Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Jim's World


To NETFLIX or not to NETFLIX, that is the question.  Unless it's 2B or not 2B -- a question Bugs Bunny asks in 1959's A WITCH'S TANGLED HARE.

I saw that cartoon last weekend.  While not watching NETFLIX.  I was watching what I watch when I watch: HULU.

We -- Dona and I -- were using SLING because that's what we had.  We had to get the double package -- Blue and Orange? -- because I had to have ESPN and that was only one of the packages and the cartoon channel that we had to have for our daughter was on another package.  In addition, we did the movies add-on that gave us EPIX and TCM because we wanted TCM.

We share a house with Ava and Jess and their child.  And Jess said we should really consolidate.  We all had individual NETFLIX accounts that we started with back in college and back when NETFLIX was a DVD provider.  I added HULU PLUS along the way because Mike got me into FRINGE and when FOX created a paywall -- you had to be a cable subscriber to watch the programs at their website and, if you weren't, you waited 7 days after a show aired before you could watch it.  In its last two seasons especially, there was no way in the world I was waiting seven days -- going around cutting friends and co-workers off with "I haven't seen it yet! Stop talking!" -- to see the episode that had already aired.  So I got HULU PLUS -- the paid service and you could watch FRINGE the day after it aired.  There were other benefits too but I don't remember them.

What I liked about SLING was that you could watch on demand, yes, but you also had these channels you could watch live.  I prefer live.  I like to call my dad, for example, and we'll both be watching the same thing while we talk -- maybe a baseball game, maybe a sitcom like THE NEIGHBORHOOD.  Now with SLING, we really couldn't watch a network show.  SLING had TBS, ADULT SWIM, TNT, etc.  It didn't have ABC, NBC, FOX, CBS or THE CW.

Someone suggested PHILO and we kept SLING while we tried PHILO out for a week.  Same problem -- no broadcast network.  Also no TCM.

Then we heard about the upcoming HULU PLUS LIVE -- or whatever's called.  It would have live streaming of broadcast network channels, it would have TCM and ESPN.  Those two, plus cartoons for our kid, were why Dona and I got SLING to begin with.

So we waited for the launch of the new HULU service.  I have not been disappointed.  Nor has Dona.  Like Stan, we don't see movies much on NETFLIX anymore.  When they had their deal with STARZ, it was different.  In fact, gather round, young 'uns, the first thing NETFLIX ever streamed was STARZ.  I remember Dona doing her queue -- where you'd put the DVDs you wanted NETFLIX to send you next -- one day and calling me over.  NETFLIX was streaming STARZ.  Right there on the computer.  Was that not the weirdest?

It was.

And when NETFLIX was in its early days as a streaming channel, their deal with STARZ provided them with a rotating list of good films.  But they broke off that deal, promising new deals were on the way, and never got around to being a place to go to stream movies again.

Now my point here is that we love HULU LIVE PLUS whatever so much that we even added STARZ.  Why STARZ?

Who is EPIX programming for?  Their movies are really dull and boring.

I want to see THE MASK or THE DUCHESS AND THE DIRTWATER FOX.  A film that will make me laugh.  And forget Goldie Hawn on EPIX because they don't really like actresses on EPIX -- very few of the films they offer star women.

My mother always says, ''There's not a bad day that a Goldie Hawn film can't get you out of."  I'm not joking, she says that.  And it's true.  If you're bored or sad -- I'm not talking someone just died, I'm saying you're missing a friend that moved away or something -- PRIVATE BENJAMIN, FOUL PLAY, PROTOCOL, WILDCATS, OVERBOARD, DEATH BECOMES HER, SHAMPOO, CACTUS FLOWER, etc, can't make you feel better.

That's true of a good Jim Carey comedy as well.  Sadly, he hasn't made a good one since ME, MYSELF & IRENE.

Maybe if NETFLIX ever made that film they promised -- DIVAS? -- with Goldie, Diane Keaton and Bette Midler, there would be something worth watching on NETFLIX?

As it is, there's no reason to watch films on NETFLIX.  Their new films have been dull and embarrassing.  I can't think of any of them -- except the Pee Wee Herman film -- that was actually something I'd ever watch again.  And they've made how many movies?

And don't forget their TV series.  I don't watch those.

SENSE8 was a great show and they cancelled it.  Now they've cancelled SANTA CLARITA DIET.  Any show you like is going to get cancelled.  I fully expect NETFLIX to axe Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin's GRACE AND FRANKIE next.  When that does happen, we're cancelling our subscription.  Jess has already cancelled his, Dona's cancelled her subscription as well so it's just mine we are using.  (Ava has a subscription to every streaming service -- as does C.I.  They have those subscriptions to cover TV for this site.)

I won't miss NETFLIX.  Most of their shows are embarrassments.  Oh, look, she's a hooker and an S&M queen but she's also hot on the trail of a murderer!  The writers spend all their time exploring their own personal kinks while stealing plotlines from MURDER SHE WROTE.  No thanks.

PERSON OF INTEREST is a show I watch on NETFLIX.  NIKITA is a show I watch on NETFLIX.  Those aren't shows NETFLIX created.  One aired on CBS, the other on THE CW.

They are shows with twists and turns and with great casts and great writers.

Unlike the bulk of crap NETFLIX keeps churning out, these shows are actually original.

That's it for me and NETFLIX.

I stream all the time, on the TV, on my cell, on my laptop.  But I really go to HULU.  Over and over.

I'm either watching something live streaming on HULU or something on demand.  I thought not having COMEDY CENTRAL live would bother me (it's an on demand selection with HULU) but it hasn't.  Also, you can stream it live on the free service PLUTO.

But I'll stream TBS or TNT or one of the broadcast networks live.  I'll stream TCM if they're not being idiots.  Or I'll switch over to ON DEMAND and watch MODERN FAMILY or AMERICAN DAD or THE SIMPSONS or HERE'S LUCY or THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW.  There's never a "I can't find anything to watch!" moment.

Recently, the business community has finally noticed what Ava and C.I. have been writing about here for years: the NETFLIX model is not sustainable.  They still have not shown a profit.  And now they're subscription base is no longer increasing.  They've had to use junk bonds to stay afloat.  I don't know how anyone ever thought this was a successful business model.

Once upon a time, I would have been very bothered if NETFLIX went under.  Now it's not only outlived its purpose, it's spent way too much effort spitting on those of us who embraced its programs.  SENSE8, man, that was major.  That cancellation was major.  And there's no point to root for a show anymore.  Joel McHale's very funny show was probably the cheapest to make and that didn't let it stick around either.  NETFLIX is so eager to glom on to faded talent -- as opposed to creating their own -- that that's where they've put their money.

They made their choice and their choice was not their subscribers.  I think we'll see more and more people leaving NETFLIX and see their stock drop more and more until they have to announce that they're shutting shop (FILM STRUCK?) or that they've been absorbed by some other company. And no one will miss it -- NETFLIX spent the last few years driving most of us away.

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