Where You Can Watch The Dukes Of Hazzard – And Why You Should

hiNothing makes me want to do something more than somebody telling me I can’t. And apparently I’m not alone in that sentiment.

After my reporting of TV Land’s cancellation of The Dukes of Hazzard Tuesday kicked off a national media frenzy a day later, the suddenly-controversial TV series has jumped to the top of the Amazon sales charts. DVDs of the 1979-85 CBS series now occupy the six top slots on the DVD Best Sellers list, with a collection of two reunion movies charting at number 12.

For fans who disagree with TV Land’s decision to pull the show – and, based on the traffic this site has gotten in the last few days, there’s a lot of them – this is great news. Now for the bad news: season 1 and season 4 are already out of stock, and you’ll have to wait as long as two weeks for the e-tailer to ship the other five.

Perhaps sensing an opportunity, Amazon is streaming the 1979 Dukes pilot episode free of charge. You’ll have to endure some commercials in return for a free lunch at the Boar’s Nest, but the episode is uncut and in its original 4:3 aspect ratio (unlike the remastered, widescreen versions TV Land had been airing).

BossIn fact, Amazon streams all seven seasons of the series, but unlike the thousands of TV shows and movies included with their $99 Prime membership annual fee, a visit to Georgia’s fictional Hazzard County is gonna cost you a little something extra. Digital copies of individual episodes are priced at $1.99, or you can buy a full season for $19.99 (most of which goes to Boss Hogg, I assume).

Now let’s run the numbers.

Collecting the complete series of The Dukes of Hazzard on DVD (which will require paying a mark-up to a third party seller for the first season) will cost you at least $215 (plus shipping). Buying the series electronically from Amazon nets out at about $140.

Best of all, you can watch the episodes on your TV using an easy-to-set-up Internet streaming player. (I’d recommend a Roku, which is the most transformative piece of consumer electronics I’ve ever owned.) The shows are commercial-free and you can watch them whenever and wherever you want, using Amazon’s apps for your iOS or Android tablets and phones.

As a 10-year-old in 1979, the automotive slapstick of cousins Bo, Luke, and Daisy, their Uncle Jessie, and chief antagonist Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane was a weekly ritual for me. Is the show silly? You bet. Intentionally so. Is it racist? I watched it for years and that thought never occurred to me. It still doesn’t, and I’m about as liberal as they come. But as I’ve learned over the years, affection for classic TV and film can make strange political bedfellows.

This country needs to engage in a serious national dialogue about race, but that conversation has very little to do with The Dukes of Hazzard. I respect the perspectives of those who take issue with use of the Confederate flag in any context, but I’d encourage folks to revisit The Dukes of Hazzard before they dismiss it as a racist relic. There’s a line the narrator (country music legend Waylon Jennings) says in the pilot episode that I think sums up seven years of storytelling:

The Duke family was in the whiskey business 50 years before the Declaration of Independence. They fought everybody from the British to the Confederacy to the U.S. government to stay in it.

It’s that rebellious spirit that appealed to me a kid, and still resonates for many audience members today. Focusing only on the roof of a car misses the forrest for the trees and it demeans a vital issue with a nonsensical sidebar.

But perhaps more importantly, this sort of revisionist censorship runs the risk of having a chilling effect on access to all classic film and television. Because anything that’s old is going to include portrayals and perspectives that may be problematic to contemporary sensibilities. Instead of burying beloved classics on the Internet or in museums, let’s watch and learn from them.

The fight to save classic film and TV has begun, and that fight may just have started in Hazzard County.

dukes-hazzard

About willmckinley

I'm a New York City-based writer, video producer, print journalist, radio/podcast host, and social media influencer. I've been a guest on Turner Classic Movies (interviewed by Robert Osborne), NPR, Sirius Satellite Radio, and the official TCM podcast. My byline has appeared in Slate.com and more than 100 times in the pages of NYC alt weeklies like The Villager and Gay City News. I'm also a social media copywriter for Sony's getTV and a contributor to four film-and-TV-related books: "Monster Serial," "Bride of Monster Serial," "Taste the Blood of Monster Serial," and "Remembering Jonathan Frid."
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15 Responses to Where You Can Watch The Dukes Of Hazzard – And Why You Should

  1. cecejohn7 says:

    totally can relate to your article. great facts didn’t know much about some of this and im glad I do now

  2. Thanks for the follow up. I’m glad you’re keeping up with this and that it’s gotten a big reaction. I’d say this kind of rushing to throw out the baby with the bathwater, especially by people who haven’t taken the time to understand what’s really going on in an old TV show or movie, is dangerous culturally. Maybe it’s time for the ALA to expand its First Amendment Film Festival Idea to encouraging people to show classic TVs and movies with parts that people find unacceptable today followed by discussions they way they support doing for Banned Books. http://www.ala.org/bbooks/bannedbooksweek/ideasandresources/film

  3. Lordamercy Will, I don’t know how I kept up with all the movie and TV news till there was you….funny how I never much cared for the Duke clan till now…same as you I just hate being told no…thanks

  4. Ken Anderson says:

    I don’t think TV Land is banning the program. But just like after Kennedy was shot, John Lennon murdered, or that copycat murder in the UK after “A Clockwork Orange” was released; Hollywood sometimes does the right thing and tries not to give the appearance of insensitivity to people’s pain.
    You may not feel the same, but I’m sure you can empathize with fans of the show who might find the laughter choking in their throats every time they see that flag. Always a symbol of bloodshed and hate for many, Dylann Roofs nightmarish photos and the sadness of his massacre just made it all the more so.
    TV LAND isn’t stopping people from watching it, but maybe they’re doing what any concerned and humane entity would do in the face of a tragedy: it’s accepting the reality that a particular image (benign to some) can be a painful emblem to others. To allow the program to continue running, while the wounds are still so fresh, would not only look like an act of callousness, but one of hostility.
    Pulling the show (possibly just for now) isn’t pretending the past doesn’t exist, it isn’t depriving people of their apparently unassailable right to watch whatever they damn well please whenever they want; it just seems – in a time when there is so much pain and anger around and no answers – to merely be the moral and decent thing to do.

    You write so beautifully and passionately about the arts, you know the power of film and television. Mel Brooks was able to ultimately make us laugh at the swastika. but even he knew something like that takes time.

  5. Pingback: TV Land Pulls “The Dukes of Hazzard” | cinematically insane

  6. anjiaoshi says:

    “Focusing only on the roof of a car misses the forrest for the trees . . . ”

    That wouldn’t happen to be Nathan Bedford Forrest, would it?

  7. Laura says:

    “this sort of revisionist censorship runs the risk of having a chilling effect on access to all classic film and television. Because anything that’s old is going to include portrayals and perspectives that may be problematic to contemporary sensibilities. Instead of burying beloved classics on the Internet or in museums, let’s watch and learn from them.”

    YES. YES. YES.

    Great job, Will.

    Best wishes,
    Laura

  8. Scott Erskine says:

    Does mean we are not going to be airing Gone With the Wind either? How about the Blue and the Gray? North and South? While we are at it lets go down to the local library and gather up the works of Mark Twain and start a little Bon Fire because of the racial tones of the times in those books.

  9. Nick says:

    This is fucking retarded once again YOU ALL KNOWTHE DEAL!

  10. scotbower says:

    don’t tl jerks remember the episodes where they had black actors as guest stars?there’s even one episode where Cooter goes to jail to save his buddy who is black.

  11. Nicole says:

    I really wish the dukes of hazzard would come back on

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