I got a promotional e-mail from Microsoft about the “New Xbox Experience” — well, actually, it’s been more like a dozen in the last week alone. This is no mere firmware update; this is a friggin’ event. What could merit such excitement? Sit down, gentle reader, because I have two words for you: cartoon avatars. You can also rip games from a disc to the hard drive to save wear on the DVD drive — unless that game is Crackdown, because then what would we have to bitch about?
[[image:mn_081120_something_01.jpg::right:0]]But the feature I’ve been looking forward to most is the ability to stream videos from Netflix’s “Watch It Now” selection. I’ve been using the service for at least a year and a half. Not because the selection is stellar — it’s really not. It will be a long time before the studios embrace digital distribution; consider what’s on offer to be a tentative toe testing the waters. But I like the service anyway. The picture quality looks great piped into a TV set, and the impulsiveness of it all means I can be a bit more adventurous than I would be if I were waiting three business days for a disc to arrive. And, uh, I never get around to returning the discs. At least with late fees the trains ran on time.
Sadly, the tiny pool has already shrunk even further. This week, hundreds of films were found to be unavailable for viewing on the console — most of which were owned by Sony. It’s hardly surprising that Sony would take their ball and go home on Microsoft’s big day. Unfortunately, it was also discovered that the BBC would be making their titles unavailable for instant viewing entirely as well. These videos represent the bulk of what I wanted to recommend, and so my course, and yours, is clear: Red Dwarf.
Do you like The Odd Couple but wish it could be more like The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy? Do you crave the special effects of Star Trek: The Next Generation but don’t want to be burdened with all that “careful attention to continuity”? You should be watching Red Dwarf. You have until December 1, and then they’re all dead, Dave. (See also: Dr. Who, The League of Gentlemen.)
HEY, YOU WATCH ANIMES!?: Akira, duh. It’s the 2001 redub staring Vash the Stampede as Kaneda. And one of my personal favorites, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, is a terrific adaptation of the Shirow Masamune manga. Better than the old lech deserves, really. Blood: The Last Vampire, Macross Plus, Voltron, Black Jack, Astro Boy. Save Ninja Scroll for when Meemaw comes over; she’ll love it.
Oh, but I guess all I watch is BBC and anime! The only way I could indulge myself further is with soothing/mindless drivel from the 1980s oops too late.
[[image:mn_081120_something_02.jpg:What, no Alf?:center:0]]
(Thanks to rycar for the BBC tip!)