Update 2/12/2014: Amazing timing. It was announced that The Wonder Years is indeed coming to DVD finally
Two of my most favorite shows as a youth remain (mostly) unviewable for one reason or another. Neither Salute Your Shorts or The Wonder Years exist on DVD. The Wonder Years was on Amazon streaming until recently, and appears to still be available on Netflix streaming. Salute Your Shorts is not available anywhere, but sporadically pops up on the Nickelodeon’s Teen Nick channel a couple of times per year. This random appearance generally seems to be very brief, inconsistent and without warning1. It seems insane that both of these shows are still missing from easy watching in this day in age.
The rumors around The Wonder Years have long been tied to it’s theme song, a famous cover by Joe Cocker of The Beatles’ “With A Little Help From My Friends”. There are a few other songs peppered throughout the series as well. This rumor makes sense when the streaming versions are viewed, since all of the actual songs used in the show are replaced by knockoffs or alternate versions. It’s incredible to think about this happening, since nowadays a production company would be sure to factor in syndication and distribution rights into the future for whatever deal they make for content they plan to use. It’s hard to believe this is the only roadblock though, since most fans would likely be fine with an alternative theme song, or just generic credits of some sort.
Salute Your Shorts on the other hand makes almost no sense at all. It’s no the only Nickelodeon show from that generation that is missing. Welcome Freshman and even GUTS come to mind as shows that would probably draw some fans. But Salute Your Shorts seems to be the one that most people miss the most. Amazon offers 12 of the 26 episodes on it’s Instant service, but the episodes are somewhat randomly selected, and out of order (Volume 2 contains episodes from the first season, and Volume 1 from the second). The 12 episodes available also seem to coincide with the 12 episodes that have appeared on TV recently, which could possibly indicate the other 14 are lost in oblivion.
It’s very possible at this point that these shows have missed their window to make serious money. Boxed sets of older shows are not nearly as popular anymore because services like Hulu, Netflix and Amazon have provided a cheaper way to access more content. A Salute Your Shorts DVD set would likely only attract the most hardcore of fans, and dropping it fully on a streaming service like Netflix probably doesn’t bring in enough on it’s own to make anyone care.
So for now, it seems like the sporadic availability of both The Wonder Years and Salute Your Shorts is as good as it’s going to get. Like the toys and video game systems I didn’t keep, it’s just two more pieces of my childhood lost.
- Two or three episodes randomly appeared in the last month but it hasn’t been back since [↩]