Tuesday, October 27, 2015


When I was a boy, I lived in front of the television set.  I was one of those kids who could tell you the primetime schedule of all three networks with more certainty and relish than I could list the first five Presidents of the United States.  So it's a bit weird for me to realize that I haven't watched broadcast television in over two years.
When I moved into my current home, I didn't bother getting a television.  Instead, I made sure I had wi-fi that could reach every room in the place.  The only thing I miss from television, really, is local news and I can catch the rebroadcast of that online.
When I want entertainment, I spent most of my time on my laptop.  I listened to audio programs available via the BBC or spent time watching videos on YouTube.  Occasionally, I would buy a movie or rent an episode of television via Amazon Instant Video.
I was content.
Then, last September, I decided to try Netflix.  For $8 a month, it sounded like a good deal, and the first month was free.  So, I signed up, logged in and checked out what they had available.
To be honest, I was not impressed.  A lot of their stuff you can find at other sites for free.  The stuff they did have was stuff I didn't really want to watch.
Everyone told me I should watch Daredevil, that it was really good.  I made it through six episodes and lost interest. I tried watching Arrow and The Flash, but they didn't tickle my fancy either.  That first week on Netflix, I spent feeling really disappointed.
But I had it free for a month and thought I'd give it that long.  Surely there must be something worthwhile on the site.
I revisited some old favorites, like The Munsters and Kolchak, but I'm not the type to get lost in nostalgia.  Then I somehow wound up watching the entire run of Spooksville, a supernatural tween show produced in Canada.  Then, to my surprise, I found an Australian-produced mystery program, Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries, and bingewatched all three seasons.  That led me to the discovery that Netflix has the entire run of Agatha Christie's Poirot, starring the fantastic David Suchet in the title role, and Dawn French's The Vicar of Dibley, one of the funniest Britcoms that I've ever seen.
The trial month ended and I decided to keep my Netflix membership.  I watched Daniel Radcliffe in Horns and was horribly disappointed by the flatness of the film.  Halloween was coming and I eagerly perused their offerings in horror, but most of them left me cold. I wanted the original Halloween or the excellent 2007 Trick R Treat.  I got recommended Supernatural and The Gates. My disappointment was a palpable thing.
I thought that the site's algorithms weren't recommending me good things because they didn't really know my tastes yet, so I spent an hour filling out profile preferences.  It didn't seem to make much of a difference.  Supernatural still popped up in my recommendations, but now so did Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Vampire Diaries. It was like taking one step forward and two steps back.
I'm still working my way through Suchet's Poirot, and just recently started watching Murder, She Wrote on a whim.  
I've told myself that once I'm done with Poirot, I'll probably shut down the account.  I can find stuff to watch online for free. I can go back to listening to the BBC and podcasts like Welcome to Night Vale.
But then someone told me Netflix was going to be getting the original Star Wars movies.
Just when I think I'm out, they pull me back in. :-(

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