Next month will see the release of The Monkees complete TV series—all 58 episodes plus the feature film Head and the “33 and a 1/3 Revolutions per Monkee” TV special—for the first time in HD video. The deluxe 10 disc Blu-ray box set will be available only via the official Monkees webstore and you can preorder it here. Just 10,000 copies of the set, each individually numbered, will be produced. (It would make the perfect Christmas present for that certain someone, but since it won’t be out until the end of January, it means that certain someone would be getting an “IOU” under the tree.)
Recently they’ve uploaded several videos to the Monkees’ YouTube channel showing the new HD versions of the show versus the “old” versions and the difference is pretty remarkable. I have both of the earlier DVD box set releases and they look, at best, merely okay. It seems like the sources they used were maybe 80s syndication masters (probably analog videotapes) and so this new release—transfered from the original film negatives for the very first time ever—is being eagerly awaited by Monkees fanatics like m’self.
The casting ad for ‘The Monkees’ that ran in The Hollywood Reporter on September 8, 1965
Not to sound like a hip tailor, but dig the quality here! It’s interesting to contemplate how much better this classic series will look in 2016—fifty years after The Monkees first premiered on American television in September 1966—than it did when it was first broadcast by NBC in primetime. That year marked the very first time that the three television networks debuted an all color Fall TV line-up. But even if you had the best color TV set money could buy—and not that many Americans did have color TVs at that time—it still wouldn’t have looked anywhere near as sharp and as crisp as what you see here below. Nowhere near as good.
Beyond that, it also means that this beloved pop culture treasure will live on for another generation of kids. When I was eight, I would happily sit in front of a shitty B&W TV set and watch a Marx Brothers movie on a flickery UHF channel. No normal kid would ever do that today, but The Monkees in HD could be the kind of thing that parents weary of incessant screenings of SpongeBob SquarePants cartoons might be able to convince their kids to get into. It’s probably worth a try.
After the jump, an exclusive clip of the Monkees in HD…