Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Streaming Video Power Rankings: Week 2

There are going to be some weeks the rankings are not that meaningful because not much is going on. But the beginning of the month brings NEW NEW NEW content all over the place, so that gets me PUMPED to do the rankings. Let's have at it!

All rankings are highly subjective, but, hey, it's me. You can trust me.

1) WWE Network: This was the biggest weekend of the year for the channel, with WrestleMania and other festivities. After months of complaining I would not join up until it added more archival content, I buckled under and got a month to see Mania. It was a disappointment, but the network reached a record high in subscribers (albeit many on free trials), so there's that.

2) Netflix: Did a good turn by adding "Animaniacs," but I am not going to rave about the debut of an Ashton Kutcher sitcom. More importantly, it lost "MASH." Now, Fox may be difficult to work with, but Netflix only added "MASH" a year ago, and it took a while before it had the entire run. At the time, I thought, "OK, I am not a big fan, but at least Netflix is still trying and still adding things from before 1980." Now, only a year later, it's gone. Who licenses an 11-season program for one single year?

3) MLB.TV:   Because it's Baseball 2016! I hope they offer a free preview week.

4) Hulu: "Curious George," "Rizzoli and Isles," and "The O.C." joined Hulu this past week. Then "Missing" (the Vivica Fox one) joined the service. Do I want to watch those series? No, but at least Hulu is still trying. There's also a smattering of catalog movies--the most important of which is clearly "The Incredible Two-Headed Transplant"--and Hulu just unveiled the finale of "11/22/63." I'd love to talk about that, but I still need to watch the whole damn series.

5) Shout TV: Quietly one of the best out there. This month's update is one of the weakest overall since Shout TV premiered, but this SVOD service gets big points for not deleting content each month just for the sake of it. Besides, it's worth the (zero) price

6) HBO Now: Is "Game of Thrones" hype peaking early? "Trainwreck" premiered, which I guess is kind of a big deal.

7) Tubi TV:  Added a lot of interesting and random content this month, including "The Hurt Locker," the "Bill & Ted" movies, "Hotel Rwanda," and the original "12 Angry Men." Hey, I just realized "Alf" is on here, too.

8) Acorn TV: First Monday of every month means new programming. The highlight this month looks like series 2 of "The Detectorists." It seems that they have scaled back somewhat.

9) Amazon Prime: Added some Coen Brothers movies as part of its April 1 catalog drop, but a pretty quiet week overall.

10) Pub-D-Hub: I'm getting worried. No updates for several weeks, and the same outdated message is still up on the page. Everything still works, but, hey, guys, are you still open for business?

319) Crackle: Crackle is doing something very annoying: Streaming premiere episodes of series like "Outsiders" and :Underground," but only the first few, and then yanking them. I don't see that as a nice way to make it easier to see the WGN shows.  I see it as a bait and switch--or maybe just a bait and remove.

Otherwise, the big movie Crackle is promoting at this writing is...the trailer for the upcoming "Ghostbusters" reboot? Lame. Plus it apparently eliminated the "collections" feature, which was generally useless but which allowed me to see the new titles and the ones leaving soon. Worst of all, when I launched Crackle to look for this info (it's not there), "Airheads" started playing, and I couldn't get it to stop except by starting something else. Crackle keeps finding new ways to suck.

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