watched "The State," the '90s MTV sketch comedy show that preceded "Reno 911" and "Wet Hot American Summer," I didn't know that the bland rip-off tracks underlying many of the show's most memorable bits were actually new. They were created for the downloadable release I bought so that it could see the light of day at all — where once Barry and Levon sensually celebrated $240 worth of pudding set to "Sexual Healing," now they gyrate to soundalike R&B.

Both "The State" and "Pete & Pete" — which, as MTV and Nickelodeon shows respectively, are both Viacom properties — have been hamstrung by restrictive music licensing deals signed back in the '90s. The contracts signed to use a band's music may have allowed use for a limited period of time, or could have included clauses prohibiting home video release without further negotiation.

The list of bands featured on "Pete & Pete" serves as a reminder of one reason why the show's so special and as evidence of how difficult arranging for its release would be. Here's another way of looking at it: an individual can find the original songs made for the show by Miracle Legion frontman Mark Mulcahy's side-project Polaris quite easily, but even "Pete & Pete" superfans couldn't dig up even a shred of info on "Lamb to the Slaughter," one of the listed bands. Now imagine you're trying to re-up licensing deals with all of these bands, even the ones that have hopped between record labels in the years since. That's expensive, tricky work. As Chris Viscardi put it in an interview with IGN last year, "it’s been brutal to get the rights to a lot of the music we had on the show."

The third season of "Pete & Pete" — along with tons of other shows — will remain out of reach for fans and preservationists so long as music licensing remains an issue, and as the potential profits of home video releases continue to dwindle in a streaming-dominated ecosystem. Granted, copyright laws are important for making sure that artists are fairly compensated for their work, but the contracts of old are such a headache now that nobody, not the musicians, actors, writers, producers or rights holders for the show, are seeing any benefit from a rerelease.

Especially with television, home releases are pretty much the only guaranteed, accessible form of preservation we have. We're far from the days of, say, early "Doctor Who" when station's copies of shows were routinely taped over or otherwise lost. Even if those "Pete & Pete" season three DVDs supposedly gathering dust in a warehouse no longer exist, Nickelodeon has surely held on to the versions that went on-air (TeenNick has re-aired episodes it has clearance to on it's retro-programming block "The Splat").

Sure, an altered cut of the show with music removed would be better than nothing, I suppose, but that might not even be cost-effective or possible depending on what Nickelodeon has in its archives. Plus, separating "Pete & Pete" from its sonic identity would be disappointing no matter what. This is the same show that got Michael Stipe (REM), Kate Pierson (The B-52's), Debbie Harry, LL Cool J and Iggy Pop to do guest roles. You can't just leave out part of what gave the show its identity.
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Old 11-23-2018, 10:21 AM   #2
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Iíve been following this for years. What the author got wrong is no season 3 episodes have aired or have been released on iTunes on basic cable or premium cable, including on TeenNick/NickSplat (it hasnít been called The Splat in at least a year). All we have are the episodes from The N from the early Ď00s.
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