Malcolm in the Middle on DVD?
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Malcolm in the Middle - Forum FAQ

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Why hasn't Season 2 been released on DVD in the USA?

Season 2 has not been released because of the high cost of clearing music rights. There is no official word on when or if it ever will. Watch the front news page for the any developments. Seasons 1 - 7 have now been released in the UK, Australia, France and Germany where music rights are less expensive. On sale at Amazon.co.uk and their other regional branches.

I have seen all seasons for sale - is this for real?

You may see all seasons of Malcolm in the Middle sold online - however unless they are Region 2 or 4 DVDs and from reputable sellers like Amazon.co.uk and their regional branches, HMV, or for instance MediaMarkt in Germany, FNAC in France, or Bol.com in Holland, then these will be illegal fakes. We strongly recommend you avoid those.

Other seasons on DVD?

There is no official information on when or whether any other seasons will be released in the USA. Anything you may read is all based on rumours or speculation. Watch the front news page for the any developments. However starting in 2012 seasons 1-7 have been released on Region 2 DVD in the UK, France and Germany, available at Amazon.co.uk and their regional branches. Also on Region 4 DVD in Australia, sold by Amazon.co.au.

Where can I buy the Seasons 1-7 on DVD?

You will find the Season 1 Region 1 DVD for sale at Amazon.com. Seasons 1-7 on Region 2 DVD are sold at Amazon.co.uk and their other regional branches, HMV, and other reputable places in the UK, France and Germany. Amazon.co.uk and many of their branches do deliver internationally, however ensure your DVD player can play Region 2. The same holds for Region 4 DVDs sold in Australia by Amazon.co.au. You may find seasons on eBay for less money but be careful as some fakes are sold.

Even for English speakers, the French and German DVDs may be a good option, because they also contain the original English language track in Dolby Digital 2.0.

Episodes in standard screen or widescreen?

As Bryan Cranston explains in the season 1 DVD extras, all seasons of Malcolm in the Middle were shot with the most common TV screen format in mind, the traditional 4:3 aspect ratio, where the width is 1.33 times the height. However, to prepare for the more recent transition to high-definition widescreen TV, all episodes were actually shot in widescreen, with an aspect ratio of 16:9.

The US season 1 DVD release from 2002 (Region 1) only has episodes in the traditional 4:3 format. But later TV broadcasts, and all the later DVD releases in Region 2 (UK, France, Germany) and 4 (Australia), have the episodes in widescreen. This obviously offers more viewing pleasure, as it expands the screen to fill more of our field of vision. However, because the Malcolm film crew concentrated more on the standard format than on the widescreen version, the wide image reveals lots of widescreen goofs. We see equipment like light stands on the sides, or screens to block or reflect the light from outside. Arms or heads of crew members show up, and sometimes even body doubles substituting for the regular actors. This can be very distracting.

The German DVD releases are unique, in that they offer the widescreen versions, but with optional black masks to block the left and right sides of the image, thus imitating standard format. They also have the original English language track, and are sold at Amazon.de (available for import to other countries).

Netflix has also recently, since October 13, 2015, shown modified widescreen episodes, where they have carefully zoomed in on and cropped the image to hide undesirable equipment.

Which releases have subtitles?

The US Season 1 DVD release from 2002 (Region 1) is the only one to include English subtitles, also as closed captions for the hearing impaired. This set has Spanish subtitles as well. The UK Season 1-7 DVD set (Region 2) and their Australian versions (Region 4) have no subtitles at all. The French DVDs feature only French subtitles for their English language tracks, just like the German DVD sets feature only German subtitles. The American video-on-demand releases by Netflix and Amazon Prime have English closed captions.

Fan-made subtitle files in all kinds of languages and of varying quality, which you can link to some media player applications, can be found on sites like www.addic7ed.com, www.tvsubtitles.net, and www.opensubtitles.org.

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