Thursday, May 31, 2018

Today on Battle of the Network Shows

Why is Dean Martin laughing? Believe it or not, he's not watching former BOTNS subjects like Alf  or The Facts of Life. No, he's enjoying one of the many Celebrity Roasts over which he presided for many years on NBC.
This week Mike and I talk about the show itself and the impressive roster of celebrities lined up to roast the Man of the Hour Peter Marshall! Click it right here to check out the episode, and don't ya dare miss it!

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Classic Shows That Should Be Streaming: 5 for Hulu

Welcome back to my ongoing series identifying 5 classic TV shows that should be added to each of the major streaming video on demand services. The idea is that the shows are not currently streaming, and there might be some realistic chance of them appearing. I looked at Netflix and Prime Video, and today it's time to examine the other member of the SVOD trinity, Hulu.

Hulu has acquired so many shows in recent years that it is stockpiling them. I was told on Facebook that, in essence, it is spreading them out, hence the long delay for something like MASH, which was acquired over a year ago but still isn't there. Owned by several major industry players, Hulu should have at least a foot in the door in trying to get some of these series. It has relationships with all the big content providers, so I consider just about everything on the table, but I am not including the Fox and MTM shows because supposedly they are already coming and because many of them are there now in partial form.

1) The Love Boat: CBS' sloooooow pace of DVD releases shouldn't be an obstacle to a big streaming deal. Hulu is a service about TV and celebrating TV, and what show is more quintessentially showbiz and TV-y than Love Boat, with its cheesy theme song, its endless guest stars, and...pretty much everything about it. Beautiful-looking videos of the episodes have circulated online. Bring it to streaming, where we don't have to watch all 250 installments (though I might) but we can seek out interesting guests and goofy plotlines.

2) The Drew Carey Show: This series tailed off a bit in its later years but at its peak was one of the best sitcoms on the tube. Warner Brothers has done very little with it, only releasing one season on DVD and licensing it to little-known diginet Laff.

Would you believe this ran for 9 years and over 230 episodes? That's a staggering total--great inventory for a big streamer like Hulu. The show was hilarious at its best and deserves better than the semi-obscurity it now endures. Carey himself said music clearance issues prevented further DVD releases and streaming deals. Is that true? I don't know; it doesn't seem like streaming always follows the DVD rules, but what do I know? I tell you what I know: I know that I want to see those early seasons of this series again.

3) Columbo: Now we get to the "used to be on Netflix" portion of the list. Netflix used to have a broad deal with Universal that gave it access to tons of classic TV from that studio. At first I thought maybe Universal (Comcast/NBC/whatever it calls itself now) denied a renewal of the deal so it could save properties for its own streaming services. Then SeeSo came and tanked, and we never got the classic cop/detective show service I thought we might. Netflix didn't bother replacing any of it, and now I think Netflix just didn't want to pay for any of it.

Well, that leaves a whole lot of stuff floating around without a streaming home. Cloo was supposed to be the cable home of the old detective shows, but that didn't work out so well. You can still see Columbo on Hallmark and Me-TV but it needs a streaming home for uncut episodes. Hulu would be a great spot for the show.

4) Quincy, M.E.: See above. Hulu has made a habit of picking up shows that Netflix loses, including Universal properties like 30 Rock, so why not add another one? Yes, I want to see Quincy on Hulu.

5) Leave It to Beaver: One of the iconic baby boomer sitcoms deserves a spot somewhere. It's another Universal show in limbo after leaving Netflix, and Hulu could stand to beef up its library from this era after hitting the 90s and up hard the last couple years. There are 234 episodes for the taking here.

Shout Factory licensed home video rights years ago and put the series out on DVD, but does it have streaming rights? I dunno. If it does, hey, my feelings won't be hurt if the series appears on Shout! TV, but since Shout and Hulu already have a working relationship, I think one way or another The Beav could make a great addition to either service (The Munsters is in a similar situation, only with about a couple hundred less episodes).

Monday, May 28, 2018

'Mooners Monday: A great reaction in "Unconventional Behavior"

Happy Memorial Day, everyone! Nothing wrong with a 'Mooners Memorial Day, is there?

In "Unconventional Behavior," the handcuffs stuff is the showpiece of the episode, but it also has some of my favorite Ralph Kramden "takes." Maybe the best Gleason/Ralph bit is when he hears something that doesn't register at first, gives an innocuous response, and walks into the bedroom...only to return seconds later with an outraged "WHAT?!"

This episode has a doozy. Alice tells Ralph, hey, it's nice of you to invite me and Trix to the Raccoon convention this year because I was all set to give you the money to go by yourself.


That middle frame cinches it--the brief but notable moment when Ralph is totally off camera as we build in our minds the anticipation for seeing how he is going to react once it hits him that he offered to take Alice "for nothing." It's brilliant and another example of The Great One's greatness.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Streaming Video Power Rankings #112

This was a good week for streaming, and a good week for  me watching TV since I had a little more free time than usual. Some big guns are bumped out of the list this week. I could have easily gone 15 deep this time.

1) Netflix deserves the nod this week for the second batch of The Toys That Made Us, my favorite TV documentary right now, and it comes right as I finish The Wild, Wild Country. I still feel icky about 13 Reasons Why, but I may get to that eventually. New this weekend is Michelle Wolf's new show and a Steve Martin/Martin Short comedy special. Hopefully some of this makes up for my massive disappointment with the new David Letterman series.

Now for the "my kids" report: My kids tore through Nailed It, which I mentioned last week but repeat now, and to my surprise, they got back into The Who What? Show. I didn't think that would have rewatchability, but it's a big hit at my place, and I have found myself chuckling to it as well.

2) Hulu: I read about a site redesign and dreaded it, but maybe that was just the live TV side. Somehow I think I am giving Hulu credit for not screwing up its interface, even though I still don't like the current one, which I considered a screw-up from its previous one.

As far as actual watching goes, I have rediscovered Seinfeld on here, plus I am still watching a few older shows I don't want to mention until they show up on Battle of the Network Shows. Hulu hasn't excited me much in a while, though, and could use another batch of classic shows. Hey, it just so happens I will name 5 good fits for it on Tuesday as part of my series on shows that should be streaming! (That's two shameless plugs in the same entry! Yeah, baby!)

Have all these DC Comics animated movies been on here all this time, though? I discovered a whole category of them the other day, and though I think I've seen them all, I credit Hulu for having them.

3) WWE Network: The announcement that the Hidden Gems feature will now be a weekly drop solidifies my feeling that this outfit is finally getting right as far as delivering classic content. Of course, now that WWE is getting massive amounts of cash from USA and FOX to show its flagship programs, I kind of feel like it should be paying US to watch the network. Come on, share the wealth!

4) YouTube: The Museum of Classic Chicago Television channel posted a special edition of NBC Nightly News that aired after Egypt announced it was recognizing Israel. It's a fascinating watch and a nice glimpse into the times (including the original commercials).

5) MLB.TV: It gets docked a few points this week for a quirk that really annoys me: an automatic commercial when you load a game. So if you are watching one game and find out about something going on in another one--like a no-hitter in progress or someone at bat you want to see--you have to sit through an ad before the live game loads. That's absurd.

6) Tubi TV: I watched a certain early nineties action movie on here the other day. It's too embarrassing to say twice, so I will reveal the title in another post. However, I was reminded how much there is and how much variety there is on the free but ad-supported Tubi. It adds titles throughout the month, too, not just at the beginning. I saw a nice big list of movies coming in June, too. Tubi is one of the more underappreciated services out there.

7) ESPN-Plus: I am still irritated that ESPN is moving so much previously "free" content here from ESPN 3, but the massive UFC deal it announced this week ensures a lot of exclusive programming for the new service. It will also put a ton of CFL football on here .It's an interesting line ESPN is walking here, trying to add attractive stuff without taking it from "regular" ESPN. It's moving in the direction it needs to go, but I don't know if it has enough to demand an extra 5 bucks a month just yet. Actually, I should say that the reaction I see online is almost all negative to this service. ESPN better hope a lot of UFC fans sign up for this thing.

8) Hoopla: I watched a couple of movies via this library-related streaming service, and I think there is a problem with one of them, but I don't blame Hoopla, which is offering a valuable service. I would advise anyone interested in the old Disney live-action movies to get Hoopla and watch them on it before Disney pulls them for its own streaming service.

9) Filmstruck: As I mentioned last week, I do not currently have Filmstruck, but it uploaded a bunch of Joan Crawford and Peter Sellers movies (or I should say Joan Crawford movies and Peter Sellers movies; I don't know if they collaborated very often). I mean a LOT. We're talking Trog on the Crawford side.
10) Boomerang: Right after I give the service a fairly negative review (it's OK, but not enough value for the price), it adds one of my favorite cartoons of all time, Top Cat. I want to recognize Boomerang for adding it, and in fact it makes me want to watch the series again, so I will...but I will dig out my DVDs.

Friday, May 25, 2018

What kind of comics do you get in a $6 grab bag at Ollie's? Let's find out

I made my first foray into Ollie's Bargain Outlet a few weeks ago. Ollie's is a confusing joint. It looks like Big Lots, it smells like Big Lots, but it isn't Big Lots. Or is it? Well, no, it's not. Actually it's pretty straightforward now that I think about it.

One of the items Ollie's carries is a grab bag of 10 comics for 6 bucks. You can see the front and back issues, but other than that it's a mystery unless you decide to be an ass and open the package. I figured, what they hey, it could be fun to see what's inside. The bags make a DC or a Marvel, and usually one of the older issues, visible in each package, but there is no guarantee of what else is in there. I got a mix of Bronze Age, Independent, Modern Age, DC, Marvel...a real grab bag, if you will. Here is the rundown:

1) Superman #372 (DC, 1982): For some reason, it amuses me that this one came bagged and boarded (the only one of the 10 with that distinction). This one takes me back to my childhood with the creative team of Cary Bates/Curt Swan. I had a ton of Superman comics at this time, but I don't think I ever had this one.
2) Kirby: Genesis Silver Star #2 (Dynamite, 2011): Other than the credit of "Art Direction and Story by Alex Ross" and the apparent Jack Kirby connection, this looks inessential.

3) Dead Letters #2 (Boom, 2014): I have no idea what this is about.  It looks gritty, and the art is...idiosyncratic. It won't be at the top of the pile, but I will keep an open mind.

4) What If? #1 Infinity Inhumans (Marvel, 2015): The one Marvel book in the bag. I am not a fan of the art, but I am glad this is a self-contained story (I think). Oh, how I wish it were one of the original What If? issues.

5) Sky Wolf #1 of 3 (Eclipse, 1988): Billed as an "Air Fighters Mini-Series," it has a cool enough cover. I laughed because as soon as I saw the publisher logo and title, I thought, well, must be a Chuck Dixon book.  It is!

6) Adolescent Radioactive Black Belt Hamsters #1 (Eclipse, 1986):
Nothing like a little black-and-white vintage Eclipse. I am actually amused to have this even though it looks amateurish. Isn't this one of the seminal Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ripoffs?

7) Medic #1 Flatline (Double Take, 2015): Co-written by Bill Jemas. It has a striking painted cover and good production values--maybe the best paper quality in the bag--but the interior art looks idiosync--no, awful. I'll just say that to me the art looks unappealing.

8) Time Twisters #1 (Quality, 1987): An anthology that reprints stories  from the British 2000 A.D. This issue features all Alan Moore stories. Artists include Alan Davis, Dave Gibbons, Paul Neary. I think this may be one of the more pleasant surprises of the grab bag.

9) Giant Size Red Sonja #2 (Dynamite, 2008): I am sorry to report that the first thing I thought when I saw this was, "Giant Size Thingies." This anthology has an interesting cast of writers, including Christos Gage and Roy Thomas; plus a story written and drawn by Frank Thorne that looks pretty cool.

10) The Twilight Zone #4 (Dynamite, 2014): The other visible title besides Superman, and it helped me choose this bag over the one with a cool vintage Marvel Team-Up because I was curious what a modern Zone comic would be like.  It's by J. Michael Strazynski and Guiu Vlanova (is that a pseudonym?).Unfortunately, this is 21 pages of story for the cover price of 3.99 and looks like a ripoff at 3.99. Perhaps I will get 60 cents of entertainment from it, though.

When I first opened this, I felt a little embarrassed that I impulse-bought it for 6 bucks. Even at 60 cents per issue, I was thinking I would be better off buying stuff from a 25-cent, 50-cent, or even a dollar bin somewhere. Yet it was a fun "lottery ticket" of sorts, and when I list all the comics like this,, I am satisfied even though I wouldn't have picked up any of these in a bin except for the Superman comic.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Today on Battle of the Network Shows: Dynasty!

The podcast that discusses TV of the 1970s and 1980s one episode at a time looks at one of the biggest hits of the Reagan years...for a while, anyway! We dive into a season finale of Dynasty despite not having seen any episodes in decades...if ever. Will we figure out what's going on? Do we need to figure it out? Does the presence of Grant Goodeve make up for the absence of Emma Samms?

Find out by heading to our website or wherever you get your podcasts. Don't you dare miss it!

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Classic Shows That Should Be Streaming: 5 for Amazon Prime Video

Welcome back to my continuing series matching classic television shows with streaming services. My criteria for a series are that it should not be widely available at the moment and that it should have a realistic shot at being acquired by said streaming video outfit. Last week I looked at Netflix and had to stretch because, let's face it, Netflix isn't in that bidness anymore.

Now it gets fun because we see some moves that might actually happen. In fact, I am moving up Amazon Prime Video in this series before one of my brilliant ideas happens. In particular, I am fascinated by the ongoing deal with Warner Brothers. In recent weeks, the complete runs of The Dukes of Hazzard, Chips, and Kung Fu have all made their way to Prime. Last week, Dawson's Creek followed, but...that's not really the kind of show I want to talk about here. Also, at least one list of stuff coming to Prime in June includes the long-running Lorimar (now owned by WB) series The Waltons. Something is going on here, so Warner shows dominate this list.

1) Night Court: Prime Video has a lot of old shows, but other than some of the stalwarts like Cheers, it isn't exactly a destination for sitcoms. Honestly, Night Court feels more like a Hulu show (Don't worry, folks, I have another long-running WB sitcom in mind for Hulu), but maybe that's exactly why Prime should snag this. It's too bad that it took Harry Anderson's death to put the show back in the spotlight, but the fact is, a lot of people probably thought, "Hey, I'd like to see an episode or two," only to discover it's mostly unavailable, albeit airing on a digital subchannel or two.

At a certain major retailer, I keep seeing a package that combines multiple seasons of the show on DVD--the earliest, less-beloved seasons. Night Court is ripe for streaming, with a whopping 9 seasons and almost 200 episodes of comedy. A show that large benefits from the ability to pick and choose the more memorable moments. It should be streaming, and it's not like Warners is doing a lot else with it right now. Sometimes I think the company is stingy with its properties while it milks DVD sales, but the series has been complete since 2013, so that should not be an obstacle. Make this happen!

2) Wonder Woman: Since Amazon is already adding action/adventure shows from Warners, this one may be more realistic. Really, I am surprised at how little the original CBS/ABC show was hyped in the wake of the blockbuster 2017 feature film. Hey, I don't care how good the movie is; there is no need to be "embarrassed" by the show, and for many of us, Lynda Carter will always be the definitive Wondy. The series has been complete on DVD for years, but other than, what. a run on ME-TV, where else has it been? This would be a great get for Prime.

3) Spenser for Hire: Mainly I just want to see the series and not pay 60 bucks a season for it on DVD. I didn't watch it when it was on, but in recent years I discovered the Robert Parker Spenser novels, and now I'd love to check out Robert Urich's take on the character. And, hey, one of Amazon's most high-profile originals is Bosch, so there must be an appetite for detectives among its membership, right? Like the other two series, this is complete on DVD. I don't know if it's run anywhere in years, and even Warner Archive Instant never streamed it.

4) Alice: 9 seasons and over 200 episodes, all available for digital purchase, though not yet on DVD. Only the first 6 seasons are on home video, so this may be an impediment if Warners thinks a big streaming deal would cannibalize sales of the last few seasons. Those are already niche products, though, exiled to Warner Archive and MOD releases instead of general retail, so I don't see a lot to lose. This is by no means a critical favorite, but it would be nice to cherry-pick notable episodes on streaming. The series has been butchered in syndication, and it is running on Antenna and Logo right now, but so what? Season 1 was streaming on Warner Instant for a very short period of time, so I think the company is not against putting it out there.

5) Get Smart: Another series distributed by Warner, but it has a more complicated ownership history, and its most notable video release was a Time-Life set. Seeing series like Laugh-In  and The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts turn up on Prime this year made me think, hey, Amazon is getting a nice collection of not-overplayed 60s comedy shows that had giganda-size DVD sets.

Get Smart has been out a long time, so no need to worry about DVD sales at this point. Mel Brooks was involved with the show's creation, and at first I thought a Mel Brooks Collection deal on Netflix--kind of like what it did with the Albert Brooks movies a while back--might be nice. Then I realized Netflix doesn't collect old sitcoms anymore, and plus I think most of those Albert Brooks movies expired quietly not long after they appeared. So Prime Video it is!

Monday, May 21, 2018

Hazel: The Early Years: "A Dog for Harold"

Maybe I missed something. I like to enjoy an episode of Hazel after a long day of work. Maybe my faculties were compromised when I watched "A Dog for Harold," but while it's enlightening to see the ~secret origin~ of Smiley, the Baxter family dog, this story irks me.

Harold brings home an abandoned dog and falls in love with it because of course! See, back in the sixties, kids fell in love with dogs at first sight because they weren't preoccupied with video games about dogs. Or something like that. So Hazel and Missy convince themselves that the boy NEEDS a dog. Not only that, he needs THIS dog.

"I'd better be getting paid as much as Buntrock by next season."

Well, as far as I can tell, the dog seems OK with this plan, though I don't recall a scene in which he shares his direct feelings. So the goal is to trick Mr. B into allowing this.

Here's where the story falls apart. George reminds the ladies that dogs just don't like him. In fact, they tried to adopt a dog before, and the dog beat him at poker--I may be hazy on the details--so now the patriarch of the House of Hazel KNOWS that dogs detest him. He seems amenable to the idea of taking in a pooch otherwise, but he is firm on this.

You know Mr. B is missing the awesome finger-pointing abilities of his right hand.

Well, wouldn't the smart thing be to introduce the dog to the man and see if they get along? That instantly removes the objection. Unfortunately, it also removes 80% of the episode, and so we get Hazel and Missy scheming to hide the dog while they can come up with ways to make George think HE needs one.

"It's such a foolish idea, I can't believe I didn't think of it before!"

For example, they stage a faux break-in to set up a need for a watchdog, but it backfires when Mr. B hires someone to install an alarm system.

Yep, this guy seems reputable.

At the end of the episode, we find out, guess what, the dog (dubbed Smiley, which has a much better ring than "That Shaggy Mutt What Done Got Found by Harold) likes George and George likes the dog.

"Jeez, what does the guy think I am, a cobra?"

Thus endeth A Dog for Harold, an episode about 80% longer than it needs to be. However, there is some value in seeing how the family pet gets his place in the home.


OK, now for what we all really care about: The Don DeFore hand injury update. It's still wrapped up in this episode, and Hazel asks him how it's coming along. George is making progress but still doing his Muy Thai one-handed. I am almost disappointed that George doesn't try to tie this into his uneasiness with dogs by trying to retcon a story about a runaway canine biting him.


"So then I used a reverse knife edge on him, but the son of a gun had a steel plate on under his jersey."

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Streaming Video Power Rankings #111

1) MLB.TV: I still have this, and I'm not sure how, but I have to rank it up there considering I turned it on each night after work. The fact that I missed most of the last two Pirates losses probably works in MLB's favor. Anyway, I am gonna ride this while it lasts.

2) YouTube:  It deserves credit for renaming YouTube Red to YouTube Premium. Clearly it's feeling cocky after getting an actual hit series in Cobra Kai. It gets a demerit because my kids saw a DIY slime video and the formula just DID NOT WORK!

3) Netflix: On one hand, 13 Reasons Why dropped a new season, and it's one of the buzziest shows Netflix has. On the other, part of the buzz is because of the controversy, and premiering the day of a high-profile school shooting is unfortunate (though not at all Netflix's fault, obviously). And taking those issues out of it, this is the kind of show that didn't really need a second season.

However, I am enjoying Wild Wild Country, and my kids like the new comedy sketch/history show, the Who Was? Show. Well, one of them did, and the other called it "cringey," but I suspect that opinion will change, and I appreciate the combination of Ben Franklin and fart jokes, so I am breaking the tie.

They are also into the cooking competition show Nailed It. Finally, we watched The Angry Birds Movie together, and it was much better than I expected (I expected "atrocious"), and one crude gag made me laugh for about 75 seconds.

4) Filmstruck: I have to knock it down a bit because I just didn't watch anything on it this week. In my defense...I don't have it anymore. Yes, the make-good for Warner Instant subscribers finally expired. Filmstruck is still that rarity: Something that gets better every single week.

The service just added a bunch of John Huston movies--and we're talking the big ones like Treasure of the Sierra Madre included--and a bunch of Danny Kaye movies (not just including the same old ones you always see) plus a theme of "West Africa." I probably won't watch any of the West African movies anytime soon, but it makes me feel cultured to mention them. I will get this again, likely after something else runs out and I have more time to watch it, but I will rank it somewhere in the top 10 each week if this continues.

5) Hulu: Well, my 2018 "watching on Hulu" shows are just about over, so it's time to dive into the library and get back into some of the older stuff. There still isn't that one original series I feel I must see, but I do want to check out a few more of the documentaries this summer.

6) TuneIn: Purely on the strength of Deep Oldies Radio, but that's worthy in itself. If you listen to classic rock/oldies radio, you have probably heard The Who, but when was the last time you heard Call Me Lightning by The Who?

7) NBC: All the better to watch Punky Brewster with--and, oh, hey, that just happens to be the subject of this week's Battle of the Network Shows podcast! Hey, I didn't make the shameless plug in the YouTube entry, so I gotta do it somewhere.

8) WWE Network: Do you know the pain of sitting down to watch an old Clash of Champions and discovering the network cut out Dick Murdoch vs. Bob Orton and Road Warriors vs. Varsity Club for no apparent reason? Well, just believe that it hurts. It's enough to take some of the shine off adding dozens more episodes of Mid-South Wrestling. Yes, I realize many of you are rolling your eyes.

9) The Roku Channel: I ripped this one for losing Good Times and a few other classic sitcoms. Well, they are back...but with a catch. Now it's seasons 3 and 4 up instead of 1 and 2. It's better than nothing, but a heads up would have been nice.  I give Roku Channel credit for re-adding this and I Dream of Jeannie and Bewitched (It apparently pulled the shows while deleting the first seasons and adding new ones), but it's still a bummer. The channel also gets props for showcasing free content from a variety of sources in honor of Streaming Week (apparently that's a thing), like Billions season 1.

10) Acorn TV: Sneaks into the list for sending me an email asking me to sign up again. Hey, get Drop the Dead Donkey, and I will consider it. Still, it's nice to know you remember me and that you care.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Streaming Showcase: Boomerang

I like Boomerang well enough, but there needs to be more of it to make me subscribe to it more often. In the grand scheme of things, 5 bones per month doesn't sound like a huge expense, but when there are so many other options out there, a Streaming Video On Demand service has to offer more content to become one of those automatic renewals I can feel good about.

This Time Warner channel has access to tons of cartoons and iconic characters--Looney Tunes, The Flintstones, Popeye, Tom and Jerry, Scooby-Doo...but instead of unleashing all of it, it siphons it out and waters it down by throwing in modern stuff like Courage the Cowardly Dog. Now, I'm sure that cartoon has its fans, but are they willing to pay 5 bucks per for access to some of it?

If we were talking every Looney Tune, every Scooby, etc., then we are in business. Even if there was the promise of that or  even some vague hope that was the direction, then it would be different. However, there is an assortment of these properties, and new content is added maybe every week or two. It's nice to see new episodes of The Flintstones added, but in a sense, it's like, so what? All of that show should already be on this kind of classic 'toon service.

I had Boomerang for several months, and I enjoyed watching the likes of Yogi (though not nearly all of Yogi was available) and Magilla. I even watched some Richie Rich, which I hadn't seen in years. There just isn't enough. It's cool to see an underappreciated character like Barney Bear get a dedicated section on Boomerang, but it also exposes the fact that, say, Space Ghost is nowhere to be found.

It's like Warners is hedging its bets and trying to hold back as much as possible. This approach is what killed Warner Archive Instant, which turned off potential consumers with its high price and limited library. We're at the point where protecting DVD sales shouldn't be a big consideration; much of the potential material has been on video for years. At a minimum, Boomerang should add classic cartoons every single week so that its older audience (I find it hard to believe adults are signing up so their kids can watch originals like the Dorothy of Oz cartoon and the new version of Wacky Races) know stuff is always on the way. What about all those short-lived "adult" cartoons Warners controls like Wait Till Your Father Gets Home and Where's Huddles?

The service itself is OK to navigate and use. A sortable watchlist with the ability to select individual cartoons (instead of just, say, "Huckleberry Hound") to it would be a huge plus. The streaming quality is decent. There are good efforts to curate cartoon selections for events like holidays; I enjoyed having easy access to Christmas toons around the holidays, for example.

Ultimately, there just isn't the effort there to justify 4.99 a month. Filmstruck caters to the cinephile with curated collections, constant influx of new titles and even bonus material. There is no reason Boomerang can't do this except, I assume, that it wants to appeal to kids and adults. I don't think this service will be in it for the long haul, though, unless it picks a lane OR allows a Boomerang Kids and Boomerang Grownups kind of split, with the pesky bonus material (like the audio commentaries on some of the old DVDs) safely ensconced on the Grownup side where it won't confuse the kiddies.

Mostly, though, it just needs more stuff. I wouldn't care  about the inclusion of 2000s cartoon shows if there were more of the classic stuff--the material that Warner already has. Imagine having such a massive animation library and charging so much for access to so little of it.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Today on Battle of the Network Shows

I imagine there's a huge natural crossover between fans of Honeymooners and Hazel and Punky Brewster. Today, the fourth season of our podcast talking about TV of the 70s and 80s examines the NBC kidcom.

Click it right here to check out the latest Battle of the Network Shows. Don't you dare miss it!

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Classic Shows That Should Be Streaming: 5 for Netflix

Netflix used to have a great library of old TV shows, particularly those from the Universal library. Now it relies on a few stalwarts like Friends and is focused on creating original content. When it does acquire a high-profile series, it is gone in a year or less (Everybody Loves Raymond, M*A*S*H), and I won't hold my breath waiting for the company to shell out for any more classics in the near future.

However, I can think of one show that would generate enough buzz to maybe be worth a look from Netflix. I think it would be a great addition for Netflix because it has never streamed anywhere else, it has a devoted and passionate fanbase, and it would fit in with its recent emphasis on genre programming.

That show is the original Batman. Now, yes, there is one huge possible impediment--OK, two. One, Netflix has a strong relationship with Marvel that is apparently going to continue even after Disney pulls its feature movies and other content from Netflix in 2019 and launches its own series. Two, who knows if Warner/DC would even want to license this out? Three--OK, there are  many big obstacles--I don't know what the streaming rights are or if they are there. It took years for Warner and Fox to come to an agreement and get the series out on DVD, and who knows what the status is for streaming video. Oh, and one more--DC Comics is slated to unveil its own service next year, and wouldn't the original Batman in glorious HD, streaming for the first time ever, be a great lure?

Yes, it would, but that's still a long way off, and I think there is money to be made here, enough to make a short-term deal viable. Does Netflix have to worry about offending Disney considering the Mouse is already backing away from it? Is anyone making money off streaming Batman now? (Answer: No.)  I can see a nice splashy campaign around this series.

I don't think it's going to happen, but I think it's the only classic show unique and available enough to be a realistic consideration for Netflix, setting aside the issue of it's possible.

So 1) Batman.

The others on my list are easier to acquire but less likely to be desired by Netflix.

2) One Day at a Time: Perhaps the clearest sign in recent years that Netflix just didn't care  anymore about anything older than 10-20 years was when it premiered a reboot in association with Norman Lear yet didn't add the original. Maybe it tried and was rebuffed; I just don't know. The new version is critically acclaimed but eveidently not a popular smash, yet it did just get a third season, so maybe there is a sliver of chance Netflix will get the old ones.

3) The Carol Burnett Show: The above entry proves there is nothing to the theory that Netflix will be interested in an old show if it does business with its principals, but, hey, I said I'd do 5 for each SVOD service. A story circulated last year that CBS was shopping original versions of The Carol Burnett Show--as opposed to the long-syndicated half-hour cutdowns--for digital television, and maybe Netflix could be a fit. It would be a boon for classic TV fans and a nice companion to the current original series that stars Burnett.

4) SCTV: This show has a tangled history and possibly some rights issues, but it's been on DVD for years and is too good and has too devoted an audience to not be available anywhere. Now that Netflix has announced it is commissioning a Martin-Scorcese-directed reunion special, let's all dream that it will also pick up the original series.

5) Late Night with David Letterman: This is the most unlikely of all, but Netflix is now in the Letterman business, as it is with Burnett, it has plenty of room for unconventional material, and it has expanded its foray into talk show/variety programming.  Why not make a lot of people happy by adding some of the great material from the 80s and 90s?

For all I know, Letterman himself is dead set against an official release of the old stuff--didn't he hate the reruns on defunct cable network Trio?--but he could get a nice chunk of change and strengthen his relationship with Netflix. Maybe--just maybe--if we catch him on a good day he is in the mood to think about his legacy and suggest best episodes or tape an intro or two. Netflix's use of Mystery Science Theater 3000 indicates it does not have to stream everything in its entirety, so maybe some kind of curated collection would be doable.

That's a lot of maybes and probably never will bes, but Netflix is #1, so I wanted to start with it. The rest of this series will feature more realistic possibilities. Stay tuned for more!

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Classic Shows That Should Be Streaming: Introduction

Starting tomorrow, I will unveil a new series giving each of a host of major streaming video services 5 new TV series. I'm trying to be realistic about this, assigning classic shows where they A) fit and B) might have a realistic chance of landing. So even though I'd love to see Bachelor Father, I don't include it in this series because I just don't see it happening right now.

I take into consideration who owns the streaming rights (as far as I know), what each streamer is currently doing in terms of old-school content, and whether it is already available. Magmum P.I. would make a great addition to several different channels, but it is viewable through Starz right now, so it is ineligible. However, something that was streaming before but is not right now--say, --is eligible and in fact is probably a great candidate for one of these lists.

I'll begin  tomorrow with the big dog of streaming video, Netflix, even though it has all but given up on acquiring old TV series. I have 4 wish list items that I don't think will really appear and one show that has never been streamable and is iconic enough to make me think Netflix might actually bother with and promote.

Later in this series, I'll name selections for Hulu, Prime Video, and others, and I'll even make some picks for services that don't exist yet, naming some series they should carry when they launch. It all starts tomorrow, so tune in then and see if I don't make some iota of sense.

Monday, May 14, 2018

'Mooners Monday: Unconventional Behavior

I'd wager of the famous Classic 39 "regular" Honeymooners episodes, Unconventional Behavior is one of the handful of most pop--oh, why bother? Almost all of them are among the most beloved or most popular. This has some of the most memorable imagery, though--Ralph and Ed stuck together by a bum pair of trick handcuffs, trying to get some shuteye on a train to (as far as they know) Minneapolis.

I think this presents one of the great what if scenarios for the series. It would be cool to see a scene or two of the boys at the actual Raccoon Convention. We see them in their lodge togs, and we see them describing all the sophomoric pranks they are planning on pulling, but I like the idea of them interacting with others at the event.

This raises the question: what exactly do they do at the convention? I love that when Ralph plans the trip, his first impulse is to run to a novelty shop and get a joy buzzer, bags for filling with water and hurling out the window, etc. What else goes on there? Talk about Robert's Rules of Order? Speeches by the Grand High Exalted Mystic Ruler? Demonstrations on the latest in beer keg taps?

One of the most interesting parts of The  Official Honeymooners Treasury is the revelation that, according to an early script draft discovered by Marvin Marx's widow, the original concept put the guys, the gals, and various Raccoon bigwigs on the train to Minneapolis. Aso, the actor who plays the train conductor, Humphrey Davis...

told the authors that a later script featured comedian Jack Norton playing twins to comic effect and confusing Ralph and Ed. Norton (the actor, not the character) was a resident at the will Rogers Hospital in New York, suffering from emphysema, and the physical exertion of the role proved too much for him.

Playing twins required Norton to go back and forth across the stage and the faux Pullman sleeper set-up, and Davis says that the actor started to struggle. He adds that Jackie Gleason noticed this and sent him back to the hospital with some money.

Norton circa 1940 (courtesy of Wikipedia)
The interesting thing is that Davis claims Gleason and Art Carney were left with 5 minutes to fill and improvised the famous bit about trying to sleep in the bunks while handcuffed. Now, I don't know about that, seeing as how some of the draft script excerpts published in the book do include bits of them trying to go to sleep. So maybe there is some truth to the story, but the "off the cuff" (no pun intended) creation of the whole scene may not be accurate.

By the way, you have to check out this episode's chapter in The Official Honeymooners Treasury. The excerpt from that early script draft is huge, and it's almost like reading a whole new episode.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Streaming Video Power Rankings #110

On Mother's Day, take a minute to recognize your loved ones...then get back in front of the TV and enjoy some streaming video.

1) MLB.TV:  I'm on a free trial of this, and I have been able to see the end of a no-hitter, several Pirates wins, and some other great baseball action. It's obvious Major League Baseball is loading up the games to get me to spring for the full season. It's still too expensive, and its blackout rules are absurd, but I still love this service.

2) Netflix: I'm not so crazy over recent reports that Netflix is going to give heavy emphasis to sci-fi and fantasy going forward. I'm not against it, but I like a more general approach, and I don't like the reports that it's moving away from comedies because they don't travel as well. I'm in the USA! USA! USA! And I would like to see Netflix try some intelligent comedies.

Speaking of which, Netflix got some buzz with the remixed version of Arrested Development season 4 and a premiere date for season 5. Isn't Michael C. Hall sort of a big deal? Well, he has a new series, Safe, which seems to have flown in under the radar compared to even something like season 3 of Bill Nye's show, also new this weekend. Evil Genius looks good, but I'm still in the middle of Wild Wild Country. Perhaps most importantly, it gets my "This is what my kids are watching this week"  prize. Uh, I mean Netflix in general, not Wild Wild Country. I probably should put in a paragraph break there.

3) Filmstruck: I didn't actually watch anything on here this week, but how can I not love Filmstruck when it adds collections devoted to Billy Wilder and Lauren Bacall plus "All the News That's Fit to Stream" (including Five Star Final and All the Preisdent's Men) and "Complicated Mothers" (including Mildred Pierce and White Heat)? Answer: I can't not love it. In other words, I do love it.

4) YouTube: While Cobra Kai continues to draw attention to YouTube Red and people are starting to get curious about some of the other original programming on there, the free stuff still rules with me. My personal pick of the week is this 1980 clip of Stan Lee on Beyond Belief, a CBC show where a panel of psychics play something like What's My Line?

5) HBO: I'm half-watching the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony right now, and it's  not great, but I like that it's there. Thumbs up to HBO for the premiere of Dunkirk

6) Hulu: It has been invaluable for prep for the podcast this week, but it gets docked for a widespread outage yesterday. However, we have to credit it because tons of people are going to say they're going to watch Dunkirk this weekend but are actually going to watch Baywatch.

7) Pix11: New to the Archives section is a complete newscast from May 3, 1980 hosted by great WPIX announcer Bill Biery, complete with original commercials. I have to bump it down a bit for posting a story from 1983 about Howdy Doody being decapitated (?) that isn't playable on Roku.

8) Tubi TV: I haven't talked about Tubi in a while, but it has quietly added a lot of cool genre movies recently, like the original Penetentiary  movies, and we should all keep an eye on this 100% free service. It's easy to lose track of the free channels while we're struggling to keep up with the ones we're paying for. Another interesting recent add here is The Green Girl, a documentary about character actress (and staple of 60s TV like Star Trek) Susan Oliver. I heard about the doc several years ago but forgot about it until now. Into the queue it goes.

9) Shout! Factory TV: One word for you--OK, two words--Street Hawk! Do I really want to watch it? No! But it's cool that Shout! added it!

10) Steelers Desk Site: I don't think this has been updated in months, and I can't vouch for anything on here, but it's a free Roku channel devoted to Pittsburgh Steelers news and info. I have to rank it at least once. If you are a sports fan, check your Roku new channels section because a host of team-specific ones appeared recently.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Behind the Rankings: Two channels that will NOT be on the next list!

These two channels have made THE NAUGHTY LIST and will not appear in the Streaming Video Power Rankings this weekend:

*IFC: I was happy that IFC let me authenticate through DirectTV Now last week. Then I tried to watch an episode of Brockmire and was thwarted with a message saying my subscription didn't allow it. I can't say I am surprised, considering my lineup does not involve IFC, but I am miffed.

So you let me authenticate and log on all official-like, but you won't let me actually watch your content? Not cool at all, IFC. Not very I of you! As a matter of fact, it's quite F'n C! (I have no idea what that means, but I am upset I am not gonna be able to watch Brockmire this season after all).

*The Roku Channel: This free channel is always adding new content, including local news from what I read. This month it has new titles like Whiplash and  Foxcatcher. However, it dropped the classic TV series Good Times, Bewitched, and I Dream of Jeannie. Maybe this means those shows will appear somewhere else--Crackle? For now, though, they aren't streaming.

I am particularly annoyed at the loss of Good Times since I was watching season 1 on Roku Channel. "Ain't we lucky we got 'em?" No, we ain't lucky, because now we ain't got 'em anymore.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Recent Movie Roundup

Brief thoughts on 3 recent movies I saw in the past few weeks or so:

La La Land: I fell in love with Emma Stone when she told Ryan Gosling she hated jazz. Did I miss the point of the film? It wasn't what I wanted it to be, but it was well shot and decent entertainment. It goes limp in the middle, though, and it would be nice if Stone's character was better developed--not from an ~EQUALITY~ for its own sake standpoint but because the movie would be much better if she were more consistent and entertaining.

I was also surprised at how unimpressive Gosling was as a singer/dancer. Still, despite the film's weak points and (not its own fault) massive hype, I'm glad I saw it, and the ending got to me much more than I expected.

Spider-Man: Homecoming: My preferred Spidey is not 15 years old, and that's all there is to it. I like an older, more mature Spider-Man and Peter Parker, and this version is not only a kid, but is made even more of a kid by his relationship with the other people in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I mean, Robert Downey Jr. totally steals the whole movie and is one reason why the wallcrawler often feels like a supporting player in his own film.

Having said that, I do think the movie accomplishes what it intends, and given the overload of Spidey flicks in the modern era, I can't at all blame everyone for going in this direction. Tom Holland is very good at doing this version of Spider-Man. Even better is Michael Keaton, who leaves you wanting much more of him. I'll look forward to subsequent installments, but it's not my Spider-Man. Let's face it, every performer is just chasing the definitive Nicholas Hammond depiction of the character.

Hidden Figures: This is a solid, feel-good movie, and there's nothing wrong with that. I totally forgot Kevin Costner was in it, and I didn't know Kirsten Dunst was in it. That's not to slight Taraji Henson, Octavia Spencer, or Janelle Monae, but I'm just telling you what the surprise element was.

Not every movie has to have a big surprise, though, unless it's directed by M. Night Shamalyan. I liked Hidden Figures.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Hazel the Early Years: "What'll We Watch Tonight?" Part 2

Last week we gave some context for this, the sixth episode of season 1 of Hazel and the only one broadcast in color that season. Now let's get into the story itself. After a cold open in which Hazel tells off a floorwalker at the department store for having the GALL to ask her if she needs help while looking at--GASP--ladies' apparel, we join the Baxters at the dinner table.

George and Hazel have plans to watch the fight together on the living room set, and wouldn't you know, Mr. B.  wants to raise their standard bet from 1 dollar to 5 because he thinks he has a sure thing with his favored guy Davis against Hazel's Tiger Burleson. He has 'inside info" and wants to sucker Hazel into a bigger bet.

Of course, Hazel has inside info of her own--by calling Tiger himself right before the fight! Turns out one of her homemade remedies has helped the injured hand George thinks he has the scoop about. Hazel actually suggests the bet tonight because she has even insidier info. Yep, this is normal behavior between a man and his maid.

(Incidentally, they make reference to George's bandaged hand but don't explain how it happened.)

We get a fun bit of trash talking between Hazel and George as the fight (shown in black and white) unfolds on the Baxters' TV (not to be confused with the puny 10-incher Hazel has in her room).

Do you need me to tell you who wins the bet?

"Now what'll we watch?" Hazel wants to watch TV Courtroom, but George isn't a fan. He wants to see The Caine Mutiny. I have to agree with him on this one. Sure, everyone's seen it several times, but so what? It's a Bogart movie.

Hazel makes a passive-aggressive comment about her small TV before retiring to her quarters to watch TV Courtroom. See, she's afraid the roller derby would be ruined on her set because she couldn't see the "infighting." She also gets flopovers and static and whatnot. George admits it's not even worth fixing:

So they head downtown to get a new set. Check out Walter Kisnella as Mr. Thornton, the slick operator pushing the fancy sets:

Baxter offers to buy the least expensive one in the store, and Hazel maneuvers into getting a color unit by offering to pay the difference between what he was willing to pay.

Hazel's room becomes the place where the action is. Hey, you know what I mean! She has friends over to unveil the new color set by screening Perry Como's show. Even Mr. Thornton from the store comes over.

Here George enters a mini-swoon as he hears Perry singing Dream Along with Me on the snazzy new set in Hazel's quarters:

The show ends with the Baxters enjoying THEIR new set--George was tired of his family watching TV in Hazel's room--and as Missy and Junior decline invites to watch the special in her room, Hazel starts slinking off...until George invites her to sit down and join them. It's a nice note to end the episode.

The novelty of the color makes this stand out in season 1, but it's a solid installment in other ways, with plenty of the light but sometimes slightly sort of resembling edgy confrontations between Baxter and Hazel that we know and love. Not only is it one of the more memorable episodes of Hazel, it sure beats the average episode of TV Courtroom.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Streaming Video Power Rankings #109

1) Filmstruck: This week, I watched The In-Laws and Fast and Furious  (Francot Tone and Ann Sothern, not Vin Diesel and Paul Walker), but this top ranking goes beyond what I watched. See, on Friday Filmstruck added a bunch of old movies from David Lean, Busby Berkley, and Jean Harlow. There is also a new batch of French classics, but let's step back and consider the Lean, Berkley, and Harlow movies. It's not just the most famous ones but a vast assortment, and I notice that the Harlow ones, for instance, don't have the TCM Select banner.

This proves that the studio era Hollywood movies people like me love so much ARE coming on a regular basis to Filmstruck, and it's no big deal. You know what this means? This means that it's safe to say we finally have that Turner Classic Movies streaming service we wanted and that we hoped Filmstruck would become. It's become that, and it doesn't mirror TCM's on-air library, but one could argue that it's better than if we just got Watch TCM for Roku

2) Netflix: I am not that interested in a lot of the new stuff on there this week (exceptions being the John Mulaney standup special and the latest Letterman interview episode), but to be somewhat objective, there is a lot of high-profile new content this week, including new seasons of Dear White People, a lot of kids' programming (like a new Barbie cartoon series), and a host of new foreign shows (The Rain looks intriguing).

Let's talk about that new Carol Burnett show, though. It looks awful. I imagine it's "cute" enough, but I don't need to see Carol interact with precocious kids. Howzabout shelling out to stream the old Carol Burnett Show? I hate to imply that I don't want to give the comedy legend a chance to do something new, but this format doesn't appeal to me at all.

3) YouTube: I could talk about some of the cool stuff I saw here this week--I mean, that's sort of why you're reading this, right--but the main thing this week is that this new Karate Kid series, which had every chance of stinking, is generating good reviews and actual buzz. YouTube Red may have its first real "hit" that doesn't involve teenage YouTubers scaring each other or whatever it is they do when they get together.

4) Hulu: You can pretty much cut-and-paste my entry from last week because it's the same situation. The Rocky movies are new for May, but don't they show up every other month? Also new: The Matrix trilogy and the Nightmare on Elm Street movies. Plus Hulu announced strong growth with 3 million more subscribers than it had in January. Now it's at 20 million, and even if a lot of that consists of freebies through deals with companies like Sprint, hey, so what, the thing has some momentum.

So why not keep it going by adding the rest of those old Fox shows that were announced a year ago, Hulu?

5) WWE Network: I haven't begun to really dig in here yet, but I can always find something that will make me forget about my troubles for a while--like a man bashing another man over the head with a steel chair. Or Andre the Giant singing with a Carribbean band on a 1980s TV show. I'm disappointed that the next catalog drop is reportedly Sunday Night Heat  and not Mid-Atlantic Wrestling, but maybe both will arrive.

6) Disney Now: My kids continue to eat this up, and it's good to see that if a big Disney show is gonna leave Netflix--Phineas and Ferb, in this case--it will show up on Disney Now.

7) Prime Video: I didn't get to watch much on Amazon Prime this week, but I was impressed as more Warner Brothers shows popped up (quietly) on the service: The original Kung Fu and Chuck. Meanwhile, the Bond movies didn't appear on Hulu this month, so they showed up here. It's like they rotate or something. I do want to see Last Flag Flying, which is new this weekend.

8) Philo: I don't always rank these aggregator services, but Philo is getting a lot of ink lately, and my cousin recommended it, so that's good enough for me. Basically if you are a cord cutter and want a low-cost assortment of cable channels that does not involve news and sports (think A&E, HGTV, MTV, etc.), this might be your bag.

9) HBO: I have no interest in a Serena Williams docuseries, but I did start the last season of Curb Your Enthusiasm, and so far, so good. It's bringing some big events with a Gennady Golovkin title defense (unfortunately not the rematch with Canelo Alvarez originally intended for May 5) and the premiere of the condensed version of the latest Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

10) Starz: I don't talk a lot about Starz on here, and there are good reasons: 1) I don't subscribe and 2) I don't know anybody who really talks about it. But it debuts two new series this weekend and seems to be steadily serving audiences who don't always get a lot of love from pay cable. Also, it announced an interesting deal to bring some of the old SeeSo originals into the fold and is premiering some of those this weekend.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Hazel: The Early Years: Episode 6: "What'll We Watch Tonight?" Part 1

Welcome back to Hazel: The Early Years, our journey through the first season of the classic dom-com (my new term for a sitcom centered on a domestic engineer) starring Shirley Booth. We are at episode 6, which is notable for two reasons: 1) It is about TV itself, and I love sitcom episodes about the characters watching television and 2) It is the only episode broadcast in color during the first season.

This episode premiered at 9:30 on Thursday, November 2, 1961 on NBC, presumably airing against short-lived network competitors Margie and The Investigators. Take the lack of competition and the fact it followed hit Dr. Kildare, and it is no wonder Hazel finished the season #4 in the ratings.

NBC was owned by TV manufacturer RCA at the time, and it made efforts to promote purchase of color sets.  For context, this is a mere weeks after the NBC debut of Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color, which had been an ABC program and black and white (under a different title; it would be odd to have a black-and-white show called Wonderful World of Color). Some of the rest of NBC's lineup, especially Westerns like Laramie and Bonanza, was already in color, and of course Hazel itself would transition in season two. About a year after this episode, NBC promoted a Color Week stunt in which B&W series like Dr. Kildare ran in color.

So what is the theme of this special episode? Well, naturally it's about Hazel Burke getting a new TV set, and not just any set, but a spiffy new color set! Yes, all the better to watch Perry Como's Kraft Music Hall, which aired Wednesdays at 9:00 in beautiful living color!

I'll get into the actual episode more next time, but for now enjoy some shots from the opening sequence. It's notable that the producers actually reshot this in color as well. Note that you get a glimpse of  Don Defore's bandaged hand, which I referenced in this post about episode 4, in one shot! We were told it was injured catching a line drive hit by Hazel, but I still prefer to think George Baxter suffered an injury in an underground Muy Thai tournament.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Behind the Rankings: 5 SVODS that are NOT ranked this week and why

1) PBS: This "app" has become lamer and lamer since the introduction of the "Passport" concept designed to get people to pay to stream content. Coincidence? I think not.

2) ESPN: Stop me if you've heard this one before, but then go ahead and let me finish: Since the introduction of the ESPN+ paid service, there is much less worthwhile "free" (meaning available to cable/satellite subscribers) material.

3) Prime Video: I can't in good conscience reward Amazon in a week in which it announced it was increasing Prime membership by a whopping 20%. It doesn't seem like a good idea to talk about a massive price hike at a time when the president is bashing you.

4) CBS All-Access: Other than a handful of original series, what has CBS added since launch? It looks like the "classics" section is identical to what it was when it started.

5) The CW: I really do appreciate the fact that CW makes virtually all of its shows available free (and I do mean free) here, but this week I skipped catching up on Flash and Supergirl, and I am tempted to wait until those current seasons appear on Netflix in a few weeks.