Something something queue

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!)

15 thoughts on “Something something queue

  1. Oh god I was SUCH a Red Dwarf fanatic back in the day. Unfortunately, it gets progressively worse as you go. Anything after the fourth series is basically unwatchable, and even that’s pushing it. The characters rather quickly became caricatures, and their (the other characters’ and the writers’) treatment of Rimmer became unpleasantly cruel.

  2. I love the fact that I can apparently, in theory, watch Nintendo cartoons on my Xbox 360.

    I say “in theory” because Canada got screwed on Netflix.

    –LBD “Nytetrayn”

  3. I’d say the last great Red Dwarf season is number 5. 6 is worth watching, 7 and 8 are diabolical.

    “Special effects of Star Trek: TNG” is generous. Hell, calling them “special effects” at all is generous.

  4. carpboy: Skip the Key to Time (which wasn’t a great season) and watch the next one, which is one of the best seasons ever – that’s the year with Douglas Adams in the script editor role, and with a MUCH more… appealing… actress as Romana.

  5. “The characters rather quickly became caricatures, and their (the other characters’ and the writers’) treatment of Rimmer became unpleasantly cruel.”

    Duh. His name is Rimmer… and I haven’t even seen the show! ;)

  6. Happy to oblidge, M!

    Yeah, it does get worse as time goes on. There’s still a nugget of quality hidden through the end of the show, but the running jokes in particular became quite hard to bear.

    I got really excited when they brought Red Dwarf back (the seasons where they’re stuck in starbug were annoying) complete with OG Holly, but the writing didn’t get any better.

    Last 4 seasons of Red Dwarf drinking game:
    -Take a drink every time Cat says “my nose hairs are vibrating faster than…”
    -Take a drink every time Kryten corrects rimmer on a space corps directive
    -Take a drink every time they ruin a previously good story (polymorph, ace rimmer, etc)
    Season 8 bonus round:
    -Take a drink every time you say “what the fuck are they doing?!”

    …plus the series ends on a cliffhanger. Goddamn it.

  7. I was pumped about the 360/Netflix deal, until I found out I’d have to upgrade a) my Netflix plan to Unlimited and b) my XBox Live Acrcade subscription to Gold. That extra 10-15 dollar swing, as small as it seems, can’t be justified with a baby in daycare and two house payments.

  8. I’m glad someone else has a similar view of Masamune Shirow. I’ve always thought of him as a great idea man, but keep him far, far away from the actual creative process. “What if we lived in a world where everyone was enhanced with cybertechnology, the line between human and machine was blurred, and ideas like gender, which we hold so dear, are starting to disappear entirely?” “Yeah, yeah, that’s great Masamune! You’re a genius!” “Also everyone is a lesbian, and they all have freaky, oiled up lesbian robot amputee sex on a yacht.” “… … …”

    THE END!

    I’ve actually been pretty pleased with Netflix on the Xbox. For whatever reason it works a hell of a lot better than it did on my stand-alone Roku (maybe due to using different ports, or something, but we’ve been getting a more consistent speed and better quality since switching over).

  9. Shirow has become the perverted Japanese equivalent of Alex Ross: all gloss, no storytelling. Also, sex.

    Which is a shame, because his early manga is actually pretty good, if occasionally inscrutable.

  10. -Take a drink every time Cat says “my nose hairs are vibrating faster than…”

    Oog. And don’t forget “we’re deader than [something unfashionable].” That’s the thing, right? The Cat was originally meant to be catlike, and personal vanity was just part of that. But that was too hard, so his personality was reduced to “obsessed with clothes.” The other characters suffered similar reductions. It’s a thing that happens with most TV shows, and especially sitcoms, but rarely as dramatically and in so few episodes as it did here.

  11. Also not rippable to the 360 hard drive: Dead or Alive Xtreme 2.

    Not that anyone else will notice :/

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