Thursday, January 31, 2013
One more step into the digital age
I got an iPad for Xmas, and as a result I’ve finally signed up for Netflix. That puts me, what, five years? ten years? behind everybody else. I haven’t been in a hurry for a couple of reasons. One, we have a lousy television. Do you know what a large percentage of most movies is filmed at night? I notice, because unlike your high-definition flat screen, ours shows a blank black screen during those scenes. My husband, who watches a lot more TV than I do, keeps saying he’s going to get us a good one. But like the Arkansas Traveler, who couldn’t fix the roof on a rainy day and couldn’t fix it when it wasn’t raining either, he’s too busy watching football to go shopping. And once the football season is over, his interest in staring at the tube will wane.
Two, I’ve been watching Movies on Demand, which comes with my HBO. At least, I think it does. I originally signed us up because I wanted to see True Blood. Like many in the mystery community, I take a lot of vicarious pride in Charlaine Harris’s success. My husband and I, big Aaron Sorkin fans since West Wing, loved the first season of The Newsroom, also on HBO, and are eagerly waiting for the next. But except for a few carefully selected shows, I really like movies much better than TV. It cost a lot less to see a movie a few months later on TV than in the theater: $4.99 for both of us vs $27.50 for two tickets (one adult, one senior) at any of our neighborhood theaters in Manhattan.
This holiday season, we spent the money for some movies that cried out for 3D and the big screen, sometimes the IMAX screen ($36.50, even with the senior discount), such as The Hobbit and Life of Pi, as well as some that served as holiday entertainment and preparation for the Oscars. We even saw some art movies that may not make it to the small screen, notably The Sessions and The Intouchables, both wonderful films and both, oddly, about paralyzed men and their uninhibited caregivers.
But then I got the iPad. And it’s football season. So I got my Netflix, and I’ve having a helluva good time watching some of the shows I’ve been hearing DorothyLers talk about. So far, my favorites are Inspector Lewis and Sherlock with Benedict Cumberbatch. To my disappointment, I haven’t been able to get Inspector Morse on Netflix. I was looking forward to revisiting the episodes (about half) I don’t have on VHS (which I’ll no longer be able to view once we get that spiffy new TV). But Morse’s former sergeant and his new partner are equally clever and engaging, and Oxford, brilliantly photographed, is even more beautiful in HD on the iPad screen. As for Sherlock, with Martin Freeman as an able and engaging Watson, he’s my favorite post-Conan Doyle Holmes ever, along with Mary Russell’s husband in Laurie R. King’s great series, and the most convincing onscreen since Basil Rathbone. (It’s okay if you don’t agree.)
A bonus: I’d heard about Benedict Cumberbatch, but I didn’t realize until I watched the first episode that his Watson was the guy who plays the Hobbit. Now I want to see the movie again to see how that knowledge affects my feelings about Bilbo Baggins. To tell the truth, even as the good doctor, Martin Freeman is rather hobbitlike in appearance: on the small side with fairly large and pointy ears. There was a barefoot scene in Episode 6, and I thought his feet were fairly big too. That’s okay. I’m having a grand time with my iPad, and my husband can watch all the football he wants.