20 animated TV shows not fully available on DVD or digital video

DVDs (and to a lesser degree their Blu-Ray high definition cousins) have dominated the home video landscape since the early 2000s. The rise of DVDs, as well as digital/streaming media services (iTunes, Netflix, etc.) has seen a large amount of older TV shows see new life on home video. On the animation side, the DVD/digital video age has been a great time for fans of older fare such as Looney Tunes, the Flintstones, “Batman: The Animated Series,” and so forth. Even shows I thought would never see a DVD release have gotten released: the 60s “Batman” TV show, the “Back to the Future” animated series, several minor “Flintstones” specials, etc.

That said, while it’s a great time for fans of older TV shows, there’s still some cartoons that have yet to see any home video release. Here’s a list of noteworthy ones that either aren’t on DVD/digital video period, or have less than half their runs on home video. If the show’s available (as of this writing) on streaming services like Hulu or Netflix, I’ll also count it as available, even if Hulu’s only in the US.

Warner Bros.

  • Static and GearStatic Shock. There’s only a single DVD (with several episodes), plus the first season digitally available on Amazon.
  • Taz-Mania. Only the first 26 (out of 65) episodes are available on DVD.
  • Sylvester and Tweety Mysteries. Just the first 13 episodes of the series on a DVD set.
  • Quick Draw McGraw. Quick Draw’s one of the few of the earlier Hanna-Barbera shows still not on DVD.
  • Saturday Supercade. Rights related reasons are holding this one up from a video release, since all the shows are split among multiple video game companies.
  • Whatever Happened to… Robot Jones? It should be “whatever happened to ‘Whatever Happened to… Robot Jones?'”, since this show’s vanished since its early 2000s heyday.
  • Time Squad.
  • The Little Rascals. No sign of the Hanna-Barbera version of Spanky, Alfalfa, and Buckwheat on DVD or digital video. The Warner Archive Facebook page noted in April 2016 that the series as of this time isn’t cleared for home video. Some have suggested that a supposed lawsuit by one of the former “Our Gang” actors is to blame. However, a Google search didn’t really turn up much about this lawsuit, just various unsourced wiki mentions or anecdotes. Other factors might be the fractured state of the “Our Gang”/”Little Rascals” rights and/or general level of interest in offering a DVD release.
  • Richie Rich. A few episodes of the Hanna-Barbera version of Richie have released to DVD, but most of it’s still missing.

Disney

The Proud FamilyUnfortunately, with the following exceptions, none of the cartoons below are available on video (at least in the US/in English):

  • House of Mouse/Mouseworks. Save a few holiday movies and a villain-focused Halloween special on DVD/Netflix.
  • Fillmore!
  • The Proud Family. Save the series-ending movie.
  • Dave the Barbarian.
  • Buzz Lightyear of Star Command. Save the TV-movie that served as the series’ pilot/kickoff.
  • Doug. The entire Nickelodeon run of the show is on DVD, but not the Disney run, save the theatrical movie.
  • Recess. Save the various spin-off movies.
  • Lilo and Stitch: The Series.
  • Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends. A complete release of the series is available on DVD, but only in the UK (region 2/PAL). There’s otherwise no sign of a home video release here.

Other

  • Muppet Babies. The show’s heavy use of video clips from other TV shows and movies makes this one unlikely to ever get a full home video release.
  • The Beagles. A “missing series” from Total Television, this show’s been unavailable anywhere since its mid-60s run.

(Updated 7/5/16)

5 comments

  1. Part of the reason Hanna-Barbera’s “Little Rascals” series wasn’t shown on the USA Cartoon Express, much less released to U.S. home video, is that Eugene “Porky” Lee sued Hanna-Barbera in March 1984. Lee alleged that the animated Porky was an exact copy of the character he portrayed in “Our Gang”. Details can be found on Wikipedia and the Hanna-Barbera Wiki.

    1. Yes, I’ve heard of that, though I’d also blame the complicated state of the rights to “Our Gang” as a franchise period.

    1. I’ve heard some claim it’s a mix of low demand for Huckleberry Hound’s set (discouraging sales of earlier/less-popular Hanna-Barbera shows like Quick Draw) and issues with the master copies. Though even if true, the Warner Archive means the former isn’t as big an issue these days (since they’re made-on-demand DVD-Rs).

      EDIT: Wikipedia cites the latter as why (poor master copy conditions), plus music rights issues. Though given that was apparently over a decade ago, one would figure things would be resolved by now…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *