Monday, August 25, 2008

The Complete Secondly Series

Buying a video in Kabul is a bit of an adventure and usually good for a laugh.  As far as I know, there are no legitimate movie stores in Afghanistan.  We don't have Best Buys or Targets. . . we don't even have grocery stores.  There is a thriving bootleg market that is popular both with Afghans and foreign nationals.  I don't know where these movies come from, probably China, but anything from new releases to classics can be found.  Areas that sell things that cater to the Western community are usually dotted with DVD shops.

But it's a bit of a gamble buying these DVD's.  As there is no way to tell where the movie came from or how it was procured, it is quite possible to get the wrong movie or pop it in only to find out it's in another language.  There's always the possibility that the video is a recording made in a theater without sound or shaking lens.  But most of the time it seems that the movies have some sort of error in the formatting and couldn't be sold at the Best Buys or Targets of the world and therefore end up in Afghanistan (this happens with A LOT of products, like the football Joey bought that has an stitching error and says "otto" instead of "Lotto.")

DVD cases are expensive so most of the movies come in just the paper sleeve cover or decoupage woodbox that was probably made in Hong Kong with a good printer and Photo Shop.  The sleeve usually includes a description of the movie and some reviews, usually taken from  So, if you live in the states, you should review movies on and I might end up reading your review over here!  Unfortunately, whoever is making the DVD sleeves either A) Doesn't speak English or B) Doesn't use spell check.  We've seen movies that had reviews that said, "This is the worst movie I have ever seen! Don't waste your time watching it!!!" Joe Smith, South Dakota.

A classic example of this editing issue is the DVD of "The Office" that we have.  That would be "BBC: The Complete All Season the office" with a picture of the American cast on the cover.  You know the "mockumentary about life in a mid-sized suboffice paper merchants in a bleak British industrail town, where manager David Brent things he's the coolest, funniest, and most popular boss ever.  He isn't."  According to the times it is "Original and accurate and painfully funny: It will have every office in the country twitching with spasms of recongnition..This is agem."  And it's rated PG-13 for language and violence.  It has three set of discs inside.  The first set features a picture of David Brent from the British office pointing and swearing at camera.  The second set shows David Brent sitting at a drawn desk with pictures of the cast of the American office behind him and states "the complete secondly series."  And the third shows the cast of the American office (from the box cover) and indicates that is is "the complete there season."

I guess that quality control isn't much of an issue on the bootleg DVD markets of Central Asia.


Kelly said...

So is it the British series or the American series? :)

Julie said...

Both! The first two seasons of the British an the third of the American.