Sunday, April 28, 2019

Streaming Video Power Rankings #159

1) HBO: I thought The Case Against Adnan Syed was terrific television, and, oh, yeah, Game of Thrones. Plus the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony premieres this weekend and makes for decent background noise.

2) Criterion Channel: We're getting a better idea of what this will be going forward. It looks like there will be a nice but small addition of licensed titles in May (such as a collection of George Cukor movies). Fortunately it appears that the Channel finally fixed the big glitch that was affecting the end of many movies on the Roku version.

3) Netflix: Another week, another chance for Netflix to irritate its customers--this time by canceling The Santa Clarita Diet after 3 seasons. Interesting timing considering a Hollywood Reporter piece this week claims that Netflix's back-end money sharing with talent goes way up once an original series reaches...season 4.

4) YouTube: A lot of what I saw recently, I don't want to mention because it may end up on battle of the Network Shows (available wherever you get your podcasts!), so I will highlight this 1999 ad from Chuck's Classic TV Clubhouse:

5) Hulu: Just moving along, and it is adding a lot of reality-type shows lately. I've mainly been watching Seinfeld.

6) Philo: I am still making my way through American Soul (just saw Don declare war on Dick Clark!) and each week look forward to Viceland's Dark Side of the Ring.

7) MLB TV: Keeps putting the Pirates in that Free Game of the Day slot...and the Pirates keep losing! Is there some kind of connection?

8) Tubi TV: Added Incredible Hulk and Emergency (sadly, only the first seasons for now) plus 1980s Mr. T show T and T.

9) Amazon Prime Video: Slow week for Prime except for adding Werewolf in a Girls' Dormitory, but I have been trying to enjoy the season 1 Carol Burnett Show episodes instead of lamenting

10) GITV Classic TV Series: New free channel in the Roku store offering a bunch of classic TV episodes in the public domain and (ahem) some others as well.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Streaming Video Power Rankings: Week #158

1) HBO: I can't keep throwing shade at Game of Thrones. No, not everyone who has a TV watches it, but everyone who has a TV and writes about TV does.

2) Criterion Channel: I continue watching the heck out of this while it's free. It doesn't look like it will improve the user experience anytime soon, but the movie selection is impressive. This week I enjoyed some Columbia Noir, some Godzilla, and a Maysles brothers documentary. I look forward to seeing what's new in May. Will we see more evidence of the Channel's willingness/ability to license films each month?

3) Hulu: Lowering prices of some of its Live TV service add-ons. Repeat: loooooowering prices.

4) Amazon Prime Video: A slow week for adds except for the new season of Bosch, which I really need to try sometime. Yes, I said that when season 4 dropped.

5) YouTube: LMAO the other day watching the "It's Raining Men Collection" from Late Night with David Letterman thanks to the great Don Giller's channel. "A certain segment of the audience finds it very entertaining. That's all I'll say about it."

6) CW: I may not have accomplished as much in April as I thought I would heading into the month, but I caught up on The Flash and Supergirl.

7) MLB TV: As I write this, I am watching the National League best (record) Pittsburgh Pirates via the Free Game of the Day!

8) Tubi: I watched the last episode of the Martin Lawrence/Kelsey Grammer Partners this week, and I won't say it's good, but...I see what it was going for. I mean, I can't believe it tanked the way it did. I can only assume it was that 10/90 deal, where FX was afraid of committing to 90 more and pulled the plug after 10 rather than gambling. Anyway, you can find this "hidden gem" on Tubi!

9) Pluto TV: It continues adding content and making deals, with stuff from new owner Viacom and its family of cable channels (MTV, Comedy Central, etc.) adding shows soon. It really should bring back the "hide/favorite channels" feature, though, because sooooo many of the live channel options are garbage.

10) Netflix: I got an email saying basically, "You know why we are raising your prices?" And the answer was something dumb like, "To better the service." Thanks for the insight. Meanwhile, a story comes out that Netflix is giving 60 million bucks to BeyoncĂ©. I realize many are excited about her Homcecoming special, but to me, that is a colossal waste of money and an insult at a time when my subscription rate is going up. It seems like for every deal that sounds interesting, Netflix makes 2 or 3 that just sound like it is tossing money at something I will never watch.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Streaming Video Power Rankings #157

1) Disney+: It doesn't even exist yet, but a lot of potential customers can't wait till it does. Disney won the week with a spectacular presentation that had people salivating, all topped with the announcement of a $7/month price point. Even if the content disappoints (and unlike DC Universe, it isn't going to roll out one measly episode each week), that price makes this a no-brainer for millions of families who can afford another streaming service. It also serves as a first strike against companies like Direct TV and Comcast, who you just know are hoping to dive in with their own streamers with half the content at twice the price.

2) Criterion Channel: It was almost overshadowed by Disney, but this new outfit, after a shaky first day, had a successful launch and already captured the hearts of many film lovers. It's too expensive and has a ways to go with its user interface, but it is accomplishing what it wants to do creatively.

3) HBO: If I were a Game of Thrones nut, this would be higher, but I'm one of the folks who aren't. Yes, despite media coverage, there are lots of people who haven't been watching the show.

4) Amazon Prime: Donald Glover's Guava Island premiered, but I was fascinated by the addition of Hollywood Backstage, a 1960s syndicated magazine-style show that aired on American Movie Classics years ago.

5) Netflix: Disney's price point sure makes you want to take another look at how much you're getting out of your Netflix sub, especially on a week like this where the debuting originals don't look all that appealing.

6) WWE: Coasting off another big WrestleMania weekend and will likely drop out next week, but news that it is going to add more 1980s Mid-South TV is encouraging.

7) Philo/Sling (tie): This week's announcement by YouTube TV that it was adding the less-desirable channels Philo carries and jacking up its price 25%, coupled with Sling running a big sale, will have a lot of people taking a look at combining these two services for their live TV needs.

8) Pub-D-Hub: Makes its return to the list with a convenient selection of Easter-themed material, plus a fun episode of Love That Bob I saw this week.

9) Hoopla: It announced a new deal with the BBC to bring more television shows free to users who can participate through their libraries.

10) CBS All Access: Sneaks into the list again due to continued buzz for The Twilight Zone, plus Star Trek Discovery and The Good Fight continuing and the NCAA hoops final on Monday. And, oh, yeah, I want to punish YouTube for raising YTTV's price 10 bucks a month.

Monday, April 8, 2019

'Mooners Monday: Remember when TBS got the Lost Episodes?

I never thought of The Honeymooners as a TBS show, and I still don't, but it was a big deal when they got basic cable rights (Showtime had the initial rights for premium cable) to the Lost Episodes. I think for those of us who grew up watching the Classic 39 on WPIX, it was weird to see any version of the series on any other outlet!

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Streaming Video Power Rankings #156

1) Amazon Prime Video: One of the best Prime weeks ever for fans of vintage TV. Yes, I was disappointed that the collection of Bob Hope specials was virtually all Christmas ones--let's get some variety in there--but I can't complain about season one of The Carol Burnett Show and a bunch of Red Skelton Hour shows, and I hope all of these collections add more episodes soon.

In addition, The Joey Bishop Show is new, along with the obscurities Tucker's Witch (1982) and an old sitcom called Love & Marriage starring the great William Demarest! It's cool that a new season of The Tick debuts this weekend, but this week was all about this older programming.

2) WWE: Normally I'd put WWE at #1 since this is its biggest week of the year with WrestleMania and associated events, but, come on--William Demarest! I'd actually be more likely to resub to WWE for the vintage Mania press conferences it uploaded this week.

3) CBS All Access: I think the reviews for Jordan Peele's The Twilight Zone are all over the place, but the series got CBS a ton of attention this week. Kudos to CBS for making the first episode available for free online, too.

4) Netflix: It's actually a big weekend, with new season of Sabrina,  the debut of prestige Attenborough series Our Planet, and Unicorn Room, Brie Larson's feature directing debut. I was all over The Ranch, though. I'm still way behind, but here's an unpopular opinion: the show is much funnier than One Day at a Time.

Speaking of that series, stories circulated this week that Netflix is blocking a pickup of the canceled show by CBS All Access. Amazing that CBS can somehow look like a good guy here. Combine stories like this with the rate hikes, and I'm just getting a little Netflix fatigue. I'm even toying with the idea of doing the unthinkable and canceling it at some point and making it part of a rotation of services instead of a monthly given.

5) Hulu: It's getting some moderate buzz for its recent originals like The Act, and while that sounds like faint praise, it's better than no buzz. Personally, I'm glad for Hulu so I can catch up on Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

6) YouTube: Here's another from the Anecodotal Evidence Department: Not only do my kids seem to want to watch only (or most mostly) YouTube, it seems like their friends are more focused on YouTubers than on traditional "TV shows." Disney and Nickelodeon are feeling it now, but in another decade or so, it will be all the other channels feeling it, right?

7) MLB TV: I remember when I used to think that the Free Game of the Day almost always featured two random sucky teams with little national interest or chance of contending. That's why it was so gratifying to see the Pirates show up twice--hey, wait a minute!

8) HBO: I finally watched Wonder Woman (solid, but I don't envision a need to see it again) and started the Adnan Syed docuseries (I'm very impressed by the first chapter).

9) Roku Channel: New for April: Grudge Match (I have to give in and watch this now, I think), Willy Wonka, Tin Cup, and others. It gave me some nice background viewing in The Patty Duke Show when Shout! TV wouldn't work all last week.

10) Criterion Channel: The eagerly awaited new service for film lovers begins tomorrow. It promises hundreds of titles, but it hasn't released a lot of details about exactly how much of the Criterion Collection will be available. We'll have to see tomorrow. I know a lot of people will be all over it.