Why, exactly, are Star Trek series box sets on DVD so much more goddamned expensive than everything else?
Barring the “complete series” box sets (which are only a reasonable price on Amazon anyway – these are box sets with a list price of over nine hundred fucking dollars for seven seasons, or about $110 per season), Star Trek box sets are massive ripoffs, constantly about half again (minimum) what most other TV season box sets of comparable size cost. The box sets aren’t particularly noteworthy in terms of providing a complete “all the toppings” experience; they’re pretty much average in most respects or even below average (there’s often very little commentary and a paucity of making-of documentary shorts, which frankly given the obsessive documentation that goes into the making of Trek is completely flabbergasting).
And god forbid you should want to buy seasons of Voyager or Enterprise. (Well, I thought Voyager was kind of lame – the ship looks like a shoe and Neelix needs to die in a fire, dammit – and Enterprise was pathetic, but I know there are people who actually like them.) On Amazon, the best price you can get for single seasons of those shows is $116 per box. Again: this is easily more than double the cost of any similarly produced series.
No other show rips off its fans like this. There are a couple of series that are similar in price, but there are always obvious reasons for that price, usually to do with increased production cost. The next most expensive sci-fi series you can find are the box sets of the new Doctor Who, which is an import produced under special license (which is why it has a high cost). Season 2 of Battlestar Galactica is expensive, but that’s only because Sci-Fi hasn’t produced a single-season box of it. The various HBO series are more expensive, but that’s because the higher DVD sales prices are part of HBO’s pay-cable profit model.
None of this applies to Star Trek, and frankly there’s no goddamned reason at all why the seasons should be so expensive. It’s the most popular sci-fi franchise of all time. I’m not a hardcore Trekker – far from it, believe me – but if I could pick up reasonably priced box sets of the original series, Next Generation and Deep Space Nine, I’d do it, because those shows were all quite entertaining and occasionally (Next Generation especially) groundbreaking television. Surely selling more copies of the series at a lower price point would increase the health of the franchise even further, making it only more relevant?
Or is Paramount just determined to rip off as many nerds as it possibly can?