Tuesday, May 29, 2007

I Need a New Cable/Satellite/Illegal Internet Video Plan

You've probably heard this complaint over and over again in the blogosphere:

I'm sick of Sci-Fi showing stuff like Ghost Hunters, which is Sci-Fi/Fantasy feigning reality. Give me a source of the classics, and a place where I can watch the series I missed on other networks without committing to DVDs. I've never seen Firefly or whatever. I heard good things, but I never got the chance to watch it. I'm short on Babylon 5. Watched several episodes, but it came on so irregularly, I couldn't get a hold of the continuity. I've gotten a lot of Farscape, but the way it's being shown here, I only see about the latter half of the series, and only the first bit of Peacekeeper Wars. Still haven't gotten to see the first episode. I'd also like to see the older series of Doctor Who. The recent revival got me more excited about a series than I've been in a long while. (Speaking of which, I should probably see about jumping ahead of the upcoming American season premiere and catch up with y'all UKers.)

And now, my geek cred suffers.

I'm sick of non-science stuff showing up on the Discovery Channel. Mythbusters = Good for science and skepticism (even if it's a little heavy on the explosions). Show about a bunch of crab fishers: Not science. I'm sure some people out there enjoy the drama of their everyday lives, etcetera, but leave it off my science channel.

I'm sick of non-history showing up on the History Channel. Please, no pseudohistory, either. I don't need to see conspiracy nuts who say JFK was murdered by aliens sent by Bigfoot. Sometimes pop-culture history is nice, but it shouldn't dominate: I liked Superheroes Unmasked, How William Shatner Changed the World, and stuff like that, but those types of shows should be relatively far apart, unless some kind of geek holiday is going on. World War II shouldn't dominate, either. History did not begin and end with Hitler.

I'm done rambling. Anyone got recommendations?


Anonymous said...

I know what you mean. Honestly, I don't even get Sci-Fi myself but when I did get it "back then" I remember they had their "weekly movie" which tells me they managed to make a movie in a WEEK, that and the movie sucked, which was also a big indicator. I basically just avoided it then and I don't really have much cause to miss it. At least there the "Fi" label is clear so I don't mind the occasional ghost hunt or whatever.

History Channel? Oh yes, that thing can be just nuts sometimes. What I love is the back to back showing of a debunking of the JFK conspiracy and a show that makes those very debunked arguments and has no actual research and just open speculation (and they are shown IN THAT ORDER). People have always complained about when it gets WW2 centric, but it seems that channel always has a weekly "theme". A few weeks ago it was about the revolutionary war, and before that the civil war (for those outside the US, I'm talking about the US, where we just call them "the" instead of specifying a country, and I know you guys do that too if you've only had one of some kind of war so don't get all high and mighty).

Discovery Channel? Does anyone still watch that expecting science? I tune in every now and then, and MAYBE I get something vaguely science related (there's Myth Busters), but the majority of the time, this and TLC (which USED to stand for "The Learning Channel" but I think now it stands for "Tender Loving Care") seem to focus on reality shows, the kind of reality shows lonely house wives spend their afternoons watching, like "My Baby" or some redecorating thing. When I want my actual science, I watch The Science Channel, which seems to be where all the science actually went.

Rev. BigDumbChimp said...

If you're looking for old videos of anything download a Bittorrent client such as Azareus or uTorrent and then start perusing the bittorrent sites for what you want.

Understand that these are pirated copies or thing and I would never do anything like that. search for top 10 bittorent websites. Most of these places have search capabilities. Also beaware that occasionally you can get duped into downloading viruses so make sure to scan the .zip files before you extract them.

Rev. BigDumbChimp said...

Not sure what I meant to type when I typed "or thing". Probably of things.

Unknown said...

Get a NetFlix account and go through rented DVDs?

TheBrummell said...

...they managed to make a movie in a WEEK, that and the movie sucked...

Indeed. I haven't had access to Sci-Fi for about 5 years, but even when I had it I didn't watch the movies very often, partly because every second week they re-ran "Enemy Mine". Urgh. A little while ago I picked up "Alien Apocalypse" (starring Bruce Campbell!!! [/fanboi]) on DVD. The back cover promised that this was the highest-rated Sci-Fi channel produced movie in their history. It's absolutely terrible. I shudder to think what the other movies must be like.

Movie rental places around here have decent selections of TV shows, including Firefly, Battlestar Galactica, Futurama, and non-sci-fi non-surprises like the Sopranos and Friends. I think they run about a year or so behind the first broadcast of the series, but the first season of House, MD was available to rent a couple of months into the second season, so for some stuff they're a little quicker. I haven't checked out the on-line rental business, yet.

Anonymous said...

It really is hard to beat bittorrent for your set of requirements. Obviously, piracy is wicked, wrong, unamerican, etc. etc. but it beats every other option hands down(even if you had to pay for it, say at a cost equivalent to netflix, it would still be better).

TV shows will appear on bittorrent, stripped of annoying network logos and ads shortly after the broadcast. And, at least for decently popular stuff, it tends to be persistently available, often in convenient "All of Season N" compendiums. The fact that bittorrent video is typically distributed in a format that virtually any remotely modern platform can handle is also nice.

As much as I would like to recommend a legal alternative, there just isn't one that doesn't suck horribly. Many of them are seriously buggy, Most of them have some draconian DRM scheme, they all have severely limited selection, and a fair few restrict you to streaming only, which blows your chances of watching anything if you don't have a high speed connection handy.

In meatspace, Netflix or a similar competitor is probably your best bet.

Anonymous said...

Whatever you pick in the end, you have to watch Farscape in its entirity. It just doesn't make enough sense otherwise (I think, I watched it from episode 1). Best SciFi TV series ever, in my judgement (but then I'm big on baroque wierdness, leather, and Claudia Black ;)).

As for the SciFi channel, SciFi UK has gone exactly the same way. Frackin' "Medium" is not SciFi, by any stretch of the imagination. It's just dumb.

Don't get me started on the [Learn Nothing From] History Channel...

Fortunately, here in the UK we do get some decent documentaries. BBC content is publically funded, so feel free to download as much of it as you like... ;)

Anonymous said...

Netflix, or the Blockbuster DVD-by-mail really is the way to go. The 'by-mail' option means pretty much every series that's been released to DVD is available, and available as a series.

I don't have cable or satellite, but I do have over 300 disks in my mailing que, ranging from Babylon 5 to the new Dr. Who and Battlestar Galactica, and more.

TabAtkins said...

Bronze Dog: You're in Austin, I'm in Houston. You don't have Firefly, I do. This is a match made in heaven.

Shoot me your address at my email, and I'll pop the series in the mail. I'll even include Serenity if you want. You just have to promise to return them in working order!

Bob said...

After careful review, I've decided the Discovery Channel should be renamed the Adventure Channel. And the History Channel should be renamed the Myths & Legends Channel. I'm completely serious.