3 Classic TV Series Only Available Through Piracy

These lesser-known series are no longer legally attainable, but you can download them right now from piratecove.eth.ru.aq or your favorite client compatible with the NotTheft32 protocol.

3 Classic TV Series Only Available Through Piracy
Photo by PJ Gal-Szabo / Unsplash

Hey, what's up, nerds (affectionate). The "[descriptor] [personality type]" blogosphere is alight this past week with sentimental memorial posts for Chet Hunkmore, the founder and editor-in-chief of Extremely Confident Jocks, and I'm here to tell you this is not one of those. In fact, I just got back from checking with legal and because of satire laws I can just straight up reveal that it's probably my fault!

You see, while my wife was off defending her title in the illegal bareknuckle boxing promotion that Ikea runs after hours, I was at a dive bar getting hammered on cranberry-pineapple Zima due to my guilt for not being able to be there to support her, because of my weak stomach for jagged bone shards protruding through the skin of her defeated opponents.[1] Anyway, this lady in the cleanest most expensive-looking tailored suit I've ever seen in my life sat down next to me and we got to talking and long story short I signed a contract in my own blood that if Chet Hunkmore had a pulmonary embolism and died, leaving our rival blog also dead because he never shared the admin credentials with anyone, I would write another listicle for the site. His family hasn't confirmed the cause of death but the rest is true, so I'm gonna go ahead and deliver that article. Better safe than sorry.

Recent happenings in Hollywood have reminded us all that sometimes rightsholders do not want to make beloved fan favorite shows available legally anymore. Between the Warner Brothers Discovery merger torpedoing numerous animated favorites and the Netflix Hulu Turner Classic Movies Dish Network Atari merger requiring all known footage of Humphrey Bogart to be destroyed, there's a lot of talk about how piracy is essential to media preservation. And it is! Here's three lesser-known series that are no longer legally attainable, but that you can download right now from piratecove.eth.ru.aq or your favorite client compatible with the NotTheft32 protocol.

The Beacon and the Herald (2005-2006)

What was it about?

At an unnamed prestigious New England university, a bitter rivalry forms when half of the writers of the Herald, the student-run school newspaper, split off to form the Beacon, an unsanctioned online newsletter filled with serious accusations about faculty impropriety. Shanley, the idealistic editor of the Beacon, thinks she's speaking truth to power and doesn't care about the consequences, but her boyfriend Will is terrified that his nightmares are prophetic visions.

It began as a "neo-noir with wisecracks" thing like Veronica Mars and quickly spiraled into cosmic and body horror, like if you put The Rules of Attraction and the last act of Society in a blender and the slurry that came out was alive and begged you to kill it before the imminent apocalypse made death meaningless and all suffering was henceforth eternal.

What happened with it?

It got made in the first place because Ranch Wrigley, the firebrand co-creator of megahit prime time procedural CSI, could write his own ticket after he left CSI. He and co-creator Donald Bellisario had a really nasty falling-out about the fake forensic tech in the show, which was rumored to have ended with Wrigley e-mailing Bellisario a 14 megapixel close-up photo of Wrigley's own anus with the subject line "ZOOM AND ENHANCE."

Wrigley cashed in that ticket to make two 10-episode seasons at HBO of this, and it was well-received by the sort of person who is alright with every third or fourth episode of a slow-burn dialogue-driven mystery having incredibly upsetting practical body horror effects that would have made the crew of John Carpenter's The Thing sob and vomit simultaneously. That sort of person was, unfortunately, not numerous enough to make the show profitable.

In 2012 HBO did not renew the contract to keep the rights, and they lapsed to a shell company co-owned by Wrigley and insane Japanese multimedia artist Screaming Mad George. Screaming Mad George did not work on the show, Wrigley just admired his work on Society and that fucked-up PS1 pinball game he designed, but Screaming Mad George thought this was really weird and laid out some demands for every time he had to sign off on a decision. After a limited blu-ray release in Europe in 2014, Wrigley has not been willing to send Screaming Mad George another live cow wearing a solid gold Stetson hat.

What is the pirated version sourced from?

Video from the 2014 European blu-ray release, but due to music licensing nonsense, the audio is sourced from DVR recordings that a crazy home theater type guy had kept since the original airings.

The Chains of Matrimony (1974-1979)

What was it about?

Donald Pleasence and Miriam Struthers star in this serial dramedy as Richard and Denise Lockhorn, a bickering married couple who become amateur sleuths when their neighbors and best friends, Sam and Jill Breton, are murdered. The police write it off as a murder-suicide, but Richard and Denise know that the victims were a loving, devoted couple and that theory made no sense at all.

As the first three seasons progressed, a series of bizarre revelations about Sam and Jill's private lives raise more questions than answers, and the list of suspects grows longer and longer. None of the bizarre revelations suggest that there was any problem at all with Sam and Jill's relationship with each other, which Richard and Denise find maddening but also aspirational, because the investigation cements that they still love each other and want to sort things out.

The fourth and final season was half-length and sets up a satisfying resolution, and critics and audiences still love the series today. Notably, Mark Frost claims that Chains of Matrimony was his primary inspiration for the structure and tone of Twin Peaks, though David Lynch has never confirmed this.[2]

What happened with it?

A baseless 1989 lawsuit by King Features Syndicate, who distribute the newspaper comic strip The Lockhorns, resulted in the rights to the show being transferred to King Features from CBS. The verdict was a shock to everyone involved; it was widely speculated that King Features just wanted some easy money in damages to compensate for the drop in stock prices caused by Beetle Bailey creator Mort Walker's killing spree and nationally televised trial. They weren't asking for the rights at all. The judge wrote in his written decision that "the notion of a marriage being salvageable is unconstitutional and illegal, and I award the stewards of the greatest comic strip in the world the right to punish these purveyors of lies and filth as they see fit."[3]

King Features tried to sell the rights back to CBS but the letter was returned unopened by CBS' legal department in a parcel that also contained a series of 8x10 inch photo prints of close-ups of Walter Cronkite's anus.

What is the pirated version sourced from?

Initial incomplete VHS rips existed, but then in 2004 a complete series pack was anonymously uploaded to usenet and various IRC channels, sourced from the masters for the unreleased 1990 Japanese laserdisc box set.

Stiff Upper Lip (2001)

What was it about?

Amidst the success of MTV's Jackass, Scottish professional skateboarder Aileen Ruskin convinced Channel 4 to beat the BBC to the punch on making an equivalent for the UK market. Eight episodes were made and only six aired. Audiences and critics were unsettled by Ruskin's chaotic energy and her willingness to arrange and personally perpetrate violence against both celebrity guests and unsuspecting bystanders, and rumors spread of what the unaired seventh and eighth episodes might have contained.

What happened with it?

Everyone was very mum about it[4] until 2019, when tumblr user "720heelflip10dead17injured" uncovered compelling evidence of what the unaired episodes contained, based on police records and local news articles. The seventh episode likely documented a serious arson that had no human casualties but resulted in a historic castle burning down to the foundation, and the series finale was suspected to document a campaign of violence and harassment that Ruskin perpetrated against Edinburgh's aging chief constable, culminating (according to police reports) in her ambushing him in his own living room and doing an unspecified aerial skateboard trick off of his forehead, causing him to fall through a glass coffee table, shattering both the table and a third of his skeleton by volume.

A burner account registered the same day replied to that post with the text "lol true" and a link to a RAR file containing all eight episodes in full in immaculate quality. A common theory is that Ruskin's 2003 death doing a manual on her skateboard over an IED in Afghanistan was a hoax, and that she uploaded the episodes herself. All over the world, acts of spectacular and brutal skateboard trick violence perpetrated by a redheaded woman in baggy flannel continue to be reported periodically to this day. The truth is out there.[5]

What is the pirated version sourced from?

Collective of Crows' 2020 re-encode of the versions in the 2019 tumblr-linked RAR. The original versions are rumored to contain malware, but that's a myth; they were just kinda unnecessarily big.

Aight that probably fulfills my end of the contract. Now for a moment of silence for Chet Hunkmore. Everyone who keeps talking about how good a journalist and humorist he was, shut up, and be silent. This moment lasts indefinitely.

Rest in piss, bozo.

  1. She has this finisher that I always clamped my eyes shut for but after all the crunchety wet snapping sounds finish and the screams give way to weak wailing, the aftermath is still pretty intense to look at. She's undefeated the past 8 months and the crowd loves it, so I wouldn't dream of asking her to quit. ↩︎

  2. David Lynch only responded to a question about that comment of Frost's once, and he just smiled and said "You know, I love working with ol' Mark. Ol' Frosty-boy. The big Frost-o-matic. A chilly, chilled-out friend, that Mark." He has never elaborated further. ↩︎

  3. At the time, most assumed that the judge meant The Lockhorns, but in a 60 Minutes interview in 1991 he clarified he meant Mary Worth, about which he'd had an argument with his wife the night before. ↩︎

  4. More like queen mum about it, am I right! Because she's fucking dead!! ↩︎

  5. This is just an X-files reference, for the record. Even in satire I would never claim something so ludicrous. The truth is buried forever, and don't you forget it. ↩︎