Sunday, June 23, 2019

Streaming Video Power Rankings #166

1) Amazon Prime Video: For one thing, I have been diving back into Corner Gas. However, the service added and re-added a bunch of trashy and old movies this week, and it's good to take a look at the vast (yet impenetrable) library and remind yourself that Prime has movies like Soul Brothers of Kung Fu and Kill Them All and Come Back Alone.

Best of all for Prime, its new series Good Omens was targeted by a Christian group...that blamed NETFLIX! It gets the publicity and a good chuckle out of the whole thing.

2) Netflix: Kudos to Netflix for working out a nice little stunt with Amazon to take advantage of the Good Omens 'controversy. More importantly, I saw some great Cheers this week. I also think it added an old anime that was some kind of big deal.

3) YouTube: There were tons of great promos and ads uploaded this week, including:

 Plus the Ben Casey shows are still there!

4) Watch TCM; I mean, the fact that I watched a short subject called Famous Boners isn't the only reason it's rated so high this week, but it doesn't hurt. Be tankful I didn't rank it 6 and 9.

5) Boomerang: The 0 a month I am paying for it now (they haven't yanked it yet) continues to provide superior value. In addition to watching some more Raod Runner toons (thanks, Top Cat James, for the recommendations), I am enjoying the goofy latter-day Flintstones

6) Hulu: It's quiet this "offseason," but it's good to hear the Hulu head honcho say he expects that under Disney, the service will expand its original content.

Or is it? I'd rather hear, "We're going to spend insane amounts of money snapping up all the archival TV content that isn't accounted for," but I realize I'm in the minority.

7) NBC: Punky Brewster season 2 really got that Very Special Episode train rollin', closing with the memorable Challenger disaster story. Can season 3 top it? Am I really going to watch season 3 of Punky Brewster?

8) Pub-D-Hub: I was already feeling good about this scrappy channel when I listened to the second episode of its podcast (I mean, it has a podcast!), but then it dropped an overdue but meaty update today.

9) WWE Network: Give the Network major credit for unveiling a collector's Holy Grail, the 1986 Crockett Cup, in longer form than anyone would have expected.

10) Our Miss Brooks: Yes, a channel offering all "available" episodes. I think their definition of "available" may not gibe with that of the program's copyright holders, so enjoy these while you can!

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Streaming Power Rankings #165: Special Father's Day edition

Happy Father's Day, everyone! Since I happen to be a dad myself, and not just the father of this blog, I am going to be indulgent this week and throw out much of my normal scientific, reasoned approach and rely on impulse a bit more for these rankings. Next week we will get back to the analytics-driven approach to which you are accustomed.

1) YouTube: June's YouTuber of the month should not be someone who posts videos of herself playing video games, nor kids opening toys, nor someone showing off a shopping "haul." The honor goes to the good citizen who is uploading

2) Amazon Prime Video: I have been making an effort to utilize Prime Video more lately, including seeing originals like Bosch and Good Omens plus oldies like Yancy Derringer and The Joey Bishop Show. I don't see great reviews for Too Old to Die Young, but it's an intriguing original, though I was dismayed to learn it starred Miles Teller.

3) Netflix: Jessica Jones is back, and there are a lot of new originals that don't interest me, but I enjoyed--wait, I didn't actually see a lot on here this week. My kids and I did, though! Goosebumps 2 is surprisingly entertaining.

4) Hulu: It made a big deal with Lionsgate to get exclusive post-theatrical windows for its feature films starting in 2020. It already got some of these rights thanks to a separate deal with Epix, but now Epix loses the rights. The thing nobody seems to be reporting is how this affects Amazon Prime, which got some of the same rights, I think, due to ITS deal with Epix.

I guess what I'm saying is this is a win for Hulu and maybe even hurts a potential competitor or two.

5) Boomerang: Remember last week when I said I canceled my subscription? Well, I am on borrowed time, I guess, but still have access to it. So I watched some goofy stuff this week like Richie Rich cartoons. I complained about the 4/99/month rate, but my current price is outstanding.

6) Shout! Factory TV: I want to give a nod to Shout! for finally figuring out how to get its Roku channel back up and running. Yes, a lot of the material is available elsewhere (and w/o ad breaks if you find it on Amazon), but this is still a tremendous collection of free content.

7) Martin Kane, Private Eye: Yes, an entire Roku channel devoted to presenting as many episodes of the 1950s TV show as possible. There will be dozens of new Roku channels added in June that are more glamorous, but not many that I will watch as much.

8) DAZN/ESPN+:  Because I forgot to rank it last week, when it had tons of buzz after airing the stunning Ruiz-Wilder boxing upset, and this week, ESPN+ had the Tyson Fury fight.

9) Cinemax: They say no publicity is bad publicity. At the beginning of the week, chatter had it that Cinemax would be basically a throw-in in the upcoming Warner Media streamer. I thought that was bad publicity because it proved how inessential the channel was. Yet now Cinemax has a new Carla Gugino series (Jett) which, if I squint hard enough, almost sorta sounds like Karen Sisco. I'm gonna have to squint really hard to see it since I don;t see myself having Cinemax anytime in the near future, but, hey, I am thinking about Cinemax.

10) Showtime: Similarly, the acclaim for the series finale of Billions and the premiere of City on a Hill has me actually thinking about Showtime for a change.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Streaming Power Rankings #164

We're a day late and a dollar short, and by that I mean a dollar short for some of these streaming services out there charging too much money. Let's get into it:

1) HBO: I personally caught up with the last season of Veep, and I think the show went out on a high note and never got the acclaim it deserved (though it's certainly not for everyone). it was just an outstanding achievement all around for everyone involved with the series and the TV highlight of my week.

Meanwhile, I personally don't know if I can bring myself to watch Chernobyl, which has somehow become a bit of a buzz-generating sensation for HBO and a reminder that you can never count them least not until AT&T gets a chance to ruin it.

2) Boomerang: I saw one of the funniest Road Runner cartoons ever the other day, and I may have to re-evaluate my lifelong lukewarm attitude towards that series. I guess what I m trying to say is that I am saying bye-bye to Boomerang after a month, but I enjoyed it, and the service provides more value each month because it isn't rotating titles out. I still think it should be a buck or two less a month, though.

3) YouTube: We live in a world in which I can talk about an obscure 1980s ABC sitcom on the podcast, then, bam, find that someone uploaded an episode. It's also a world in which one of the fine members of our BOTNS Facebook group, inspired by one of our past episodes, can share a link to two episodes of a 1980s Canadian game show

This is a good world.

4) Amazon Prime Video: It debuted a brand-new Jonas brothers movie...but I decided not to penalize it because I have been watching Good Omens and Family Ties.

5) Netflix: I thought Netflix uploaded a lot of nonsense this week, but on the other hand, I enjoyed some of its original comedy efforts. The new sketch show I Think You Should Leave is way out there but smart to get in and out in less than 20 minutes each episode, and I enjoyed the Bash Brothers "tribute" from Lonely Island, though it was a bit too long. Maybe IT should have gotten in and out in less than 20 minutes. Still, a series of rap videos about Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire? You have to respect that.

6) NBC: Again, don't sleep on this one. Enjoy the free stuff on here before Comcast figures out how to take it away and/or charge for it. As for me, hey, not one, but TWO very special episodes of Punky Brewster this week. It kind of makes me feel warm and fuzzy. Much better than watching Chernobyl, which would make me feel warm and glowy.

7) TuneIn: Unlike Slacker, it doesn't require a log-in, so it provided a nice quick background music fix for me while writing this weekend.

8) Watch TCM: I keep reading all the articles about AT&T figuring out how to price its new massive streamer with HBO on board, but the real crown jewel is TCM, and the one property a bunch of people who don't currently pay for streaming video might be willing to look at. I am still hoping AT7 doesn't--see a theme this week--screw it up, but on the other hand a standalone app without authentication and with an expanded on-demand library would be a boon.

Keep those short subjects coming, TCM. This weekend I liked A Glimpse of Argentina and a Robert Benchley short, among others.

9) MLB TV: Why is it the Pirates keep showing up on the free game of the day? Does someone like the uniforms? The great season of Josh Bell? Continued inducement to get ME to subscribe?

10) Locast: I haven't watched much of the NBA Finals, but what I have has been courtesy of Locast.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

What I Want to See from the Streamers in 2019: Part 3

I have neglected this series of posts in recent months, but a lot has happened already in 2019, and I get a feeling that more and more old series will be spread around the various streaming video sites as the year rolls on. Here are my personal picks for great (but realistic) adds for some more OTT channels:

Pluto TV: Pluto is a great little free service, and with Viacom's recent investment, it could go a little deeper than just adding new channels devoted to, say, Wahlburgers. Last year it added shows like Charlie's Angels to its on demand library. Unfortunately, only season 4 is available right now. It's a shame that these free services don't just get the whole series at once.

Right now I'm thinking of an almost-orphaned show that is long out of print on DVD and has never been a presence on a major streaming site (as far as I know). You can find the episodes online, but Pluto might make a nice home for...Moonlighting. Just make sure it's the whole thing so that in 8 months we don't find ourselves with only season 5 available.

Boomerang: As long as Boomerang is going to sort everything by character instead of recreating the way the cartoons originally aired, I want to see "collections" devoted to some of my favorite characters. I want to see the Snagglepuss 'toons on here, but I think my number one pick is the complete Breezly and Sneezly so I don't have to buy the Peter Potamus Show DVD set to get them.

And this OTT service is all about using the stuff it already owns, but I'd love to see Boomerang step up and make a deal to stream all those Jay Ward and Total Television cartoons from the 1960s: Rocky and Bullwinkle, Underdog, Tennessee Tuxedo, King Leonardo...These have been a mess in syndication, and the DVD releases cleaned things up a little bit, but I'd love to see them all in one convenient streaming location.

Roku Channel: Roku has an interesting array of licensed content from different sources, so I am going to assume just about anything is possible. I have never seen Three's Company streaming anywhere, and while its profile has shrunk in the last decade, it was a huge hit in its day with a ton of nostalgic value.

Tubi TV: A year ago, I wouldn't have guessed the likes of Magnum P.I. and The A-Team would show up on this service. However, Tubi's growth has been slow but steady, and its recent library deal with Universal is really beefing up its catalogue. So how about adding one other high-profile classic from that studio, one I didn't see mentioned in news reports of the agreement?

That's right, I'm talking Quincy M.E.!  Make it happen, Tubi!

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Streaming Video Power Rankings #163

If you're wondering why Shout! Factory TV is never on this list anymore, it's because the Roku channel hasn't been fully functional for months. Word is they are working on it and have a stripped-down version up now while they figure it out. Fortunately, a lot of their good stuff is available on Prime and on Tubi.

Here we go with 10 channels that do work on Roku!

1) Watch TCM: If I get access to this at my own place again, I may never leave the house. My girlfriend and I had a great time watching the short subjects on here. Who know a Technicolor dramatic adventure of the Royal Canadian Mountain Police could be such a riot?

2) Boomerang: I am having a blast watching the old toons on here, but I had committed to getting only a month. However, I kept an open mind in case they added something awesome for June that would make me change my mind. Well, the good news is Boomerang added 3 new shows this week. the bad news is, it's Camp Lazlo, My Gym Partner Is a Monkey, and Codename Kids Next Door--new series that don't interest me. I'm glad to see Boomerang adding stuff, though, and not constantly removing it like DC Universe does.

3) Pub-D-Hub: I actually spent an hour of my life listening to a podcast explaining the structural channels of Pub-D-Hub...and I loved it! I got an explanation as to why the content adds are less frequent now (partly it's because of the work they put into revamping the channel due to Roku's changes), and, hey, I just like that they put it out there.

4) Roku Channel: An impressive set of additions for June, including the entire run of Tales of Wells Fargo, some of Just Shoot Me (Not my cup of tea, but not overexposed elsewhere), and movies like Die Hard, Gravity, Unforgiven, and Platoon.

5) Netflix: Not a lot interests me in the new originals--oh, how I wish David Letterman had better  guests--but there is a nice little batch of older movies coming this weekend, particularly from Warner Brothers (like Network and Cabaret), and I got some value from the old TV.

6) Prime Video: Expect this to rise in the ratings if Good Omens is any good, as I plan to watch some of that soon. In the meantime, I finally started Bosch (so far, so good), and I got back into Real People. Why? Uh...maybe I will have an answer in another item or two.

7) Hulu: It debuted a Dr. Ruth documentary, but I am all about Brooklyn Nine-Nine right now.

8) NBC: Still don't have a good excuse for watching more Real People. However, this makes me humble and prevents me from being judgmental about NBC's free app, which added a bunch of stuff recently--much of it reality programming from its family of cable channels. Now, I don't have any interest in that sort of thing, but plenty of people do, and so kudos to NBC for making it available. And who am I to judge after watching not only Real People, but also--on this very app--Charles in Charge.

9) DC Universe: It really should be higher this week in the wake of a successful Doom Patrol season and strong reviews for the debuting Swamp Thing, but it's very disappointing that no other new material is coming in June. There just isn't enough here for the average person (unless they are really into the digital comics) to get this each month at the current pricepoint.

10) MLB TV: I have a semi-formal rule to rank MLB whenever it shows the Pirates as the free game of the day, even when the Buccos lose, so MLB squeaks in here again.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Streaming Video Power Rankings #162

Happy Memorial Day, everyone!

1) HBO: NOW what? Yes, HBO wants to "replace" Game of Thrones, but let's give it one more week to bask in the success of the series. I think a lot of people hated the finale, but they watched.

2) Netflix: Historical Roasts sounds interesting, and the latest seasons of the CW shows have all migrated here. Plus Outlander coming here is a pretty big deal, right? the new What/If looks like it could be horrible but maybe fun horrible. For me it was all about the comfort food of old sitcoms, but it was a decent week for Netflix overall.

3) Boomerang: I don't need access to Huck Hound 12 months a year, but it's nice to have it every now and then. I'm hoping for one really cool new cartoon added before I let it go in a week or two.

4) Hulu: I really wanted to see Live in Front of a Studio Audience bur couldn't see it live. Enter...Hulu! Ramy continues to get good buzz. Hulu seems to be steadily building something. Will Disney continue this or will it introduce some radical changes?

5) Pub-D-Hub: After a spotty few months of updates, the PUB is back on track (I watched a Boston Blackie episode this week) and even launched a podcast of sorts for its customers.

6) Amazon Prime Video: A slow week for adds, but I enjoyed some Yancy Derringer and Make Room for Daddy.

7) YouTube: Did I mention that a few weeks ago someone uploaded tons of old This Week in Baseball episodes? Don't all go at once. Let's not call too much attention to it.

8) My Retro Flix: The greatest channel I kind of don't want everyone to know about has added a handful of movies for the spring.

9) Starz: If you're interested in seeing The Jeffersons, the original, here's where you need to go.

10) Sony Crackle: And here is the streaming home of All in the Family--unfortunately, only the first two seasons.