Boxed set includes foreign-language clips, outtakes, early sketches
“The Simpsons” are coming to DVD.On Sept. 25, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment will release an elaborate boxed set of the first season of the 10-year-old program that is TV’s longest-running current comedy series. A follow-up set of the second season may be released in time for the holidays, with two more sets being released each year thereafter, according to Peter Staddon, Fox Home Entertainment senior VP of marketing. With only 13 episodes in the first season, the first three-disc set will be fleshed out with loads of extra material, including the original shorts that debuted on “The Tracey Ullman Show” and a never-before-seen lost episode. Unlike the first three seasons of “The X-Files” that each take up seven discs and are priced at $149 (seasons four and five are in the works), “The Simpsons Season 1” will be priced at $39.98. But the price and number of discs will go up for subsequent seasons that each had 26 or more episodes. With sales expectations high, Fox will launch a multimillion dollar marketing campaign for the series. Creatively, producers are experimenting with innovative features to include in future boxed sets. Staddon said that one idea is to produce retrospective programs featuring highlights of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, Maggie or other selected characters from the show. What viewers will not see is the actors recording the voices of the characters. “That would burst the bubble,” Staddon said. “We don’t want people to think of anything but Bart and Homer when they see those characters.” There will also be no interactive gaming features, so as not to take away from the popular videogames featuring “The Simpsons.” But the first boxed set will include seven foreign-language clips, showing, for instance, Homer and Bart as dubbed in Japanese. Also included will be Albert Brooks outtakes, a BBC special called “America’s First Family” and an ABC News Special Report on the Bart Simpson T-shirt controversy. Other extras include original scripts, commentary for each episode, early sketches, magazine covers and stills.