Rewind a couple of weeks, back to that moment when you opened the Radio Times (or the cheap knock off version of it that you saved a couple of quid on) and flicked to the film pages.
‘Holy moly! They’ve actually put some good ones on normal TV’, you probably thought.
Out came the highlighter and you found yourself circling some classics (Crocodile Dundee, Back to the Future) and some decent premiers (Gone Girl, Jurassic World).
Exciting times ahead, indeed.
Now, family duties* rather scuppered my plans of indulging in a Harry Potter marathon interspersed with Cinderella and The Great Gatsby, but I saw enough films and read enough tweets slamming terrestrial TV’s treatment of some much loved movies to be reminded of why I signed up for Netflix.
Here’s what really gets my goat.
* (I love you guys)
Imagine you’re a parent and you’re trying to explain the concept of the watershed to your quizzical child.
‘It means they can show films for adults after 9pm, son’
‘Oh, I get it dad. Ones with the bad words in. And the shooting. And the people with no clothes on’
‘Exactly son. You’re a clever boy, aren’t you? What would you like to be when you grow up?’
‘I’d like to work for ITV dad. I’d like to censor films they show, like Jurassic World and Spectre. You know, so people can enjoy them more, without all of the swearing, sex and fighting. Or maybe I could do the same for Channel 4. You’ll support me, won’t you dad?’
‘Son, I’ll disown you’
2. Adverts, adverts, adverts
Ok, so we can all agree ads are evil.
But, with age comes wisdom.
And, at the age of 36, I’ve wised up. Wised up to the fact that ads are a necessary evil, unless you’re the BBC.
What isn’t necessary though is ramming them down our throats after just fifteen minutes of a film.
Perhaps if Channel 5 and co chose to space them out and, just an idea, put them at appropriate moments rather than mid scene or mid dialogue more people might be wrestled away from Amazon or the latest illegal streaming site.
The logic eludes me. Surely if a channel has coughed up the dosh for a film it must have some faith in getting the viewers in. The same viewers who’ll stick with the film if it isn’t carved into more slices than an obese Christmas turkey.
3. Breaks for news and entertainment updates
‘Die Hard continues after the News at Ten’
Was there ever a more annoying sentence in the English language? Well, thankfully the penny must have dropped at ITV as this is much less common than back in the day. But scandalously, loyal ITV2 and Channel 5 viewers are still subjected to this mid film torture, albeit only for a few minutes.
Don’t the TV Gods get it though? We are watching a film to escape the horrors of our everyday existence not be reminded of them, after another break has been squeezed in.
Surely there’s only one thing more likely to send us searching for that illegal download than a news update halfway through Skyfall…
An entertainment one.
As a way of annoying me, this rivals contending with a teenager texting their first love in the cinema.
4. Logos on screen
So, you settle into your arm chair, pick up the remote/zapper/flicker and type in the number you need for Channel 4. ‘Oh, cool Back to the Future is on’, you think.
Or perhaps you flick through to Channel 4. ‘Oh, cool Back to the Future is on’, you think.
Or you scroll through your electronic programme guide to see Back to the Future is on Channel 4… you can see where this is going.
Either way, you’re fully aware you’re watching Channel 4 so the last thing you need to heighten your enjoyment of some Marty Mcfly movie magic is a bloody big logo that says Channel F*****G 4.
First ITV then Channel 4, the broadcasting race to the bottom continues apace with this bastard thing. So much for differentiating yourself from the plethora of piss poor channels out there by not stamping your logo over every film you show.
If the BBC roll this out, I’ll eat my TV license.
5. Programme trails flashing up on screen before the film has finished
The tension is palpable as the courtroom scene in Legally Blonde reaches a crescendo…
‘What’s going to happen next?’ you ponder, having invested nigh on two hours of your life in this…
Well, what’s going to happen next is this…
Carabao Cup football highlights on Channel 5.
Channel 5 couldn’t wait two minutes for the film to end.
No, the TV Gods thought you’d like to be completely ripped out of the cinematic world you were immersed in to be reminded of the existence of a football tournament treated with as much respect as Jason Statham’s back catalogue.
And they say it’s a golden age for TV.
6. Messing with the credits
So, you’ve landed that dream job in the film industry and it’s 3am on some cold London street. While your boss, the director, calls for take 30, you’re off getting another pot noodle for the crew.
At least, you say to yourself, you’ll go home soon, away from this freezing night, and home to the adulation of your loved ones. They’ll tell you how hard you worked, how much you deserve this and how much they’re looking forward to seeing your name in lights when the film is shown on TV in a few Christmases time.
3 years later
You’ve moved out now, having worked your way up the film industry ladder. But you’re a family man at heart and so you find yourself at home on Christmas Day. Stuffed full of Xmas pud you settle down to watch that film you worked so hard on.
Your family love it. But they’re going to love this more…
Nope, no time to fleetingly see your name, as some kind of reward for your efforts that cold winter’s night, or even as a way for other potential employers to see your name so you can get another job.
Nope, some buffoon, sat no doubt in a very warm office, has thought it’s best we all disregard your efforts and pretty much everyone else’s, either by squeezing the credits out the way or taking a Paul Hogan sized knife to them.
Console yourself with another mince pie, old friend, whilst everyone else’s quiet reflection on the film or sing along moment with the closing song is completely ruined by some unknown announcer dude passing comment on the film or plugging the next episode of Birds of a Feather.
Oh well, back to Netflix it is.