Monday, January 9, 2012


I've already written about my resistance to modern technology, but it's worth reiterating that it generally takes me anywhere from a few months to nearly a decade before The Next Big Thing seems safe, desirable, reasonably priced, and/or at all necessary. Such was the case with Netflix, which up until late 2011 was (in my mind) some online and order-by-mail DVD service that sounded like more trouble and expense than it was worth.

I had a local library with an impressive movie collection. I collected all the TV shows I cared to watch (read: Star Trek) on DVD. I had no real need for Netflix. That didn't stop me from being fascinated by it when my wife and I visited my family for an extended Turkey Day stay.

Netflix's on-demand streaming media service had been popular with my friends for some time, yet despite several exposures to Netflix at their homes, I had never gotten the opportunity to poke around on my own for something to watch. During my long Thanksgiving break this past year, I had access to my brother-in-law's Netflix account and plenty of time in which to watch such movies as Toy Story 3 and Dragnet. I'm still curious about that which is newfangled, even if I don't immediately embrace it, so I relished the chance to flood my brother-in-law's Instant Queue with Lethal Weapon, Airplane!, and other essential viewing he'd missed out on.

Downloading Life Force and various Gradius games during my Konami kick had warmed me up to the idea of digital distribution, and it wasn't long before Netflix won me over entirely. Buying anything on DVD was becoming a costly endeavor (both in terms of money and shelf space), and my unpredictable schedule had discouraged me from borrowing movies from the library that needed to be returned or renewed every few days. Despite some glaring omissions in the catalog (e.g.: Weekend at Bernie's), Netflix seemed like the perfect solution to my ongoing viewing dilemmas.

Obviously my family was paying attention to my wide-eyed stare and gaping mouth as I skimmed through Netflix's massive library, because a month later I had a free subscription waiting for me under the Christmas tree.

I was excited. Now I could watch RoboCop 1-3 and other films I wanted to try out before admitting I owned them on DVD.

My wife was not so enthusiastic.

Her objection: By watching movies on Netflix instead of buying DVDs, we're effectively taking away money from the creators.

My response: By watching terrible movies on Netflix and buying DVDs of the good ones, we're supporting the creators we like and not wasting any money on the ones we don't.

Her objection: Video rental stores used to be a fun place to hang out with friends, and Netflix is putting them all out of business.

My response: My friends just deliberated over which movie to rent until it was too late to watch anything anyhow. Besides, we haven't had friends or video stores since, like, 2006. (I kid--I saw an ironically named West Coast Video in central Pennsylvania in 2007).

Nevertheless, I went ahead and set up the Netflix account, downloaded the Netflix Channel on my Nintendo Wii, and unwittingly left my wife alone with the Wii Remote for a few minutes. When I returned, I heard a gasp and found my Instant Queue, completely empty just moments ago, filled with anime.

"Wow, Clannad? And Baccano! They have all of Gurren Lagann! Ooh, I've heard about Highschool of the Dead...wait, I haven't seen Bleach yet, either..."

Her objection: There's not enough time in the day to watch all this anime! My response: You're absolutely right, dear. Netflix is a terrible thing.


Mr. E [PostApocolyptica] said...

Um, I'd be a little cautious aroung Highschool of The Dead (yup, "Highschool", though I'm not moaning) if I were you (or your wife, which would be a little weird, seeing as I'm a guy): There's quite a bit of fanservice (yes, THAT kind of it). If you're okay with that, you won't suffer a nosebleed during Episode 6.

Flashman85 said...

Wha--really? "Highschool?" That's it; I'm buying Japan a spacebar next Christmas.


Oh, right. Contest is over. Anywho, a heads-up is always appreciated, though she's a big enough anime fan that she watches EVERYTHING.

Mr. E [PostApocolyptica] said...


Three words on Episode 6 to make it more clear:

Shower. Women. Chests.

You have been warned.

Flashman85 said...

She just finished the series two night ago, so...yes. Everything.

Xan said...

If she's worried about the compensation to the creators for not buying the DVDs, point out that Netflix pays for distribution rights, just like any rental store. If anything they're getting more money because the ease of access is so significantly higher with netflix than it ever was with a rental place, and it's much better for more obscure titles that wouldn't make it into a main-stream store.

Xan said...

Oh, and if there is anyone who wouldn't so much as blink at a little fanservice shower scene, it's Flashman's wife.