Okay Doak

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Category: Watching

How to Cut Cable When You’re a TV Addict

My love of TV started early when I was sneaking episodes of “Salute Your Shorts” and “Hey Dude” after school and has truly never stopped. Every fall, I look forward to receiving the Entertainment Weekly Fall TV Preview issue and make a new grid of what shows I’m going to watch.

This fall will be different, however, since Jeff and I cut cable a few months ago. It took a fair amount of research and I wouldn’t say we have the perfect solution at all, but I feel like we’ve hit the perfect balance of:

  1. Still being able to watch the shows I liked
  2. Watching less TV overall and ultimately reading more

So… how did we do it? I’ve outlined our process and approach below  and will stress that this is the approach taken by someone who loves TV more than any other form of entertainment and may seem extreme for more casual viewers.

Research

I created this spreadsheet of everything we (I) watch, what network it’s on, where I could find it on streaming, if there were any caveats (like for example, it’s on Hulu but with a 3 week delay or a 2 day delay or a full year delay). THEN, I looked at the gaps, determined if it was a show I still wanted to watch and if yes, what it would cost to pay for it on iTunes, etc.

A general note that the biggest issue is with CBS shows. They’re not available real time on any streaming platform. I ultimately decided they weren’t really that critical. CBS is launching it’s own subscription service for real time access on their site but it seems ridiculous to pay another $6/month just for CBS all things considered. And since it’s not available on Apple TV, there’s no easy way from a tech standpoint to watch it. If you have Roku or Chromecast instead of Apple TV though, it’s available as an app.

After doing the above, we crunched the numbers and saw that even if I spent $20 a month on iTunes (which would be subscribing to 6-12 full seasons of a show), we’d save $60 a month with the change.

Because I’m a glutton for punishment, if you’d like to see my spreadsheet, you can view it here. Just remember any show you’d like to judge me for watching is probably something Jeff picked.

Subscriptions & Equipment

We already had an Apple TV and our DVD player is a smart DVD player that connects to Amazon streaming. In addition to that, we subscribe to Netflix and Hulu. Given my addiction to Bravo, that still means I have to subscribe to my Housewives (just NYC, Beverly Hills and Orange County) on iTunes.

Lastly, we got a digital antenna for live events. We barely use it but it means that for things like major events, we’re still able to watch and given that it was under $40 the ROI is pretty high.

Set Up & Tracking

However, given that we have shows on Hulu, Netflix and Amazon Prime and don’t have a single or convenient queue for what to watch, I was still seeking some sort of resource to turn to to answer the question “what can I watch right now?” I researched apps and services for that and picked Episode Calendar. It’s far from perfect, but Jeff and I needed a shared account (a number of the top-rated solutions were apps tied to an iTunes account) and it covered all the basic needs. Now, we can go to the “Unwatched” section and it shows all the new episodes of current show OR we can add older shows and check them off as we watch episodes.

You should be watching: James Corden on the Late Late Show

My response to hearing that James Corden was taking over as host of The Late Late Show was probably similar to most with a “what’s that?” followed by a “and who’s that?” Playing the Baker in the Into the Woods remake aside, I had no idea who he was or what to expect.

However, then he started with Carpool Karaoke and I became obsessed. I fell first for him with Jennifer Hudson:

But would argue the Iggy Azalea and Justin Bieber versions are most impressive simply because he took two unlikeable humans and made them charming.

That said, the Carpool Karaoke videos seem to get a decent amount of circulation on the interwebs, so I think it better to share some primo examples of clever thinking from Mr. Corden.

Like when he played DJ Skat Kat with Paula Abdul:

Or when he introduced the exciting new game Nuzzle Waaa?:

Or lastly when he worked for a few hours at a mattress store and exposed someone trying to buy a mattress for Natalie Portman:

It’s just really enjoyable to watch someone bring so much joy and positivity to the airwaves. I’d say to the time slot but since I a) go to bed at 9:30 PM and b) don’t have cable anymore, I don’t really have that perspective…

Confessions of a Media Addict: Gilmore Guys, LA riot fiction and inspirational sports movies

I totally want to join them for coffee. (Source: Hello Giggles)

I consume an insane amount of media — here are some of my favorite recent picks:

  • Gilmore Girls & Gilmore Guys: I’ve been in search of a TV show to mindlessly binge watch that Jeff WON’T want to watch too. While I’d like to revisit Friday Night Lights, I’m still hoping that Jeff will actually agree to watch that with me so I landed on Gilmore Girls. And THEN I discovered the Gilmore Guys podcast (which, incidentally, I discovered before the New York Times but after the Atlantic). I would be in support of any podcast that ends in a Carole King singalong but have really been enjoying revisiting a nostalgic TV show with amusing episode by episode comedic commentary — that’s my favorite way to watch TV this decade so it makes sense that it would work well for a past favorite too.. And did I mention every episode ends with a singalong? [Gilmore Girls is currently streaming on Netflix while Gilmore Guys is available on iTunes with the link above].
  • Undefeated: I recently watched this 2011 Best Documentary Academy Award Winner and it was better than I ever thought possible. It follows a North Memphis football team with a coach who gives up time with his family to bring together and improve the lives of these young men — many of whom don’t have fathers themselves. It’s like a less attractive Coach Taylor volunteering an insane amount of his own time and resources to totally change the lives of young men in a poverty stricken area. Jeff doesn’t want me to tell you that he cried more than I did but… that happened. [Undefeated is currently streaming on Netflix and you need to watch it immediately].
  • All Involved: I could barely put down this book about gang life during the LA riots. I ended up hearing the author, Ryan Gattis, on a Grantland podcast with Andy Greenwald and was really intrigued by his approach — to tell the full story in the first person through 17 different narrators. In addition, Ryan spent a fair amount of time on a graffiti crew in some of the affected neighborhoods and while the novel is fiction, many of the stories are based on people he met. I am often annoyed by narrative approaches like this but he truly wove all the stories together masterfully. A number of people have drawn comparisons to it being like a book form of “The Wire” which is a pretty fair presentation — although the whole thing is lacking the perspective of the police… not that you miss that by the end.

Three Things I Learned This Week: Scientology Meadows, Jake Gyllenhaal’s Height & Reddit

Image Credit: ALAMY

  1. Tom Cruise allegedly had members of the Church of Scientology plant a meadow for him to run through with Nicole Kidman. I had been counting down the seconds for HBO’s Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief but then for some reason didn’t watch it in full until last week. While the first hour covered much of what those who are well versed in Scientology already know, the second hour is just beyond fascinating. First of all, the whole thing is worth it just to watch footage from the various Scientology conventions but, second of all, there are some amazing details released about how Tom Cruise benefits from Scientology. In addition to winning awards (some of which were made up just for him), he supposedly told the Church that running through a meadow with Nicole Kidman was a fantasy of his and so members of the Sea Org (who are often paid just $0.40/hour or $75/week) had to plant a meadow, were informed it wasn’t up to snuff & then had to plant it again. As a follow up, I did enjoy Acculturated’s Five Lessons from “Going Clear.”
  2. Jake Gyllenhaal is 5 feet 11.5 inches tall and extremely charming. Gimlet Media’s Mystery Show podcast is one of my new favorites and while some episodes have been less interesting, their most recent one, “Source Code” delves into the mysteries of celebrity heights. As a tall woman, I’m very appreciative of anyone debunking height lies. My general theory is men 5’8″-5’9″ say they’re 5’10” while men 5’10”-5’11.5″ say they’re 6′ and men over 6′ seem to be more honest. All that aside, the whole episode is worth a listen if only to be jealous of Jake’s flirtatious exchange with Starlee at the end.
  3. As exemplified by Reddit recently, the internet mob mentality is HR’s worst enemy. While there are many many facets to all of the news on Reddit of late, I enjoyed this Daily Beast article and thought it pretty comprehensive. While what initially stood out to me was that clearly most of the angry people on the internet haven’t tried to fire someone recently, I couldn’t help but be overwhelmed by what a complex organism Reddit (and any online community) is from a political and psychological standpoint. To have to understand and respect that community, and then figure out how to monetize it without losing its spirit, seems like an impossible task.

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