Wednesday, 20 May 2009


In accordance with The No Show rules, we don't usually buy DVDs or spend any money on seeing any of the films we review or support the industry in any way, shape or form. But the last time we bought a DVD, we've discovered something. And what we discovered shocked and horrified us.

Apparently, people are making counterfeit DVDs and then selling them on to unsuspecting punters.

But the shocking horror doesn't end there.

If the authorities are to be believed - and we always believe whatever the goverment or any highly-paid organisation in the pocket of big business tell us - some of the money being spent on these fake DVDs is being used to fund terrorism.

We're not sure what kind of terrorism that might be. Perhaps it pays for the terrorist's clothes, maybe their backpacks, or even the cell phones on which they record their terrifying messages to be broadcast on terror websites for other terrorists and media outlets.

For all we know, maybe the DVDs themselves are a kind of terrorism, scaring us with their poor quality and stopping us from enjoying the freedoms that some of our grandparents might have fought for if they were in one of the bigger, more important wars, the ones that were actually about freedom and not about oil or sand or religion or which kind of headgear is appropriate for women.

Once we discovered that the DVD we held in our hands might in fact be both funding terror fashion AND frightening innocent entertainment consumers with its terrifyingly poor quality, we knew we had to act.

On closer inspection, we found some telltale indicators that may in fact indicate the DVD in question was a questionable conterfeit, by all indications.

With this in mind, we present:
The No Show Guide To Spotting Counterfeit DVDs.

For the purposes of this Guide, we'll be using a copy of Gilmore Girls Season 4 DVD, which we bought with joy in our hearts from a well known online auction site, whose name rhymes with peeBay.

Keep in mind that we are trained professionals and that the counterfeiting pirates are cunning cons, with their eye patches and rolling DVD copying centres roaming the high seas.

Do not be ashamed or embarrassed if you miss some of the things we are about to point out.

As you can see from the cover, there was no reason to suspect anything was wrong when we opened the DVD. It looked just like any other DVD we might buy, with the title written in words and a photographs of the two delightful stars of the show. But then we began to notice things that made us think this DVD might not have been sanctioned by the honest and sensible people in Hollywood who took the time to make this show and broadcast it for all to enjoy.

First, we noticed something funny about which season the DVD was from. Season 2? Season 4? It confused us, and set our No Show senses tingling, though at this point we were happy to accept it was human error.

Something else caught our eye. We couldn't quite place it, but something wasn't right. Then we had it: the chunky non-English language bit under the title, possibly Chinese, maybe Japanese, we didn't know but it looked damned odd on this all-American TV series.

However, we knew that one of the characters (Lane) was Korean; we figured it was just possible that this was some sort of homage to her, since she features prominently in Season 4. If it was Season 4. We weren't sure because of that mix up at the top of the box.

It wasn't until we turned the box over that we began to really suspect there might be something piratey about this DVD.

Spelling mistakes. Horrible grammar. Poor kerning. Haphazard gaps and slapdash sub-editing. Easily missed by Joe or Jane Layperson but all clear indicators of the pirate to the trained eye. Plus a huge paragraph in Chinese or possibly Japanese or maybe even Korean taking up about a third of the back cover. It was at this point that we were overtaken by a horrible feeling that we were being terrorised.

But it didn't end there.

(And at this point, I should specify that I noticed everything that followed. My No Show co-star was overcome with grief that he might have funded terrorism. He immediately closed his eyes to avoid seeing anything else that might support terrorism and hasn't opened them since. It's making things difficult for him, but I admire his commitment.)

Beyond the horribleness of the typos, I noticed some clearly factually incorrect information. The kind of incorrect information that the pirates knew was incorrect and felt so guilty about that they couldn't even spell "information" correctly on the box (see typos above).

These blatant errors are as follows:

1. "Star5s Falls": Not only a typo, but everyone knows the Gilmore Girls live in Star's Hollow. Stupid pirates.

2. "the two share... a taste for literature": No they do not. They share a taste for bad films, bad food and bad men. Rory is the one who likes to read. Her mother may in fact be illiterate.

3. Kirk: The pirate text suggests that the emotional life of the Kirk character is important enough to highlight on the box. It is not. He is the court jester of the piece, a delightful loser. The pirates obviously sympathise with him. Because they are also losers. Terrifying losers.

4 and 5b. Subtitles: Make up your minds pirates! Is it "English, Francais and Espanol" or "English, French, Arabic, Hebrew"? You're not fooling me in ANY language.

6. Region 1: Lies, lies and more lies. Like the pirates on the high seas, this DVD has no country. Or region.

At this point, our suspicions were heightened: had we bought a fake, pirate, counterfeit DVD from online pirate terrorists? There was only one thing left the check: the moral integrity of the cover image.

Rory's dead, evil eyes are a clear giveaway. Clearly, this otherwise unimpeachable DVD has been in the hands of pirates.

That, plus the fact that every episode on the DVD featured the logo of the WB network, having been recorded badly off the TV. Probably a stolen TV. And a guy stood up halfway through one episode and went to the loo. Stupid pirates.

Having finished our inspection and delivered out verdict, we felt dirty, but glad to have revealed these pirating types for what they are, with their garish colours and questionable morals. And even though we have funded terrorism via online shopping, we feel vindicated, having provided this much needed public service.

And ultimately, we hope that the next time you're buying DVDs from one of the many authorised vendors selling DVDs out of a duffel bag in the local pub, you'll take a moment to ask yourself: was this hand-drawn cover drawn by terrorist pirates? And if it was, we hope you'll have the strength to leave that copy of "The Darks Night" or "Start Wrek" behind.

Eat that, pirates.

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