Friday, August 19, 2016

Streaming Video Power Rankings: Week 21

Just in time for the weekend, it's the weekly power rankings, brought to you by Harris Teeter and some law firm that advertises with English graphics but Spanish audio (See # 3)

1) Hulu: Back on top despite discontinuing its free tier. Some strong content this week, including the Triumph election special and--FINALLY--ESPN's "O.J. Made in America" miniseries. It added the Yahoo season of "Community," meaning the entire series is on Hulu. Plus it seems to be ramping up the original programming, announcing this week an adaptation of Marvel comic "The Runaways." Let's enjoy this while we can because September brings the departure of the CW shows and I think those Criterion Collection movies.

2) Netflix: Still near the top thanks to the reruns it still has, the debut of the last Louis CK comedy special, "Project Mc2" (see last week's rankings), and a promising story about hotels adding Netflix to their in-room entertainment options. Why do I get the feeling there will be a steep "Netflix fee" at those hotels? I'm gonna choose to believe that since a log-in with existing account will be required, it's just value added. Because,  you know, hotels love to give us stuff for free (apart from towels and shampoo bottles).

On the other hand, why in the world is Hulu the one adding Disney Channel movies in August? That Disney/Netflix deal sounded great a few years ago, but each month, it looks less impressive as catalog stuff just isn't arriving.

3) Crackle: Yes, Crackle, the SVOD service I gave an "F" one time, is all the way up at 3 this week. Confession time: I love seeing interesting original programming on Netflix, but really, I'd be happier if it just added shows like..."GRADY!" Yes, the short-lived spinoff suddenly popped up this week, along with episodes of "Benson," 'Sanford," and the first season of "Archie Bunker's Place." Apparently Crackle now adds content throughout the month and not just on the 1st.

It's just too bad those commercials are so repetitive and so extensive. I think it takes 2 hours to watch a 90-minute movie. However, it hasn't crashed my Roku lately, and best of all...Whitman Mayo, baby.

4) MLB.TV: Hey, the Pirates swept the Giants and are right in the Wild Card chase.

5) Dumont Days: We should all be commemorating the 60th anniversary of the demise of the Dumont Network this month, so let's not say good-bye to this one just yet. I watched some cool old promo clips this week, including an add for Dumont TV sets with Kenny Delmar and Wally Cox lifted, I assume, from an episode of "School House" (sadly, no Arnold Stang in the clip). Plus several new episodes debuted today. This free Roku channel is like a dream concept for me, and big thanks to the kind soul who started it and is maintaining it.

6) TuneIn: "Don't Be Cruel" is not by any stretch of the imagination a "Deep Oldie," but I forgive the Deep Oldies station on here because it also plays stuff like "It's a Gas" by "Alfred E. Neuman." Now, that is one I have NOT heard elsewhere lately.

7) Watch TCM: Just added a handful of Ruby Keeler movies, and that means--you guessed it--Cultureshark favorite Dick Powell is in the house. I'm also interested in "Sweethearts of the Campus," which teams Keeler with a young Ozzie and Harriet.

8) Made for TV: Here's an interesting one: A free Roku channel, presumably ad supported, with nothing but old TV movies, mostly from the golden era of the Movie of the Week, the super 70s. This is another one I thought would be neglected after launch, but it is adding content and bears monitoring from folks who would like to see stuff like the 1978 Buford Pusser telefilm with Brian Dennehy, Forrest Tucker, Sheree North, and Ken Howard as the villain! Hey, I might go watch that after I post this.

9) Pub-D-Hub: I didn't watch any Pub-D-Hub this week, but that's not Pub-D-Hub's fault. It's my fault.

10) Amazon Prime: Sneaks into the top 10 on the basis of its latest round of pilots, including "The Tick," plus buzz surrounding a Calrton Cuse "Jack Ryan" series in the works. Really, though, this outfit can and should do much better.

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