I've been savoring the new season of The Sopranos. David Chase alternately challenges, surprises, shocks, and frustrates me weekly. But I find every second of the series riveting. Its artistic vision is unabashedly cinematic. Its characters and stories are more complex and enigmatic than anything in the arthouse or multiplex. With the addition of Big Love to the line-up, which in its freshman season is the heir apparent to Six Feet Under, HBO appears to have Sunday nights locked up for the time being.
In addition to catching up on the first two seasons ofArrested Development and [scrubs] (it turns out that one of the best ways to watch sitcoms is in sequence on DVD...the time flies by) Netflix has also delivered treats like Best of Youth (which originally aired in Italy as a television mini-series) and the toothy tile double feature, Jarhead and Proof, both of which under performed at the box-office, but may find their audiences now on DVD. The best thing about Netflix is that even though they send you things you signed up for, opening that little red enveloped in the mailbox always feels a little like Christmas morning.
3. On Demand
The controversy surrounding its theatrical release notwithstanding, the easiest way for me to catch Caveh Zahedi's I Am A Sex Addict was at home, on my Comcast Digital cable system. Thanks to digital cable, I could watch his film with the push of a button. I also finally caught C.S.A., which, given its BBC-style psuedo documentary trappings and it's litany of fake ads, feelt better suited to home viewing than in a theatrical setting.
Baseball season is here. And I have been watching the games daily on my computer. On the West Coast, the games from back east start at 4:30 pm. (On getaway Thursdays, I can enjoy baseball starting at 10:00 am.)
5. A pair of Jacks
24 and Lost are like crack. (The fact that Laura Palmer's father (Ray Wise) is the Veep on 24 and Laura Palmer's mother (Grace Zabriskie) has a recurring role on HBO's Big Love reminds me only of the immortal words of a third Jack: "There's a fish, in the percolator.")
6. Ricky Gervais Show podcasts
Available at audible.com and iTunes, these conversations between Ricky Gervais, his writing partner Steve Merchant, and Karl Pilkington are as thought provoking as they are hilarious. Pilkington's obsession with the animal kingdom paired with his oddball insights and opinionated views about science, medicine are the subject of Gervais' wickedly playful line of questioning and Mercahnt's wry counterpoint. But when one of Karl's twisted takes manages to strike Ricky's fancy, his piercing laughter is contageous.
So in short...I haven't been out to the theater in about a month thanks to DVDs, On Demand, cable, downloads, computer streaming, and quality television.
That, and I was a bit occupied with a film festival.
But all of these options proved simple, easy, convenient and affordable alternatives to going out to the movies. And with the exception of live sports broadcasts and 24, I can catch everything on my own time.