I don't know how they're bringing back Coulson and I don't know how they can do the Black Widow without Scarlett Johansson butIdontreallycarebecausethiswillbeFUCKINGawesome!
Years ago, when I was living at the beach, I took a call from a Foxtel pimp, trying to get me to sign up to a pay-TV deal. Not even tempted. Cable was still pretty new in those days and I asked this unctious spiv whether I'd be able to get stuff on demand. He mocked me for my naïveté. He would still mock me, I'd wager, although nowadays he'd probably lie and try and sell me a line of shit about all the different ways Foxtel pretends it can deliver what you want to watch, when you want to see it.
It can't. It's still way behind my wishful thinking. Not that it matters much to me, because the number of shows I have queued up on my magic box is shameful. I only just finished watching season two of Falling Skies. (More of which in a separate blog.)
Dom Knight had a great essay over at Fairfax yesterday about his idea of a perfect TV service. It's not far from my own hopes and dreams all the way back at the beach.
What I want with TV and movies is what I have with music now – the capacity to watch whatever I want instantly, at high quality, on any device, with a well-designed, convenient interface. I want instant gratification at a lowish price – something like $10 or $20 a month instead of the more than $100 a month that Foxtel wants to charge. Let’s say that I’d gladly pay up to $50 a month for all the music, TV and movies I could stream via any device. Give me that, and I’ll gladly pay it forever.
I've never thought of an all-you-can-eat media buffet before. Something that delivers TV, movies, music, even magazine subscriptions to something like an iPad. As Dom points out in his story we're seeing the outlines of a system like that emerging in the US now, with millions of people cutting the cable to put together their own personalized TV schedule from a mix of Netflix, Hulu plus and/or iTunes. (I'm not sure, but it could be that in the US at least Hulu comes as an option on iTunes). And millions more, of course, doing the same through teh torrentz.
The streaming options closer to home, unsurprisingly, are abysmal, perhaps accounting for the unusually high incidence of piracy here.
His piece is worth reading because of its deft understanding of history, technology, and psychology. But the thing I took away from it was the idea of the all you can eat buffet. How much would I pay for something like that? If I had to cobble it together from bits and pieces, as I sort of do at the moment, I guess it would cost me about $200 a month. Way too much, even for my profligate ways. I suspect most people would top out at about fifty or sixty dollars a month. The entry level basic cable price. I'd probably be happy paying a hunnert or so. It's still a lot less than I'm paying now for my premium Foxtel subscription, which in some ways is getting worse as time goes by.
For all of their crowing about delivering first-run TV within a couple of hours of the show's airing in the US – and it is something to crow about – Foxtel have recently reorganized their premium movie channels in such a way as to offer less choice for the same price.
Somewhere in his essay, Dom speculates about how devastating it would be to the local TV ecology for an apex predator like Netflix to turn up here.
There are currently too many players and formats and none offers enough of everything at a sufficiently cheap price. In particular, Foxtel seems to be trying to offer lots of different ways to watch live TV, via iPad and X-Box 360 and TBox and several other devices, without embracing the need to build a system that does proper on-demand streaming of their shows. Personally, I don’t care about channels, I don’t want schedules, I don’t need hard disk recording. I just want a mass of content that has every good show from today or the past, streaming immediately, in high definition, on any device.
If this ever happened, I'd expect at least one of the free to air networks, either Ten or Nine, to be out of business within about eighteen months.
40 Responses to ‘How much would I pay for all-you-can-eat TV?’
I don't how I managed to miss the bad lip reading phenomenon. It's one of the more twisted but compelling things I've seen in a while. It's quite brilliant. Hard to believe at times you're not watching actual dialogue. Even harder at other times to convince yourself you haven't just taken a small dose of some powerful and tightly targeted hallucinogen.
7 Responses to ‘"Ooh yeah, I farted on you when you put banana peppers in the Weeties"’
The one upside of today's migraine was being 'free' to catch up on the last eps in this season of TWD, which had been sitting on my iQ box, taunting me since February/March. I had a little mini-marathon until my head stopped pounding. Long enough to make it through to the finale.
A few spoilers below.
Can't emphasize enough how impressed I am with the story telling chops of this series. There were sections that were nigh on unwatchable because of the tension. I avoided spoilers as best I could, and went into the last installment not knowing who would live or die. Excrutiating stuff.
There were even a few larfs to be had. A dark comedy highlight? Rick explaining to the liberated cons how to carefully fight zombies, and their completely disregarding everything he said at the first sign of a shambler.
All the character work was brilliant, as always, and with some of the more annoying regulars gone the way of all flesh (ie, eaten) I'm looking forward to the return.
I enjoyed the overaching theme of whether there is a morality of survival in the most extreme of circumstances. And I especially enjoyed the way this question played itself out over hours, weeks and months, rather than in the seven minute segment before the next ad break. The nadir for the group, i think, wasn't the 'deal' struck with the governor, but an ep or two earlier, leaving that poor hitch hiker to his fate without a backward glance.
I really thought they'd move on from that prison in the end, but I guess it's about to become something of a castle of the deep south.
Anyway, that's as much 'puter screen as I can handle. Might add a few thoughts tomorrow.
22 Responses to ‘Walking Dead, Season 3’
We discussed this hereabouts recently and I'm sorta surprised to see the project up and running so quickly. I'm just not sure this thing isn't going to suck arse through a tube. It looks like a very poor cousin to the movie. The producers have obviously gone for the larfs, and maybe that's a smart move rather than trying to compete with TWD.
But it just feels a bit amateurish and underdone.
Amazon Prime has a page up to stream the first ep, but it appears to be borked. All you get is 12 seconds of grainy 'coming soon' graphics. There are many, many unhappy punters in the comments and so far it's getting 1.5 stars in review.
I'll wait til they figure out their streaming problems before I go nuclear or anything. Until then I'm not even gonna bother with a link.
5 Responses to ‘Zombieland trailer’
Can this guy play Woody Harrelson, playing Tallahassee in Zombieland? His name is Kirk Ward and he's got just enough crazy in his eyes to do the job. But by asking the question I guarantee the producers of Amazon's six part Zombieland adaptation will hate me.
Yeah, that's right, they read the blog. Everyone does.
Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese went out of their way to give the four actors they've chosen to replace the original Zombieland crew as much of a head start as they can. Which is, not much. That movie was perfectly cast, right down to the cameo by Bill Murray. The series? Don't know, we'll have to see.
I'm being churlish, of course. It's awesome that there's even going to be a 'television' spinoff. I threw those quote marks in there because Zombielaand for TV will never air on a network, not even on cable. Amazon has commissioned the series along with six others, because exclusivity is the new black. If you want to watch the show, you won't be downloading it from Google play or iTunes, you'll be paying the Beast of Bezos.
Actually, I lie. You won't be paying. They're giving it away. I'm sure there's a business model in there somewhere. Amazon has a business model, right? It's not just giving stuff away below cost because… Err, Shut up you.
Anyways, for anybody who is interested, there's an interview with the writer-producers over at Buzzfeed, and although they do sound a little defensive at times –"We found really, really great actors to fill those roles" – it does give the impression that this could be very cool.
For instance, like The Walking Dead, to which they credit Amazon's interest in the series, Zombieland wont have to worry about pulling in its fangs to reach a mass audience. It can be as hard-core as it wants, even though they'll be playing the story for lulz.
"We obviously loved the opportunity to have the creative flexibility that Amazon has given us to do it — you know, we can swear and show blood and violence and do all of the stuff that we couldn't otherwise do on network or basic cable television," Wernick explained. "It really allows us to hit that exact tone of the movie."
I'm kind of interested too that Amazon will be relying on customer feedback via its review function to decide which of the six series it's commissioned will be getting a second series.
Given how borked most online review systems are these days, that's a brave choice.