All your favorite stars from the Age Of MTV Animation are coming back. Viacom announced recently that the channel VH1 Classic would be rebooted into MTV Classic upon the 35th anniversary of MTV itself. It’ll contain a good majority of their animated output: Beavis and Butthead, Daria, Aeon Flux, The Maxx, CLONE FREAKING HIGH MAN!
The opening hour will consist of the original first hour that MTV broadcast. (I own a recording of this hour, and I’ll be watching to make sure all the flubs and errors are intact. And we’d better get an ad for an expandable binder called “The Bulk”!)
Now….here’s the big unanswered question. The schedule for the first week has been posted at TVGuide.com. It reveals that the Beavis and Butthead episodes that are airing are from the 2011 season. Which is fine, it’s a great season, but….what if it’s the only season they can air?
The last time B&B appeared was on MTV2 in the mid-2000’s and the episodes were still intact. DVDs of the show were released around this time, and the episodes were severely hacked up — partly because of music rights, and partly because Mike Judge just didn’t like some of the older episodes. It’s not alone. Daria was released on DVD in 2010 with nearly all its licensed music replaced, and the version that’s currently streamable on Hulu is that version.
However, these things happened because when the rights to all those songs were negotiated, DVD and streaming were not part of the deal because they didn’t exist. Broadcast rights were. This is why whenever music-heavy shows like WKRP pop up in syndication, all the songs are still there.
So, in theory, MTV should still be able to air shows like B&B and Daria the way they originally sounded. Which is the real reason to tune in (and DVR like mad!) BUUUUT…
The TV Guide schedule also mysteriously shows Clone High as being retitled “Clone High Rescore.” What could “rescore” possibly mean if not, you know, rescored music? And if Clone High was rescored, won’t Daria be too?
It simply shouldn’t be. If MTV truly lost the rights to broadcast music in their shows, MTV Unplugged (which is also part of the new schedule) would be either 60 minutes of silence or dubbed-in melodies like “Old MacDonald.” Using the bowdlerized versions of their cartoons while keeping their other shows intact would make no sense.
But there IS seeming evidence that it’s what we’re about to get, and without a direct way to contact Viacom for answers, I’m going to have to recommend we all greet this news cautiously.