Tele-PHONY

We’re working hard to get some new responses up for #58. Half of us live in the modern world and have access to such things as On-Demand at a reasonable (which is to say not a criminal) price, and so excuses for such as those won’t be profferred, just vague shrugs and mumbles.

automat

Others of us, and that would include myself, hate cable companies and cable providers and pretty much every penny-sucking element of cable television, which is funny because where I’m from is where the technology was “invented.” Carbon County, PA, being equally isolated from Philadelphia and New York City, and separated from each by sizable mountains (for Pennsylvania) isn’t exactly where I’m from, but that’s where the technology was established, and John Walson (who invented an identical system at roughly the same time as the Carbon County progenitors) lived out his latter days in Allentown, which is close enough to where I’m from to claim something from it. I remember hearing that his modest suburban home was the site of Hearst-like castle-building projects that never ceased. I think these were lies. ANYWAYS, cable is a ripoff, and I’m getting ripped off as it is without blowing even more of my paycheck on On-Demand and HBO, which is why I have not yet seen #58. I know that sounds insane and whiney, but I don’t make all that much money and I seriously cannot see how cable companies expect working people (and many of them make a hell of a lot less than me) to pay upwards of $120 a month for the privilege of watching their shows (and then using their internets to write about said shows). Is there a sub-prime cable-loan scandal lurking somwehere out there?

falling

That being said, we’ll have some discussion of 58 up soon. Promises promises.

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13 Comments on “Tele-PHONY”

  1. Cranky Says:

    Okay. I’ll go first but I won’t give anything away as I think that’s for you to do, jetset.

    There’s gotta be a way to watch without having cable as my daughter has seen 58 and she is living in Sweden and doesn’t have a tv there. Now I’ll show how much I don’t know – can’t you watch it online? It’s a stunner.

  2. Andrew Says:

    Yes, you can download it online, but it is technically illegal if you worry about that sort of thing.

  3. jetsetjunta Says:

    yeah some reviewers have received their screeners, and thus some copies have leaked onto the internet for 58 (as they did for up through 57 at the start of the season), and thus someone in Sweden, or wherever, can easily DL and watch the program to their heart’s content. I would like to resist downloading or getting bootlegged episodes because I think that isn’t the most ethical position for a blogger who writes about this show. Plus HBO has been going after people pretty forcefully who have illegally downloaded the Wire (a friend got busted not long ago and it was serious business). I also think that my larger issue with the way that the cable infrastructure is (mis)run does have something to do with this show in particular, and this issue of downloading. If cable weren’t so expensive, people wouldn’t spend hours of their day scanning the web and then spend more hours waiting for the episodes they find to torrent themselves onto a hard drive. Additionally, as I’ve noted time and again, the split between On-Demand and “regular” broadcast does nothing but exacerbate this sense that cable tv is more a hindrance in the way of seeing the episodes.

    People like those who work on the Wire are certainly concerned about leaks and downloads ruining the presentation of the series, spoiling the experience for some people, and jeopardizing funding (if less and less people watch HBO and pay for it, the network has less money to spend on shows, especially slow-burn shows like the Wire). They should be more concerned that their artwork gets disjointed when it is distributed on the internet, and that their artwork is often in incredibly degraded form when viewed from torrents and such.

    The Press folks at HBO have been very nice to us about everything, and are holding onto our screener copies I guess to avoid more leaks (although it would seem that watermarks and non-disclosure agreements would at least provide them with recourse against rogue journalists and reviewers. I dunno. It’s just a bummer is all.

  4. Skate Nazi Says:

    I am not rich by any means, and I am a working class dude like everyone else but you better believe I have HBO OnDemand, and that shit is grrrrrrrreat!
    Sometimes you gotta make sacrifices, yo.

  5. Cranky Says:

    Oh dear! I didn’t know about the illegal part of watching on-line. I’d never even consider watching TV shows on line anyway just because of my smallish monitor. My kid, though, has been a Wirehead since the very beginning and is stuck in Sweden working so has found herself in a “ya gotta do whatcha gotta do” situation. Jetset, I do feel you on your ethical pulls what with you blogging the show and all that. I’m a late comer to the game and I only know idiots, apparently, because none of the watch the Wire. I really like reading what everyone thinks about the show, etc. and am so, so sad that there are only 2 more new episodes for me to watch – ever. I was a huge Homicide LOTS fan. Made a pilgrimage to the building that was used to film the police station and had a drink in the boyz bar.

    I’ll try to keep a lid on it until you put up your post. Can’t wait for the discussion!!

  6. Rickish Says:

    I’ve always thought that On Demand was free for HBO subscribers. Is that wrong? Are the cable companies charging me for items I didn’t agree to? Jerks.

  7. Boston Matt Says:

    With comcast on demand is free, and you automatically get it when you subscribe to a cable channel.

  8. Andrew Says:

    Just to be clear, are you guys saying that you’re abandoning the On Demand schedule for the final three?

  9. Abe Says:

    When I didn’t have cable I made damn sure I knew which friends and bars did.

  10. Jeremy Says:

    I also incredibly curious how people who live alone can afford to pay their bills, $120+ for cable and internet, plus electricity, heat, etc..? Its fucking incredibly expensive for me, and I have 3 roomates to share the bills with! I make a decent wage ($45k, IT, 2 years outta college), but I dunno how the guys I work with who make about the same as me, but live alone (higher rent and utilities), have new car payments, and student loans have any money at all. I REALLY can’t understand how people can afford to feed, house, clothe, entertain and transport themselves AND 2.4 kids. Its crazy to me…

  11. straight outta silver spring Says:

    Check out this new interview with David Simon. S5 is the topic.

    http://www.newsweek.com/id/114438?from=rss?nav=slate

  12. Joe Crawford Says:

    @straight outta silver spring — man! that reporter really hammers him on the reporter storyline, and simon brings cogent and articulate replies to bear. i thought that interview was great and reading the thinking behind the episode helps flesh out the “why” or the narrative arc. thanks.

  13. straight outta silver spring Says:

    Joe – I enjoyed it too, for the same reasons you cite. I guess now that the writer’s strike is over we may get to hear more from David Simon?


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