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Surely, Netflix can’t be serious?

July 28, 2013
By WES BURNS - Copy Editor (wburns@timesrepublican.com) , Times-Republican

I've had "Airplane!" on DVD from Netflix for about two years now.

Did I write a column more than a year ago that started out like this?

Sure.

Isn't "Airplane!" still available on Netflix streaming?

Not anymore!

That's right; the greatest comedy ever to feature Leslie Nielsen, jive-talking nuns and Kareem Abdul Jabbar is now no longer available to people that assume the DVD option of Netflix is only used by people who never bothered to switch to an "all-streaming" account.

That's me. I never bothered.

And I am more than happy to accept all the scorn from friends, countrymen and judgemental coworkers who have vociferously admonished by Netflix intransigence because guess what? I still have "Airplane!"

Had I followed their sound advice I would have had to 1: Fall to pieces when "Airplane!" was unceremoniously removed from the instant streaming service and 2: Burn all my vacation days waiting by my mailbox for my new DVD copy of "Airplane!" to arrive.

That sounds unproductive, at best.

Also - I will hear no objections to my plan by those who advocate simply buying a copy of "Airplane!" for myself. Take your logic somewhere else, doctor!

While I was fortunate enough to have my favorite movie saved by my adamancy toward changing online accounts (I still have Hulu Plus; haven't watched it in months) there are many others who have lost many media favorite to the unrelenting churn of the Netflix instant stream.

Was you favorite movie "Goldfinger?" Were you going to watch it tonight? Yes?

Nope! Back in May Netflix lost the rights to the MGM library.

Looks like you better pick another Sean Connery flick to drink scotch to. I suggest "Sonic Underground: Vol. 1.'"Yes, it isn't available on instant streaming either but it IS a children's television show/extended Sega commercial with characters voiced by Jaleel "Don't Call Me Urkel" White ... and Sean Connery; at least according to Netflix, anyway.

What if you're less of a James Bond type and more of a fan of Wu-Tang Financial?

If you know what means then you're probably a fan of the groundbreaking and defunct "Chapelle's Show" and you already know that its been yanked from the stream, alongside Comedy Central brethren "South Park" and "Workaholics."

Netflix hasn't experienced a customer backlash this severe since the Quickster debacle in 2011, or dropping the Starz lineup in 2012 ... wait a minute.

Is it possible that Netflix plans an annual bad decision, drives away legions of fans, only to win them back with some new grand gesture?

Well, Netflix dropped almost 2,000 movies and TV shows in early May, then premiered the new season of "Arrested Development" at the end of May. How terribly grand!

This is a strange but apparently effective plan; but it seems to me to be fatally flawed.

Sure, Netflix can remove countless TV shows and movies and claim it has nothing to do with all of them bound for some jealous, proprietary delivery service that will soon be tossed in the trash alongside Epix, Crisp, Churn, Watch'em, or any other half-baked streaming service.

And they can keep adding new, original content like '"Arrested Development," "House of Cards," and "Orange is the New Black," to convince people they're as much of a real network as anybody else.

But when the shine wears off the new shows and the dust settles from the latest movie exodus there will still be a demand for core, reliable programming that people just need to know is available. Do I NEED to watch the entire series run of "Top Gear?" No, but I'm comforted to know I?can.

Which is why I propose Netflix adopt a special, reserve list of movies and TV shows that will never be removed, no matter how many multinational licensing deals take place in what I can only assume are the same smoke-filled back rooms where they pick the REAL president.

Big Red should put it up to a vote and let the consumer pick 25 movies and 25 TV shows that will exist in perpetuity ... so long as they doesn't go bankrupt.

And what items should be on this most exclusive list of media immortality? Well, if you let the Internet vote on it, "The Shawshank Redemption" will be high on the movie list, and "Firefly" would reign in the TV show category.

But that's never going to happen; too many long standing deals made in the aforementioned smokey room would prevent such a pop culture ark from existing. So whatever may come from Netflix I know this to be true: they make take my streaming shows, but they'll never take my "Airplane!"

 
 

 

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