by Mike Vuono
August 27th, 2019
Apparently one of the most important things that happened in the past week was Disney's weird, echo chamber of a convention that they call D23. Owning Star Wars and Marvel (and like, an insane amount of other shit on planet Earth,) means you can just hold your own convention to announce new shit you're doing. Fuck you, Comic Con! We got our own thing.
I don't even care about Star Wars because its relative non-success when compared to Marvel has made Disney slow down and retool their express train of money on the Star Wars front. Marvel chugs right along though. Marvel always chugs along.
The wave of new Marvel branded content is honestly overwhelming. There's 10 television shows, and approximately a dozen movies on slate for the next few years. That's just what's announced. I'm sure they have some little tricks up their sleeves.
The movies are one thing, but the shows are what really just made me lean back and go "fuck..." with a sigh. If we assume six hours per season for each show, which I think is fair because I don't know if these are going to be limited series, or little 13 episode thingers with half hour run times per episode, so six hours per is probably an overly conservative estimate to be honest, but let's use it: that's 60 hours of shit that I have to keep up with in order to follow a larger storyline. It's equally amazing as it is exhausting.
I mean...fuck. The entirety of the first three phases of the MCU were 48 hours and 11 minutes according to Screen Rant.
Now I need to follow 60 hours of just television to stay in the loop. Throw in the 11 movies that are confirmed/in-production already and we're edging up on 96 hours of content. Four straight days of content. All to tell a story that like, I don't know, Galactus is gonna come and eat the Earth. Here's 96 hours of brain-scattering shit for you to ingest; big guy gonna eat Earth. Little guys gonna fight him and save Earth. Silvery man rides surfboard.
Hope that was worth four days of your life.
Over the past five years or so I've toyed around with different ways to find better uses of my time. There's a ton of different branches of my life that are affected by this, but one of the bigger time sinks and first to be altered was my streaming content. I felt like I was just watching too much shit. So in February, I dropped Netflix. I don't really miss it, to be honest. People wonder like, what they'd do with their time if they didn't have Netflix or whatever. Just cancel it and see how it goes. You can always re-sub at any time. There is literally no downside. Maybe you'll find new things you like spending your time on. Maybe you'll last a week and just go back to idle-binging The Office every night. Either way.
Netflix along with Prime Video are the "default" streaming services, at least that's the impression I get anecdotally. Netflix holds the value as it's own platform and Prime Video is "free" with your Prime membership. Most people have at least these two services, if not more. Along with dropping Netflix, I turned off auto-renew for my Prime membership, so in a few months I won't have Prime Video either.
I've been subscribed to HBO for a while; I think as soon as HBO Now was available as a standalone service, I got it. I like HBO. A lot of their back catalog is really good television. Game of Thrones was my favorite running show. But that's all over now, a fleeting memory growing fuzzy around the edges and becoming harder to remember with each passing day. So as soon as I'm done writing this essay itself, I'm cancelling my HBO Now subscription as well. I'll officially have no paid streaming services.
This isn't important. This literally doesn't make an impact on anything, and yet here I am acting like this is some sort of bold new life directive like Mark Boyle made when he said "fuck this shit, I'm not gonna use electricity any longer."
It's not. Watching less TV is not important. I'm not better than you for not having Netflix. You aren't worse than me for watching The Wire over and over again. This is just something for me, something I'm doing to reconsider my life and my time. To find out what matters and what doesn't. So, sorry Disney but D+ doesn't appeal to me. I'm sure you've carefully calculated the cost of the service and your release schedule to be the most appealing to potential customers, but I'm going the other way. I think it's time we step back and ask ourselves if these services are really worth it.
And if they aren't worth it, cut them out, burn them outta your brain, and do something useful with your time. There's a lot of shit we need to get done. Watching Parks and Rec isn't the same as actually lobbying for that pit on the corner of your street to be turned into a park. Let's use our time better. I don't know what that means precisely, but I know opening up more time is the first step.