Hats Off to Hatfields – But When Will We See the Real McCoy?

Hatfields & McCoys won three Creative Emmy Awards at the weekend and is a contender for seven major Emmys next week*, including best miniseries.

But the HD History Channel dramatisation of the hillbilly feud is no closer to targeting an airdate or DVD/Blu-ray release here.

That’s despite the five-hour Kevin Costner-Bill Paxton (Big Love) drama topping the ratings and disc sales last month in the US (it was #2 on the Blu-ray sales chart in its first week and the format accounted for a third of its sales).

Although Hatfields & McCoys screened on the History Channel in the US, Sony Pictures TV has the international distribution rights.

So don’t expect it to turn up even in SD on Sky’s History feed.

Sony will be looking to sell it to a free-to-air broadcaster for maximum prestige and return.

But such a sale is unlikely because, like HBO’s 2008 historical dama John Adams, which only recently screened for the first time on SoHo, it will be deemed too minority-interest for the networks.

US reviews were generally favourable. Although The Washington Post thought it “lushly produced but ultimately unthrilling”, Entertainment Weekly argued “overall, Hatfields & McCoys is engrossing, and enlightening about a feud that proves to be a lot more than the bumpkin brawl of pop legend”.

Sky may acquire it for SoHo but as it’s not short of product for the HBO-driven channel, don’t expect this to happen unless Sony drops its asking price – which is as likely as the Hatfields and the McCoys mending fences.

In the meantime, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment can’t release the miniseries on disc until all broadcast options have been exhausted.

Even if that happens, there’s no certainty it will come out in HD — following this month’s airing on Britain’s Channel 5, Amazon.co.uk is taking pre-orders for a November 12 DVD release but not Blu-ray.

And unless you own a region-free Blu-ray player, like the Oppo BDP-83 or 93, there’s no point ordering the US Blu-ray, as it’s region-locked.

The best that can be hoped for in this neck of the woods is Hatfields & McCoys sweeps the Emmys on Monday week — it was nominated for more awards than any other miniseries (16) — and triggers a home video release worthy of its firepower.

* The 64th Primetime Emmy Awards will screen live on Vibe from midday on September 24; highlights will air 7.30pm on Vibe and 9.35pm on Prime.

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