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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Instant Praise for Warner Archive Streaming Service


Folks who have read the April 2013 Unreal TV "Rating Netflix" manifesto, which is one of the all-time most popular posts on the site, know of the preference of your (often) humble reviewer for DVDs over streaming and a particular distaste for the titular service.

On a more positive note, the aforementioned essay also expresses hope that the then newly launched Warner Archive Instant service will buck the trend regarding companies that provide streamed films and television series.

Belatedly checking out Instant several weeks ago confirms that that service deserves a ranking of "awesome." This realization coincided with a pre-Mardi Gras  trip to New Orleans that allowed making excellent use of the two-week free trial that Instant offers.

The best way to convey this awesomeness is to describe it as including the same wide range of incredibly sublime to hilarious ridiculous titles as Archive's DVD library. It is a safe bet that you can find something that you have not previously watched on Instant to suit your mood du jour. 

As an aside, Instant added several "showcases" just within the last few weeks before this non-trying trial; these include the self-explanatory collections "Warner Goes to War" and "Davis v. Crawford Cinematic Rivalry." (Including Crawford's wonderfully horrible late-in-career "Trog" in the Instant library gives Davis an unfair edge.)

A personal journey into this video wonderland began with easily connecting to the airport wifi service, accessing the pre-loaded free Instant app,  and then selecting from the well-presented categories of fare.

This experience was just as easy at the other wifi-available locations at which I enjoyed Instant fare. Further, the picture and sound of every Instant selection was as good as or better than that of a DVD.

Conversely, every effort to use the Netflix app tied to the account of my highly significant other/travel companion never got beyond the spinning icon stage.


Immediately scrolling to the "TV Series" section found eclectic fare that includes the 1950s "Superman" series, the 1960s classic series "The Man from U.N.C.L.E." and "77 Sunset Strip," and numerous other childhood favorites. Instant further added the awesome '90s Saturday morning cartoon series "The Mask" based on the Jim Carey film of the same name during the few days of the trip.

Being a lover of campy nostalgic '70s TV fare required making the highly entertaining 1977-78 series, including the May 1977 pilot, "Lucan" the first choice.

An abbreviated recap of the lore of "Lucan" is that it tells the adventures of an earnest 20 year-old man whose decade of reorientation after being raised by wolves during his toddler years allows him to manage in "civilized society." Said titular character divides his time among humans between searching for his birth parents and using the enhanced abilities that his foster parents helped him develop to assist folks in peril or other forms of need.

Watching "Lucan" within the same period as German version YouTube videos of the early '80s show "Here's Boomer" added to the enjoyment of the former; the latter revolved around a scruffy mixed-breed dog who followed "Lucan's" format of having the titular character travel around helping people.

The rest of the time spent watching Instant fare was devoted to episodes of the mid-70s Danny Thomas comeback sitcom "The Practice." This one had Thomas playing an uber-dedicated New York City doctor whose devotion to his patients often caused conflict with his son, who was a more business-minded doctor, and other characters.

This one has several parallels with its Instant neighbor, "The Jimmy Stewart Show." An Unreal TV review of the DVD set of "Stewart" provides detailed information regarding that one.

The epilog regarding this exploration is that no one need worry about any form of buyer's remorse regarding a potentially "Hastings" decision related to choosing Instant.

Anyone with questions or comments regarding Instant is welcome to email me; you can also connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.