Saturday, July 30, 2016

Streaming Video Power Rankings: Week 18

1) Hulu: It's still slow in Huluville, but they did something really cool last week: They offered a free preview of Showtime with full seasons of shows and the whole current Showtime movie library (or pretty close to it). It was way better than the cable free previews because Hulu's controls are so much better than on demand. Bravo, Hulu! (I mean "well, done," not "get more Bravo shows, Hulu")

2) Netflix: "Stranger Things" is really cool! At least, the first episode is. I look forward to watching each installment weekly, the way God intended us to watch television. I might be able to get my kids to tear themselves away from Disney Channel reruns to check out the new series based on the movie "Home." There's a reality show about college football that I heard was decent. It's official that the "MST3K" revival will be on Netflix with a generous helping of episodes. A new trailer for the upcoming Ricky Gervais "Office" spinoff movie debuted. "Bokack Horseman" season 3 premiered last week.

As usual, all the buzz is with Netflix. I think they are throwing away a hell of a lot of money on stuff I don't like, but I admire the original programming diversity--just in sitcoms alone, they provide "Kimmy Schmidt," "The Ranch," and "Fuller House." What other outlet offers that kind of range these days?

3) YouTube: Where WWE Network fears to tread (providing old content), YouTube uploaders rush in.

4)  Pub-D-Hub: Sometimes it pulls in stuff I never heard of or just totally off the wall content, like this week's add of an old John Chancellor report on British teenagers. Pre-Beatles, but you got plenty of Tommy Steele (or at least his manager)!

5) Shout! Factory TV: I'm hoping for a nice fat update on Monday, but in the meantime, the MST3K shorts are great time wasters.

6) TuneIn: One of the better radio aggregators on Roku, it has some great stations, including Alan Haber's Pure Pop  and an Arizona-based "Deep Oldies" station that, believe it or not, actually plays some deep oldies. I strongly recommend TuneIn, but one thing it lacks is an automatically refreshing track identifier, which is annoying if you just want to leave a station on and not have to refresh to see what's playing.

7) Crackle: Another week, another "Fantasy Island," but a rather lackluster one. Still, Crackle isn't crashing my Roku anymore, so it's got that going for it, which is good. Plus I just noticed that it has some "That's My Mama" reruns. I know it's a free service, but I'd really like it to offer more full seasons and not batches of 5 or 10.

8) Warner Archive Instant: I dropped it, and it is on another cold streak of no content (I thought it might add something in time to brag about it at Comic Con), but it seems cold to drop it all the way out. That'll be next week.

9) Amazon Prime: Hey, a "Man in the High Castle" Season 2 trailer! I might have to sign up for a month of Prime once season 2 is complete.

10) SeeSo: The other night, I tried to watch two things and got "video unavailable" both times. This service is still unreliable.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Vault of Coolness: The good old days: When an unknown adult male and a young boy could bond over guns

Ah, the innocent 1950s--a simpler time when if a fella wanted to escape a roomful of pesky girls at a birthday party, he could wander through the house into a den and find a sympathetic adult male.

In "Leave It to Beaver" episode "Party Invitation," the Beav does just this, meeting the birthday girl's dad. Played by Lyle Talbot, this friendly figure offers him refuge away from the gals in his den.

And here's a great thing about that era: It was always a den, not a man cave. The man of the house didn't have to make a big show out of building a separate room for himself or taking over the garage and stuffing it with pinball machines and flat-screen TVs. No, each suburban house had a DEN, it was understood that the man would retire there after dinner, and he would pack it with cigars, animal heads, maybe a pennant from his alma mater...and guns!

Just look how Beaver and this man bond over a shared fascination of (possibly loaded) weapons!

"I think about this one when Mr. Campbell asks me to redo my quarterly report."

"Now, now, son. That's not a good idea.. You might get your jacket dirty."

"Now, Beaver, these are dangerous, which is I why I always keep them in this unlocked cabinet."

"I think of this one every time Myrna complains about my lodge meetings." 


I don't even think Ward has such a tender moment with the Beaver in this episode.

"Maybe Myrna and I could try one more time for a son."

File this in the Scenes You Would Never See Today folder.

Monday, July 25, 2016

TV Time Bonus: The Munsters...IN COLOR!

I fell way behind on sharing some screencaps from my recent (is it still considered recent? It was this year, anyway) TV Time look at movie adaptations of classic TV shows. Today let's take a look at the Munsters in glorious Technicolor.

Not a bad movie, all in all

Herman suave as ever on the Munsters' boat trip to England
Grandpa and Lily looking good as well

These next pics just show the colors in the movie. Plus Herman's spectacular pajamas.

Poor Pat Priest was replaced by Debbie Watson because they wanted someone younger. Priest was pushing 30 at the time.
Now the moment we've all been waiting for: The romantic lead of the picture, the dashing, the elegant, the debonair...Mister Robert Pine!

Did I mention he affects an accent, too?
One of the highlights of the film is the big road race:

Herman Munster = One baaaaaad dude
Time for the young lovers to exchange farewells...for now.

"Ah, Marilyn, I'm so glad you aren't 30 and blonde like I was afraid you'd be."

"What the..."

Watching the young lovers is the proud uncle or...other kind of uncle?

"If Ponch is behind this, I'm gonna kill him!"

Let's go with proud uncle, but this kind of disturbs me.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Streaming Video Power Rankings: Week 17

Well, Wall Street clearly does not take stock in these rankings, as the share price of Netflix plummeted despite last week's #1 spot. Hey, Wall Street, I don't take stock in YOU. I mean that literally. I really need an investment strategy. But anyway...

1) Netflix: Why did Netflix stock decline? Because it didn't do as well as was forecasted. It added 1.68 million subscribers last quarter. Think about that. But "Wall Street" forecasted more, so increased revenue and growth wasn't good enough because it wasn't ENOUGH enough.

Hey, wouldn't it be cool if  the original "Wall Street" was on Netflix so we could all go watch it now? It's not.

So why is Netflix #1? Because I am defying Wall Street and the MAN, folks! Also because it garnered Emmy nominations for various projects, "Stranger Things" continues to get good buzz, (including a strong thumbs up from my sister), plus I got back into "Cheers" reruns this week.

2) Warner Archive Instant: One glorious final week high in the rankings on the strength of how entertaining "The Lieutenant" is. Will WAI get its act together and entice me back? Let's see if it adds anything in time for San Diego Comic Con, as it did last year with the Golden Harvest film titles. Adding something it can tout, like 'Gilligan's Planet" or even "Super Globetrotters" or "Tarzan" or "Shazam!" would be a nice signal that someone is still paying attention.

3) Hulu: Summer doldrums continue, but I'm curious about the "Showtime Free Preview" starting Friday. Last time, I believe it was just a collection of debut episodes you could sample. Hulu is coasting, but it still provides better value than many other sites.

4) Shout! Factory TV: When I drop WAI, it's gonna be prime time for Shout again. This week it was all about variety for me, with Cavett and "Black Omnibus."

5) YouTube: All I'll say is there has been a lot of great sports content on here lately. I get more than my money's worth (0$) each week.

6) SeeSo: Two things make me happy about SeeSo this week. One, it is picking up the pace on original content, with the new series "Harmontown" the latest example. Two, my free beta trial has apparently been extended and I will be watching more stuff on here for a while. I have to admit the second thing makes me happier than the first.

7) Pub-D-Hub: Unspectacular update this week...but still an update!

8) Crackle: Hey, guess what? Crackle is still annoying with its auto-start ("Comedians in Coffee" right now), but it may have redeemed itself somewhat by adding "Fantasy Island." Sadly, it's only 5 episodes and not even the first 5 in order, but it's something. It's something I have no business watching, but I did, and I got through an entire episode without a reboot, a buffer, or any interruptions beside the frequent commercials. I think Crackle may be making progress!

9) MLB.TV: The Pirates are in the Free Game of the Day tonight, and longtime readers know what that means. So do first-time readers after I tell them: It means MLB makes it into the top 10!

10) Weather Underground: It's been very hot and very humid. For some reason I get a kick out of turning it here and seeing a number. I know it's hot, but HOW hot? Kudos again to WU's unassuming Roku channel.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Tom and Jerry: Gene Deitch Collection--Review up at ClassicFlix! (Shameless self-promotion dept.)

A bit of shameless self-promotion, if you will allow me: My latest review at ClassicFlix examines the divisive Gene Deitch era of Tom and Jerry. This excellent set collects all the "episodes" Deitch's studio supervised in the 1960s and includes extras that contextualize the run.

Are these the best Tom and Jerry cartoons? No, but in many ways they are more interesting to me than the Chuck Jones shorts that followed. These ones are low-budget and sometimes low-animation, but as I say in the piece, they are worth seeing.

I posted this interesting screencap a while back, saying that these toons are not known for their subtlety:

This comes from "Mouse Into Space," which provides an...interesting setting for the boys:

One solid aspect of this series is the inventive title cards:

And some of the backgrounds are sparse, but some are unique and even kind of cool:

And probably the most popular of the Deitch series is the self-mocking "Tom and Jerry Cartoon Kit":

Yet these cartoons can also frustrate. The characters look a little off sometimes:

And there are gags that don't make sense, like in "Landing Stripling." The idea is that Jerry and this bird are foiling Tom's plan to flush them out, so they pinch the hose...

But it somehow affects the other end of the hose, where the water is coming out of some unknown pipe under the ground.

 There are also elaborate setups that don't pay off, like this one in the same short:

Yet for all its quirks, these are definitely worth watching at least once, and Warner Brothers did a great job with the collection. Check out my review for a lot more words and a lot less pictures, and tell 'em Cultureshark sent ya!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Brooks on Books: Filmish

"Filmish: A Graphic Journey Through Film" by Edward Ross is an amazing read. The Scottish writer/artist uses a graphical storytelling format (it's like a comic book!) to explore film theory. It's like all the highbrow parts of your college Intro to Film Study but with a ton of kick-ass illustrations.

Actually, I am being way too flip describing the book like that. This is a compelling and enlightening work with much to appeal to novices and scholars alike. Ross provides a clever structure by looking at the medium through 7 distinct aspects, each one given its own chapter: eye, body, technology, sets, time, power and ideology, and voice and language. The non-chronological approach is a great way to dive into the possibilities of the medium.

"Filmish" reminds me of Scott McCloud's seminal works on comic books--a narrator whom we see in the pages takes us through the "story" and offers much food for thought while explaining the foundations of film theory. Ross covers everything from Hollywood to Nollywood and includes a broad range of cinematic works in his panels. He scatters interesting bits of trivia throughout as well. There is meticulous documentation for everything so that we not only see where the quotes come from, but if we don't recognize a shot or person in the artwork, we can easily find out its origin.

I think even serious cineastes who know the works cited here will appreciate the way Ross synthesizes all this material. Newcomers should get a real kick out of it. I found the chapter on power and ideology particularly provocative. Ross doesn't try to force his own opinions through, but he does ask many questions while challenging the reader to consider all sorts of issues that are easy to overlook when sitting in front of the tube with a bowl of popcorn.

I should emphasize, though, that while the book covers some serious ground with its discussion of issues like sexism and racism, and it draws on many academic perspectives, it's a lot of fun. I highly recommend "Filmish" to lovers of movies, comics, and especially both.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Streaming Video Power Rankings: Week 16

I know, I know. If I get any later with these, my week 17 is gonna come out after my week 18. Let's get to it:

1) Netflix: All the buzz is with Netflix this week: "Stranger Things" debuts to some good reviews. "Word Party," a Jim Henson Company production for the preschool set, is also new. Netflix launched some kind of weird mixtape emulator thingy called Flixtape (Jury is out on the execution, but the concept of enabling users to share lists of titles is promising). Perhaps best of all, Netflix calmed anyone who was worried by the somewhat breathless coverage of a recent court ruling ("Sharing Netflix passwords can be a federal crime!") by saying we could (Netflix and) chill as long as we don't sell it.

Say what you will about how the company is spending its development money--and I will say the new Chuck Lorre pot comedy sounds like an atrocious waste of my subscription fees (I ain't a free rider)--but this is not an outfit taking it easy. It's a good week for Netflix.

2) Warner Archive Instant: I'm basically using WAI to rotate between 3 different TV shows, but they are all so entertaining, I am getting my money's worth, though I will likely not renew next week. WAI did something sneaky this week. The number of recently added titles changed, and I got excited thinking they really added something, but they just cleaned up the list by deleting a bunch of movies they added last month.

3) Pub-D-Hub: Last week's update included an episode of one of my all-time favorite obscure shows, "It's a Great Life"--an episode with Sheldon Leonard, no less. That's enough to earn a high spot in a slow week.

4) Hulu: All the buzz is elsewhere lately. What did Hulu add this week? "Difficult People"? "East Los High"? "Billy on the Street"?

5) Amazon Prime: Prime Day was a big deal, but it didn't have much impact on Prime Video.

6) YouTube: When I see news of big-shot musicians "going after" YouTube, it makes me want to support YouTube.

7) Shout Factory TV: "Black Omnibus" kicks ass, and it's a real treat to see it on here. I wonder how many people are even aware it's streaming for free.

8) SeeSo: My trial period ended, and I did not renew, but I will miss having it. One of my dozens of posts I want to get around to writing is a review of the service.

9) Pluto TV: Aggregator of live streams with a selection that is much lower on Roku. It still offers the chance to flip between various news feeds, and while many of them are as worthless as much of what I get on cable TV, it is nice to have some kind of live news presence on Roku. That's one thing lacking for cord cutters.

10) Soulscreen: A new Roku channel offering a bunch of old public domain movies with "African-American" themes. Yeah, you can get all of it elsewhere, and it's no frills, but it's free, and I haven't seen a free service with this kind of focus before.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

On the Radio: Everybody's...something for the weekend

On the Friday before Independence Day, I was listening to the radio when I caught a "Big Riff of the Day" contest on a local classic rock station. The DJ played a snippet of Eric Clapton's "Cocaine," and the idea was listeners would call in to identify the song. It's a fun little contest.

What struck me was her comment after playing the brief clip. "I know it's an easy one," she said, "especially with everyone's mind on the weekend." Now, I THINK she meant she was giving everyone an easy song because everybody was distracted by it being Friday before a big holiday. Yeah, I'm pretty sure that was the idea.

But my first thought was, "Is she saying this particular song is easy because everyone is already gearing up to do some cocaine this weekend?" Like, "Yeah, it's a 3-day weekend! USA! Cocaine bender!"

I don't think that was the meaning. I'm not sure, though.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Casablanca Week(ish): Would a [GASP] sequel have worked?

I saved the most controversial for last. Would a sequel to the greatest movie of all time have worked? The correct answer is no because we all hate sequels and think it's sacrilege to consider them, especially to a perfect and timeless film with a satisfying conclusion.


Well, let's think about this for a minute. There were quasi-sequels (quasi is Latin for "not really one at all") like "Passage to Marseilles," an attempt by Warner Brothers to recapture the magic by getting the band back together, including the star, director, and several key cast members from "Casablanca." WB tried to resurrect the original in a weekly series format with "Casablanca," an hour drama starring Charles McGraw. In the 1980s, someone had the bright idea to try yet again to present the previous adventures (i.e. pre-Laszlo) of Rick Blaine, this time with David Soul!

None of these really worked, although "Passage" has its moments and I would love, love, love to see the full run of the 1955 series from Warner Archive. I will say I was pleasantly surprised by "Carrotblanca" with the great Bugs Bunny, but overall remaking, rebooting, or otherwise extending the franchise seems a silly idea.

And yet...

Part of me can't help but wonder. The movie has the perfect ending, but though we don't need to resurrect the Rick and Ilsa romance, maybe, just maybe, we could see the exploits of Rick and Louie?

Actually, that sounds like a big risk, doesn't it? The characters should live on in our imagination forever. I don't know if I need to see their witty banter translated to a more earnest setting, stripped of the air of cynicism that makes their exchanges in "Casablanca" crackle.

However, one of the best things about "Casablanca" is its sheer number of intriguing supporting characters, many of whom are brought to life not due to details in the screenplay, but due to the vivid performances by the great character actors. I do not want nor need to see Rick, Renault, Ilsa, and Laszlo again, but I would like to see some of the others. I think a sequel featuring the supporting players might--I'm hedging here, but it still seems crazy to write this--might have worked.

I know the idea of a "Casablanca" sequel without Humphrey Bogart sounds as ludicrous as an "Independence Day" without Will Smith or a "Speed" without Keanu Reeves. But go back to the 1940s, come up with a decent script (because it was such a snap getting the original "Casablanca" written, right?), and you have potential.

What you do is you focus on "Rick's Café," not on Rick. Ferrari owns the place, and he keeps it as a separate entity rather than razing it to funnel everyone to the Blue Parrot. We know that Sam is staying and getting a cut, so Dooley Wilson is on board. Assuming they're not rounded up for their resistance ties when Renault leaves the area, Sasha and Carl are still around. Even bit players like Emil the croupier and Yvonne (Rick's former fling) are interesting on screen and could have roles. And the dependable John Qualen and Curt Bois would be free to reprise their minor characters. How about Abdul the doorman? He has little to do in the original movie, but he is played by Dan Seymour, who took Sydney Greenstreet's role as Ferrari in the short-lived TV series, and presumably could do something of note in a sequel.

It's undeniable that there is a certain magic about "Casablanca," and it would have been foolish to attempt to replicate it with a blatant sequel. I still kind of wish they had tried. I just can't discard the notion that even without the big wheels, there was enough talent left to carry a compelling movie. It would not have been an all-time classic, but an unpretentious, smaller-scale flick? Hey, it just might have worked.

And if Warner Brothers had actually tried this and decided Greenstreet wasn't a big enough star to headline, you know who it could have called? That's right...George Raft!

Friday, July 8, 2016

Streaming Video Power Rankings: Week 15

1) Netflix: Most of the good news and buzz seems to be with Netflix this week. They even made a deal with Concast--I mean Comcast--that should benefit--who am I kidding, it'll benefit them, first and foremost, but maybe it helps consumers for a little while, too. Plus "The Big Short" debuted and the CW streaming deal was officially announced.

2) Shout Factory TV:  They deserve another week at #2. They have quietly assembled a great selection of good-quality MST3K episodes, including shorts, some of which I enjoyed this week.

3) YouTube: The good news is, my kids were able to show me the new Meghan Trainor video quickly and easily. The bad news is,  my kids were able to show me the new Meghan Trainor video quickly and easily.

4) Pub-D-Hub: They included several July-4-themed offerings in this week's update, which was a great touch. Why doesn't Warner Instant do that?

5) Warner Archive Instant: A rare glitch-free week, and they uploaded another few dozen movies, which sounds great, but I think it's all recycled content and nothing new to the service.

6) Hulu: Slow week for Hulu, and I saw a lot of comments from disappointed CW fans thinking of canceling their Plus memberships.

7) Amazon Prime: Snagged rights to a bunch of  PBS Kids programs and some vague package of "classic Warner Brothers movies" which appears to go back to the late 1970s without any surprises. Still, it's something.

8) SeeSo: I'm intrigued by new standup series "Night Train with Wyatt Cenec," but I will probably be dropping this one when my free trial expires next week.

9) MLB.TV: Because as I write this, I'm watching the Pirates play the Cubs for free. I'm easy like that.

10) WWE Network: Got a lot of praise for a preview special of its upcoming Cruiserweight Classic series, but basically stopped uploading new stuff this week. Might tempt me to get a month if it shows signs of adding some more vintage material.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Casablancs Week(ish): Should Rick really have stuck his neck out for Ugarte?

One of the pivotal early scenes in "Casablanca" is designed to show protagonist Rick Blaine's apparent indifference to the affairs of others (read: strict neutrality). When Peter Lorre's seedy Ugarte attempts to flee the police, he clutches Rick in desperation and shouts, "Help me!" Rick tells him he's a fool for trying to escape and lets Renault's men haul him away to the clink (and, I should point out, to certain death--the only question being whether he "committed suicide or died trying to escape."

We are supposed to think Rick is callous in this scene because he "betrays" this guy:

Surrrre. Nothing shady about this one. Just a good ol' wholesome black marketer who, it should be noted, just killed two people in order to snag the letters of transit they carried.
It's clear in their brief scene that Rick views the opportunistic Ugarte with contempt, recognizing him as a man without a code. Ironically, Ugarte sees that same quality in Rick and therefore decides to trust HIM with the letters of transit.
It doesn't end well for Ugarte, who is interrupted in the middle of a good illegal gambling session by the Vichy authorities:

Can I cash out my chips?


Look, I am not denying that Ugarte is in for it and is not about to receive a fair trial with Clarence Darrow representing him or anything, but he instigates a shootout on Rick's premises.

Here he is calmly laying out the case for Rick to assist him by lining up decent legal representation:

What is Rick supposed to do here? Stuff him in his pocket with the letters of transit? Say a magic word and transport him to Lisbon? Switch outfits with him and try to trick everyone into thinking each is the other (actually, that one would be great)?
No, Ugarte gets caught by the armed men pursuing him from FEET away, as was bound to happen:

This is a significant sequence but an odd one. Sure, it shows Rick's "neutrality," but it's not as if there is any alternative Rick can execute in this situation that will make things different. And it's certainly not as though Ugarte is an innocent. We later see Rick help some actual innocents, or at least a lot closer to it.  Still, I understand the rationale behind this whole scene.
What bugs me is this smug prick lurking in the background: 

This is the guy who comes up and sneers, "When they come to get me, Rick, I hope you'll be more of a help."
Again, what was he supposed to do? Come to think of it, what did THIS GUY do? He's just watching the rapid action unfold like everyone else. Then after it's done, he walks up and gets his little dig in on the proprietor. You just KNOW he goes back to his table a few minutes later and tells his companions, "You should have heard me totally call Rick out." He probably got a free drink or two off that story and enough self-righteousness to last through V-E Day.
Rick ends the moment by saying, "I stick my neck out for no one," but what he should say is, "Hey, Louie? Over here. Yeah, Ugarte had a partner. It's this guy next to me."

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Shameless Self-Promotion: TV--Uh, I mean, a REVIEW at ClassicFlix!

Please head on over to the good folks at ClassicFlix and check out my look at "It Happened in Flatbush," an entertaining movie combining baseball, Brooklyn, and Bub (the great William Frawley in a supporting role). Lloyd Nolan is top notch as always, and this is an underrated Fox picture that doesn't get mentioned in baseball movie lists (and stay tuned because I should have one of those coming to ClassicFlix as well).

Here's a sneak peek:

It Happened in Flatbush (Fox Cinema Archives) It Happened in Flatbush (Fox Cinema Archives)
By Rick Brooks
I'm a pushover for old movies that romanticize baseball, and It Happened to Flatbush certainly does that. However, this 1942 Fox film is not as much a love letter to the national pastime as much as it is one to Brooklyn. After credits roll over a shot of the Brooklyn Bridge, the whimsical opening titles inform us that the following fictional story occurs "on a strange island just off the eastern coast of the United States"...

Enjoy, and don't you dare miss it! Tell 'em Cultureshark sent ya!

Friday, July 1, 2016

Streaming Video Power Rankings: Week 14

A little late again this week to cover July 1 adds, so in the words of Arsenio Hall (where's his Netflix project?) let's get busy!

1) Netflix: We all hate the price increase, but this was an exciting week for Netflix: "Orange Is the New Black" is still in the consciousness, "Marco Polo" returned today, the trailers for the upcoming "Stranger Things" look interesting, hype is generating for "Luke Cage," and catalog titles appearing include the "Lethal Weapon" movies, the "Back to the Future" trilogy, and "Mean Girls." Yeah, those have been around a while, but I guarantee you America is going to stream the hell out of "Back to the Future" this weekend.

It also unveiled a short promo clip with Albert Brooks announcing his movies were coming to Netflix. Now, on one hand, there are only 7 of them--not a huge treasure trove of material, and several of them aren't great--but still, it's Albert Brooks. Wouldn't it be great if Netflix threw a pile of money at HIM and let him do something new?

The announcement of a "Lost in Space" reboot? Eh, that could go either way. I have no quarrel with that. It would be an interesting sign if Netflix got the original series (already on Hulu).

2) Shout Factory TV:  One of the best new content drops in recent memory: "The Decline of Western Civilization" trilogy, a batch of vintage Cavett shows with the theme of "baseball," and, yes, those Glen Campbell Goodtime Hours I was looking for are here--and there are a bunch of them. Plius "Black Omnibus" is back and with (I think) more episodes. It's all free, too. Great week and looks like a great month for this one.

3) Hulu: I have yet to explore this new "Watchlist" feature Hulu is touting, but it sounds like a good idea to me. Hulu is announcing more and more original series, some of which might be intriguing, but not abandoning its bread and butter--off-network reruns and older programming. I love that season 5 of "Family Affair" just premiered.

But WHERE is that ESPN OJ documentary? Don't make me watch it on demand, Hulu!

4) YouTube: I finally got to see an episode of short-lived disco sitcom "Makin' It" because of some generous uploader. Life is good.

5) Highspots TV: Final shout to this quality service which gave me great value for my free trial. Believe it or not, some channels aren't even worth free, so that's not a meaningless statement. This week I enjoyed a documentary and a batch of St. Louis wrestling, plus someone gave me great customer service when I asked a question. When my budget allows, I will check out this service again, and I recommend fans of classic pro wrestling, current indie wrestling, or shoot interviews check this out.

6) HBO Now: I should have ranked NOW (the standalone) instead of GO (the add-on for cable subscribers) last week. I don't think I will rank it all next week. After the "Thrones," "Veep," and "Silicon Valley" finales, it might be quiet for a bit.

7) Pub-D-Hub: Added some interesting films, and you can't sneeze at "Eddie Fisher's Coke Time," though too much "Coke Time" might give you the sniffles.

8) Warner Archive Instant: Oh, how frustrating this outfit is. I had several technical issues that prevented service at different times, and I heard nothing from customer service. It's unreal how half-assed WAI is sometimes. Yet how can I not rank a channel that gives me Neville Brand on "The Lieutenant" and Murray Hamilton (Well, he's not exactly the draw, but it's an interesting episode) on "Dr. Kildare"?

9) Dailymotion: The Roku channel is lame, but at least it's there as an alternative when you're looking for things that have been yanked from YouTube.

10) WWE Network: Completed uploading the entire run of "Monday Nitro" and is generally offering more content than last year. I'm still waiting for 1970s and 1980s material, but maybe that will come later. This will surely drop out of the rankings next week.