Saturday, November 26, 2016

Streaming Video Power Rankings: Week 35

On this holiday weekend, I imagine a lot of you had a time for streaming video. Some of you may be streaming video RIGHT NOW as you read this. I have taken all of  your viewings into account for this week's rankings. Oh, don't worry about how I know. I just do.

1) Netflix: I have half a mind to dock Netflix a half a dozen spots or so for trying to force me to care about its Gilmore Girls revival, but I have to acknowledge that in the social media/entertainment bubble, GG was the big story of the week, and I think it satisfied a lot of fans.

As far as engagement and pleasing its audience goes, this and the forthcoming Fuller House season are probably the kinds of shows that drive subscriptions and retain customers. I love to complain about dropping shows like Leave It to Beaver, but I have to face the facts.

But I'm still not watching Gilmore Girls, Netflix, so quit playing that damn Carole King song each time I load your channel.

2) Warner Archive Instant: My free month ends this weekend. Will I continue? I am going to make this Warner Week on the blog and share my thoughts on where WAI is right now. It rates #2 on usage this week as I try to cram as much of it down my gullet as possible before D (for decision) day next week. Movies, TV shows, film shorts...If I'm going down, I'm going down swinging.

3) Pub-D-Hub: You all know by now I give extra credit to an SVOD service that offers themed programming for an occasion, and Pub-D-Hub delivered some Thanksgiving content this week. I enjoyed a Burns and Allen installment on Thanksgiving Eve, and this weekend I plan to check out another new add, an episode of  The Frances Langford-Don Ameche Show. You won't see Entertainment Weekly mention this kind of stuff, dear readers.

4) Shout! Factory TV: I have grown quite fond of these  "Best of the MDA Telethon" compilations on here, though I'd like to see more old footage. I hope these continue. I was disappointed that the Turkey Day MST3K marathon was apparently web-only and not made streamable after the fact, but I still got my money's worth (free) this week.

One interesting thing I watched was the Dick Cavett Show from June 1971 featuring a debate over the Vietnam War between John Kerry and John O'Neill. Cavett dispensed with the monologue and did his best to maintain fairness and order, and the show was a fascinating, often intense snapshot of an America that was deeply divided over the issue. Even the studio audience, while mostly civil, was clearly split. Shout! has a whole category of "Politicians" in its Cavett section, but I would like to see more episodes featuring discussion of social issues, politics, etc.

5) Hulu: Hulu, you are coasting. I suppose gaining the Powerpuff Girls archives is something, though.

6) YouTube: Loving the fact that someone posted a bunch of old 1988 wrestling from Alabama this past week. My children enjoyed numerous toy videos on YT. Plus after becoming temporarily (I hope) obsessed with Glenn Frey's "Smuggler's Blues," (don't ask) I was able to hit YT and hear the song. Oh, it's irritating not to be able to see the actual video, but that's the way the Eagles roll.

(Also, see #10)

7) The CW: Expect this channel to be ranked with regularity over the coming weeks as I scramble to catch up on my "stories."

8) My Retro Flix: Added some more public domain and (ahem) maybe not so public domain movies this past week, including 1934's The Rawhide Terror, which can't possibly be as cool as the DVD cover art this channel cribbed makes it look...but I still want to find out.

9) Amazon Prime: Not a whole lot new going on last week, but Black Friday brought the site a lot of attention and possibly a lot of new eyeballs as people signed up for Prime to get access to deals.

10) PIX11: Much like our ranking of Brown Sugar last week (Come on and give us a Roku version!), we rate this based on potential. Perhaps my single favorite TV channel growing up was WPIX in New York, and the description of the channel sounds intriguing:

PIX11 News, where every story hits home. A friend to New York City since 1948 and now available on your Roku with special digital first features, holiday favorites, and exclusive peeks into the WPIX archive.

Unfortunately, all the videos are lame clips from the current news shows, and I have yet to see any holiday favorites nor what I really want to see, "exclusive peeks into the archive." As with so many Roku channels that should be muchbetter than they are, we'll have to hit YouTube to see what we really want to see. I fear this will be not just the first, but also the last time PIX11 makes the chart.

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