It’s Always Sunny on DVD


Conventional wisdom used to hold that only the hardest of hardcore fans were interested in buying a TV show on DVD, but then series ranging from the tightly serialized Lost to the manic and surreal Aqua Teen Hunger Force began finding an audience in the home video market even larger than the one that followed them on the tube. So that makes it perfectly acceptable for cult-y shows to try to expand their fanbases via special “You won’t see this on TV” DVD releases. Both Family Guy and Futurama have gone this route, producing extended, uncut, never-previously-aired episodes for DVD. Now the raunchy FX comedy It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia is following suit with an hour-long Christmas episode that will debut on DVD before it airs on cable.

It’s Always Sunny In Philadephia is already a DVD favorite, in large part because the show’s rapid-fire dialogue-and its nothing-is-taboo take on a group of morally questionable slackers’ get-rich-quick schemes-plays better on repeated viewings. But 20th Century Fox’s request that Sunny bypass a telecast altogether in order to boost DVD sales suggests that studios are starting to understand the symbiotic relationship between the two formats. The SciFi Channel’s new Battlestar Galactica spinoff Caprica, for example, is debuting its pilot movie on DVD next week, a full year before the series begins airing. More and more, the DVDs are serving as an advertisement for the series, which in turn drives up the DVD numbers.

Or to put it in Sunny terms: You’ve got to pay the troll toll….