TV Worth Watching?

We don’t watch much TV around these parts. We’re not the kind of people who brag about not watching TV; we’re not that kind. And there’s nothing wrong with not being suckled by the giant LED teat in the living room. That’s admirable. There are lots of alternatives to watching TV that will make your life better and more fulfilling. But we’re not those people either. However, between our busy evening schedule and the issue with my attention span when it comes to televised programing, we don’t get much more than an hour of time together in front of the big screen in any given day. Sure we watch movies occasionally, and Lady Ronn usually has something on while she’s preparing food or working at the kitchen table, but we are not a multi-hour television watching household. Even still, we spend a good bit of money on video streaming services. Just for fun, let’s run down my thoughts on each of the services dipping fingers into my wallet each month.

I still think of this as Comcast. I’m not fooled by their attempt to rebrand. It’s the same crappy customer service. The same high costs. The same packages for the same choices. Why do I have to pay for HD programing in this day and age. It’s ridiculous and so I don’t. Also, the cable box uses as much electricity as a refrigerator… what the hell man. Shut that thing off if you’re not using it. But, you don’t have a lot of choices for cable internet in these parts. I tried DSL and wasn’t impressed. And so I have Comcast, just like most of you. I’m sorry, Xfinity. I have their lowest package for TV. I get just the bare minimum of channels, which includes the local stations, some shopping channels, HBO (see below), and not much else. Although, I do get the music channels and access to their OnDemand service. HD is included, but an HD cable box is not. That’s $10 a month. I’m not paying for that. I get my football games over the antenna I built and everything else we watch is on one of the services. I pay a pretty penny for their fast internet, but their TV… yeah, they can keep it.

HBO, HBO Go, HBO Now, whatever it’s called. I have HBO because it’s part of my Comcast/Xfinity package. I think I pay $1 for it. If I didn’t get it for nearly free, I don’t think I’d have it. Sure, there are a few series on there that we’ve watched. Lady Ronn and the boys all had to have it for Game of Thrones, but weirdly, I’ve not watched the series. Now that it’s over, I probably will. I like to know things have an ending. Which is also the reason I stopped reading the books after book one; because I didn’t know when, or if, the series would come to a conclusion. I’m still wondering about the books. Very occasionally there will be a movie on HBO that I want to see, but mostly it has limited value because of their original content. West World, Vice Principals, and True Blood are all HBO content we’ve watched. In my opinion, this is content of low value to me and while there are shows I would like to see, I’m not willing to pay a premium to have HBO be part of my life.

I debated between the Roku and whatever Amazon and Google call their similar products. It wasn’t much of a debate, but there was one. And then Roku was what they had at the store and it was what was on sale. So Roku it is. There is a lot on Roku, but mostly it let’s me use my internet connection to get HD content without having to pay for an HD cable box. Which is a big plus. I can watch all of the various services I pay for and a whole bunch more that are available, but that I don’t watch, without a subscription cost. Just the very reasonable price for a little HDMI stick that goes in the back of my TV and is powered by the USB port. And I can take it out and put it in any TV I want. As long as I have a WiFi connection I’m good to go. I think any and all of these devices are kinda the same, but Roku is the one I bought and now I have a TV in the basement that has Roku built in. I’m not unhappy with it. In fact, I just recently watched Gods of Egypt on the Roku channel, which was a first. They don’t have a great selection of content, but they have stuff. I like Roku.

Netflix is the reigning king of streaming movies and TV right now and that is the case at my house as well. We watch a good bit of Netflix around these parts. There’s not a lot of Netflix and chill going on here, but Netflix still gets the most screen time on our TVs. More often than not, we even watch HBO through the Netflix app. The price keeps creeping up, but it’s still a good value for all the content that is available. The Netflix originals are a little hit-or-miss, but the good ones really are very good. Bright. Well, Bright wasn’t all that great. Let’s forget about Bright. Netflix is a service that I have been very happy with and will continue to invest in, until such time as something better comes along and either crushes it or consumes it. I’m looking at you Disney. I’ve got my eye on you. You may be a juggernaut and you may own everything from Marvel to Star Wars to all that FOX content, but I’m watching you and not liking what you’re doing. So for now, I’m a Netflix subscriber.

Amazon Prime Video, or Prime Video, has a bad name and a bad interface. Maybe you like the interface, but I find it clunky. Not as clunky as Hulu, but it’s not great. I like a lot about Amazon Prime and you get alot for your annual payment; free shipping, free music, free video, ebooks, and lots of other stuff. Go to Amazon and check it out, I’m just here to talk about the video. We watch a fair bit of Prime, I’m calling it that from here on out. One nice part of the Prime service is the ability to buy or rent movies and TV series from Amazon right within the service. I find that this is my goto service for renting movies. I use Google Play too, but I only think about that service when they send me a coupon. The Prime originals that we’ve watched are good. Mrs Maisel is incredibly good. The selection is not Netflix good, but the ability to purchase is nice. And when it comes right down to it, the entire Prime package is a very nice deal. I’m a fan.

In my house Hulu is the forgotten paid TV service. I pay for it, but don’t watch it much. Mostly this was because of the commercials. Commercials are such a drag. I don’t watch much broadcast TV at all, so I forget how much of a bummer commercials are, until I put something on Hulu. Something must be done, I think everytime. So I upgraded to the commercial free package. We watch it more now, but not nearly as much as we watch Netflix. Mosty, we watch Hulu when whatever we want to see is not available on Netflix. I’m curious to see what will become of this service now that it has been folded into the Disney family of services. With the Disney streaming service about to launch will it get killed, become the choice for less kid-friendly Disney content, or just get subsumed as some part of the new Disney service. Only time will tell. For now, I can only watch The Strain on Hulu.

Dear lord, I have no idea what I would do without YouTube. This has not always been the case, but the more I watch… the more I watch. You can find anything on YouTube. Not sure how to activate the rear speakers in your RAM Promaster City. That’s on YouTube. Need to wire your garage, hang cabinets, install a new shower enclosure, or resurface a concrete patio. All of that is on YouTube. Maybe you just want to kickback and learn what it’s like to live on a boat, geek out about Dungeons & Dragons, or see how to customize and paint resin statues. You guessed it, YouTube. I don’t watch a lot of entertainment on YouTube, but it’s an irreplaceable resource for how-to information, product reviews, creative inspiration, and educational content. I love YouTube and I love that it’s free. Sure, they offer a paid upgrade for additional channels and content, but it is by no means necessary.

And there you have it, my thoughts and opinions on a bunch of streaming options. Probably not what you wanted, or even really much use to you, but things are what they are. Later.

Latest Watchlist Impressions

It’s that time again. Time for me to tell you what I think about all the stuff that has been playing on my TV. I know. I know. I hate everything. But that’s not true. I liked almost everything I put on this page. Read on if you don’t believe me and see for yourself.

Did you see Deadwood? The movie, not the series. I mean you should watch both, particularly the series. I mean, watch the series before you watch the movie. This isn’t a Firefly situation where you can see one without having seen the other. You need to see the series. Good news is, it’s a great series so you’ll enjoy it. But I’m here to talk about the HBO movie that picks up 10-years after the series ends. First things first, I’ve been looking forward to this since I heard they were making it. I watched the trailers. I watched the interviews. I listened to the NPR interviews. I guess what I’m saying is I had some anticipation going into this one. I watched it the night HBO released it. The problem here is one of expectations. Something like this is never going to make everyone happy and everyone is looking for something different. But whatever it is you’re looking for, you’ve got to say that they did a great job taking you back to Deadwood. It may be my memory playing games with me, I haven’t gone back and watched any of the original series, but it seems to me (and Lady Ronn) that they amped up the elocution on the dialogue a bit. Noticeably so. Not bad, but noticeable. It wasn’t quite what I was expecting, but I’m not sure what that would have been, and it felt long, so it may have been a bit slow, but I was happy with what they gave me. Everything made logical sense and the passing of years was well done. The story wasn’t one that I would have written, but I enjoyed it. And given how reunion shows generally turn out, that’s not a given. This one was a winner. If you like the series, you’ll probably like the movie.

Mad Men – I enjoyed this series, mostly. I mean it’s basically about Don Draper and he’s not the best person in the world. Is it the greatest thing I’ve ever seen, no. But it was very good and even though there were times I wanted to give up on all these characters, I didn’t. This is another one of those shows where I find myself saying, “All of these people are screwed up. None of them are good people. Why am I watching this.” But then I keep watching. It’s got good writing and the characters stay consistent throughout the series. The glimpse into life in the late sixties is enlightening, and as that’s when I was born, I found it interesting. It’s not perfect, but I did like it. This is another show that I’d say is good TV and makes for good watching.

Aquaman – This was more fun than I would have expected. But dear lord, did it ride the edge on being cheesy as fuck. Never quite went over the edge, but this could have been a bad movie. I mean really bad. Jupiter Ascending bad. But, it wasn’t. Sure it was a big budget CG ladden, popcorn flick of the first rate. It could have taken itself too seriously, but it didn’t. It balanced the source material pretty well. It was just a fun romp with your favorite super dude-bro. I’m still not a fan of Jason Momoa, but this was probably my favorite thing I’ve seen him do. This was no Wonder Woman, but neither was it Batman V. Superman. I hope this is an indicator that DC has figured out how to make movies and will do it’s own thing, rather than trying to copy Marvel’s thing. One other thing… with all the CG and the enormous budget, what’s the deal with the bad wigs. Can’t we just dye Amber Heard’s hair a reasonable shade of red and call it good?

The Handmaid’s Tale – This is our current watch. I listened to the audio book before we started this series and while we’re only a season and a half in, I think they’ve done a great job with it. This is one of those stories where you could really expand on the book without damaging the connection to the original material. The stories are strong, the acting is good, the world is believable, and the writing seems strong. This applies to the parts where they’ve expanded the world as well as the parts straight out of the book. I was concerned that they were going through the story at breakneck pace in season one, but they’ve done a good job of weaving the story together in some unexpected ways. This one has great production values and I’d call it good TV. Series is very good so far and while it’s not really my thing, I’m enjoying it quite a bit.

Spiderman: Into the Spider-verse – I don’t watch a lot of animated stuff. Partially, this is because Lady Ronn doesn’t care for it. But she was gone and I wanted to check it out. Some of the animation was of a style that I found disconcerting, but not bad, and I didn’t think it was the end-all be-all that some of the reviewers I’ve seen seem to think it is. I enjoyed it. I liked the new spider-kid, the alternate dimension spider-man, spider-lady-girl Gwen, and would have liked to seen more of the noir version of spider-man. Spider piggy and anime spider robot girl, however, didn’t do anything for me. Aunt May having a Spider-cave under the shed was odd, too. But I don’t follow the comic books, so maybe that’s a thing. My biggest complaint about the movie was the post credit scene with the old cartoon spider-man. That was dumb and a total wasted opportunity. Otherwise I found it to be an enjoyable watch and I’ll call it a good movie.

Catastrophe – I really liked this series. All four seasons were great. They did a few jumps in time that I found unexpected and passed over some things that I would have expected to get more air time, but it worked. I didn’t feel like I was missing much and some of the places they left you at were unexpected. I think I liked this one more than Lady Ronn, it really resonated with me and felt genuinely funny. The writing was good. The acting was good. The characters were good. The interactions between the characters was entertaining. Sure, this is a comedy, and it is genuinely funny, I mean I laughed a lot while I watched this, but it is also a realistically amusing look at relationships, marriage, and the ups and downs of both. I’d recommend this one all day long and am actually sad that they’re not going to make more.

Wine Country – Six ladies get together for a vacation getaway and hijinks ensue. This is a comedy? Because it’s not all that funny. I found myself thinking, “Oh my, is this what a girls getaway is about?” Getting your drink on and hiding your problems? Because that seems to be what the majority of this movie is about. Maybe it’s because of the gout, but I’m always surprised at the weight placed on the value of getting drunk and/or the anticipation of getting drunk. Maybe I’m just envious. It was entertaining enough, but it didn’t get but one or two laugh out loud moments from me. My favorite scene was the one at the art show, where the younger crowd was basically clueless. But I wouldn’t recommend this one. Not because it’s bad, but simply because I don’t think you’ll be missing anything by not seeing it. This gave me pretty much what I expected and nothing more.

A few things that we tried, haven’t given up on them, but they didn’t stick on the first watch. The Strain – kinda gross to watch while eating dinner, Better Call Saul – another show about horrible people that has high production values and good writing, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina – just not pulling me into this world, am I the demographic for this show?, and

I feel like I’ve watched some other stuff that I haven’t mentioned, but enough is enough with the reviews. You know the deal, I mostly don’t like watching movies and TV. Very little of it leaves an impression on me. I’ve got a few things on the watch list, but there’s so little time and so much content. We need to watch season 3 of True Detective, the latest season of Agents of Shield will definitely make the list, we’ll probably finish all the series I listed above, and our “to watch” list is far longer than we’ll ever have time to watch.

Movie-wise, I still haven’t seen Captain Marvel, Incredibles 2, the Shazam! movie, or Avengers: End Game. I’m a little behind on my superhero flicks, mostly because I’m waiting for them to show up on the streaming services. So that’s where I am with my watch time and what I’ve been up to. Now, get out of here and go look at something else. Later.

Electra Woman & Dyna Girl

Okay, I can honestly say that I both watched and remember these two Sid and Marty Krofft characters. Electra Woman (played by Deidre Hall) and her teen sidekick Dyna Girl (Judy Strangis), they were a female Batman and Robin in the 1976 Krofft Supershow. I do not remember what powers they had, or if they even had any. But I do remember, that much like the Batman of television fame, everything they had was branded “Electra”, so we had the ElectraCar, the ElectraBase, their ElectraCams, etc… I remember enjoying them more than some of the other Krofft shows.
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I did not know that the WB commissioned a pilot for a new version of the show in 2001 starring Markie Post as Electra Woman and Anne Stedman as Dyna Girl. This is probably because the pilot never aired, though I did stumble upon rumors, that it is available on YouTube. (I did not look for it.)
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Which brings us to this morning when I saw this…

They’re rebooting the duo, this time with Grace Helbig and Hannah Hart as the stars of the show. Both of who are already YouTube celebrities, neither of who I’m familiar with. The trailer looks good. It’s funny. I enjoyed it. But you and I both know that the trailer is always good. I think that’s the idea behind having a trailer. I cannot image that it could be worse than the Will Farrell led Land of the Lost fiasco, which I watched and did not enjoy. Anyway, here’s what YouTube has to say about it.

A smart, witty and fresh twist on the cult-classic television series from Sid & Marty Krofft, Legendary Digital Studios’ all-new feature-length superhero action comedy ELECTRA WOMAN & DYNA GIRL stars Grace Helbig (“The Grace Helbig Show”) and Hannah Hart (“My Drunk Kitchen”) and debuts on all major digital platforms June 7.

I’m looking forward to watching it. Up next, Wonderbug. Or maybe Sigmund and the Sea Monsters. How about H.R. Pufnstuf. Just do not give in to temptation and start production on an island of Dr. Shrinker reboot. Don’t do it.