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How much would I pay for all-you-can-eat TV?

Posted May 5, 2013 into Telly by John Birmingham

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?’

Moko is gonna tell you...

Posted May 5, 2013

Yeah, I don't mind paying for Game of Thrones from itunes as it's about the only show I watch ... excuding the news. I get my doco fixes off of YouTube with channels like VICE, GangstersIncDK, and Gangland, History, yadda yadda.

It would need to be a really cheap subscription for me to get on board just because I don't watch 'TV'.

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tqft puts forth...

Posted May 5, 2013

We record almost everything we watch due to time constraints and the ads.

Foxtel no cable, no money and I dont like satellite, had it once, was kind of sucky.

I suspect the TV stations will probably be worth more for their spectrum and rights contracts in a few years.

Is a good piece - also has a classic line about JB.

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Blarkon ducks in to say...

Posted May 5, 2013

What happened to the musicians will happen to TV. Remember that graphic that showed what an artist got per album versus what they get on Spotify? Like that.

Ultimately people will get the TV that they are willing to pay for.

Anders would have you know...

Posted May 5, 2013

But also, remember that Spotify actually sends SOME money to the artists, unlike other channels that people had previously chosen to use.

Lobes mumbles...

Posted May 5, 2013

It's not really the same because making good TV costs lots and lots of money and requires many people.

Great music can be, and still is, made for free by as few as one persons.

Blarkon asserts...

Posted May 5, 2013

This should give you an accurate idea of how much money Spotify kicks back to a musician.

http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/2010/how-much-do-music-artists-earn-online/

alexmac mutters...

Posted May 5, 2013

I wonder how much the all you can eat model would have to cost/how many people would have to subscribe before it offered fair compensation to the people actually making the TV.

The reason that HBO, Showtime and FX can afford to make such quality drama is that they work on a different subscription model in the States (on top of regular cable TV) which provides shitheaps of revenue and means they're not so beholden to ratings.

Blue Tyson mumbles...

Posted May 5, 2013

TV, already free.

IInet fetchtv thingo for example says you STILL NEED AN AERIAL to get the current free to air channels via their service.

Like, wtf?

Would I pay for a service that gave me all the usual channels and digital over the internet, so no reception issues or satellite dishes (thanks to cabling the country fail). Sure.

Blarkon mumbles...

Posted May 5, 2013

TV's not free. You've been paying for it through attention to advertisements.

Except that was broken by the Internet.

Here's an example. An advertising slow during the top rated comedy in 2000 (Friends/NBC) cost you $550,000

An advertising slow during the top rated comedy in 2012 (Big Bang Theory/CBS) costs you $270,000)

Advertising against the 8th top rated show in 2000 still cost you more than advertising against the top rated show (Sunday Night Football) in 2013.

(and that's in raw rather than adjusted dollars)

So "Free" TV isn't free. That was an illusion. Advertisers paid a lot of money for eyeballs. Because of the rise of Internet advertising, they pay a hell of a lot less.

Back in the heydey of TV, each viewer of a show was worth a couple of bucks.

Today - the "stars of youtube" who get millions of hits a week are getting about a few cents per subscriber.

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Anders would have you know...

Posted May 5, 2013

I'd pay a fairly decent rate for this - $60 or so.

If it's guaranteed to put Seven, Nine and Ten out of business in eighteen months? DOUBLE IT.

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w from brisbane reckons...

Posted May 5, 2013

I don't think many people are driven enough to be that interested. I think many people just want something watchable, and don't much care what it is.

That is why sports is such desirable content, a relatively huge segment of the population, 5-10%, really must watch. Particularly, if they have a bet on.

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beeso mumbles...

Posted May 5, 2013

What I don't understand is that TV is so fucking stupid. Lots and lots and lots of people are telling the program makers how they would like to PAY for their content. But they are so tied into the network deals that torrenting might just kill them.

Foxtel can rave about getting content to the market quickly, but if the major sports in this country start offering live sport from the net for pay per view, then foxtel will die and pretty quickly.

Brother PorkChop ducks in to say...

Posted May 6, 2013

Good point. I would pay to stream Rugby but not hook up to Foxtel. Even though I live in Brisbekistan, I cannot get cable and would have to arrange satellite.

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Blarkon asserts...

Posted May 5, 2013

Most people aren't describing how they would really behave when they say they will pay for it if it is made available. GoT is made available in Oz on iTunes soon after it is shown in the US. Very few people are paying for it because a couple of bucks is "too much" for something they can torrent for free.

It's like with the old internet tip jars that were going to ensure that bloggers got paid. You know why they went away? Because even though people said they'd chuck some cash the blogger's way if they enjoyed the story - in reality they didn't. A couple of people got some coin right at the beginning - but given the option of paying for something and not paying for it when there are no consequences for not paying for it - the vast majority of people don't.

Darth Greybeard swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 5, 2013

Unless the situation has flipped again, GoT is not available on either iTunes or Quickflix in Australia. Fox apparently killed that very smartly. Not sure If I can still get it with a US iTunes account, still looking at setting that up. Rather irritating because I could have got each episode as it was released for a total cost about the same as I've paid for the previous seasons on Blu-ray.

beeso puts forth...

Posted May 5, 2013

You can get GOT this season then Fox has clamped down. No wins out of that except maybe stupidity.

Steve would have you know...

Posted May 5, 2013

I've got a GoT3 season pass on iTunes. Does this mean I won't be able to do so for GoT4?

beeso mumbles...

Posted May 5, 2013

Not till after foxtel have shown it.

Steve ducks in to say...

Posted May 6, 2013

Okay, so here I am, willing and able to pay for legal downloads but not able to watch them because Foxtel want to force me onto their movies package. F*** me!

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Bangar swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 5, 2013

Blarkon, Devil's Advocate Position

If no one will pay why do RRR and Dan Carlin (I pay for both) still exist? Is it that only the best will get funding or is it how they do it makes a difference?

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Samwise would have you know...

Posted May 5, 2013

With my VPN service, I can access free Hulu, and love it. And I would pay for the fully featured version if I had an american credit card. But it doesnt cover all my wants, mainly my Mad Men and HBO fixes.

I would also want something that would as seamlessly integrate with my entertainment system, be it via Apple TV (like US Netflix and Hulu) or possibly PS3.

John Birmingham asserts...

Posted May 7, 2013

Tried to VPN Hulu but fucked it up somehow. This is another reason I cannot pirate stuff. Ineptitude.

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w from brisbane swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 5, 2013

The most irritating thing about the Foxtel model is that you have to buy channels you don't want to get the ones you do.

"I would like to buy this pot plant and this book on golf.'

"Certainly, you can have that as long as you buy these ceramic ducks, 2 books about penquins and and a replacement snowmobile clutch."

Foxtel CEO, Richard Freudenstein, said there was no way to monetise the idea of allowing customers to choose which channels they want.

(Sigh)

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DrYobbo puts forth...

Posted May 5, 2013

It may not surprise you to hear all I give a fuck about is being able to see all of the live sport. All of it. Which, in NZ as increasingly in AU, means pay TV. This simplifies the 'are they showing it soon enough to its premiere' deal vs drama series, because if it's not live, it's irrelevant. Even so, there's always room for fail with networks deciding not to pay up for certain series (eg Sky NZ this year with MotoGP, or ESPN with Italian or Spanish football). For the money I pay, I expect to see everything I want. And by and large, I do. But I'd love a truly on-demand (probably online) system where you could solely sign up for the sport and all the other faff (Living Channel?? MTV???) could be fucked off. I note the rise of sports selling direct online rights to everything in their sport (eg NBA with Gamepass), interested to see how this works within the ANZ sports market.

John Birmingham puts forth...

Posted May 5, 2013

Yeah, I thought that was strong point Dom made about the need to be able to access ALL THE SPORTZ ALL THE TIMEZ.

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TeamAmerica puts forth...

Posted May 5, 2013

Out of curiousity, is Amazon Prime available in Australia? I currently have Netflix and Amazon (as well as cable tv), but I will likely drop cable soon. Amazon seems the better deal to me as it has a pay-to view option for newer movies, which Netflix lacks.

John Birmingham asserts...

Posted May 5, 2013

Dont think so, TA. I'm conflicted about it. I'd dearly love the convenience and cheapness, yet fear the howling wasteland it would make of the local retail sector.

accidie is gonna tell you...

Posted May 6, 2013

I think it might be. But DON'T click on the link to have a look unless you plan to buy it. They take that as signing up and bill your credit card immediately. I only found out when I saw my statement, and discovered I'd paid $79 for a service which is of NO BLOODY USE TO ME because of the slow download speeds here in Woop Woop.

To be fair, they'll give you a refund. But it still smacks of trickery and skates close to fraud.

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Pax ducks in to say...

Posted May 5, 2013

I already pay for iTunes tv season passes (a mistake I know - especially the current disaster that is the "Once Upon a Time" second season [iTunes can not supply episodes until they have been shown on the purchasing station. Channel 7 stopped at episode 9 last December...])

So yes - an "on time, when I want it" service would be worth shiny gold coins to me

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Barnesm is gonna tell you...

Posted May 5, 2013

Much like you I am currently forking over the cash for Foxtel which means I end up with a truck load of series waiting to be watched. I'd be happy to pay what I am currently paying for Foxtel. Interestingly I recently gained in the movie shuffle, getting all the movie channels I hadn't subscribed to for an additional $3 a month. I agree the people that were already payign for them got shafted.

DrYobbo mutters...

Posted May 7, 2013

This is actually a thing. I have more shit backed up than I can deal with. I also have a lot of unwatched shows on my MySky. See what I did there. It was quite clever. But my dietary health aside, even with my aversion to series television I still have more stuff to watch than I have hours to watch stuff in. Which I think is always going to be the flaw in an 'everything on demand' model. It may be a generational thing, but I'm nowhere near as militant as some against the idea of someone else (eg a network) scheduling television for me. Saves me fucking about through the listings finding stuff I want to watch.

Blake puts forth...

Posted May 7, 2013

I'm in a similar boat but must be on the other side of the generational divide.

Foxtel scares me as a concept. It's all-you-can-eat in the other sense, like having the Sizzler salad bar in your house all the time.

Sure there's quality on it but there's also a lot of rubbish and if its in my house I don't have the disciple not to stop eating.

That probably says something about me, but its also something I don't want to subject my family to. They don't need six cooking shows about cakes, when they start to watch shows about pawn shops alarm bells should ring that its time to turn the TV off and do something productive.

For some reason unlimited access to whatever you want (but the ability to choose what you want, when you want it) lets me have enough control to limit any self destructive viewing.

I'm not sure pick and pay viewing is a local content killer. Iview means I watch more ABC (although not an advertising revenue service).

If I had to pay for the episodes of the stuff I like for a similar service on 9/10/7 I would.

The really disappointing thing is fox's throwing its weight around and killing the direct d/l services that do operate here.

Most of the time I don't neeeeeed to watch it within hours of the US. But things like game of thrones survive on the buzz and Tuesday morning recap. It's hard to do that if you're 2months behind.

But I guess that's just another gen-y first world problem

John Birmingham would have you know...

Posted May 7, 2013

No I get it. I really resent having the all you can eat buffet, or paying for it anyway, whena all I ever ever watch is a couple of shows. I have almost the opposite problem to you. I feel guilty about paying for the service and not using it enough!

Lulu asserts...

Posted May 7, 2013

Yobbo: "It may be a generational thing, but I'm nowhere near as militant as some against the idea of someone else (eg a network) scheduling television for me."

I agree, with one proviso - the problem is that they schedule the good stuff at the same time. So I should probably get a digital recorder to cover those times when Elementary clashes with Downton Abbey (yes, I'm that uncool).

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ShaneAlpha swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 5, 2013

I got rid of the Foxtel when I realised I was paying $90.00 per month for 2 channels. Now I'm down to two tv shows that I can be bothered watching. One I get from iTunes and one from the free-to-air web catchup stream. It would probably have been harder if I actually gave a shit about sport anymore.

The rest of the time it's MMO timesink all the way.

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Spanner swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 6, 2013

I don't watch a lot of sport but when I do I want it live and in HD. Cricket on 9 I can turn the sound down to avoid the gormless commentary but its in fuzzy SD. I can't watch it in SD.

Free to Air is pretty much dead to me it's riddled with ads in SD and is mostly crap.

My Foxbox on the other hand is chock full of series to work through. All of which come off 2 channels, FX and Showtime. So yeah I'd pretty much pay what I pay now for Foxtel for an on demand service.

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pi mumbles...

Posted May 6, 2013

Which TV channel would be on the way to the knackers? The one that doesn't have a sports offering. It's also touched on in the article, but sport is, was, and always be, the killer TV app. It's current, live, and for people that want it, they don't mind paying for it, with or without ads.

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tqft mutters...

Posted May 6, 2013

The future of tv advertising - this is US based but looks like the trend

http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2013/02/20/content-economics-part-1-advertising/

"When people like Meeker look at ad spend, they’re looking mainly at brand advertising. Brands are valuable things, and billions of dollars are spent every year to keep them that way, mostly on TV and in print. And if you have a big national brand, there’s really only one way to reach a big national audience: you need to buy ads on TV. Doing so is expensive, but it’s necessary, and it works, which explains the huge sums of money which still flow into TV every year."

...

"This, then, is the biggest reason why TV ad dollars are not going to become online ad dollars: online ads simply don’t do what TV ads do. TV ads are large and beautifully produced and expensive, and they’re presented on a beautiful screen without distractions: they fill up the screen, and 30 seconds of time, and they appear often enough that they become part of the world of the people watching 145 hours of TV every month. "

Sony Game of Thrones here we come? You know with the right DRM they could block GoT from actually showing on anything but a Sony TV.

I actually think Ch10 had the right idea with all sport with a dash of explosions to be followed by some fishing with other sport for a side, perhaps ust too soon and it was killed. But the Star Trek mini-marathons are good to kill time with when beavering away on the laptop at night.

John Birmingham mutters...

Posted May 6, 2013

There you go. I saw your comment.

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TeamAmerica ducks in to say...

Posted May 6, 2013

About a year ago at the CES in Las Vegas, a media executive said roughly that the cable tv industry would not switch to the internet, as it would then drop from a $100 billion a year biz to only $40 billion. As I recall, someone responded that young people are not into cable, so a switch may be inevitable.

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"Ooh yeah, I farted on you when you put banana peppers in the Weeties"

Posted May 4, 2013 into Telly by John Birmingham

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"’

Barnesm puts forth...

Posted May 4, 2013

So are these all the posts you have put up recently are those you discovered but couldn't put up until after the judges had finished looking through the display house of cheeseburger afearing our collective nerdisms would startle them.

John Birmingham mumbles...

Posted May 4, 2013

I think I hear my mother calling.

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DrYobbo swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 4, 2013

BLR are tops. Nothing beats their Mitt Romney ones though

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Moko has opinions thus...

Posted May 4, 2013

This is why sign language was invented. Lip reading is WAY to hit and miss. Great channel. Youtube is not worthy of this.

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JG is gonna tell you...

Posted May 4, 2013
I haven't seen The Walking Dead (don't you judge me!) but this is funny and clever. Crazy sick humour. They can't be syncing to the original script on The Walking Dead. Impossible.

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Mayhem's Mum asserts...

Posted May 4, 2013

One would wash the dog AND the laundry if one could persuade that young gentleman to be one's Sexy Beef Friend.

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Timmo asserts...

Posted May 6, 2013

Love it - especially the random bits...

"He said 'Dreet' and I'm about to freak out"

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Walking Dead, Season 3

Posted April 22, 2013 into Telly by John Birmingham

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’

Stevo 73 puts forth...

Posted April 22, 2013

I really enjoyed season 3, more than season 2 even though there was a parallel between the safety of the farm and the safety of the prison.

The big difference for me was a character with no redeeming qualities, the Guv. He was a nutter, I loves me a nutter and the fact that **SPOILER** he walks away means next season he still needs to be dealt with.

I was also impressed african-american-radio-dude who made a comeback and is now a total crazy, with guns, lots of guns.

Oh and of course I appreciated the sudden violent deaths of characters mid sentence, reminds me a little of an author who hangs around here. It reinforced the whole "do not get attached to ANY character" rule.

John Birmingham mutters...

Posted April 22, 2013

I dunno. Even the guvnor loved his zombie daughter. He wasn't a bigot or anything.

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Spanner would have you know...

Posted April 22, 2013

I liked crazy Rick. He was too nuts to even manage his own Ricktatorship.

I'm conflicted about Merle. Just when you think he can't be anymore of a douche he does just enough not to get fed to the next bunch of brain feeding skin munchers.

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Murphy mumbles...

Posted April 23, 2013

I had to lecture on the breakdown of Roman civilization and the coming Feudalism more than once this semester. It is surprising how easy it is to use The Walking Dead as a touchstone for so many of those historical themes. Surprising in that my students "get it" when I explain it using TWD as the example. Otherwise they struggle with the concepts.

My hope for Season Four is that they'll have moved forward two or three years, which will make Daryl's rapid growth a bit more plausible. In that time I'd like to see the prison turn into a feudal/manorial style warrior commune.

The danger, I think, is the same one BSG RDM ran into, which is the urge to Empire Build. Once you've got some stability, the easy way to wreck it is to have another war. They've done that. I think a better tack would be to have the Prison attempt to expand outward to take territory back from the Walkers. As they do so, they find it is nearly impossible due to the overwhelming numbers.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

Barnesm puts forth...

Posted April 23, 2013

You concerns are well founded.

One of the advantages is with the comic material to draw on some of the risk of empire building with the story is limited it they have to stick to the flow of Kirkman's story. I suspect the series will not advance to far in time whe they return next season as they will want to play through Carl's decent in to badassness parallelling his developmental growth as a teen. You can already see how much he has physically developed from the first season.

John Birmingham has opinions thus...

Posted April 23, 2013

Yeah, I think for once the usually inconvenient aging of a child actor really, really works for the benefit of the show in this case. Carl is turning into a true child of the post apocalyplse. It's getting easier to imagine him as a child soldier of the zombie wars simply because he's getting some real age on him.

John Birmingham mutters...

Posted April 23, 2013

Murph, the sub textual stuff about how primitive tribes organise themselves, as compared to have civilised socieities do the same thing, was one of the highlights of S3 for me. There was a whole undergraduate degree in political science to had in comparing Woodberry to the prison. It should be possible to advance the story arc along these lines next season without having to get caught in the tar pits of a civl war with the Guvnor, who'll be back.

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Barnesm is gonna tell you...

Posted April 23, 2013

One of the highlights for me as a long time reader of the comix series is where it diverges from the source text. In particular in the fan favourite Daryl. You know he is a fan favourite when you see a fourteen year old at the local archery club wearing a "If Daryl dies we riot".

John Birmingham asserts...

Posted April 23, 2013

Yeah, I haven't read all the comics yet, but will probaby buy them - yes, buy them - in one big splurge for my birthday. I found myself wanting more of the world after hitting stop on the magic iTunes box yesterday. (I only had the first half of the series recorded on Foxtel. Missed the second half due to mid season hiatus breaking my series link. So I paid $3.49 an ep for the second half. And it felt good).

Anyways, I went to the wikipedia entries for a few characters after trying to find if there was any info out on Season 4 storylines. It was fascinating to see just how far, or not, the TV show has diverged from the comic books. And sometimes for the better. Even Kirkman prefers TV Shane to comic book Shane.

Barnesm would have you know...

Posted April 23, 2013

Me too, thatsdown to how good the actor that played Shane.

Also Carol who I also mark as one of the stand out character developements in the TV series. In the comics I think Carol was an amalgum of a couple of characters none of which stood out enough in my memory.

Murphy ducks in to say...

Posted April 23, 2013

I am told that if one wants to buy the comics, any comics for that matter, that perhaps those with iPads should get them in that medium.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Barnesm ducks in to say...

Posted April 23, 2013

One of the themes I enjoyed this series was Rick's mental state, where he has to,like Odessyussail between Scylla and Charybdus, or in this case the twin extremes of psychosis portrayed on the one hand by the Governor’s controlling madness.

“What would your daughter think of you now” – Milton

"She’d be afraid of me, but if I’d been like this from the start, she’d be alive”

He knows he is a monster at this point, but he thinks a monster is what’s needed.

and the utter hopeless madness of Morgan in 'Clear'’ where he is simply lost.

“I’m sorry I shot you.”

“don’t ever be sorry”

And the whole wearing a dead man's face stuff ‘Shudder

The choice that Rick must face in his madness is:

  1. Ruling his Ricktatorship and end up like the Governor,
  2. Keep talking to ghosts on the phone and end up like Morgan,

And it was the episode 'Clear' that had the scene you referenced above Birmo about the leaving the poor hitchhiker to his fate. 'Clear' was written by Scott Gimple who takes over as showrunner in season four.

Can't wait .

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Barnesm mutters...

Posted April 23, 2013

See wouldn't this make a fantastic book club discussion.

John Birmingham asserts...

Posted April 23, 2013

It would, but it's filed under Telly.

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Murphy swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 23, 2013

No reason we can't have a season finale thread at the end of Season 4.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

Barnesm ducks in to say...

Posted April 23, 2013

2nded, though that would mean Birmo would need to watch it in a timely fashion rather than wait until a migraine laid him out and forced him to watch.

Murphy has opinions thus...

Posted April 23, 2013

I'll bet if we sent him a bottle of something expensive for his pains and told him to drink it while watching we could probably get some discussion going sooner.

Maybe some drunk tweets to boot. :D

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Stevo 73 puts forth...

Posted April 23, 2013

Ok I can see that the Guv in his screwed upness can kind of justify I am the kind of monster that is needed and I keep my zombie daughter in a cupboard because I love her, but then executing all the fighters from his township when they do not want to counter attack the prison, and riding off into the sunset that just screams total nutter.

Redeeming features zero - result perfect enemy for season 4

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Barnesm ducks in to say...

Posted April 23, 2013

Warning Birmo, while the TV series had some brutal moments, Carl having to shoot his own mother after giving painful birth to his sister being the one that springs to mind, the comics have their own unique brutality different and in some cases worse than the TV series.

Interested to see your take on the comics reading them after seeing the TV series.

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NBlob reckons...

Posted April 26, 2013

And where the hell was I when we had this conversation?

The phone conversations freaked the p!ss out of me, testament to AWSM + television. I didn't really get that the wheels were falling off until Hershell came down.

The Govenor, actually strikes me as one of the thinner characters, perhaps its the actor.

The hitch-hiker and the laino family - pure gold.

Merle, man he's got 12 kinds of crazy going on.

Good enough to pay for. Snerk.

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TC is gonna tell you...

Posted April 29, 2013

I avoided this thread until I'd finished the season, which I finally did on Friday (surprisingly only had one ep to go when I thought I had more).

I like what everyone's said - most of which I was thinking, some of which I hadn't really considered (I have zero knowledge of the comic so some of those side discussions were interesting).

One of the lines that still haunts me was when Glenn to Rick said something along the lines of "I'd rather see 100 of them dead than 1 of us", referring to anyone else apart from the main group. This stood out for me because it's so different to the usual hero mantra and different to what I expected to Rick to say (who didn't answer... but at the time he seemed to agree). When Rick brought all the people back to the prison at the very end, I felt as though his actions made it very obvious as to what his thoughts on the subject were by that stage. I'll be interested to see what Glenn thinks of the changes as we move into a new season. It's about time he did something interesting...

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John Birmingham swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 29, 2013
I think he did agree with Glenn when they were talking. Witness his emotionally 'dead' reaction to the plight of the hitchhiker. That was the nadir for him, I think.

But he saw his own future in the Governor's madness, in decided to pull back.

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Zombieland trailer

Posted April 18, 2013 into Telly by John Birmingham

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’

DrJon mutters...

Posted April 18, 2013

All i got was region-blocking this morning.

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TC puts forth...

Posted April 18, 2013

Nah, probably not.

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Barnesm mumbles...

Posted April 18, 2013

yeah, given how much fun Zombieland relied on the timing of the stars I fear this one is going to suck arse. Which is a pity becuase its an idea whose time has come given how may good web series are spring up on youtube.

I love Sarah Jane

Plague

the Claymation masterpiece Zombie Maid

and Kidz just to name four off the top of my head imagine if instead of trying to copy a movie they said to these producers here make us a zombie film.

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Rob has opinions thus...

Posted April 19, 2013

OMG whos that fat guy? I don't want to see me on screen, I want to see a ripped woody harrelson or an awesome haircut wearing brad pit with maybe a cool looking punk rock chick. All I saw was a trailer that looked like a fun well made amateur youtube movie. Thats sad, it could have been really good, like a much slicker funnier Walking Dead. even the digital effects look like some thing knocked up on a laptop.

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adrian j herman puts forth...

Posted April 20, 2013

It sure isn't "The Surprising Adventures Of Sir Digby Chicken Caesar".

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Amazon goes for Zombie Kill of the Day

Posted March 26, 2013 into Telly by John Birmingham

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.

12 Responses to ‘Amazon goes for Zombie Kill of the Day’

Blarkon asserts...

Posted March 26, 2013

Reading Jaron Lanier's "Who Owns The Future" - where he talks about the ideology that's driving this.

His thesis is complex, but part of it boils down to a core belief within the silicon valley community that paying for information will lead to a repression of free speech. That if technology arises that can force you to pay for movies/books and so on, that technology will eventually be used to stop free expression.

So to answer your question - no, there isn't a business model here. There's a deep seated faith in the internet as "a good thing" and that people can make a living where the content they produce cannot be monetised. Lanier's other thesis is that in reality, as information becomes free, a massive amount of wealth simply evaporates out of the economy and that what he calls "siren servers" (Google/Facebook/Amazon) are the only ones that are going to be making any bucks out of this as they are the ones who benefit most from the demonitization of information.

We also saw this week that a strong First Sale doctorine was upheld by the US Supreme Court, so expect "pay a royalty to the author once, resell the digital product ad-infinitum" to be the standard model for digital media within the next few years.

Lanier also has a bit on why influential geeks in Silicon Valley are so anti-copyright/anti-royalty - which basically boils down to a core belief that "monetizing information (books/music/movies/tv shows) infringes freedom".

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Moko mutters...

Posted March 26, 2013

Weirdly, I just planned a zombie movie fest for the next few days. Starting with 28 D<span style="line-height: 1.6em;">ays then onto Zombieland.</span>

Moko mumbles...

Posted March 26, 2013

What the fuck?

DNABeast mumbles...

Posted March 26, 2013

Hooray. More bugs for me to kill.

I'm still pluggin away to sort these out. Did you cut and paste from somewhere in order to post that comment?

Moko ducks in to say...

Posted March 27, 2013

No, but I went back and added spaces etc where I missed them from just bashing the keyboard.

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Blarkon has opinions thus...

Posted March 26, 2013

Lanier also suggests that part of the reason this belief has evolved is that for quite some time it's been possible to become quite wealthy in Silicon Valley developing businesses that don't have an actual revenue model.

So it's not that Amazon is sitting there thinking "how can we make money out of this" it's more "lets do this and see if it makes money some day" (which explains Google's approach to stuff like Reader and so on)

As long as there are venture capitalists willing to invest - there will be companies like Zyngna and Instagram who are valued in the hundreds of millions of dollars even though they don't have revenue that makes them worth a fraction of that price.

John Birmingham swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 26, 2013

I get that, but what I dont get are investors, including the big rapacious institutions thousands of miles removed from the Valley, who seem to be happy to subsidize Amazon's welfare dependency. These aren't hacktivists or freetards. They're carnivorous businesses that impose harsh penalties on listed companies that don't everything possible to deliver every cent of 'shareholder' value.

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John Birmingham swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 26, 2013

I find the disconnect between Amazon's profits and its share price to be inex-fucking-plicable.

BrianC asserts...

Posted March 27, 2013

Amazon the website. Is only part of a group of companies. Did you know that Amazon hosts twitter on its servers, It also sells Internet backbone to Facebook and twitter. Amazon inc share price is what it is, because it always! makes money, and always a little bit more. Amazon is the untilities company of the internet. Them and google.

Their buisness model is so closely linked to google as well that the companies feed of each other.

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Blarkon reckons...

Posted March 26, 2013

Amazon is playing an incredibly long game - it stays only marginally profitable so that there's no room for a serious competitor to develop. The prize is becomming the internet version of Wal-Mart. In 10 years when we do 60-70% of all shopping online, guess who we're going to do it with.

John Birmingham mutters...

Posted March 26, 2013

Yeah, but see my previous reply.

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TC ducks in to say...

Posted March 26, 2013

Ok, so... a Zombieland series - can't be a bad thing, right? Either it'll be awesome and we'll all rave about it... or it'll be crap and we'll sadly have to look for something else to keep us busy. And as long as Manteresting is still up, that shouldn't be a problem.

As for Amazon's 'business' model, I have to disagree with you, JB. When you look at it closely, they're doing something brand new - they haven't created exclusive product before and they need to prove themselves. As usual, I'll use the drug market analogy to explain all business decisions because it always stacks up.

When you start down the road with a new product, you've gotta give away freebies to prove that it's the shit. Just think for a second about what Amazon are competing against - free to air TV, cable, Apple, DVDs (which they make a crapload of cash from), Quickflix (etc)... and let's not forget torrents. Because torrents are free and therefore are the lowest common denominator. When you bring a new product to the market, you always need to fully understand who you're competing against.

Amazon know this, and so they've brought out a business model that competes against torrents. The real question isn't why they're giving shit away for free (because they're not, not really) - the real question is exactly how they're gonna get our hard earned without us noticing. And how they'll survive the backlash once we realise exactly what's gonig on.

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Sad middle aged man gets very excited at new Buffy book

Posted March 19, 2013 into Telly by John Birmingham

It's not my fault. I can't help it that Buffy was such an awesome show. My kids think so too, and they're younger than me which makes them, by definition, cooler. I'm not sure how much cooler. There is some equation for working it out, but you know, math.

Anyways, iO9 has a great entry on a tome released to mark the 15th anniversary of Buffy the Vampire Slayer going to air. A tome one of my kids will totally be getting for a birthday present. Whichever one of them is next on the calendar. The boxed set comes 'packaged with a big envelope of "Slayer Lore," including pages from some of Giles' books and some other cool reproductions and art prints'.

Oh yes, one of these kids is going to enjoy this.

A couple of things I didn't realise until I read the iO9 bit (which, to be fair, they didn't relaise either); Sunnydale is based on the Gaslamp District of San Diego. And in Season 4 the US government collapses, which explains why there was no follow up to the Initiative, I guess.

I am aware there may be some scepticism about all this but I will just add that since Anna started watching Buffy, her interest in the ass-kicking arts has become much more focussed.

Which can only be a good thing, in a Twilight world.

(This justifiiably famous mash up, btw, is one of my favorite things on the internet. I shudder to think of the amount of work that must have gone into it).

19 Responses to ‘Sad middle aged man gets very excited at new Buffy book’

Lulu swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 19, 2013

"A tome one of my kids will totally be getting for a birthday present"

Will this be like Homer buying Marge a bowling ball for her her birthday?

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BrianC asserts...

Posted March 19, 2013

I want this so very badly. One of the greatest epsidoes of TV ever was the episode of buffy where her mums dies. "The Body" i believe it ws called. The silent movie ep, the musical ep, the invisible ep, the wedding... sigh.

John Birmingham puts forth...

Posted March 19, 2013

We just watched The Body recently. You're right. It was an amazing piece of TV. A script without much dialogue that carried so much meaning. And then, a few days later, we watched the musical ep. Everyone remembers the performances but I'd forgotten how critical it was to lacing together a whole bunch of subplots too

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xenodyssey ducks in to say...

Posted March 19, 2013

I've seen the book at Kinokuniya. It's nice as a collection of material previously available. There is a new hardcover bound book out for Firefly as well that collects the three books that Titan published. Nice for the Browncoats that didn't get the earlier books.

John Birmingham ducks in to say...

Posted March 19, 2013

Wait, Titan published that book. Titan are my UK publishers. Hmm...?

BrianC mumbles...

Posted March 19, 2013

Hmmmm... Deadline you say, well as it turns out i know what would deadline insperational...

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ChrisB would have you know...

Posted March 19, 2013

Buffy begat Blade, which then begat Twilight (somehow). It made it cool for kids to like Vampires, I'm not too sure they intended to have vampires 'sparkle' though. Look for the zombie genre to start down this path as well. (ie: Warm Bodies)

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Bunyip puts forth...

Posted March 19, 2013

"....since Anna started watching Buffy, her interest in the ass-kicking arts has become much more focussed."

FTW.

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HAVOCK21 puts forth...

Posted March 19, 2013

HA..shes fkn JUMPABLE THAT WHY YA WATCHED IT!

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HAVOCK21 reckons...

Posted March 19, 2013

HA..shes fkn JUMPABLE THAT WHY YA WATCHED IT!

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Stevo 73 reckons...

Posted March 19, 2013

Once More With Feeling (the musical) is simply the best episode and sews together all the ingredients from that season and ultimately is a lead in for the finale of the season. That and it was great fun - Our family (and our nerd friends) have burned out two copies of that disc, yep we have played the shit out of it...

Oh and I back Havock jumpable indeed.

Twilight, bah!

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ShaneAlpha puts forth...

Posted March 19, 2013

Once more with feeling is the second best episode of Buffy ( and I have the tracks on my ipod).

Best Buffy episode is always "Hush".

"Once more with feeling" comes second with "The Body" a very close third.

I started watching Buffy on channel seven and continued watching it even when they pushed it to the 10.30 pm cult t.v. time slot. These young people with their itunes and torrents don't know how easy they have it. Television died a little when Buffy ended.

Stevo 73 is gonna tell you...

Posted March 19, 2013

Hush was very good, and I found it funny and a little freaky at the same time. The Body also ranks highly, but my money is still on Once More With Feeling (soundtrack on the Ipod too) The all singing all, dancing demon is just too cool!

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Darth Greybeard swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 19, 2013

(I kept a Mr Pointy on the wall behind my desk. The very few who asked were told it was "just in case, but we haven't really had a vampire problem for a while now." Oddly, I kept my job.)

damian would have you know...

Posted March 19, 2013

And that, people, is how it's done!

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Sparty would have you know...

Posted March 20, 2013

Once more with feeling- best single "out of the box" episode of any show EVAR!

Like yous say, not just using tunes but being teh keystone epsiode of practically the entire show.

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Barnesm mumbles...

Posted March 20, 2013

Have they read the rest of the Buffy story that was continued in Joss Whedon produced and co-authored trade paperback Buffy Season 8.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buffy_the_Vampire_Slayer_Season_Eight

available here in Melbourne at Minatour...

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ShaneAlpha is gonna tell you...

Posted March 21, 2013

Yes, I have season 8. Bit of a let down, other than the Buffy tries girls thing. One of the best Xander lines there. "My eye! My beautiful burning eye!"

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rdougy swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 21, 2013

I dont know how I would feel if Kate Beckinsale's Seline had to go up against Buffy- I'd be devestated if either one of them didnt survive bahaha

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