Television has come a long way since I last spent any considerable time watching it – probably around the time Blind Date was on for the first time – and while I was out of action I started really to appreciate and understand The Companion’s obsession with streaming services. We have Stan, Netflix, Foxtel and all of the free-to-air on-demand services, all connected to the televisions throughout the house by a wireless network of blinking devices of varying shapes and sizes.
Now I know why The Companion has spent so long setting the whole lot up, and why he wanted the same set-up at the farmhouse. I don’t know what I’d have done without it while I was laid up.
Apparently there’s a method of watching a lot of a television all in one go that I’ve heard my goddaughter refer to as “bingeing”. I love the word, and that’s exactly what I did. Norsemen, Maniac, Schitt’s Creek, Detectorists, not every episode (there’s a lot of them) of Jerry Seinfeld in cars getting coffee with comedians (it’s called something like that) and possibly my favourite of the lot, the wonderfully bonkers Toast of London.
And also Man Down, and Green Wing. And Ozark – Jason Bateman! That’s a LOT of television, for me and possibly for anybody. I also watched a full movie – Arrival – but I had to look up some online reviews to fully work out what had happened in that one.
I do recall reading a famous American writer suggesting that the real opportunities to do something genuinely creative and exciting has shifted from film to television, and I’d say on the basis of what I watched, he’s right. I suppose when a streaming service reaches so many people and makes so much money, it can afford to take a punt on a movie or a series that’s a bit left-field, and to give the creative types some free rein to do their thing free from the shackles of having to generate a billion dollars at the Box Office. It’s like what happens when you turn a car designer loose with a blank sheet of paper and a brief to design a full-body, all-senses driving experience, rather than briefing him to come up with something the manufacturer can shift a couple of million of, at the lowest possible cost.