Second-rate streaming

Posted: January 21, 2014 by terryvandrovec in Uncategorized
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Two video streaming services seemed like one too many. So my crew recently dropped Netflix. For now. Odds are that we’ll be back, probably when it rolls out new seasons of “Orange is the New Black” or “House of Cards.”

The surviving platform: Prime Instant Video. Not because it’s better, but because it’s linked to free two-day shipping from Amazon. And I order a lot of stuff from Amazon. Billy Madison had nudie magazine day; I have Amazon shipment day – that’s when refrigerator-sized boxes (with smiley faces on the sides) arrive filled with diapers and baby wipes. It feels good to be stocked up in terms of poo extraction supplies.

Getting unlimited access to certain movies and TV shows is a nice bonus. But there’s a catch – a couple of them, actually. For starters, not everything available on Amazon is included in the Prime library. Remember when video stores existed and they divided their inventory by new releases and other? Well, a majority of the Prime stock is not hot off the presses. To be completely honest, it’s a second-rate supply compared to Netflix.

Although frustrating at first, that has become part of the fun.

I’m a lot less tempted to watch the hot new release, instead forced to dig deeper, challenging myself to find something interesting and not necessarily mainstream. It’s become a weird little game.

My three most recent picks: A documentary about a guy that tired to make a documentary about English street artist Banksy; a British comedy that was the precursor to the hilarious HBO show “Veep” – the sharp-tongued Malcom Tucker character has some fantastic lines – and the independent film that put Danny McBride and Jody Hill on the path to creating “Eastbound and Down.” I’d never heard of any of the three prior to entering the Prime rabbit hole; I’d watch all three of them again if given the choice to erase their memories from my brain.

My next conquest is “Sherlock,” a television update of Sherlock Holmes done by the BBC. (And, yes, I’ve become a bit of an Anglophile, and I’m not sure how my Irish and Czech ancestors would feel about that.) That’s not entirely obscure, but it’s a show I wasn’t aware of until recently. This gives me a chance to go back and get caught up. So far so good even if Benedict Cumberbatch plays a bit of an odd duck.

I’ve been tempted to “at” Grantland writer Andy Greenwald – my favorite TV and movie critic – to ask for his Prime suggestions, but so far have held off. That seems like it would be cheating the spirit of the second-rate system, ruining the idea of ordering diapers and a movie.

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