Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Television’ Category

Science Fiction has had a tough go of it over the decades, and oft-times it’s been with good reason.

Back when I was cracking paperback spines and dreaming of writing my own novel, a lot of SF readers only cared about the science. If you got the science right, if you got all your gizmos, franistans, and spindizzies in a row, even if you drew your world in crayon, wrote dialogue as wooden as an oak, and populated scene after scene with stereotypical characters hired straight from Central Casting, you could still win awards and have a healthy readership. While I gravitated toward the “social” science fiction of Le Guin, Zelazny, and Cherryh, the genre had a strong and ardent following of the “hard” science fiction style, where the gimmick ruled and “What if?” was the only question worth asking.

In visual media, it was often worse. Buck Rogers, Flash Gordon, and the Six-Million-Dollar Man gave us mindless matinee-serial pablum served on a foundation of whiz-bang gimcrackery.

This, however, has changed. (more…)

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

curling_stones_on_rink_with_visible_pebbleA year ago, I posted about our decision to dump our cable provider in favor of a completely streaming profile.

Overall, this has been a great success. We’ve saved money (over two grand a year). We’ve found that there is a ton of terrific content out there that is available either for binge-fests or weekly installment viewing. We’ve been able to tailor or subscriptions to match more closely our TV and movie predelictions.

All has not been rosy, though. Some networks (cough cough cbs cough) think they’re all that and a bag of chips, and worthy of a subscription all on their own (they’re not). Many others have apps and services, but require a cable or satellite provider to view content, even though they broadcast free over the airwaves.

And then there is the world of sports.

I’m not a sports junkie, but sometimes I feel compelled to watch a Seahawks or Mariners game. For this, I have to put a digital antenna in the window to pick up local broadcasts. Reception is spotty, but the occasional signal breakup is only a minor annoyance so, for me, the lack of sports coverage wasn’t a big deal.

Cue the Olympics. (more…)

Read Full Post »

It’s been a full month since we dropped our cable and land-line package to become a primarily streaming household, and I think we can say that the results are in.

As with any paradigm shift, behaviors and attitudes have changed. What surprised me, though, was the speed with which the changes were made and some of the more counter-intuitive outcomes.

Our viewing habits changed immediately, of course, as some shows weren’t available to us anymore and other opportunities opened up. But it was the changes in attitude that I found most unexpected. I found that I really didn’t miss some of those “lost” shows, which says a lot about how we were watching them more out of habit than cognizant decision. Moreover, I discovered a heightened discernment in our viewing deliberations. Before, our selections were based mostly on ads and hype, whereas now, our decisions are based on referrals, reviews, previews, and a trial run of an episode or two. We’re also no longer ruled by the tyranny of the DVR. No more “Gotta watch that show to make room for the next episode!” (more…)

Read Full Post »

Today, we went dark. Sort of.

Today, our cable and land-line were cut off. We still have internet and our mobile phones, but the dedicated connections for television and phone are as dead as Monty Python’s parrot.

During our fortnight-long sans cable experiment, everything about our television viewing habits came under scrutiny: what we watch, when we watch, and how we watch. We learned a great deal about our habits and thoroughly re-evaluated what we considered “worthwhile” viewing. After two weeks, we no longer think of things in terms of networks, but see them in terms of providers, apps, and individual shows.

Not everything was rosy, though, and before we dropped the hammer, we had to make some compromises. (more…)

Read Full Post »

On January 1st I woke early, made a pot of coffee, and sat down to watch the Sunday morning punditry. In general, this is not a good idea as it often leads to shouting and throwing things at the television, which tends to wake my wife and scare the cat, but it’s a hard habit to break.

First up, as always, was ABC’s “This Week with” … whomever they got for that week … George … Martha … Krusty the Clown. I turned the television on, punched in Channel 4, and was presented with a black-bordered message from Frontier Communications, our cable provider. It informed me that the distributor of our local ABC affiliate was being a pooter and wouldn’t negotiate a “reasonable rate” for their programming and, since Frontier “won’t settle for less than fair pricing for our customers,” they chose instead to deprive us of the ABC channels altogether.

It was the last straw. (more…)

Read Full Post »

Chairman MeowFor the longest time, I was a show killer. Do you love a particular TV show? Well, for years, if I loved it, too, it was doomed because, as soon as I started watching it, as soon as I fell in love with the show, its had maybe a year to live before it got canceled.

I’m serious. It got so bad that I would purposefully avoid a promising new show for an entire year, just to give it a chance to catch on. But even with this strategy, if I started watching in Season Two and loved it, it still had a higher risk for cancellation. (more…)

Read Full Post »

You want a strong female character? I’ll give you a strong female character.

Catherine Caewood (played by Sarah Lancashire) is the lead role in BBC’s Happy Valley, a crime drama set in working-class West Yorkshire; it’s a valley, but it isn’t happy.

This character is perhaps the most conflicted, complex, and yet utterly understandable creations I’ve seen in a while. Caewood, a sergeant with the local police, is forty-seven, divorced, with two kids—one dead, one that won’t talk to her—and a grandson. She lives with her sister, a recovering heroin addict and, well, you get the picture. Her life’s a mess.

Except it isn’t. (more…)

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: