After more than a decade as a box set staple, seasonal DVD releases of The Simpsons are being discontinued. Slumping sales are apparently to blame, with showrunner Al Jean revealing the decision to fans on Twitter. A source from Fox Home Entertainment confirmed the news to The Hollywood Reporter, adding as an explanation: "There's so much happening in the digital space, it made more sense to focus on that."
extras will be available online — but not for viewers outside the US
It's undoubtedly the end of an era for The Simpsons and for physical formats, but it's not yet clear whether the decision will extend to Blu-ray releases as well. Dedicated fans can also rest assured that extras such as deleted scenes and commentaries will live on in digital formats. These will be available via on-demand service FX Now and its Simpsons World app, said Jean, with the latter featuring every episode of the iconic series as well as quotes, clips, and playlists. However, neither FX Now nor the app are available outside the US, although the Simpsons team is reportedly pushing for a fix to this.
Still, for the completionists who don't give a damn about anything digital (unless it's DRM-free and can be cataloged on their hard drive), there is still hope. On Twitter, Jean noted that there was the possibility of a "master DVD" going on sale when (and if) the show ever goes off air. A box set spanning all 569-and-counting Simpsons episodes — including extras — would probably set some sort of a record for the format. Handily, diehard fans that bankrupt themselves buying this master collection will at least be able to build a half-decent house out of the many cases.
Update 4:28pm ET: Sources confirmed to Polygon that Fox is discontinuing all physical releases for The Simpsons, which includes DVD and Blu-Ray