Saturday, December 17, 2016

Streaming Video Power Rankings: Week 38 (special Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat edition)

I didn't have a whole  lot of time to watch this week because I was preparing for the holidays and--Oh, who am I kidding? I had plenty of time to watch and wasted it in frivolous pursuits like work. I'll try and do better next week.

The big tragedy is that my Frosty the Snowman DVD  may be compromised, and it isn't streaming anywhere. So to summarize: streaming media stinks because you never really :own" the movie. However, physical media stinks because it can get glitchy. There's a lesson in here somewhere.

1) Amazon Prime: Believe it or not, an SVOD service changed its user interface and actually made it easier to find things. it also made everything giant.  Why does everyone think we can't make choices without big pictures? Like we're ordering dinner in Japan or something.

Anyway, I watched quite a bit of stuff on Prime this week, and The Man in the High Castle's return excites me, so Amazon gets the 1 spot for a change. Also, Amazon got great pub for launching in millions of countries this week (my math be a bit off).

2) PIX11: Still coasting on goodwill and the fact that I watched the digital documentary about the Henry Tillman campaign ("The Big Idea"--look it up!) the best station promo series ever. So far, so good, PIX11, but I have caught up  on your archival material, and it's time to add more!

3) Netflix: Any other week, Netflix would be numero uno with--Hey, that's how I started the Netflix entry last week. Well, this week Netflix debuts another batch of originals, like the feature film Barry about the outgoing prez  (Hey, isn't calling him Barry a sign of disrespect?) and another season of  underrated toon Puss in Boots. Also, I hear some good things about The OA (sadly, not at all related to Green Lantern).

(Really, I don't know anything about half of these Netflix originals, and I tend to breeze past the ones that seem to be of foreign origination. A few weeks ago, some historical European costume drama debuted, and a few days later I realized Dustin Hoffman was in it.  There's some Netflix series with Dustin Hoffman? How do we not know about this?)

However, the list of stuff coming and going in January was released, and though it's a little early to judge Netflix on what will happen in two weeks, it has some signs of alarm.  The Parent Trap  (1961) coming is nice, but it reinforces the paucity of Disney catalog content years after the deal. I saw a report that all the old Universal shows were leaving in January, and that appears to be false because the full list only shows Columbo and Murder She Wrote exiting, but still it's a good bet that Hulk, Rockford, Galactica, and others are following the likes of Quincy out the door. Movies coming and going don't seem like a huge deal, but when multi-season shows leave and aren't replaced, that is concerning.

(Also, a bunch of HGTV shows are gonna leave, too, though it has been confirmed that it was the content provider's decision not to renew.)

4) Hulu: Sometimes Hulu gets disproportionate credit from me just for not annoying me. There isn't a  lot new on the site this week, though there is something called Streaming Wonderland that I think is a series of virtual holiday-themed backgrounds. Here's a good reminder, though: There is a lot of classic television on Hulu. Just because Hulu doesn't promote it doesn't mean we have to ignore it.

5) YouTube: Relatively quiet week, but one of my favorite uploaders added a slew of old Christmas commercials, including a 1980s Shoppers Drug Mart ad with Bea Arthur.  If that wasn't enough, he threw in an old segment of Thicke of the Night! I can think of no better tribute to the late Alan Thicke than for someone to throw up some full episodes.

6) The CW: I hate the term "midseason finale," but I like seeing it because I know I will have a few weeks to catch up.

7) Pub-D-Hub: Not a spectacular update this week, but a lot of returning Christmas content is enough to rate the top 10.

8) TuneIn: I'm starting to get disappointed at the rotations and lack of playlist variety in some of the channels, but that certainly isn't TuneIn's fault. Welcome back to the top 10, and my only real regret is that I can't remember the great song I heard on Deep Oldies that I want to hear again right now.

9) Dailymotion: Its Roku channel is considerably harder to use than YouTube's, but consider this your periodic reminder that if you can't find something on YT, you ought to check Dailymotion...especially if it is "unsanctioned/"

10) FilmRise: Look at this unassuming free, ad-supported channel and you won't see a lot of great content--Highway to Heaven and a bunch of cheap indie movies (Notice how every single free Roku movie channel has Nola with Emmy Rossum for some reason), but the channel's parent company made headlines this week by announcing it had streaming rights to Unsolved Mysteries. Is that a huge deal? No, but it's something different and a good reminder that even the little guys out there have opportunities to scoop up content.

Of course, FilmRise has not confirmed it will stream Unsolved Mysteries on its own flagship SVOD, only naming Amazon Prime as one outlet. So, yeah, I guess the rich get richer, too.

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