In the wake of Andre Braugher’s untimely death this week, tributes to the beloved actor abounded — with some lamenting that the series on which he did some of his best work as an actor unavailable to watch in 2023. In his tribute to Braugher, longtime television critic Alan Sepinwall pointed out that the DVD set of Homicide: Life on the Street is out of print and the series itself is not on streaming services.
For a critically acclaimed, award-winning series that ran for seven seasons and included the likes of Braugher, Giancarlo Esposito and Richard Belzer in its cast and was based on a book by The Wire‘s David Simon, who was also a writer and producer on the show, that seems ludicrous — and yet it’s true. If you have an all-region DVD player, you’ll fare better, but if you’re looking to watch the full series on a streaming service, you’re out of luck. And if you’re lamenting that state of affairs, David Simon has some promising news for you.
In a recent post on social media, Simon clarified the current state of the series. “I have been informed by a reliable source that NBC/Universal is at last attempting, along with Fremantle on the overseas rights, to clear music rights on #Homicide for eventual streaming,” he wrote. “Lot of work to do achieve that, however, I am also told.”
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In the thread that followed, Simon clarified the extent of the licensing issues, writing that “There is a lot of licensed music in the show from a vast array of artists.” He was also unamused when someone suggested using AI-generated music in lieu of the songs that had originally appeared on Homicide.
At around the same time, Simon also clarified that his role on Homicide was not in the same capacity as it was on, say, The Wire or The Deuce. “[P]eople keep miscrediting me for Homicide: Life on the Streets,” he wrote. “I provided source material and learned the world of television on that show and proudly, but direct your full thanks to the great Tom Fontana and Barry Levinson, showrunners and universe builders.”
Contemporary audiences getting to revisit a critical piece of television history is a big deal; hopefully, the relevant parties can make this happen. It’s a long-running issue, but hopefully one of the biggest omissions can be rectified.
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