Friday, December 5, 2014

Here's Looking at You, Netflix!

Long ago, long before there was an internet, and faced with the dismal prospect of choosing between watching  It's A Wonderful Life or Candlepins for Cash, I moaned that, in spite of owning a state-of-the-art Sony Betamax VCR I just wasn't able to watch what I wanted to watch when I wanted to watch it.  Avoiding the stale leftovers of broadcast TV meant going out into the real world and driving to a video store where, one could only hope, they would have a comedy that didn't revolve around bodily functions or a classic drama that I hadn't already seen.

I will know that I  am living in the future, I proclaimed, when I can point the remote at the tube and choose from a menu of just about anything ever made.  Well, Prais the Great God Mammon, the future is here, more or less, and I am happy, more or less. Binge watching has never been easier, and although not everything-everything is available always-always, I can still manage to spend my allotted viewing time scrolling through the offerings, enjoying the plenty even if I can't come to a decision.

There are a few shows I make a point of keeping up on, though, and one that made the cut was Longmire.  I love this show.  Walt Longmire is The Law, sometimes aided by his best friend, Henry Standing Bear, barkeep and tracker, and his deputy Victoria Moretti, a transplant from Philly. There are no city streets.  No hipster irony. No terrorism plots.  No bureaucracy.  No scenes in abandoned warehouses. Just a smoke-free, yet complicated,  Marlboro Man versus the equally complicated bad guys. Sometimes the chase scenes are on horseback, or feature a waist-deep slog through snowdrifts, and above it all, The Big Sky.  It's an updated version of the TV Westerns that dominated the networks back when I wasn't old enough to stay up to watch them.

A & E produced three seasons of Longmire, and then pulled the plug, in spite of the fact that it had a more than respectable audience size.  Why give it the chop?  The audience was comprised mainly of those worthless undesirables: people like me who had aged out of the advertisers' pet demographic of 18-49.  I guess that's what happens when you put on a show that is realistic, but not "reality," or  is a bit more complex than Duck Dynasty.  And, of course, everyone knows that once you are over 49 it is a quick slide into housebound dementia on a budget that can't stretch to more than cartons of Depends and cases of Ensure.

But there will be a fourth season, thanks to Netflix, which has a business model that doesn't rely entirely on the "key demo," and I'll bet there are a few oldsters who will sign on to Netflix because of Longmire, and stick around for the other offerings.  Housebound dementos are a good market for Netflix, after all, since we need all the  entertainment we can get to while away the weary hours until oblivion, and we don't wish to be cajoled into buying more stuff that won't fit into those closets full of canned cat food, video tapes, and photo albums.

Join me as I raise a can of nutrition beverage and make a toast to my favorite time waster:  Here's looking at you, Netflix!

As for you, A&E, just go fight your Storage Wars and leave us old folk alone.

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