Spoilt For Choice

2

April 8, 2018 by bck1402

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I recently took in a second screening of Ready Player One from the cheap seats (RM8, so convert accordingly) after an IMAX 3D screening (RM28) on opening day. Both were morning matinees, so the pricing was lower than normal.

If I really like a movie, I’d surely watch it more than once, and that was a prevalent habit during the VCR days. Then again, it’s not like we had lots of other shows to watch then. You could record a show or two off the TV broadcast and rewatch that because there were seldom reruns. Two channels with a third just coming into existence; no satellite or cable services meant that for most of us growing up in that era, video was a big part of our lives. At least, for those of us who loved movies. It was also pre-copyright days – or at least, with less restrictions than we have now, so most video shops would carry just about any movie you want, and more. If they don’t have it, make a request and some copy would turn up a few days or a few weeks later.

I had an extensive VHS library, which later became an extensive DVD library, now peppered with a few more Blu-Ray titles as well. For satellite TV, we had ASTRO in the early 2000s that provided the likes of HBO, Cinemax and a couple of others. I gave it up a few years ago because the subscription pricing was (I felt) ridiculously high for terrible packages and spotty services that got worse every time it rained. Perhaps they’ve improved since, but all I know is that their prices have also gone way up with the advent of HD transmissions. 

So I stick with home broadband instead.

HYPP-TV (now UniFi-TV) has been serviceable, but I really miss SYFY, Universal Channel and BBC Entertainment, making do with WarnerTV (Oh, how many times have I watched Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, Inception, Lord of the Rings trilogy and the Harry Potter series), BlueAnt Entertainment (formally CBS Entertainment) and a couple of Sony Channels. They recently added a few Fox channels, but those are not part of the package I subscribed to – because they’re new, and despite losing a few other channels, these are not deemed replacements. UniFi also allow access to BBC iPlayer, but only if you’re a UniFi subscriber taking on the Ultimate TV package, another service not available in my area. ☹️

Instead, I make do with BBC iPlayer Radio (free anywhere in the world) and enjoy some comedy and radio dramas.

Thing is, I remember keeping my video tapes and DVDs in constant circulation through the players when there was nothing particularly interesting on TV, but these days… We’ve really got to make time to sit though our favourite shows or movies. They call it ‘bingeing’. 

I’ve watched Back to the Future enough times to recite the dialogue throughout the movie. I’ve savoured every thrill in Raiders of The Lost Ark, no matter how irrelevant Indy is to the proceedings (according to The Big Bang Theory). I still get full on belly laughs taking on Airplane! or The Naked Gun trilogy, and the Farscape series is still an emotional rollercoaster every time I go through its four seasons and finale movie.

Doing that last one is a rarity these days. I used to go through Farscape once a year and I know some people on the Farscape Facebook groups I’ve joined who still do that. At least, they say they do. 

Over the last decade or so, there have been so so so many many shows that finding time to revisit the favourites is something of a luxury. Premium subscription services like Netflix have been creating their own shows. The competition between these services and normal TV has been so fierce that it’s hard to get through all those shows. Then again, that has to depend on your budget at times. if you’re already subscribing to Netflix, you’ve got your access, but not for shows like say, Star Trek Discovery (CBS All Access, although some Netflix services around the world had that). Amazon Prime has started making their own shows as well. Disney is kicking up their own subscription only services too… not that it’s going to matter on this side of the world that is not the US.

The thing is, there are shows I love watching and it’s a matter of waiting for them to become available over here (The Magicians, The Expanse, Into The Badlands to name but a few current ones), be it through the likes of Netflix or other services. But when these services start putting out their own shows, then you’re playing catch-up more often than taking the time to truly savour a show for all its wonders. Watching Legion last year, I don’t think it’s something that can be watched once and then be left aside until the next season comes around. The production values on that alone is utterly remarkable and I have constantly questioned how they wrote / filmed / edited that show because it is such a mind-bender in concept and presentation.

Having that on disc allows me to enjoy all the intricacies of its presentation, but time is now at a premium. Aside from work, and the occasional review or write-up like this one (it’s been ages since the last) and catching up on the new weekly shows on TV not to mention the new hot release of something or other’s latest season in full and the movie or two I haven’t seen yet and that book or three i want to finish reading…

Well…

I’ve given up on most of the DC TV shows with the exception of Legends of Tomorrow (how fun was John Noble appearing as himself on the set of Lord of The Rings, while also voicing the main big bad for the season?). Something had to give way and that freed up an extra three hours (or so) in the week. Not quite bingeing but it does give me a little time to still play catch-up. If only those other cable-release movies weren’t piling up too. It’s not like I have a significant other to keep me distracted but I wouldn’t mind giving up some of this for that.

It’s almost as bad as being in a book-shop, picking up books you want to read but let them languish on the shelf at home… only to occasionally add more books to the shelf of what you want to read. (Yes, I have to problem too… with books, movies, discs, magazines, tv shows, comics, etc.)

As Neo said…

And how are the rest of you story-addicts like me managing?


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