Saturday, September 30, 2017

Streaming Video Power Rankings #80

What a week, folks. What a week! Lot going on in my life and, more importantly, in streaming life. Do they still make Streaming Life magazine? Does Babe Winkelman show up on the cover every other month?

1) Netflix: That Seinfeld special was fun--about as close as we are gonna get to a revealing look at Jerry by Jerry--and I thought it was well conceived if unspectacular. I was not super impressed with 13 Reasons Why, but I am impressed with myself for finally finishing the season. And I am still loving the classic shows on Netflix. Yes, there still are some!

As for new material, there's a Bob Redford/Hanoi Jane movie, a few new seasons of returning original series, and--whoa, wait, they did another season of that Rob Schneider thing? Is there another streaming service out there that didn't just screw its customers with an unnecessary user interface change?

2) Hulu: It added hundreds of old TV episodes this week--granted, I have no interest in watching Full House or Home Improvement, but still, Hulu is at least trying. In addition to the old TGIF stuff, it added reruns of Mom and started debuting the new fall TV shows. It's still enjoying the afterglow of a big night at the Emmys. All this, AND it  has a free preview of HBO this weekend.

So why is it not number one? That interface on the Roku, man. It's terrible. I'll need at least another week or two before I can consider giving it the top spot again.

3) PlayStation Vue: Not really a channel or streaming outlet, but one of those cable alternative deals. I signed up for a free trial, so I am ranking it here as a notice that I will be exploring it soon. I am hoping this is my non-cable way to enjoy the MLB playoffs.

4) Days of Dumont: This hasn't added new material in months, but it's not like there is a ton of Dumont footage sitting around. I saw a Follow That Man and a Morey Amsterdam Show this week. Morey and sidekick Art Carney are worth a ranking, I'd say.

5) Warner Archive Instant: I saw a pretty entertaining (well, for Medical Center) episode of Medical Center this week, and they at least changed the front page on their website. I don't think they actually added content, but one step at a time, right?

6) MLB.TV: The regular season is winding down, so this may be the end for MLB. I love the service, but it was an ignominious last week for me personally, as I verified that it does not include the postseason. Worse, my team was blacked out in my area for the entire final week because of who it happened to be playing.

7) TubiTV: This week's "movie I never got around to seeing in the 1980s" on Tubi: Best Defense with Dudley Moore and "Strategic Guest Star" Eddie Murphy. After watching this one, I have newfound respect for myself in the 1980s.

8) Night Flight: I don't know anyone who gets this, but it has quietly amassed an interesting library of old episodes, segments, and psychotronic-type material, and it seems to add each month. If you're at all interested in the original Night Flight, you should check this out. One of these months, I'll do so myself.

9) HBO: They get a spot because of the return of Curb Your Enthusiasm, one of the few programs that makes me say, "Hey, I kinda wish I had HBO."

10) Nosey: I quite enjoyed an old episode of The Joan Rivers Show which featured Nancy Reagan in a total babyface appearance plus Steve Garvey trying to babyface himself in the wake of his illegitimate children scandal. Joan was an eager partner for both guests.

Monday, September 25, 2017

'Mooners Monday #27: Not quite ready yet...

'Mooners Monday should return next week with a look at "Young Man with a Horn." This shot of Ralph from the episode is pretty much me the last several weeks:

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Streaming Video Power Rankings #78

Hey, everyone! Sorry for the lack of posts this week. The relocation of Cultureshark Tower is imminent and is taking much of my time. I don't dare miss a week of the rankings, though, so here we go...

1) Netflix: It looks like what's leaving in October is a lot more significant than some of the previous months' departures, but maybe we should just enjoy a week in which we got a new Jerry Seinfeld special, more Bojack Horseman, and Beauty and the Beast. Plus my kids enjoyed that new season of Project Mc2.

I *should* penalize Netflix for unleashing another season of Fuller House, but it's probably going to be the most popular thing on there all month. Me, I stuck with the Frasier reruns this week.

2) Acorn TV: The great Doc Martin quietly returned to Acorn this week, with the first episode of the new season debuting a mere day after its UK premiere. Bravo to Acorn, and though I don't have you, I will be signing up after you accumulate a few more episodes.

3) YouTube: Add E! True Hollywood Story to the list of shows that should be available "officially" but that you can find on YT.

4) Warner Archive Instant: Still no new updates, but Eight Is Enough kills it every time I fire it up.

5) Tubi TV: I might just make "Weekly 1980s or 1990s movie I never got around to seeing" Theatre a new thing with the help of TubiTV. This week, it was Glengarry Glen Ross. Yes, that was a big hole in my viewing. Two things stand out: 1) Wow, Alec Baldwin's screen time is much less than I expected 2) Remember what a big deal the profanity was? Well, I am so desensitized that I barely noticed it.

6) Shout! Factory TV: I tell you, this Starcade show is an absolute hoot.

7) Pub-D-Hub: The episode of My Hero I watched wasn't a classic, but it's good to see the lads back with new updates after the Labor Day break and a hurricane-induced week off.

8) Nosey: This lowbrow free service continues to add content. This week, it's a batch of The Joan Rivers Show.

9) CBS All Access: Well, I still wish CBS would just give this up and buy into Hulu, but this is the weekend of Star Trek Discovery's premiere, and that (plus the new fall season if you are a cordcutter) is pretty much All Access' whole reason for being right now.

10) Hulu: OK, I have to be honest. I think the main reason I am doing this post in a hectic time is because I feel the need to rip Hulu. It should be a banner week for the service what woth A Handmaid's Tale big Emmy win and the surprise arrival of season 1 of Atlanta.

Unfortunately, Hulu is the latest streaming video service to change its user interface by zero popular demand and frustrate its users with an inferior navigation experience. This new look on Roku is terrible. It's totally unasked for and unnecessary.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Streaming Video Power Rankings Week 77: Special "Gonna stop doing the Special... deal next week"

1) Hulu: I just redeemed a gift code, so I have 3 months of free Hulu ahead of me, baby! It makes it a lot easier to love Hulu, I will say that.

2) Netflix: Any other week, Netflix would be a runaway #1, and I am sure it will be next week after my kids discover the droppage of a new season of Project Mc2. American Vandal is generating some buzz, Pocahontas returned (insert standard comment about why the Disney movies have to leave in the first place), the epic George Harrison documentary that originally aired on HBO is here, and a well-regarded Angelina Jolie film premiered.

I didn't have access to my DVDs this week, and it was nice to remember that, hey, I can watch The Dick Van Dyke Show here. That said, I was a bit underwhelmed by the finale of Stranger Things (Hey, I said I'd get there eventually).

3) MLB.TV: The arrival of NFL Season reminds us how great baseball is. Yes, the local blackout restrictions stink, but other than that, you can watch every out-of-market game when you want on multiple devices. Sounds simple, but the NFL doesn't want us to do that. it was cool checking out the Indians' winning streak on MLB.

4) Shout! Factory TV: So this old Starcade is an incredible watch: A game show with people playing video games, and the prizes are video games, the questions are about video games, and host Geoff Edwards keeps making comments about how he loves to play Burger Time.

5) YouTube: My pod co-host got me on a David letterman kick. Current phase: watching old clips of Letterman guesting on old game shows.

6) Warner Archive Instant: I said it before, and I will say it again: I want to throw my shoe at the TV when Harry Nilsson starts singing in the middle of a Courtship of Eddie's Father episode. And often my shoes are all the way on the other side of the room!

7) Pluto TV: It's adding more channels, like the new Stadium TV, and if you're in the mood to just kind of browse a bunch of random live channels, this is a decent option. I find it amusing that 6 or so of the channels are now devoted to the Big Sky Conference and its member schools.

8) Tubi TV: I think I'm in the middle of a mini-John Hughes phase, and it was nice to see She's Having a Baby for the first time through Tubi, but, oh, that sinking feeling you get when it goes to a commercial break and you see "Ad 1 of 5" at the top of the screen...

9) HBO Now: Pretty much putting this here in anticipation of it winning a ton of Emmys this week. Plus Amazon Prime is saying it wants a Game of Thrones. Netflix is the streaming leader, but HBO continues to be a programming influencer and leader. Plus it's premiering La La Land!

10) Pub-D-Hub: No update this week due to the hurricane, and I would say that's a pretty good "excuse." Stay safe, Pub-D-Hubbers!

Friday, September 15, 2017

Today we consider another great Ernie Anderson ABC promo, but there is something about this one that overshadows even the great EA. Let's check out the fine programming waiting for us on Tuesday, January 26, 1982:

OK, I know you're all thinking, "What the hell is Fonzie doing 'doubling for Frankie Avalon'? I don't remember that episode, it looks terrible, and of course I want to watch it.

Over on Laverne & Shirley, sorry, Carmine, but I'm not too excited about watching you "get to play Rocky." The little fall he does after getting clocked does look pretty good, though.

How about the quick shot that implies everyone is at the Regal Beagle watching the State of the Union address over a pint or two. Incredibly, not even that is my favorite aspect of this promo, but I now long for a Three's Company in which the gang hangs out and talks about Reganomics...and Mr. Furley overhears out of context and thinks they're talking about sex.

Instead we settle for "Jack loses his sex appeal," with an odd shot of Jack and Larry panicking together.

The best thing about this is the lineup. After L&S, President Reagan gives his speech to an anxious nation. However, the obligatory opposition response does not come right afterwards. There isn't even "news and analysis" from the likes of David Brinkley. No, the president yields to the good brother from Santa Monica, Jack Tripper, for an entire episode of the show before the Democrats get their say.

I love this. It's like Three's Company is far too important to be interrupted by something as frivolous and farcical as politics. America, on Tuesday night, enjoy some long-running comedies, watch the big speech, but don't worry: Three's Company  will indeed be seen tonight, and you won't have to sit through Ted Kennedy or Tip O'Neill to enjoy it.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Eight Is Enough: A Photo Essay

"Photo essay" is so much classier than "bunch of screencaps," isn't it? Let's take a look at some shots from the Season2 episode of Eight Is Enough titled "Mortgage Burnin' Blues."

This one has it all--bar brawls, guest stars, and most importantly, Grant Goodeve and Willie Ames singing.

The episode begins with the Bradfords throwing a party to celebrate the paying off of the mortgage on the house. And what would a party be without David and Tommy singing? No party at all, that's what.

Their chemistry inspires Tommy to book the brothers at a local bar's amateur night, and he even creates some stage patter for the occasion.

Unfortunately, not everyone feels the Bradford boys' charms the way I do. Case in point: obnoxious heckler Gerald McRaney. I wonder what McRaney's  ratio of obnoxious to decent characters is?

Long story short, Gerald instigates a skirimish involving the Bradford daughters, a brawl breaks out, and--hey, it's that big guy from the weird Sanford continuation NBC tried in 1980:

You can see this episode on Warner Archive Instant, where the whole series streams. Not all episodes have as much action as this one, though!

Monday, September 11, 2017

'Mooners Monday #26: Streaming the 'Mooners

In case you missed this week's Streaming Video Power Rankings, I broke the news that someone else broke the news to me that an assortment of Honeymooners Lost Episodes had been available on Amazon Prime Video since mid August. According to my unofficial (and pretty much unexistent) research, this is the first time The Honeymooners, in any incarnation, has streamed on a paid service. It's less than half of the collection, and it seems to consist of the shorter sketches and not the longer episodes, but it's something.

Now, many of the episodes have been uploaded, shall we say, outside official channels, and on some prominent video sites. We don't want subpar copies of our favorite show, though, right? We want to be able to see it on demand, commercial free and uncut, and in good quality. Of course, that's why we buy the DVDs, but stay with me.

The Honeymooners deserves to be on a prominent streaming site, and while MPI apparently controls streaming as well as home video rights for the Lost Episodes, what about the Classic 39? They show up on outlets like ME-TV, but CBS isn't doing anything in the SVOD realm with the classic. Is it because there are only 39 episodes? That shouldn't make a difference. Hulu streams many classic CBS-controlled properties and offers dozens of episodes of them in many cases, not the entire run. Presumably, given the Blu-Ray release and the fact the show is mastered in high-def,  it wouldn't take much work to get nice materials ready for a streaming channel.

Netflix would be the best destination among the pay sites. Everyone has it, and it doesn't show commercials. Hulu is the next best fit. It does pepper us with ads, but at least it runs uncut episodes, and Ralph and Alice and Ed and Trixie would fit in well alongside other classic TV characters like Lucy, Rod, and Mister Ed. Amazon Prime is third because it is so disorganized and because I don't have it. Actually, that's not a big deal to me since I have the discs, and Amazon already streams a bunch of old CBS/Paramount shows, so Honeymooners would look good there, too.

Then there's a fourth option: Remember that pay streaming gimmick CBS unveiled a while ago? Yeah, CBS All Access still exists. Oh, we hear plenty about the forthcoming Star Trek series and Young Sheldon (shudder), but I don't know if CBS has added anything to the "Classics" section since its launch.

Why can't CBS put the 'Mooners up on its own streaming service? At this point, it's not cannibalizing video sales to put it up somewhere. There are only 39 episodes, and they should be ready to go with minimal effort. In this case, I suspect it has little to do with the series and more to do with CBS' cavalier approach to catalog content on All Access.

So we wait for the 'Mooners to show up on streaming, but at least we have the videos. It puzzles me, though, that unlike The Andy Griffith Show, I Love Lucy, The Twilight Zone, and other classic CBS programs--some of which have been on all 3 major SVOD services--The Honeymooners never turns up anywhere

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Streaming Video Power Rankings: Week 76 (Special Spirit of '76 Edition)

1) Amazon Prime: I just found out that they added half of the Honeymooners Lost Episodes last month.  This is the problem with Amazon Prime: For all we know, cool stuff shows up all the time, but it's too hard to keep track of it.

This is cool stuff, though, and in a weak week for its competitors, Amazon not only re-enters the list but shoots all the way to the top! It is kind of weird, though, how it suddenly changed its mind by canceling Z after announcing its renewal.

2) Shout! Factory TV: The recent addition of Soul! merits more attention. The first episode alone, hosted by Jerry Butler, features all kinds of music plus a remarkable interview with Muhammad Ali, whose case against the government for dodging resisting the draft was still in the courts. He "cuts a promo," to use wrestling lingo, on the draft. This show is a lot of fun.

3) YouTube: Lots of great stuff on here this week, and I am happy to discover that so many episodes of [REDACTED] are available. And YT has that spiffy new logo!

4) Netflix: Yeah, Bojack Horseman has a new season, and there is some other new stuff, like a Marc Maron special and seasons of Blacklist and The Walking Dead, but...Disney head mouse Bob Iger confirmed that his company is pulling the Star Wars and Marvel movies, too, from Netflix. That's what we figured would happen, and it's a bummer.

5) Brown Sugar: I can't drop it too far this week, even though I don't have it anymore, because it is still adding new titles, like 1974's The Zebra Killer. It'll probably say bye-bye next week, though. Actually, I hope it says, bye-bye, SUCKA!

6) Warner Archive Instant: Maybe they'll add something new by Columbus Day. I can't be too snarky, though, in a week in which I skip ahead in Eight Is Enough and am rewarded with an episode guest-starring Ken Berry and Jack Riley.

7) MLB.TV: The Pirates are still playing games. There's also a lot of playoff-contention baseball out there. Sometimes these things intersect.

8) Hulu: Things will pick up soon, and people are excited about new episodes of Difficult People, but where are all those MTM episodes?

8) TuneIn: This week's, "Hey, they played that song on Deep Oldies" pick: Jefferson, Baby, Take Me in Your Arms, AND The Bee Gees, If I Only Had My Mind on Something Else.

9) Boomerang: There is a new version of Wacky Races, and the first 10 minutes are free. It doesn't look at all appealing, but I appreciate the free sample, plus the free Jetsons episode.

10) WWE Network: Getting some buzz for the Mae Young Classic tournament, but it's bad form to leave everyone hanging by not putting up the first dozen or so episodes of World Class Championship Wrestling.

Friday, September 8, 2017

At the fresco...with Harry Potter

A few months ago, I attended a ~special event~ at Wolf Trap Center for Performing Arts in Northern Virginia. My, how time flies--almost like a young wizard with a wand that, uh...makes him fly and stuff.

You see, I am not a Harry Potter expert by any means, just a civilian who has seen most of the movies but read none of the books, which means I am pretty close but can't put "expert" on my business cards. I went to an outdoor screening of the first Potter motion picture accompanied by a live performance of the score by the National Symphony Orchestra. The movie was accompanied, that is; I was accompanied by the country music my girlfriend was playing on the radio. Anyway, the whole event experience is a great reminder that there is no substitute for the sensation of seeing a movie with a group of borderline obsessives.

I certainly felt like a muggle (am I getting the hang of this?) amongst all the diehard fans, young and old alike, who seemed to know the dialogue by heart. The enthusiasm was infectious, though, and it enhanced the movie. It's a lot of fun viewing a beloved movie with a crowd that cheers along and just seems invested. Some of my most memorable moviegoing experiences are of classics like The Wizard of Oz, Casablanca, and Grease (Hey, it was a classic to ME growing up and catching it on ABC each year) because of the shared, palpable joy of the collective response. Of course, the shared, palpable hatred an audience can have for a film is also memorable, but that's a story for when I go see a special anniversary presentation of Battlefield Earth.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone is no classic, but I think it's been maligned just because Chris Columbus, the guy who gave us Mrs. Doubtfire, directed it instead of an auteur like Alfonso Cuaron. I am not the charter member of the Columbus Fan Club--I never even paid dues--but I find it amusing that the perception is that the later movies are better because "serious" filmmakers did them.

I found the movies increasingly muddled and impenetrable as they went on, with those of us who did not read the books having to ask those who did to fill in the blanks in the storytelling and explain some of the stuff that didn't make sense. The first movie is cheesy in places, but it does an admirable job of creating its own unique world, which is a solid beginning for a franchise. You care about the characters, are interested in learning more about the environment, and you get a sense of fulfillment even though you realize there are umpteen sequels on the way.

The live orchestra only added to the fun, though I confess that after a while I kind of didn't notice it all that much. If you get there on the late side and have to scrounge for a spot on the hill, it's hard to immerse yourself in the movie, but you get more of the surrounding moviegoers, the musicians allll the way up on the stage, and the people who keep getting up to go to the restroom (It's not perfect).

The food was better (I blame all my tense changing on a dark arts spell--OK, I'm trying too hard now, I realize) than the standard movie theater fare, too, with all kinds of fancy options and cheeses and spreads. So naturally I got...standard movie theater fare like chicken tenders and French fries, only I got buffalo sauce all over the tenders--you know, to add some real class!

The fact is Wolf Trap is an outstanding venue with a fantastic general ambience, but it's even better when you get a bunch of nuts--OK, that's a little harsh considering half of them were under 14--dressed up in costumes and joining in the festivities. This kind of event is fun and participatory without being obnoxious. I recommend you go see something like this if you get a chance in your town, and I also recommend you give Chris Columbus and his first Potter film another movie someday.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

ASPIRE--the network of class and positivity...most of the time

I have had the opportunity to check out Aspire lately, and I liked what I saw. The network launched by Magic Johnson for an African-American, older-skewing audience has aimed for an upscale, classier image than [names of other outlets deleted], and it has a nice intro mission statement on Twitter:

Aspire is the only TV network that celebrates, reflects and shares black culture and urban lifestyle.

It is also the only TV network that has a daytime rerun block consisting of Room 222, Julia, and The Mod Squad. The former is one of my all-time favorite series, the second is a gentle if not hilarious sitcom, and the third--well, it had Sammy Davis Jr. in several episodes. The first two, especially, are examples of classy rerun programming. They fit with what I see as the generally aspirational nature of the network.

And then there's In Living Color.

Call me unaspirational, but it seems odd to add a sketch show with characters like The Dickmans (kind of like the Coneheads, but, uh...well, look it up), Handiman, and Men on Film. Oh, I thought the show was a riot back in the day, and I bet a lot of it holds up, but, wow, this is not the kind of classy rerun I associate with Aspire. I don't mean to sound like a snob, but the show sticks out on a schedule that includes Soul Food, The Hughleys, and...Man, there aren't a lot of shows on their schedule. Maybe they just need programs, period. But why not add something like Frank's Place?

Is this a big deal? Maybe Aspire just wants to get those funny little numbers called ratings. But I wonder if someone there is thinking, OK, time to go a little more lowbrow. That is a slippery road once it gets going. I don't have much skin in the game here, but I DO hope they leave the Room 222 reruns alone.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Streaming Showcase: Brown Sugar

I give bonus points to any streaming video on demand service that 1) calls itself "Like Netflix, only blacker, and 2) sends me a welcome email when I sign up that begins, 'Right on!" Brown Sugar is a new-to-Roku movie (mostly) and TV streaming channel geared at African-Americans. It has some technical issues and usability issues to work out, but its library is well worth a look at $3.99 a month.

 It markets itself mostly on the strength of Blaxploitation classics. Brown Sugar launched in Fall 2016 with advertising featuring the likes of Pam Grier. It offers some modern movies and some original programming courtesy of corporate parent Bounce TV, but what I was looking for when I took the 7-day trial was the old stuff--late 1960s, 1970s, maybe some early 1980s. On this count, Brown Sugar delivers. If you dig 1970s soul cinema, you will love the channel.

Let's be clear: A lot of this content is or has been floating around other streaming services, including, yes, Netflix. MGM was the king of Blaxploitation in the 1970s, and the most popular titles circulate all over the place. However, Brown Sugar also licenses content from other studios. It was a nice surprise to see titles from Warner Brothers, which has its own streaming service, available. Perhaps the best aspect of the programming, though, is the lesser-known material like The Candy Tangerine Man, about a family man who is secretly a pimp, and Black Eye, a nourish private detective flick with Fred Williamson. This is the kind of stuff I "Favorited" when checking out the selections, but stuff like Shaft, Foxy Brown, and Superfly is available.

I couldn't think of too many movies that were missing, really, though Trouble Man is one I thought of offhand. I'm pretty sure Isaac Hayes' Truck Turner wasn't there when I first looked but was later. Here's one of the big problems I have with Brown Sugar: You can't tell what's on there until you sign up. At least, I can't figure out how to just browse the site--neither on Roku nor on the web.

Also, the web version didn't seem to retain changes I made on the Roku version, which is a pain if you are compiling a watchlist (You can't really, but you can mark "Favorites." The Recently Watched/History section was inconsistent during my trial, and I couldn't see a way to view ALL titles--there were some categories, but no VIEW ALL row--unless I went to search and entered one symbol or a black space. I could see everything on the web, but not on the Roku.

Also, make no mistake: These are not restored, shiny, sparkling versions of the films. I didn't watch the more famous titles, but the ones I did looked like beat-up prints. Some looked like VHS dubs. They were uncut and unencumbered by ads, though. Besides, some of this stuff probably plays just as well, if not better, with a big vertical red line on the right side of the screen much of the film.

I hope they work on some of this stuff to make it a much better viewing experience. Yet the movies alone make it worthwhile. There is all kinds of great stuff here. I have way more streaming than I can handle now, but I will sign up for at least another month when I can.

What I would like to see is more vintage TV. There is an assortment of episodes of Get Christie Love, and that's a nice and relatively rare get, but how about some old sitcoms like Baby, I'm Back or That's My Mama? The good news is Brown Sugar adds new stuff each month; the bad news is I can't see it (apparently) unless I renew. I may not need a browse option, though, to renew someday. Brown Sugar is as badass as it promises and can only improve from here.

Monday, September 4, 2017

'Mooners Monday #25: PIX Archives with a look at the the past...sort of

In 1986, someone at Independent Network News had the bright idea to visit the real-life address of the Kramdens, 328 Chauncey Street, and harass the residents by asking them if they had ever seen the Kramdens and Nortons. The result is as goofy as it sounds, but since it's related to The Honeymooners, I am glad it exists and glad that WPIX recently posted it on its Facebook archives page (The Roku version cuts off, unfortunately).

The reporter notes that the address is actually  in Bushwick, not Bensonhurst as the show had it, but it's cool that there is a real-life address. It's harmless to have a guy with a mic poke his head in a sewer and ask for a microphone. I would like to see more of this brand of investigative journalism--like a trip to the real-life Mockingbird Lane or the Shady Rest Hotel in Hooterville.

Speaking of hoots, the comments on that post are a hoot, and one person even posts the Alice Kramden grinning pic that so terrified me all these years. Check it out (I don't think I can embed here), and let's hope for more 'Mooners content on the PIX Archives page.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Streaming Video Power Rankings Week #75: Special "It's the number 75, so I guess that means it's 75th anniversary" Edition

Labor Day weekend brings more time to watch streaming, and September 1 brings more stuff to watch as many of the channels reload. Let's get right into it.

1) Brown Sugar: Yes, that's right! From outta nowhere, the "Like Netflix, only blacker" service enters the top 10 with a bullet--preferably one fired at some SUCKA who represents THE MAN. I enjoyed a brief free trial of Brown Sugar recently, and the selection is impressive. I'll do a review soon, but for now, just know that this has a few areas for improvement but is worth 4 bucks a month from what I saw.

2) Netflix: It was heading for a drop this week--I hadn't had time to watch much, plus the September adds were disappointing--but I took another look. The Jaws movies = not bad. More importantly, a Matt Berry Britcom I had never heard of premieres.

Also new: a new season of Narcos, and there was an announcement the director of La La Land is bringing an original series to Netflix. Then again, who isn't? Good to see Hercules and Mulan return, but they shouldn't have left in the first place.

3) YouTube: My highlight this week was a classic MTV combo staring with "The Week in Rock" (Kurt Loder, Jellyfish, Nigel from Spinal tap, coverage of a concert in Chile featuring Sinead O'Connor, Peter Gabriel, Sting, and--of course--New Kids on the Block). And MTV being MTV, it spent a segment hyping a Madonna Rock the Vote ad that it would "premiere" later that weekend.

After that, Remote Control, and though it wasn't one of the Kari episodes, it was a lot of fun. No other game show featured Colin Queen giving noogies to a contestant who had an errant spin on the "Wheel of Torture."

4) Hulu: It has quietly been adding a lot of Nat Geo shows lately, but I was surprised to see the entire run of How I Met Your Mother show up the other day. My Brooklyn Nine-Nine catch-up continues, and this past season was an improvement on the previous if the first whatever episodes provides an indication.

5) Shout! Factory TV: Some exciting surprises this month, including a collection of the 1980s video game game show Starcade, Melissa Leo in Streetwalkin' (not StreetwalkinG, mind you), and the late sixties/early seventies public TV series Soul! the addition of which *almost* makes up for them removing Black Omnibus and not putting it back.

6) Tubi TV: I did my own little Jay Thomas tribute this week by watching the first Annie Potts episode of 90s sitcom Love and War.

7) HBO: Millions of people watched and talked about Game of Thrones. Some of them even paid to watch it on actual HBO!

8) Crackle: Some interesting movies in September, including Saving Private Ryan, The Fugitive, and Whiplash, but I know you're more excited about the first two seasons of Walker, Texas Ranger.

9) MLB.TV: Had a nice sale--10 bucks for the rest of the season--and would be higher if watching the Pirates didn't make me kind of ill lately.

10) Acorn TV: Props for adding The Governor, the Alan Davies sitcom Whites, plus some kind of "sneak peek" DocMartin special. Doc Martin rules.