Scott Hardie | July 29, 2022
Kelly and I are waiting for our summer trips to be over before we watch the new season of Stranger Things -- so no spoilers, please -- but apparently there is some controversy over the showrunners retroactively editing old episodes to tweak continuity to their liking.

Streaming has a flattening effect on culture -- to kids today, Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson and Lady Gaga are all equally accessible, so they don't seem like representatives of vastly different eras -- so perhaps this is an another form of the same phenomenon: Everything exists in a constant present, with no sense of past, so there's no apparent transgression in editing an old work any more than there would be to fix a flaw in a newly-released work.

What do you think of this potential new trend?

Scott Hardie | August 10, 2022
My main concern with this trend is that history will be erased. We're already not doing enough to preserve media from this era; for instance, what will happen to TV shows from defunct streaming services? If you appreciate long-running TV shows like The Tonight Show or Doctor Who, it's literally impossible to watch the early episodes because the tapes were all re-used to record other programs, because nobody in the 1950s and 1960s thought that anyone in the future would want to be able to see that stuff. And if someone today edits out something from season one of Stranger Things like, I don't know, Barb, will media commentary discussing Barb and her viral popularity make any sense to future generations?

The Library of Congress does what it does, and media archival foundations do what they do, but I hope it's enough to cut through the tinkering and retooling of our times.

Evie Totty | August 10, 2022
Whoa! I had not heard of the editing. I don't know what to think, honestly. (Ok, they didn't actually edit anything ... that we know of.)

The guns in ET

Han shot first

Those are HUGE. Not so much fixing a continuity error that doesn't actually affect the story. But as with everything, it's a slippery slope.

Scott Hardie | August 12, 2022
This reminds me of earlier discussions here about copyright extensions (which go back quite a ways). To me, all art belongs to the people after the creator has made a reasonable living from it. By that reasoning, creators should not be able to revise their old works unless the originals are preserved as they were. A remaster or revision or whatever else should count as a new derivative work: George Lucas should have the same right to make Han shoot first as the average YouTuber should have to edit the cantina scene to their own liking, but neither should completely replace the original release of Star Wars. (A related pet peeve of mine: Musical artists who remaster their own albums to sound drastically different -- I see you there, Dave Mustaine -- combined with streaming services that only carry the remastered version, such that you cannot listen to the old favorites you remember from years past because they have effectively ceased to exist.)


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