Friday, October 13, 2006

Desperation or How Long's It Been on The DVR?

So what's the longest you've kept something on your DVR?

I got interviewed by a Wall Street Journal reporter a while back who was working on a story about letting Netflix movies linger unwatched yet unreturned. I got the call because I'd answered a poll on Hacking Netflix. (Elektra, most of summer 2005, thanks for asking.) I don't know that the story saw the light of day, but he was interested in the real cost of "no late fees." Netflix after all benefits from you holding onto a title longer.

The last temptation
The DVR is a bigger temptation for procrastination than "no late fees." I usually watch episodic TV shows within a few days, but movies linger a little longer because it's harder to carve two hours out of a day. I only watch a couple of things "live." Lost being one of them. Who can wait for a new installment?

Stephen King's Desperation
Well anyway, I started watching Stephen King's Desperation the other night. It's three hours long so I finally had to watch it in pieces. Otherwise I wasn't going to see it at all.

I got curious about how long I'd had it and checked the time stamp.

May 23!

That's not saying anything about the quality of the show, just about the convenience of modern technology. As Peter Hyman notes in The Reluctant Metrosexual, we can now record everything on TV simultaneously.

Watching is a different matter.

I don't manage to read every Stephen King book as it arrives on the scene as I once did, though I listened to the brilliant Cell as an audiobook.

Desperation, like Cell and many King works, involves a broad cast of characters thrown together in a strange situation. It's a good telefilm, sort of reminding me of the days of cool movie-of-the-week thrillers like Scream of the Wolf, Gargoyles and Trilogy of Terror.

OK, it was technically better than those but it harkened.

As I watched, though, I kept thinking that I should have read the book to experience the full effect of King's characterization that even a three hour TV movie couldn't provide.

And that's the real problem with Netflix and DVRs and movies for iPod.

I have books that sit around waiting for me longer than any DVD or recorded program, and that's my real loss.

7 comments:

Matt said...

An interesting and informative blog. Thanks.

Annalee Blysse said...

I thought the movie was strange. I watched it because of the location as much as S.K. Well, I do like road trip scary movies. Just watched one last night from Australia... Wolf Creek.

Stewart Sternberg said...

I may rent the dvd but it'll be with reluctance. Ever since the broadcasting of "Storm of the Century", the putrid "Rose Red", and the laughably bad "Kingdom Hospital", I have approached King with trepidation. For a long time I've felt what he needed most was an editor with a thick red pen and a sense of resolve.

Charles Gramlich said...

I didn't mind Storm of the Century, although it could have been shortened to good effect. I agree with you on the other stuff.

Sidney said...

I was kind of disappointed by the ending of "Storm of the Century" but didn't mind it overall.

Clifford said...

I loved the ending to Storm of the Century. King or TV has been pretty spotty 'marred by poor acting, direction, lighting and poor scripts. King is probably the worst King adapter in my estimation. Still, I watch...

Speaking of which, it looks like The Mist is going to finally get filmed. Yippee!

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