When cable first arrived in the small village in which I grew up, it was a stunning technological breakthrough, offering us twelve - count 'em - twelve channels to chose from, instead of our limited two (three if you counted the really grainy channel 7 from Corvallis) local stations. Among those twelve stations was KPTV 12 from Portland... with Brunch Theater, an afternoon movie program on which I first saw the incredible Earth vs. The Flying Saucers; and KTVU 2 from Oakland, California, home of Bob Wilkins' Creature Features, which introduced me to the original Flash Gordon movie serials and classics like Yog, Monster from Space and The X from Outer Space. "Looks like a giant chicken." Best. Movie. Line. Evaar.
Recently television viewing in our household has been minimal. Probably less than four hours per month. At close to fifty dollars, this makes for some pretty expensive viewing. So, we canceled the cable on Friday.
Perhaps appropriately, the last program I watched last night was about 15 minutes of the new SCI FI Channel version of Flash Gordon. What is with that show? I remember better special effects on a 1980s show called Project: UFO. The effects on Project: UFO were created on an Amiga computer. Seriously. Apparently the new Flash Gordon didn't have the budget for an Amiga. And the acting puts the "board" in cardboard. Belabored junior-high-school emoting, consisting of pursed lips and scowling countered by "jocular" grinning. Good lord. After five minutes I was longing for the subtly nuanced characterizations of Space Academy.
Of course, Pamelyn Ferdin never exactly dressed like the girls in the new Flash Gordon. Apparently there's "a look" these days: impossibly flat tummy, impossibly narrow waist, implausibly firm bust, and impressively toned shoulders and biceps, form-fitted into a tight t-shirt. Every girl on every show has the same look. Like Lara Croft... only, (almost) real. So who needs plot, acting, or decent SFX, if you've got eye candy?
Maybe I'm living in the past. Perhaps nostalgia has become a sickness for me. I still prefer Buster Crabbe as Flash Gordon and Jean Rogers as Dale Arden. Hey, with those big eyes, the 1930s Dale Arden looked like a real live anime girl!
Anyway, no more cable TV for now. It's a weird feeling, like I've become some kind of Luddite, or a religious fanatic. I really can't stand people who flaunt their holier than thou "kill your television" attitude. I think people should watch TV sometimes. I mean, there's stuff you just have to know to fit into our culture, like American Idol and Dog the Bounty Hunter and Ice Road Truckers and America's Top Model and... okay, changed my mind: KILL YOUR TELEVISION!
Just kidding. It's just that right now I don't see a point in shelling out fifty bucks a month for something we don't use.
I'm considering canceling NetFlix as well. But then I'd have nothing! We receive NO over the air television reception in Waialua, by the way. None. Zero. Zip. It's cable or nothing, baby. So maybe I'll start to catch up on my backlog of NetFlix pics that I've copied... er... that I haven't watched yet.
But probably not. I waste too much time on the internet.
Curiously, I actually read a book today.