Thursday, August 31, 2017

And Now...a Word from THEIR Sponsor

Courtesy of my main man Sean Mc, check out this commercial starring Roy Clark, who is shilling for Pringles potato chips:

It's not just regular Pringles. By cracky, it's COUNTRY STYLE Pringles.

"Hey, Roy, can I have your autograph?"
"Sure! Have some Country Style Pringles!"
", that's OK. Just the autograph would be cool. Thanks."

Despite Roy's jaunty little jingle, I can't figure out what makes Country Style Pringles country style other than the "denim" can (which I do love, by the way). Are they fried in possum fat and beat with an ol' switch right after they're dumped out of the pan?

In an attempt to figure this out, I checked out a longer spot for the same product. This one ups the ante on country metaphors ("I'm hungrier than a moth on a nylon sweater!") but doesn't add a lot of detail beyond it's a NEW kind of Pringles. I'm not sure "a peck of hearty flavor" really explains it for me. But then again, I'm a city dweller, so maybe I just don't get it.

Oh, and the denim blue can. Can't forget the denim blue can.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

ClassicFlix (home of TV Time) is back!

Public service announcement: ClassicFlix, which is now earning raves for its work as a label in addition to its retail bidness, has launched its new website, and the reviews and columns are now available for everyone again.

This includes TV Time, written each month by your ever-lovin' blue-eyed blogger boy. The most recent edition, Before They Were Legends, looks at early TV spots from the likes of Marilyn Monroe and Paul Newman.

Also accessible on the main page as I write this is my examination of classic TV doctors. Which one would I choose to be my personal doc?

Dig a little deeper in the archives, and you will find my look at wrestling-themed episodes, including Bonanza and Abbott and Costello.

And Scooby, Penelope Pitstop, and more go to the circus as I look at cartoons that go to the big top.

It isn't just shameless self-promotion, though, because there are all kinds of interesting pieces up right now, plus much more in the archives. Also, check out what is coming out on DVD and Blu-Ray from them while you check out TV Time. Tell 'em Cultureshark sent ya. Don't you dare miss it!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Brooks on Books: Bloom County: Episode XI A New Hope

Back in the 1980s, I loved the Bloom County newspaper comic strip by Berke Breathed. I like to think of myself as being a fairly attentive youth, but even if I hadn't known who the likes of Jeanne Kirkpatrick were, I would have found them out so I could understand the political references. Those strips are of their time, for sure, but they hold up better than, say, Outland or the Opus strip that Breathed did in later years.

Well, somehow, I forgot all about the Bloom County revival Breathed started on Facebook (well, maybe I ignored it because it was on Facebook) until I saw this collection at the local liberry. Much to my delight, this new incarnation FEELS like Bloom County. It makes some tweaks and adjustments to the characters and the setting, but it doesn't feel forced like earlier attempts to bring it all back did.

It's tempting to make a parallel between the current political climate and events of the 1980s, but I think it's more than that. Breathed alludes to being more comfortable revisiting this world now in his intro, and I think it shows. The result is a lively, funny, relevant collection that recaptures the spirit of the original strip but places it firmly in modern times.

Opus is front and center, but so is Binkley and his anxiety closet.  Steve Dallas is more or less the same, as is Bill the Cat. Milo and Oliver return along with Cutter John. It's not just  nostalgia that makes the book so enjoyable, though.  These comics are funny.

The one thing I dislike about this book is the oddly self-congratulatory tone of it. I am sure Breathed means well by touting his friendship with Harper Lee as one of the reasons he brought back the strip, but it feels kind of weird. Also, many pages feature comments from Facebook originally posted by Bloom County fans.  I think maybe a section in the back of the book would have sufficed, but seeing these with some of the actual comics gives an unfortunate "patting ourselves on the back vibe."

I do think Breathed deserves a pat on the back, though, and this collection really surprises me. I thought Bloom was a relic of the 1980s, if a fondly remembered one, and I hadn't been eager to see a revival. Yet it's here, and it belongs.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Streaming Video Power Rankings: Week #74

1) Hulu: Now that I eradicated several rare tropical diseases and eradicated crime in my surrounding environs, I am ready to move on to my next summer project: catching up on Brooklyn Nine-Nine on Hulu.

2) Netflix:  Another week, another barrage of announcements. Netflix sure is good at making announcements and spending money. Perhaps even more important for this week, the new Chuck Lorre sitcom disjointed, the new adaptation of Death Note (I really don't know the story with it, but I know it's a big deal to a lot of people), The Good Place, and...yeah, it doesn't seem like a big week now that I look at it. Even the announcements--a Def Jam Comedy special, a Lady Gaga documentary--don't thrill me. Time to  put Hulu on top again.

3) Warner Archive Instant: Is anyone home there? The WAI Twitter feed has been active and entertaining lately, but the people who actually add stuff to the service seem to be on extended summer break. Fortunately, there is still all that Eight Is Enough, like the emotional marriage of Tom and Abbey I watched this week.

4) Tubi TV: As Tubi Tweeted out this week, it has the original Death Note for those interested in checking it out. Also, it added the classic Britcom The I.T. Crowd and a host of interesting films, such as the original Stagecoach, I Married a Witch, Quadrophenia, and Kenny Rogers as the Gambler (one of the best movie titles in all of cinematic history).

5) YouTube: When I get obsessed with a song I hear on TuneIn, I come here to listen to it 10 times in a row.

6) Pub-D-Hub: Strong update last week, including tons of old commercial blocks, episodes of As the World Turns and Howdy Doody, and more, plus I enjoyed an episode of I Led Three Lives.

7) Showtime: This network is getting lots of attention for the big fight Saturday and has been milking it with all kinds of commerc--uh, documentary programming devoted to it. It will have replay rights, too, and maybe it will use this platform to unveil something cool.

8) MLB.TV: The Pirates continue to sink, but I did get to see the awesome finish when Josh Harrison's walkoff HR ended a no-hitter by Dodgers pitcher Rich Hill.

9) Amazon Prime: I'm torn between thinking another The Tick, which premieres this weekend, is cool and thinking, "Haven't there already been like 10 different versions?"

10) Nosey: Gets credit for adding a bunch of episodes of Sally (Wow, I never, ever thought I would write that), but LOSES credit for none of them being "troubled teens" episodes (Now, that, I can see writing).

Friday, August 25, 2017

Half-Assed Gourmet: Fast Food Adventures

Let me present some observations based on recent excursions to various cheap eats joints, or fast food establishments, if you will.

*Burger King is always an odd experience--less crowded than any given McDonald's and somehow less vibrant and appealing no matter the location. It does have some advantages over the Golden Arches, though. I like its willingness to experiment with menu variety.

I tried the returning chicken parmesan sandwich on a recent visit, but my taste buds may have been affected my overall mood. See, I was grabbing lunch while waiting for repair work on my car. I'll say one thing about that situation: Spending hundreds of dollars on something else makes it easy to ignore how much more you pay for that BK menu variety.

In this case, the chicken parmesan sammich was hot and tasted fresh, but it was a little bland. You know what would have made it better? A little more "parmesan" to go with the "chicken" and "sandwich" portions of the entrée. A dollop of marinara sauce ain't enough. A king should be more generous to his faithful subjects...or even to the ones who just blog about him every now and then.

The best thing about BK right now is the newfangled drink machine that offers hundreds of choices and lets you mix stuff together if you want to be a weirdo about it. It's a particular pleasure for me to get not only multiple iced tea choices, but multiple low-calorie iced tea choices. There are also a host of other "diet" (I am not going to call them healthy) options, the likes of which most fast food chains don't bother to offer. I don't know if all BKs have switched to this, but I love it, and it's a big plus.

*I went to Popeye's Louisiana Kitchen for the first time in--well, the last time I went to one, I don't think it was called a "Louisiana Kitchen." The surf and turf combo of popcorn shrimp and chicken tenders was fried beyond belief, likely generic and loaded with sodium...and it was delicious.

Unfortunately, the front counter was disorganized and chaotic, and worst of all, this place exemplifies the odious trend of withholding essential supplies from the patrons and making them beg for them. I get 3 measly thin napkins for an entire greasy meal, and when I grab a table, I discover  there aren't napkins nor condiments anywhere.

No, I have to go back to the counter (did I mention it was disorganized) and ask for not only the "dipping sauces," but also ketchup. I can understand keeping the sauces away from the rubes, but A) not ketchup and B) I should have been offered them when I got my food.

*Chik-Fil A remains the gold standard. Yes, it could be cheaper, but it works both ways in some respects. I love that when I ask for no tomato on the spicy deluxe sammich, they deduct 10 cents or whatever. I recently discovered that you can exchange an unwanted kids meal toy for a dessert. Unfortunately, you can't get the sauces in the open dining area, but they always ask if you want any, and if you need something simple like ketchup, you CAN grab that yourself, and in those cool little Heinz peelable containers, too.

Besides, the employees are friendly and helpful. They actually act like they care if you have a good meal. They sometimes go around and offer you drink refills at your table. If it's all a façade, it's an effective one.

Most importantly, the food is always excellent. I think Chik-Fil-A could up its breakfast game and maybe offer some more salads, but, the basics are great here. I see only 3 reasons to avoid it: 1) You hold a grudge for the political stances the owners took years ago 2) You hate chicken 3) It's Sunday.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Brooks on Books: Comic Book Fever by George Khoury

Is it hyperbole to claim this is the greatest book ever published?

Perhaps it is overpraise, but this is a fun, fun book. It's another knockout package from the fine folks at TwoMorrows Publishing, a company dedicated to making  periodicals and books about pop culture, with an emphasis on comic books. In Comic Book Fever, George Khoury examines an era right in my wheelhouse. The subtitle is: "A Celebration of Comics 1976 to 1986."

This 239-page softcover celebration consists of  scores of short, punchy chapters focusing on different topics or individuals. A section might look at a specific comic title like Marvel Team-Up, an iconic creator like Neal Adams, or a memorable part of culture like the ubiquitous Hostess Fruit Pie ads. Khoury conducts interviews with connected individuals and tells the stories of all of these cool things that people like me loved so much growing up.

The writing is compelling if a bit breathless at times. Khoury comes at this with pure nostalgic love for just about everything in here, and he ends many chapters with declarations of how much better our lives were due to the presence of, say, DC's Dollar Comics line. You know what, though? He's not wrong.

It's all supplemented with typical eye-catching TwoMorrows design. Vintage comic pages, ads, original art, and photographs fill Comic Book Fever. The pages pop with color, and frequent sidebars flesh out the chapters and give the sense that the whole thing is packed and a good value.

I admit I questioned some of the space allocations. For example. Love and Rockets and Elfquest get a lot more pages than many of the one- and two-pagers that interested me more. However, Khoury has a great eye for interesting facets of comic culture. I loved reading about the origins of the Marvel series about the Human Fly or the Spalding ads. It's great to learn about Dynamite magazine, ICEE superhero cups, and so much more.

Ever wonder what the deal was with those ads for the original Heroes World stores with all that sweet merchandise? Or the "Sell GRIT" ads? I did, and Comic Book Fever explains all.

There is also some hardcore comic book history here, like the beginnings of The New Teen Titans, Neal Adams' efforts for creator rights, and even indies like Nexus. The variety of material covered is impressive. For example, you read about famous icons like Alan Moore and John Byrne (conspicuous by his absence since so many other living "Icons" apparently spoke with Khoury) but also important but less famous figures like Jose Garcia-Lopez.

In short, Comic Book Fever does justice to the awesome era it explores, and if you grew up loving any of this stuff, you will love this book. I give it my strongest recommendation.

(NOTE: This post was edited slightly after the comment below by the author, who graciously noted that Alan Moore did indeed participate in an interview for the book)

Monday, August 21, 2017

'Mooners Monday #24: Celebrity Testimonials

I just finished critic David Bianculli's enjoyable The Platinum Age of Television, and many of the TV creators and performers interviewed for the book demonstrate their good taste by praising The Honeymooners. For example, David Simon proves his bona fides as not just a grade-A rabble rouser, but a judge of quality reruns:

I fell in love with The Honeymooners and stayed in love with The Honeymooners. To this day, I can't walk out on a Honeymooners episode.If I walk through the room, and I'm going somewhere and The Honeymooners is on,  I've got to sit down.

Other people who cite the show: James L. Brooks, Vince Gilligan, David Milch, Louis C.K., and David Chase.

We don't need big-shot showrunners to tell us The Honeymooners is great. It's nice to read it, though!

Bianculli doesn't give the series its own little subheading as he does so many other programs he highlights as key points in the evolution of good TV, but he writes about it at the beginning of his "Family Sitcoms" chapter, and his appreciation is clear:

...the development of The Honeymooners, from brief sketch to season-long domestic sitcom, is a perfect illustration of the evolution of quality TV at its best.

He goes on to talk about its expansion from recurring sketch to dedicated half-hour program. However, he then turns to praising I Love Lucy, which has its adherents but is no Honeymooners. And this is not I Love Luc-day, so that's all I got for this week.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Streaming Video Power Rankings #73 (Special "73-0 is still the single most famous game score in NFL history" edition)

1) Netflix: A new Mission Control documentary is getting raves, and tons of Marvel-ness finally leads to The Defenders. Excuse me, Marvel's The Defenders (not to be confused with Jim Belushi's The Defenders). A Brad Paisely comedy special is a thing (he is hosting, not doing an hourlong set),

The news was a lot better for Netflix this week after the Disney brouhaha. Getting Shonda Rimes away from ABC is the kind of move that excites entertainment journalists. It's also the kind of move that distresses someone who pays each month for stuff besides the kind of stuff Shonda Rimes perpetrates at ABC. I'm trying to be somewhat objective, though. The Chuck Lorre announcement (new show with Alan Arkin and Michael Douglas) is interesting, too. And Ozark got a renewal.

2) MLB.TV: I hate to say it, but I'm kind of glad I was watching Red Sox games this week and not seeing the Pirates put the nail in the coffin of the season. Why, in the same game, I got to see a triple play, plus a batter hitting himself in the junk with a foul ball!

3)  Hulu: Better Things joins the service just ahead of its season 2 premiere on FX. Now can we get Atlanta, Legion, and season 3 of Fargo...and, like, now, and not before their next seasons?

Hulu is also going forward with an intriguing pilot for Locke & Key, and it generated some buzz with casting news for upcoming series Runaways, Castle Rock, and Crash and Burn.

4) YouTube: Notice that when some entity like Rolling Stone posts a video of Eddie Vedder singing "Better Man" in 1989, it's embedding a YT video. Every day offers a reminder of what a great resource YT is.

5) Pub-D-Hub: Solid update last weekend, with new episodes of programs like Richard Diamond.

6) TuneIn: There are other stations on here besides Deep Oldies, but if Deep Oldies is around, I'm not sure I really need them. This week's "hadn't heard it, now can't get it out of my head" song = "Nothing Succeeds Like Success" by Bill Deal and the Rhondels.

7) Nosey: Likely to drop out of the top 10 next week unless I can find more "troubled teens" episodes of Sally.

8) Shout! Factory TV: I checked out Rifftrax's Hillbillies in a Haunted House this week, and it wasn't their best work, but it was free and made me smile. I like that Shout! has all this Rifftrax material now, but it's kind of funny that it just lumps it all in with the MST3K section.

9) PIX 11: Makes a return to the list on the strength of its Son of Sam featurette, but the "digital documentary" is all too short at 7 minutes and should have been supplemented with more vintage news clips from the era.

10) HBO: Terrible circumstances, but the Vice News documentary on Charlottesville got a lot of praise, and kudos to HBO and Vice for streaming it for free. Also, and there's no smooth segue, if I had HBO, I would totally want to see the debuting Nocturnal Animals. Sucks that it got hacked, but I don't think it has done anything to diminish anticipation for new Curb or for Game of Thrones.

Friday, August 18, 2017

This new movie fills my heart with my joy

To paraphrase the late Robert Palmer, it fills my heart with joy; it ma-akes my day.

Netflix added a new feature film this week, but not just any feature film. It's a sequel, but not just any sequel. Yes, it's the extension of  franchise, but not just any extension of a franchise.


"A world-weary detective is forced to team up with a 12-year-old who thinks she's a cop in order to solve a case that's baffled police."

One kid's fantasy.
One cop's nightmare.

Oh, I could dig for some info on this, but why? Why spoil the movie I am constructing in my head? I feel that the summary, the tagline, and the poster art below are enough.

Actually, its existence should be enough. Someone decided there was enough "equity" in the Cop and a Half franchise to "reboot" it.


Image result for cop and a half new recruit

Monday, August 14, 2017

'Mooners Monday #23: Pardon My Glove

It's time for another installment of 'Mooners Monday, and I have to confess, readers, I don't have a lot to say about "Pardon My Glove." It's great in the way all Honeymooners Classic 39s are, but it's unexceptional. Ralph gets jealous and makes a fool of himself--no big revelation here.

Two things stand out after a rewatch: 1) The guy who plays would-be interior decorator of the Kramden residence, Andre (love that his name is Andre, by the way), sounds like a real hoot. Check out the indispensable Official Honeymooners Treasury for his take on how to deck out the place. Alexander Clark told a RALPH (Royal Association for the Longevity and Preservation of the Honeymooners) convention quips like, "I figured I wouldn't bother about getting curtains for the bathroom because if the neighbors saw Ralph taking a shower, they'd buy the curtains." Clark later returned to play Herbert Whiteside in "On Stage."

The other thing is that this episode does have some classic examples of 'Mooners physical comedy. A great example is the take Ralph does when he bursts into the apartment expecting a surprise party and finds...nothing:

This is really best appreciated by watching it play out in real time

Another great piece of business is Ralph bumping himself on the always-balky kitchen window right in the middle of the glorious AHA he gives Andre and Alice:

Nothing like a classic "pain bit"

And let's show some love for Art Carney because his depiction of Norton showing Ralph how to act surprised is one for the ages:

This cracks me up all over again

These are little touches that help make the series so great and even one of the less memorable episodes stand out.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Public Service Announcement: Hazel Season 4 now showing on FETV

Family Entertainment TV, which joined DirectTv at channel 323 just a month or so ago, runs Hazel every weekday at 11:00 and 11:00 A.M. in chronological order. If the comments on this blog are any indication, the final, non-George-and-Dorothy season of the series is not only divisive, but quite provocative.

FETV just started season 5 on Friday, so if you want to get a look at Ray Fulmer and Lynn Borden as the replacements (who wouldn't want to get at least a look at Lynn Borden, really), check out this channel. I can't fully endorse this, though, because I believe the episodes are stretched to fit a full screen, edited, and possibly time-compressed.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Streaming Video Power Rankings: Week #72 (Special "Wow" edition)

This was a huge week for streaming video news, so let's get to it:

1) Netflix: The company made some big announcements lately, like it is determined to tell everyone, "Stick it! So were $20 billion in debt. We can still throw money at everyone we want." But what happens when the recipient doesn't want the money?

Despite Netflix announcing new projects coming with David Letterman (sounds great), Carol Burnett (bless her, but that particular idea sounds terrible), and the Coen Brothers (sure) and the acquisition of comic publisher Millarworld (interesting move that doesn't move me much one way or the other at the moment), all the buzz is about content it is losing, as Disney announced it is starting its own OTT service in 2019 and putting new Disney movies on it.

Still unanswered: What about Marvel? Star Wars? What about the 99% of the Disney catalog that never even made it to Netflix? I think a lot of people don't understand that Netflix never showed most of the Disney catalog, it already lost some of it (movies like Mulan), nor that Hulu has some of that content now.

However, the fact is, this week proves Netflix is the standard. When someone asked me about the possible cost of a Disney streaming service, I said part of it probably depended on what Netflix would do and if it raised rates by 2019 (it will; the question is how much). Everyone is reacting to the industry leader.

This really isn't good news for Netflx, though.

2) Amazon Prime: The new series Comrade Detective sounds interesting, and Amazon has been on a roll snapping up cheap catalog TV series lately, getting a bunch of shows from MPI (like the public domain Beverly Hillbillies episodes) and from FilmRise (Carsey Werner programs like Third Rock from the Sun). I don't really care for much of it, but it's more than Netflix has done lately.

3) YouTube: Let's talk about the decision by many "copyright holders" to allow material on YouTube but to monetize it. Good and bad, right? Good that it means more stuff stays up there, but bad because you're listening to an album or something, and an ad comes in right in the middle of a song.

4) TubiTV: Added a lot of movies lately, and not just the usual blend of recent-ish movies that cycle through all the services, but genuine classics like Wuthering Heights and The Magnificent Seven.

5) Warner Archive Instant: I am not even gonna make a snide reference to WAI not adding movies in several months. Grant Goodeve dueting with Willie Aames is worth dozens of classic un-added films.

6) Hulu: I think Difficult People is terrible, but a new season is here. I'm getting super annoyed at Hulu promoting the new season of Ray Donovan to me. I don't get Showtime. Quit acting like I can watch this series without paying more money.

7) Pub-D-Hub: An intriguing add last weekend was an episode of The Big Record with Patti Page.

8: TuneIn: Have I mentioned that Deep Oldies, the Phoenix-based radio station that rules the world, is virtually free of commercials?

9) HBO: Respect for the premiere of Hard Knocks.

10) PureFlix: A family-friendly outfit that strives to be the Christian Netflix. I looked at some of the offerings this week, and there isn't a lot there, but I give them credit for trying. I give them credit for brass, too. Their monthly plan is 10.99/month, which makes them by far one of the priciest services out there, all for "safe" viewing. Yet they are spending money on original programming, so let's give them a spot this week.

Friday, August 11, 2017

The most ANNOYED man in classic TV: Wildcat Wendell Corey

There's nothing like strapping yourself in and enduring the high-octane thrill ride that is Harbor Command. OK, maybe it's not the most exciting crime drama in the annals of television history, but it's a reasonably entertaining 30 minutes, and coming from ZIV, you know it's going to be reasonably well produced.

Even when the show itself is not a huge winner, I get a warm feeling. Harbor Command is not a world beater, but it has its charms.

Looks impressive, don't it? But this isn't just any old sea/land hybrid entertainment. ZIV reminds us each time out that Harbor Command enjoys the cooperation of the local authorities:

I also like the propers given to the true-life Harbor Commanders.

The best part about the series, though, is Wildcat Wendell Corey, who manages to look annoyed in any situation. Pursuing a thief? Annoyed. Tracking the carrier of a deadly infectious disease? Annoyed. Getting vital information from a fellow civil servant? Annoyed.

Telling the audience about his real-life counterparts? Annoyed.

Thanking us for watching? Annoyed.

Wildcat Wendell Corey: The most annoyed man in classic TV.

Monday, August 7, 2017

'Mooners Monday #22: The low point for Ralph Kramden?

You may have noticed this feature was absent last week. I think on some level I was avoiding writing this one. I normally love to defend my boy Ralph Kramden, even when it seems he is doing something indefensible. But in my current rewatch of the Classic 39, I have hit something I cannot defend.

Ralph Kramden did a lot of dumb, inconsiderate, and, yea, even downright cruel things on The Honeymooners, but I think Please Leave the Premises represents his low point. Yes, landlord Johnson is a real jerk about raising the rent. He just seems too giddy about the opportunity to stick it to the tenants. Oh, how I wish I could back Ralph in this fight against DA MAN.

Look at that rent-eating grin!

How dare you point your finger at a hard-working, upstanding member of the Gotham Bus Company?

However, he takes it too far, and most importantly, he drags Alice down with him--literally down the stairs, out the door, and onto the streets. His refusal to pay the rent first forces them to hole up inside the apartment without heat, water, or electricity--well, the last one isn't a hardship considering they don't have any appliances, but you get the gist.

Ralph, we know you're a man of principle, but...

He's actually trapped Alice in the apartment.

Well, it can't get any worse.

Strike that.

I don't have much else to say about this episode except that I love the title. For some inexplicable reason, I always enjoy it when one of the characters refers to "leaving the premises," and to see that formal-sounding bit of speech embedded in the title pleases me. Be a better man next time, though, Ralphie boy!

Friday, August 4, 2017

Streaming Video Power Rankings Week #71 (Special "Ah, '71 was a good year--the Pirates won it all" edition)

1) Netflix: I wasn't impressed with the August 1 catalog dump--it's nice to have The Matrix trilogy, but not much else is exciting--and I am not into Wet Hot American Summer. However, I AM interested in Michael Keaton in The Founder, and Netflix has to at least chuckle that for a change, HBO and not it was hacked.

2) Hulu: I detect real long-term momentum building for Hulu. More people are becoming aware of its movie library and appreciating recent announcements of catalog acquisitions. It looks like losing the Criterion Collection barely hurt the service. In September, once Fall TV starts, Hulu will look even more valuable.

3) YouTube: My main man Sean Mc has been on a tear lately, giving us plenty of those great 1970s and 1980s ads and promos! Plus I discovered a new (to me) channel with tons of old TV movies. Yes, I have my beef with YT every now and then, including some of the inane channels my kids watch on there, but overall, it delivers tons of free entertainment each week.

4) Nosey: I'm a little disturbed that Sally is nowhere to be seen in the "Most Popular Videos" category on here. Is it possible a whole generation of viewers is going through life unaware of the greatness of Sally's troubled teen episodes?

5) Tubi TV: Hey, since when did Tubi have the Steed/Peel Avengers episodes? Well, they do now!

6) Watch ESPN: This one really came through for me when I realized my off-satellite recordings of 30 for 30: Best of Enemies were screwy. I wish the Roku version had all the 30 for 30 shorts that are on the web version, though.

7) Shout! Factory TV: August doesn't look particularly interesting, with just a few MST3K episodes added, but I did enjoy seeing Richard Lewis guest on an old Dr. Ruth show.

8) Warner Archive Instant: Time for some more content, WAI. Not everyone is as crazy about Eight Is Enough and Dr. Kildare as I am.

9) Crackle: Almost a pity ranking, but it did add a lot of stuff in August. The classic TV section can really use a boost, though, and it's been a very quiet summer for Crackle.

10) Brown Sugar: This relatively new (less than a year old) app gets a spot for finally getting on Roku. I think it's a great idea--emphasis on African-American movies, with a marketing emphasis on classic Blaxploitation, with a 3.99/month price tag. It gets a giant demerit, though, for apparently preventing you from browsing its library without signing up.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

One of the worst kind of posts/articles there is

I write a lot of short, meaningless pieces. This is probably gonna be one of them. But I do not indulge in clickbait, nor do I like to waste my readers' time.

One of the most aggravating type of articles I see on the web is the shallow list. I'm not even talking about the listicle phenomenon or the slideshow. Look at the slew of posts that pop up around the end of the month with titles like, "Here are all the Netflix Originals coming in ___." OK, that's useful info.

However, you read the piece, and all the details are about the shows you already know about. We know what Wet Hot American Summer is by now, and we don't need two paragraphs of Marvel propaganda about The Defenders But what the hell is Disjointed? Does it star Will Arnett like 3 out of 4 Netflix series? What is True and the Rainbow Kingdom? I see a bunch of names that look like standup comedians. How about a little info on them?

And Brad Paisley's Comedy Radio is probably exactly what it sounds like, but a few details would be nice. Instead, you'll see an article about Netflix additions in August that talks about how cool it is The Matrix movies are arriving.

Do better, streaming video news sites!