“Why Don’t You Have Netflix Yet?” or “Ever Since I Started Streaming, I’ve Saved So Much Money on DVDs!” These were the comments when Netflix first emerged, and they didn’t particularly excite me. We had no interest in Netflix because there was nothing on it that we watched. So, jokingly, I said, “If Star Trek is available for streaming, maybe then we’ll start.” And then, Discovery came to Netflix, exclusively there. And that’s when it all began for us.
All Those DVD Box Sets!
I’m quite fond of TV series (I have a blog about them). But I also have specific tastes. In the past, there weren’t many ‘nerdy’ things on TV, especially not on Dutch channels. The days when we had real sci-fi on public television are long gone. So, I relied on the BBC and DVD box sets. Before that, it was VHS tapes. In a way, I was already watching a lot as if it were ‘streaming’ because, in principle, I could binge-watch an entire series if I had the box set. Star Trek and Buffy The Vampire Slayer were among the first things I (we) completed on disc.
I also bought many films I missed in the cinema or classic films that were rarely shown otherwise. We had (and still have) quite an extensive collection. Occasionally, we’d clear out and give stacks of DVDs to colleagues and friends. They were always delighted. When we switched to streaming services, I did indeed buy fewer films. It worked well for popular movies but not so much for classics or niche films. However, because there was so much to watch, I also had less time to spend on specific films I wanted to see. That was a shame, actually.
So, Shouldn’t the DVDs Go?
That was another comment that occasionally came up. All the Star Trek series on DVD and Blu-ray, you could also watch them on Netflix. Yes. Until Netflix lost the rights for Discovery. And there were more series that weren’t available for streaming or disappeared unexpectedly. Do we watch series we’ve seen many times before? Yes. And as long as it’s available for streaming, we also use those services. But now that we can’t find Star Trek: Discovery anywhere, we have to resort to buying it on disc again.
Then came more streaming services. And more. The content splintered. You almost have to go ‘streaming hopping’: one service for a month, another for a month. While I could just as easily fill my evenings with DVD box sets of things I really want to see.
Of course, there’s an upside to streaming: we discovered series we might never have seen otherwise. But that doesn’t outweigh the heaps of rubbish I’ve watched in the hope of finding something good. It’s also a fact that you can’t trust that everything you want to see will remain available on your service.
Choosing What to Watch
One of the things I do on this website is keep track of what I watch and why I enjoy it. This way, I stay organized and hope to help other people choose what they want to watch. It’s such a waste to spend an hour just searching for something to watch. Time is precious (not money: but time to walk together, cook together, celebrate together…). It’s really a waste to spend too much time on TV junk. And what constitutes ‘junk’ may vary for everyone.
What I’ve noticed now is that there are so many different services that I’m actually watching many things on disc again. Perfect Strangers: not available for streaming anywhere – Cheers: not available for streaming anywhere – Star Trek: Discovery: not available for streaming anywhere. And I also want to watch 3rd Rock from the Sun again – luckily, we still have that as a box set. But do I like Always Sunny enough to buy it as a box set? Or Breaking Bad? I don’t think so. If we had seen those on DVD, it would probably have been a series we passed on. We certainly won’t do that with Stargate or Buffy. And we have the Boston Legal set: fun, and we might watch it one more time, but then I think the series will be passed on (despite the fantastic duo of William Shatner and James Spader).
For me, it’s becoming clear that I’m losing a bit of my enthusiasm for streaming. There’s just so much content, and I’m very picky. If I pay for both discs and streaming services, it’s a bit much. At some point, I will undoubtedly have to make a choice. Well, there are more important things than watching TV…