Joss Whedon on Buffy: S4 4×3 issue

From The Digital Bits:

A PERSONAL MESSAGE FROM JOSS WHEDON

Gentle Viewer:

No doubt you are looking over this scrumptious BUFFY package and exclaiming “No @#$%ing letterboxing? Whutzat? GYPPED!” Possibly you are breaking things. Please calm down. The fabulous episodes of BUFFY (and that one crappy one, sorry about that, seemed really cool when we wrote it…) were not shot in a widescreen format. They were shot in the TV 4 by 3 ratio. Now I’m a letterbox fanatic, but not just because I crave th’ wide. I want to see the whole screen, as framed by the director. The BUFFY’s I (and others) shot were framed for traditional TVs. Adding space to the sides simply for the sake of trying to look more cinematic would betray the very exact mise-en-scene I was trying to create. I am a purist, and this is the purest way to watch BUFFY. I have resisted the effort to letterbox BUFFY from the start and always will, because that is not the show we shot. This is. So enjoy! Stop breaking things. You’re getting the best presentation of — let’s face it — the best Television Drama since MATCHGAME ’79. Bye for now!

Sincerely,

Joss Whedon