57 Channels (And Nothin’ On)

I realized back in 2005 that internet TV was probably going to be a thing.  It wasn’t just that YouTube made it’s debut, but also Revision3 – former cast and crew from TechTV making free, professional, content delivered like a podcast.  The format of the two were a little different with Revision3 offered high resolution versions of their shows; Systm (tech how-tos), Diggnation (tech/social news), Control Alt Chicken (cooking), and more.  Fast forward twelve years and I find the majority of programming I care about doesn’t come from a standard TV network, but can instead still be found online.

Here are a few of my current favorites:

Welcome to the Basement/Blame Society

I originally found Blame Society back in 2006 because of their show Chad Vader: Day Shift Manager.  Picture the loser relative of Darth Vader who works in a grocery store, but is just as power hungry as the Vader we all know and love.  Turns out they make some pretty great (and hilarious) observations on film.  Side note, Matt Sloane (voice of Chad) is so good at doing Vader’s voice that he now voices Darth Vader in most Star Wars video games.  I rediscovered Blame Society while on a Brian DePalma kick – their video commentary on Phantom of the Paradise kept coming up in searches on his films.  Now it’s a weekly staple in my video watching routine.  It’s one of those shows where you feel like you get to know the hosts over time.

Screen Junkies/Honest Trailers

I found Screen Junkies because of Honest Trailers and now it’s something I look for every Tuesday.  You’ve probably seen at least one – honest commentaries on films with more than a touch of humor and biting commentary.  Screen Junkies News is also a great source of film and TV news, especially comic book and sci-fi genres.  It started as a little YouTube channel with a few people riffing on movies and has grown into something resembling a laid-back pop culture news network.

Hot Ones/Food Grails

Hot Ones is spicy chicken wings and questions… that’s it.  The challenge for the celebrities (or near celebrities, in some cases) is to keep focused on answering questions while eating wings with ever-escalating spiciness.  Almost everyone is over confident on their ability to handle the sauces and hilarity ensues almost every time.  TJ Miller was my first, but I’ve watched them all (some a few times).

Food Grails, also from Complex/First We Feast, documents little-known foods within cities and neighborhoods.  From Atlanta’s lemon pepper wings to D.C.’s Mumbo Sauce, it sheds light on foods I otherwise wouldn’t know.  I even bought a bottle of Capital City Mumbo Sauce out of curiosity – totally worth it!

Binging with Babish

Ever wanted to sample foods from your favorite TV shows?  Andrew Rea experiments with recipes, usually trying the accurate recipe first from a classic TV episode.  If that doesn’t work out then he attempts to make a tastier version based around the original concept.  Seinfeld’s chocolate babka, The Moistmaker from Friend’s, the foods of South Park, the and many, many more are covered on the show.  The foods can range from something simple (carbonara or fish tacos) to the outrageous (SNL’s TacoTown taco or Big Night’s Il Timpano).

Cinefix

You know those internet countdown lists?  They’re everywhere, but this one has a twist… it’s really good!  It’s a masterclass in filmmaking in the form of short YouTube videos (and I’ve taken three film courses, so I know 😉 ).  Some picks may seem arbitrary on the surface, but there’s always a method behind their madness.

Kaptainkristian / Nerdwriter / Lessons from the Screenplay

These tree YouTube channels are not related, but they share a very similar structure… deep dives into a single subject.  Kaptainkristian pulls ahead as my favorite of the group, but are all equally interesting and thought provoking.

Song referenced:

Sound and Fury

If there’s one thing I love, it’s movies.  I’ve taken three film studies courses in my life and have made some short (not great) films/videos for classes, competitions, and events.  However, I’ve found attending movies in the theater to be a bit of a challenge lately.

My wife, like many others, is a fan of the Hunger Games novels.  We attended a screening in the theater of one of the films and discovered, much to our amazement, a newborn baby in a carseat at the night-time screening.  The baby was well behaved, but at the slightest peep the parents would make a loud shushing noise, which continued through the entire film.  We were expecting a child at the time, so don’t chalk this up to disliking babies – only parents with poor decision-making abilities.

We attended a showing of Selma, the moving story of Martin Luther King Jr.’s march in Alabama.  The woman next to me chose to eat popcorn, which she’d popped at home, from a (very loud) plastic shopping bag.  Ok, that was fine, movie theater popcorn is expensive.  She washed it down with a can of Diet Coke, presumably also from home.  Fine, I’ll give her that – nothing goes better with free popcorn than free soda.  Once her mouth was devoid of popcorn, she started talking to her friend.  Next up, rustling of the empty bag while she looked for items in her purse (note the plural ‘items’) for about 20 minutes.  First came the Chapstick, then the tissues to blow her nose, and the Pièce de résistance, an eCigarette!  Yes, she was smoking during this movie.  I think I wouldn’t have minded one of these, but the pairing of talking, digging, and smoking was just exquisite.

My favorite people are what I call “the narrators” – people who feel a need to audibly ask questions or repeat lines from the film.  The night before the 2015 Oscars, we had a chance to see The Imitation Game, the story of cracking codes produced by the Enigma machine and Alan Turing’s personal struggles.  A graphic explained that World War II would go one for three more years after the code was cracked in 1942. “THREE MORE YEARS!” exclaimed one woman. Along with 1492, 1776, 1812, and 1865, 1945 is one of the few years you should remember from even the most basic of grade school education.

The demographic for these offenders seems to be over the age of 45 and traveling in pairs.  They don’t just stick to the cinema either – they enjoy live theater and really bring out their narration A game for community theater.

Seven more years and I get to do what I want in a movie theater!

Movie referenced: Sound and Fury