Saturday, July 30, 2016

Streaming Video Power Rankings: Week 18

1) Hulu: It's still slow in Huluville, but they did something really cool last week: They offered a free preview of Showtime with full seasons of shows and the whole current Showtime movie library (or pretty close to it). It was way better than the cable free previews because Hulu's controls are so much better than on demand. Bravo, Hulu! (I mean "well, done," not "get more Bravo shows, Hulu")

2) Netflix: "Stranger Things" is really cool! At least, the first episode is. I look forward to watching each installment weekly, the way God intended us to watch television. I might be able to get my kids to tear themselves away from Disney Channel reruns to check out the new series based on the movie "Home." There's a reality show about college football that I heard was decent. It's official that the "MST3K" revival will be on Netflix with a generous helping of episodes. A new trailer for the upcoming Ricky Gervais "Office" spinoff movie debuted. "Bokack Horseman" season 3 premiered last week.

As usual, all the buzz is with Netflix. I think they are throwing away a hell of a lot of money on stuff I don't like, but I admire the original programming diversity--just in sitcoms alone, they provide "Kimmy Schmidt," "The Ranch," and "Fuller House." What other outlet offers that kind of range these days?

3) YouTube: Where WWE Network fears to tread (providing old content), YouTube uploaders rush in.

4)  Pub-D-Hub: Sometimes it pulls in stuff I never heard of or just totally off the wall content, like this week's add of an old John Chancellor report on British teenagers. Pre-Beatles, but you got plenty of Tommy Steele (or at least his manager)!

5) Shout! Factory TV: I'm hoping for a nice fat update on Monday, but in the meantime, the MST3K shorts are great time wasters.

6) TuneIn: One of the better radio aggregators on Roku, it has some great stations, including Alan Haber's Pure Pop  and an Arizona-based "Deep Oldies" station that, believe it or not, actually plays some deep oldies. I strongly recommend TuneIn, but one thing it lacks is an automatically refreshing track identifier, which is annoying if you just want to leave a station on and not have to refresh to see what's playing.

7) Crackle: Another week, another "Fantasy Island," but a rather lackluster one. Still, Crackle isn't crashing my Roku anymore, so it's got that going for it, which is good. Plus I just noticed that it has some "That's My Mama" reruns. I know it's a free service, but I'd really like it to offer more full seasons and not batches of 5 or 10.

8) Warner Archive Instant: I dropped it, and it is on another cold streak of no content (I thought it might add something in time to brag about it at Comic Con), but it seems cold to drop it all the way out. That'll be next week.

9) Amazon Prime: Hey, a "Man in the High Castle" Season 2 trailer! I might have to sign up for a month of Prime once season 2 is complete.

10) SeeSo: The other night, I tried to watch two things and got "video unavailable" both times. This service is still unreliable.

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