The choices are endless – and confusing – in the age of streaming

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I was clicking through the various TV streaming services the other night looking for “House of Thrones” when I realized there was no show called “House of Thrones”. HBO’s prequel “Game of Thrones” is called “House of the Dragon.”

“Glad it’s not ‘House of Thrones’,” I said to Ruth, my lovely wife. “Can you imagine how awkward that would be? A house full of thrones? You met them all the time.

Ruth made a sound that sounded like a laugh, but maybe not. Maybe she remembered when I briefly confused “House of Cards” with “Game of Thrones” 10 years ago and tried unsuccessfully to find “Game of Cards.”

“Of course, even the throne alone is bad enough,” I continued. “He’s made of a bunch of swords.”

I wonder about this throne. So dangerous. Forget “Unasy lies the head that wears a crown.” Uncomfortable is the bottom that sits on the throne!

Frankly, Westeros is an Occupational Safety and Health Administration nightmare. Not a single eyewash. No goggles on dragon guardians. I doubt employers provide standing desks.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission would also have a field day. You think the Iron Throne is bad, the cradles of the Seven Kingdoms are probably made of old razor blades and hypodermic needles.

Still, I love to visit. The show gives me a sense of perspective. Things are bad in America now — climate change, political unrest, a pandemic, a vast wealth gap — but at least people aren’t being blazed by dragons. Still!

These days, I find myself watching a lot of escapist TV. I haven’t had time for the new JRR Tolkien show “Rings of Power” on Amazon Prime yet. It seems to fill a niche similar to “House of the Dragon”. I hope the two programs will do a crossover episode. With their blonde wigs, half of the cast of “The House of the Dragon” already look like elves. (Oh, and by the way, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post.)

I lost track of all the streaming services I subscribed to. Too much, probably. I have at least three who specialize in UK shows: BritBox, Acorn and one from PBS which is heavy on “Masterpiece Theatre”. Then there’s Apple TV Plus, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and Netflix.

It can’t be lasting, can it? And the other day I was looking at my Netflix subscription and noticed to my horror that I was paying $10 a month for DVD rentals. I haven’t watched a Netflix DVD in two years. I canceled that very quickly.

All these services – all these shows – and when we drop in front of the idiot box, it takes us another 20 minutes to decide what to watch.

We love foreign shows – German Cold War shows are a current craze – but if we’re eating in front of the TV, we don’t want anything with subtitles. (I don’t want to miss any dialogue while I look at my plate for another bite of food.)

There are only a limited number of prestige miniseries we can track at a time. I can’t remember the names of all my cousins, let alone the names and stories of all the characters from another dystopian sci-fi program. We have to finish the previous dystopian sci-fi program before embarking on the next.

And, of course, there is the atmosphere. Do we want something that helps us relax or stimulates us? Do we want provoked thoughts or dull thoughts? Do we want to laugh or do we want to cry? Do we want brief violence, no violence or excessive and gratuitous violence? Do we want a good dose of nudity or do we want people to keep their clothes on for once?

Or do we want baseball? It even got complicated. The other day I wanted to watch a baseball game and it was on YouTube. Is this allowed?

You know, maybe I should just read a book.

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