Bleats

You're About To Pay Stupid Amounts For Streaming TV So Enjoy It While You Can Still Afford It

How much TV is too much to pay for?

So, how many streaming services do you currently pay for? Follow up: how many are you willing to pay for every month?

Is is a lot? Because you’re going to be faced with a future of dropping close to a grand a year to watch a the bits of you like on a bunch of competing and non-comprehensive different services.

[insert cash register sound for each click]

You’ve likely heard that Disney+ will be launching in the US in November with a catalogue that includes all the Disney-made stuff and all the franchises they’ve bought up in recent times. So Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, The Simpsons, Family Guy… rather a lot of stuff, in other words.

A visual metaphor for you and your money.

Meanwhile Apple have just announced Apple TV+, which appears to be banking on creating a compelling slate of its own original programming rather than buying anyone else’s catalogue.

Add that to the existing services here and who the hell has the time to watch that much TV a month and pay the $70 a month you’ll need for all of them? We have to sleep sometime.

And there’s a question about whether it makes business sense either. Sure, size isn’t everything… but Australia’s not the world’s largest entertainment market.

That’s us, right there.

Netflix was the first on the scene, with Stan the first specifically local service.

They’re the big two, at least until the new ones appear. Amazon Prime is still a niche option but one that’s making inroads, as is the pricey YouTube Premium, and HayU is for reality TV obsessives only.

And Game of Thrones might have kept Foxtel customers dedicated to the nation’s only dedicated pay TV service, but its foray into dedicated streaming TV was also the first to fall over. Anyone have memories of Presto? Anyone?

It’s OK. It’s in a better place now.

Throw Disney and Apple in the mix and a) someone’s going to have to fall over, and b) viewers that want to see all the stuff they like will be paying through the nose for the privilege.

And that feels unsustainable long term.

Think back to when you first signed up for Netflix. Were you thinking “oh my god, I have billions of hours of entire series to watch for chump change!”, or were you thinking “I can’t wait until I have half a dozen services each offering four shows I like and demanding a permanent subscription to access”?

Strong former.

And Australia’s broadcasters have risen to the challenge of the new viewing habits by creating their own decent-to-good quality on-demand apps.

And given that availability, how many viewers – especially moneyed older ones – are going to respond to the choice paralysis offered by half a dozen different options with “sod this, I’ll stick with the free TV options and go the movies if I want to see a movie, thanks”?

Now, there’s a decent chance that Disney+ (and Hulu, which is also owned by Disney) might choose to go with a partnership with, say, Stan (which already has their content up until October) rather than dump a lot of money creating their own service in an already crowded market in the hope of making a loss. But in any case, things are about to get tight.

In the meantime, let’s watch the end of the golden age of TV. And maybe stock up on cheap DVDs just in case.

Good Omens Is The Best Show About Male Friendships On Television And We Should Celebrate That

Would the end of the world be enough to make men feel better about each other?

You know, there’s not that many shows about actual male friendships.

Most of the time males in TV are pitted in some sort of pissing contest against one another – over women, over their careers, over whatever horrifying internal flaws power It’s Always Sunny In Philidelphia – but there’s far fewer shows about men who just straight up like and trust each other.

Which is another reasons to love the (ahem) hell out of Good Omens.

If you’ve not watched it yet, you should. It’s very funny, as far as stories about ragtag groups of weirdoes attempting to stop a literal Armageddon go. But the best part is the interplay between the two main characters (played, as it happens, by real-life friends Michael Sheen (the angel Aziraphale) and David Tennant (as the demon Crowley).

There’s a particularly lovely montage in the third episode where we trace these immortal beings over six centuries of meeting, talking shop, gradually opening up to each other about their doubts in the Divine Plan, and developing a genuinely affectionate friendship.

There’s nothing aggressive or even competitive about it either: they just like hanging out with someone who understands exactly what they’re going through. Who doesn’t want that in their lives?

And yes, they share an ulterior motive – both have decided that they rather like the world and humankind and that they’d sooner have cool things like books and cars than an eternity in their respective supernatural domains, which gives a nice level of self-interest to their cozy little relationship (which involves occasionally doing low key good or evil things on each others’ behalf because it’s just more efficient). But that doesn’t mean they don’t feel deeply about each other.

Take, for example, the scene where Crowly is racing to Aziraphale’s bookshop to find it in flames.

The heavy handed use of Queens’ ‘Your My Best Friend’ underscores the scene (thanks to to a running gag in the book, left unexplained in the show, that all cassettes left in Crowley’s demonic car eventually turn into The Best Of Queen).

When Crowley thinks his friend has been annihilated he’s utterly distraught and immediately goes on a bender. Which is archetypically a) human and b) masculine. It’s… it’s just what we dudes do. There’s no leap into narratively exciting revenge or turning into a one man wrecking crew or anything else you typically see in these sorts of action-heavy shows. He’s grieving, like people do.

And sure, there are no shortage of Crowly/Aziraphale shippers but these are two divine beings who, not to put too fine a point on it, don’t bang. They’re just… you know, friends.

Just to be clear, reading them as two besties in no way rules out the queer reading of the show. That works perfectly well – with some lines it’s downright unavoidable (“You just go too fast for me, Crowley” springs to mind).

But that also plays into the idea that men can’t be kind or supportive of one another without it being necessarily romantic – cheers, toxic masculinity, for yet another number done on our collective heads.

I for one salute this unconventionally blokey portrayal of two men enjoying hangs. And also, cheers for saving the world and everything. Much appreciated.

Christians Want Good Omens Cancelled, But They're Petitioning The Wrong Company

Criticise David Tennant at your peril, mortals.

The comedy series Good Omens has become a surprise hit here in Australia and pretty much everywhere else, on the grounds that it’s a hilarious adaptation of the similarly hilarious novel by Neil Gaiman and the late Terry Pratchett.

The premise – an angel (played by Michael Sheen) and a devil (played by David Tennant) team up to prevent the end of the world – has upset some excitingly inept protestors in the US.

There was a petition circulating explaining that they don’t like that God is a woman (voiced by Frances McDormand), they don’t like that the Antichrist is a normal 11 year old child, they don’t like “this type of video [which] makes light of Truth, Error, Good and Evil, and destroys the barriers of horror that society still has for the devil” and they have concerns that Tennant’s demon Crowley is far too appealing.

Fair.

And thus they have called upon Netflix to immediately cancel the show. And there are two problems with this.

One, the six episode series has covered the entire book. And since Pratchett is gone and no sequel ever appeared, a second season doesn’t seem like a thing that would happen. So it would appear that they’re calling for the cancellation of an already completed show.

And two, it’s not on Netflix. It’s on Amazon Prime, an entirely different service.

Gaiman was suitably impressed by the petition…

…and Netflix threw some low key shade too.

…before loads of religious viewers chimed in supporting the show and saying how they appreciated how it dealt with some very complex theological issues.

As of this morning the petition appears to have been taken down. So we guess they… won?

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