Saturday, December 24, 2016

Streaming Video Power Rankings: Week 39 (Special Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays Edition)

1) PIX11: I was set to knock this one back down a few notches until I saw they uploaded a special "holiday message" from Richard N. Hughes, the guy who did the editorials. It was a classy job, referring to the broader themes of Christmas while being respectful of other religions. The only thing missing: Hughes saying, "That's our opinion. We'd like to hear yours."

Then it got even better as PIX11 added Yule Log footage and a "lost" 1982 Christmas episode of the WPIX favorite kids series The Magic Garden. Boy, has this channel delivered for me this season.

2) Amazon Prime: I enjoyed the second season of Red Oak and still have a lot I want to get to on Prime, including the animated adaptation of classic book The Snowy Day. I guess not watching Soupy Sales and stuff like All-Star Commercials would free me up for that. I also tip my hat to Prime for carrying Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July, which, uh, I actually forgot that I owned as a bonus feature on DVD.

3) Netflix: I am still irritated that I have to "bunch of shows at a time"* Columbo and catch up on 30 for 30 because it's leaving at the end of the month, but, you know, I really am enjoying that stuff.

I can't deny that Netflix added some interesting originals, like  that new Guillermo Del Toro series, the Eric McCormack time travel series, The Oa is getting some buzz, and Captain America: Winter Soldier premieres this weekend as a nice present for subscribers. It loses a spot for having its Twitter account hacked, though.

4) YouTube: My favorite uploaders are really bringing it again lately, delivering tons of vintage Christmas commercials. Also, it was nice to have a discussion about holiday songs and be able to summon them on cue.

5) Hulu: The good news is that a lot of those Disney animated movies that left Netflix months ago are back! The bad news, if you only have Netflix, is that they are on Hulu. With all that Disney/Netflix hype still lingering, it's weird to see the likes of Pocahontas and Mulan on Hulu, but there you have it. Not only is just one SVOD service inadequate, one SVOD is inadequate even to watch one company's movies. Also premiering this week; Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. It's enough to make me less angry that Miami Vice is leaving next week.

6) Shout! Factory TV: There is a lot of great holiday-themed content here. Just in the classic TV comedy category, there are episodes of Dobie Gillis, Father Knows Best, and Dennis the Menace available, and I wish Shout! would collect them into a special category so people could find them.

Shout! deserves a high rating if only for the remarkable Dick Cavett Show I saw this week. Author Anthony Burgess is the first guest, followed by Wally Cox, and then Jimmy Dean walks out and the fun really begins. Dean seems in a weird mood and ready to spar or at least wind everybody up, and Cox starts making comments in the middle of Dean's interview. It's a hilarious, fascinating segment and another reminder of what a rewarding time capsule the growing Cavett collection is.

7) TuneIn: There is a nice commercial-free Christmas music station streaming here. It's based in Arizona, like my beloved Deep Oldies. Arizona=the new epicenter of quality radio.

8) ChristmasFlix: One more week in the top 10 for my favorite free Christmas-centric Roku channel. I watched a commercial-free (except for the original sponsor messages) episode of The George Burns Show and intend to check out more this weekend.

9) The Best Christmas Channel Ever: Another free Roku channel, marred somewhat by a long loading sequence but offering a lot of content not available on Pub-D-Hub nor on ChristmasFlix. It's definitely an asset this season.

10) SeeSo: I haven't checked in with this channel in ages, but you have to give them credit for premiering an Andy Richter Christmas special. I don't know if it's any good, but I hope it is for those who have SeeSo!

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