Cheers: Finale

Sorry, We’re Closed

Nothing can last forever, I suppose. Regrettably, after more than 8,000 posts and nearly a decade of writing about all manner of movie, TV, and home theater topics, the Bonus View blog at High-Def Digest must close its doors effective today.

In the early days of its life, High-Def Digest was devoted almost exclusively to news and reviews about the Blu-ray format and its (now-defunct) competitor, HD DVD. Even after HD DVD conceded and the great High-Def Format War ended, the site maintained a focus on movie discs and software. To be fair, despite the waning presence of physical media in the marketplace, that remains a significant interest to most of our readers.

However, this is not and has never been “Blu-ray Digest.” Starting in April of 2010 (read Post #1), I spearheaded an initiative to expand the site’s scope by opening a blog which would serve as an outlet for myself and our writers to discuss other topics related to high-definition video and the home theater hobby. These included, but were not limited to: movies in theaters, TV shows, video games, electronics, and (later on) streaming.

The original mandate for the blog was to post two to three articles a week. That seemed insufficient to me, and I made an aggressive push to post every day. At our peak, we had as many as five or six posts a day, five days a week. That slowed down a bit over time. Old writers left and new writers joined. Personally, having kids severely limited the amount of available time I have to write. Nevertheless, with limited exceptions, I’ve overseen the publishing of new content in this blog every working business day for nine-and-a-half years. Some of those posts may have been more substantive than others, but I’ve tried my best to make sure we have something interesting to read here every day, with a minimum of blatant click-bait. (I won’t say there’s been none, but I tried to keep our readers engaged.)

I appreciate the blog format because it forced me to write something every day, overcoming my inclination toward procrastination. I’ve been Managing Editor of The Bonus View since its inception. During that time, I set a goal to personally contribute at least one post on every active day, often working through vacations and illnesses. Since 2010, I’ve only had about a dozen absences, and half of those were paternity leave immediately after my kids were born. I also edited every single piece of content that ever got published in the blog (some of our writers might say too heavily), and frequently chose the images and wrote the headlines to go with them. The Bonus View is very personal to me, and I am deeply saddened to see it end. I know that everyone working here feels the same.

The following are just a small handful of my personal favorite articles that I wrote for this blog:

Home Theater Technical Articles

Movies and Discs

TV

Fun Stuff

Looking at it, I see that many of those were technical articles. I suppose I single them out because they were the hardest to write (except that Q&A piece, which was a blast), yet also the most rewarding. Of course, we also had a great deal of fun talking about movies and TV. Among countless TV posts, I wrote lengthy recaps for every single episode of Game of Thrones from start to finish over its eight seasons.

Another accomplishment I rather enjoyed was systematically working through the entire career of filmmaker David Lynch for a series of posts under the heading Auteur Theory. Grouped with these are recaps for every episode of the Twin Peaks revival series, through which I attempted to make some sense of the infamous, mind-warping Episode 8.

Counting this one, The Bonus View published 8,197 posts during its lifetime, from 27 different authors. Most of those were regular contributors in some fashion, while a few were one-shot guests. Among all those posts were 1,954 TV recaps; 1,466 theatrical reviews; 484 Blu-ray Highlights articles; 466 Weekend Roundtables; and 394 reports from film festivals.

Intended as a weekly buying guide for everything released on Blu-ray and Ultra HD, the Blu-ray Highlights pieces were a tremendous amount of work to put together and write every week. As someone who remains passionate about watching movies on these formats, my goal was for the posts to serve as a useful resource for other fans and collectors. They were (and still are) the sort of thing that I wanted to read somewhere, and not seeing anyone else doing it as comprehensively as I liked, I took on the responsibility myself. I can only hope that came through.

This is the final post for the Bonus View blog. After today, the Comments section will remain open, but I’m not sure whether (or how long) it will be moderated. I am told that the wealth of content we’ve amassed over the last 9+ years will remain where it is. Unfortunately, no further posts will be published.

Some of our blog writers may remain on the site staff to contribute Blu-ray reviews. Starting next month, I have accepted a position to write about television for Primetimer and will be found there. I’m also exploring some other options to continue writing about movies and home theater, but don’t have anything to announce yet. (Sorry, I don’t do Twitter and my Facebook is only open to people I know personally.)

Before we shut the doors, here are some stats you might find of interest.

Total Numbers

Posts: 8,197
Months active: 114
Posts per month: 71.9
Avg words per post: 796

Josh Zyber

View all posts
Soon to be found at: Primetimer

Posts: 3,701
Months active: 114
Posts per month: 32.5
Avg words per post: 927

David Krauss

View all posts

Posts: 59
Months active: 111
Posts per month: 0.5
Avg words per post: 1,507

[Note: David’s numbers are somewhat skewed because he wrote a few posts in the early days of the blog but only became a regular contributor about a year ago.]

Deirdre Crimmins

View all posts
Follow: @dedecrim

Posts: 180
Months active: 16
Posts per month: 11.3
Avg words per post: 525

Jason Gorber

View all posts
Follow: @filmfest_ca
Also found at: ThatShelf

Posts: 169
Months active: 18
Posts per month: 9.4
Avg words per post: 534

Adam Tyner

View all posts
Also found at: DVDTalk

Posts: 49
Months active: 93
Posts per month: 0.5
Avg words per post: 1,052

Phil Brown

View all posts
Follow: @thatphilbrown

Posts: 1,105
Months active: 58
Posts per month: 19.1
Avg words per post: 752

Shannon Nutt

View all posts
Follow: @shannonnutt

Posts: 281
Months active: 66
Posts per month: 4.3
Avg words per post: 1,019

Brian Hoss

View all posts

Posts: 170
Months active: 26
Posts per month: 6.5
Avg words per post: 739

Luke Hickman

View all posts

Posts: 992
Months active: 84
Posts per month: 11.8
Avg words per post: 561

Aaron Peck

View all posts

Posts: 367
Months active: 34
Posts per month: 10.8
Avg words per post: 763

M. Enois Duarte

View all posts

Posts: 167
Months active: 72
Posts per month: 2.3
Avg words per post: 522

Tom Landy

View all posts

Posts: 77
Months active: 81
Posts per month: 0.9
Avg words per post: 621

Dick Ward

View all posts
Follow: @celmatespodcast

Posts: 432
Months active: 23
Posts per month: 18.8
Avg words per post: 538

Wayne Rowe

View all posts

Posts: 62
Months active: 49
Posts per month: 1.3
Avg words per post: 722

I’m very proud of all the work we’ve accomplished here over the last decade, and very appreciative of the writers who have worked with me, both past and present. I know that I speak for the whole staff when I say that we’re extremely grateful to all of our readers for following us. Perhaps we’ll meet again, somewhere else. Until then, all I can say is…

Thank you.

68 comments

  1. Deaditelord

    Wow. I did not expect to read this today. 🙁

    The Bonus View has been my go to movie and home theater blog for years. Here’s hoping Josh is able to create a new version of the blog somewhere else. Until then, I wish everyone all the best!

  2. Csm101

    This is truly depressing. Tell me this is some kind of Halloween joke. If it’s isn’t, I wish you all the best. You have my email so if you are starting a site somewhere else, please let me know. Love you guys!

  3. Chris B

    What?! WHAT?! This is horrifying and depressing news!. The Bonus View is one of my favorite things on the internet and a major reason I’m so passionate about collecting to this day.😔.

    Did the runners of the site want to end the blog? Or do you just feel like it’s time to move on Josh? (Not judging either way just genuinely curious).

    I love this place and am gonna miss it tremendously. Would anybody be interested in starting a group chat on FB Messenger to sort of keep the good vibes going? It could be like an extended after-party. Email me at [email protected] if anyone’s interested. I’d hate to lose contact with everyone, we’ve shared a lot of fun and great conversations over the years.

    Again….this is the worst.😢

    • Jason Gorber

      I’ll be continuing to write film reviews of course elsewhere, including the site that I edit that’s linked above (look for Dierdre to pop up as well). Spread the word, things are kind of a mess media wise, we can all use the support.

      Thanks to everyone for making this a home for me for the last while.

      And especially a public thanks to Josh who was always helpful and supportive – one could not have asked for a better leader to follow.

  4. Julian

    Darn, such sad news. The Bonus View was my daily dose of movie goodness and news. I will really, really, really miss this blog. It has enriched my vocabulary, and made me laugh out loud on more than one occasion.

    Let’s once more celebrate Josh’s hilarious take on ‘Snow White and the Huntsman’:

    Is it explained in the movie in some way how anyone could think that K-Stew is “fairer” than Charlize Theron? Like, has a plague of blindness fallen upon the land? Otherwise, this is a suspension of disbelief that I’m having trouble making.

  5. Thank you for all this effort. I’ve been reading every day for years and have found a wealth of good material.

    Your TV recaps really were above and beyond.

    Well, the ages do roll. All Things Must Pass.

    I’ll keep shaking the tree for physical media but the branches are getting bare.

    Good luck with whatever comes next!

    -Bill

  6. cardpetree

    Well, this sucks and is unexpected. This site has helped me get through the day during every boring day at my desk job for a lot of years. I basically only visit 3 sites a day, this one, a sports forum, and my personal email. The sports site was blocked at my work recently and now you guys are leaving. There’s rarely a time when I’m watching my favorite shows like Game of Thrones and Westworld on Sunday nights when I don’t think to myself that I’m looking forward to Josh’s recap on Tuesday. I’m gonna really miss the new movie release reviews as well. I know we haven’t always agreed politically but I’ve certainly always enjoyed our back and forth conversations going back to when HDD’s Forum had more traffic. This is truly disappointing news but good luck to you and everyone else in your future endeavors.

  7. Mario Palmer

    Well this is sad. I came to Highdefdigest daily to read the Bonus View and occaisionally viewed other parts of the site. I was informed and entertained by your efforts. Good luck in your future endeavors!

  8. Phil Brown

    Really sad to see this go. I loved contributing to this blog for the years that I did (I didn’t realize that I’d written over one thousand posts. Yowsa!). Josh was one of my favourite editors that I ever worked with and the comments community here was always fun and lively. It’s such a shame. You will be missed!

  9. photogdave

    Wow. Very sad news. This will bring my list of non-commercial websites I visit daily down to one.
    The internet is a really shitty place these days.
    Thanks for all the hard work and fantastic articles all these years.
    Shame on the owners of this site.

  10. Bill Mack

    End of an era. I only check this and one other media site daily. The rest I only sporadically check. Sad to see it end. Best of luck wherever the next chapter of life takes you! I still have about 50 HD-DVDs collecting dust in the basement ha ha. Maybe time to put them on eBay ? Naaaaaa….

  11. Art A

    I “bumped” into this place a couple of years ago, and it’s become a welcome habit, clicking on each day to see what’s going on. I’ll have to find a new habit. Thanks for all that you’ve done…lots of work and virtually no money…for something that you love and we’ve benefited from.

  12. Ice

    Wow, well this sucks. As others have said, this was a blog that I would visit daily, and will definitely miss it. I wish everyone involved with contributing to the blog all the best in their future endeavours…

    I’m still hopeful that they’ll release that Ben Stiller and Robert De Niro strip tease scene from Meet the Mormons! one day perhaps…

  13. I’ve been writing about movies online for twenty years now (!), and I can honestly say I’ve never enjoyed it more than here at The Bonus View.

    Josh’s reviews at DVD File were one of the key reasons I started writing in the first place, and I always enjoyed writing alongside him at DVD Talk and trading snark (years and years later, rarely a week goes by when I don’t think of “this movie is a foreign and therefore good!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”). That he invited me to contribute here is probably the third greatest compliment I’ve ever been given.

    And that’s a key part of what’s made The Bonus View so special. It’s not a case of writers furiously submitting pitches and hoping for a thumbs-up. It’s not a case of assignments being handed down from above. It’s not about filling quotas of posts per day. It’s a celebration of distinctive, passionate voices, and considering how immensely talented the writers here are, I’m flattered and humbled to be counted among them. And although Josh was never the least bit heavy-handed with editorial notes, I do think I’m a better writer as a result of my time here.

    My only regrets are that I didn’t sign on earlier, that I didn’t keep the weekly schedule I’d intended, and that, week in and week out, I kept waiting until just about the last possible minute to contribute to the roundtables.

    Between the loss of The Bonus View and the collapse of Deadspin, it’s not been the best of weeks.

  14. John M Burton Jr.

    This is a sad day for us fans. I know you all will go on to other things and find success and satisfaction. Stay well all of you and look forward to reading more from all of you.

  15. Al

    I’m stunned, saddened, shaken, shocked, and positively devastated! This is a staggering blow! This is my favorite site on the Internet! I literally don’t know what I’ll do without it. I don’t even think I want to live without it. I wish there was some explanation of why this is happening! This is the very best site throughout all of the inter-webs!

  16. yamato72

    Nooooo!

    Josh, you will be missed. The Bonus View is almost the only thing worth coming to High Def Digest for anymore, since the forum pages have withered away to nothing. I’ll check in you at PrimeTimer but your tech articles have always been where it’s at for me since I watch so little TV.

  17. njscorpio

    I just want to say thank you for all the interesting content. Also, thank you because I’ve won two movies from your caption contests, so I’ll always think of you guys when I rewatch Wreck-It Ralph 3D, or when I see Transcendence sitting on my shelf.

  18. Wayne

    Josh,
    Thank you for being the best editor ever. Though I was only lucky enough to work with you a short while, you made my writing life so easy and such a joy. I, too, have come to this site daily to soak in all its goodness and have appreciated all of your hard work. I will miss the site. Best of luck in your new endeavors Josh. PrimeTimer is lucky to have you!

  19. Sorry to see this go. I’ve been here since the very early days of HDD. I have loved how the site has expanded and it has become my go to hub for TV/Movies/AV. I’ll miss a big part of that going away…

  20. So sorry to see you close down. I came here as a refugee from The Digital Bits, when that editor declared every single HD DVD owner as personae non gratae, in the wake of WB dealing HD DVD the death blow back in january 2008.

    I’ve enjoyed HDD, and The Bonus View immensely ever since, and I’ve probably come by every day.

    Good luck to everyone in your future endeavours, and thank you for everything you’ve all contributed to this site over the years.

  21. Chris B

    I’m not sure if this has been suggested, but is there any chance The Bonus View could keep going as some sort of Patreon/kickstarter kind of thing? I don’t know about anyone else but I wouldn’t mind coughin up a few bucks a month to keep my favorite blog going. It’s too good to llet it die without a fight.

    • Al

      I would definitely pay! I would really like to know the genuine reasons for this blog being shut down.

      Josh, will you please tell us whatever you can?

      Everyone else, if anybody finds out why it was shut down, will you please post here?

    • Shannon Nutt

      Sadly, a corporation (whose name will not pass my lips) owns this website and all IP associated with it…so it’s unlikely a fund raiser will change their minds. However, far be it from me to discourage any complaints that may be hurled in their general direction. 😉

      And that’s all I can say about that… 🙂

      • Chris B

        What about a Facebook group-style format? Those are obviously free and the format allows for interaction in the comments just like this blog. Josh could put a post every Monday morning about the new batch of Bku-Rays, there could be a few movie reviews/tech articles throughout the week and our beloved weekend roundtable post could go up every Friday.

        Again, even if the content was reduced by the number of posts per week at least we wouldn’t have to see it go completely. And there’s obviously a bunch of us that would kick in a few bucks even if it was On FB. There’s gotta be something we can do! lol

  22. Dave

    Been a fan of this site since day one and sad to see it leave, sounds bad but my favorite memory was winning a “Caption contest,” for the hitman’s bodyguard. Never won anything before, so this is a fond memory of mine. Thanks to everyone on this site and to Josh for walking me through setting up an additional receiver for my 11.4.2 dolby atmos setup.

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