Category Archives: Feature

Netflix, Still a House of Cards?

Please forgive the title, I couldn’t resist.  A little over two years ago I wrote a post dismissing Netflix’s then-service offering as “junk at a bargain.”  I certainly accept that digital distribution is the way of the future, but I objected to the many pundits claiming that “the future is now.”  I found the service offering to be a laggy, pixelated rendition of second rate TV shows and movies but the times, they are ah becoming quite different.  Netflix’s first foray into original programming has sufficiently piqued my interest to warrant another free trial. Continue reading

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Farwell to Piracy

It will come as no surprise to most readers that I have sometimes used extra-legal means to watch the shows I review for this blog.  I don’t think that I’m just speaking for my own social circle when I say that that piracy’s a crime that we’re all guilty of to some degree.  At least, anyone under forty’s guilty to some degree.  Despite the histrionics of most media companies, it’s not something I think is a big deal.  In the grand scheme of things, it’s a pretty minor vice.  That said, it’s still a vice and I’ve never really been able come up with a moral justification for it.  So it is, with some trepidation, that I feel the need to swear off piracy going forward. Continue reading

I admit it, I’ve Become an HD Snob

While I’ve always been a defender of the Blu-Ray format , I’ve long scoffed at the trend toward everything being released in high definition.  The fact of the matter is that some (most?) film and television doesn’t benefit from being viewed in 1080p.  The simple rule of thumb is that anything not visually engaging to begin with won’t be enhanced by an image upgrade.  Most older television falls into this category, as does any film which doesn’t bring the goods on special effects and/or cinematography.  Such works are served perfectly well by DVD and, by extension, internet streaming.  True as this may be, I still find myself gravitating toward the Blu-Ray shelves (both at home and in the store), irrespective of the content I want to watch. Continue reading

Five Predictions for TV in Five Years

New Year’s Eve seems like a fine time to speculate about the future of my favourite medium but, as the course for 2012 was charted in last year’s development cycle, I think it far more interesting to cast my eyes a little further ahead.  With that said, here are five predictions for the next five years of television. Continue reading

Digital Distribution = Content Revolution

“If you build it, they will come” seems to be the prevailing attitude in Hollywood regarding digital distribution.  While there’s no denying that the internet will soon (relatively speaking) eclipse cable, satellite, and physical media as the primary source of entertainment, the discussions about this digital future should not be limited to its form.  Content has always been the primary driver of entertainment sales and its naïve to think that consumers will blindly follow it from one source to another.  The challenge is not that audiences will change their taste when they get online, but the fact that the internet already offers them an effectively limitless supply of video content.  For free. Continue reading

Hey, why don’t you put that stupid book down and go outside?

Isn’t it funny how poor messaging can hurt an otherwise good idea?  Such is the case with the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology’s (CSEP) new guidelines on sedentary behavior in children and youth.  No, the CSEP doesn’t include literature in their list of limit-worthy pursuits, but that’s the problem.  Rather than focusing on the pitfalls of sedentary lifestyle and the practical advice for parents trying to help their kids, the Society chose to contribute to the misguided war on television and subtitle their press release “School-aged children should limit their recreational screen time to no more than two hours per day.” Continue reading

Attention, Netflix Subscribers: The Emperor Has No Clothes

Now, a wholesale dismissal of the internet’s preeminent video streaming subscription service may seem a little harsh, but after one month of use I’ve got to say that Netflix has little to offer the discriminating viewer and, even at $7.99 per month, is poor value for money.  Hell, with the long/frequent load times, shoddy selection and dearth of HD titles, it was barely worth the free trial.  Not everyone will share my reasons for disliking Netflix but, based on my own experience, it’s a lousy way to watch TV. Continue reading

The Active Audience

I’ve already done a post defending television as a worthy object of criticism, but I’ve never really explored how we should go about that.  Regular readers should have a good idea of what my approach to criticism is, but I still think it’s worth a bit of discussion.  Reflecting on how I reflect on television is a good way to identify gaps and biases.  I’m also interested to hear how some of you approach television and how you think we could improve our understanding. Continue reading

Childe Ron to the Dark Tower Came

It’s appropriate, in ways both practical and poetic, that The Dark Tower be the first project to significantly challenge the antiquated relationship between film and television.  For those of you who haven’t heard, the Ron Howard produced saga will take the form of three feature films and two seasons of television, an undertaking so massively epic it could make Peter Jackson retreat to his Hobbit Hole.  But the scope, large as it is, is not what makes this project revolutionary.  The Dark Tower will leverage two mediums to tell its story and (if successful) will finally see studios bridge a gap that audiences have been ignoring for years.

 

Are Happy Days back for Hollywood?

 

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The CRTC: Drowning Horses Since 1976

The Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission presents a big beautiful target for those concerned with free and independent media.  To be clear, I recognize that the communications industry and its consumers are better off with regulation; limited broadcast space must be managed and monopolies must be prevented.  But in a time when 500+ channels represent just the tip of the iceberg for our information and entertainment options, much of what the CRTC does seems archaic and draconian Continue reading