I was a Netflix subscriber back when nobody ever heard of them — back when they were just a mail-order DVD rental outfit with but one distribution plant in San Jose, CA. I had my doubts when they leapt into streaming but was pleasantly surprised at how watchable it was on a Wii gaming system hooked up to an old tube television and DSL internet service. I soon bought my first Roku box, and it was all over. I let my DVD rental service lapse and became a streaming video consumer. As I’ve written before, I have not subscribed to cable television since the early 1990s and streaming television was just like Heaven. Watch what you want when you want! How could you beat that?
That was then and this is now. Movie studios feeling threatened by Netflix’s dominance of streaming have gone to war with the platform forcing Netflix to create or buy their own content. It may all make fascinating reading if the backroom battles of entertainment conglomerates are of interest, but I don’t care. I just want to be entertained, and Netflix isn’t doing it for me anymore. I spend more time figuring out what to watch than I do watching shows.
My friends urge me to stick around because the new season of such-and-such is coming up, and that worked for a while. There were shows that were truly great, but there were more shows that I put aside like a half-read novel that I’ll never pick up again. I lost my fascination for a political family’s ruthless ambition, and I don’t care if the jailbirds ever get out of jail. The Marvel series are what sealed the deal. They started off with a bang but seemed to get cheaper as they went along with tortuously padded scripts and low-rent battle scenes that all seemed to be acted out on the same corridor or warehouse set. Typical cop TV shows are more lavishly mounted than these super-hero stories. I couldn’t make it all the way through The Punisher.
So I canceled Netflix. My subscription ends today, but it’s not like I am kissing streaming services goodbye. I still have Amazon Prime which has a really oddball selection at their shallow end, and there are a number of free, ad-supported services such as Crackle and Shout Factory TV which have a surprising lineup of movies and TV series. There are now several fish in the sea or is that the stream?