Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Freemium solves an annoying little problem

Last August, I discovered a new TV series on ABC called Defying Gravity. It had its faults: some called it “Gray’s Anatomy in outer space” although that ship sailed two decades earlier with LA Sex Law, which introduced the genre of the oversexed workplace to the American TV viewer psyche. Still, Defying Gravity was one of the first new sci-fi shows on broadcast TV this century. (I’ve been ignoring the V remake since the first one wasn’t all that good and the accounts make this one sound worse.)

Parenthetical comments aside, I was enjoying Defying Gravity until ABC pulled it after airing 8 episodes in August and September. The CTV-produced show (filmed in Vancouver) finished its 13 episode run in Canada (eh) although CTV stopped its Facebook page after 8 episodes.

Since tonight was the first night this week I had no lame “24” episode to watch, and since Comcast yanked my SyFy (and Stargate episodes) as it deliberately sabotages basic cable, tonight I went looking for Defying Gravity. Thanks to Google, I found it.

The Canadian over-the-air broadcasts are available commercial free on Ninjavideo.net, apparently redistributing content from Megavideo.com. (They appear to be related sites). Megavideo is using a freemium model and both are trying to upsell me from the free to paid version, but I’ll take the free viewing of 72 minutes/day. And if they get insistent, I'll try one of the Russian sites that claim to have it.

Both sites seem less than totally reputable, and I mean beyond distributing someone else’s pirate video without permission. (The latter category also includes Eric Schmidt and GooTube as well as VC-funded last.fm.)

I don’t play pirated MP3 files and normally I don’t watch pirated video. But after waiting 4 months for ABC to make good on its promise that the show would be back (although it’s now deleted from its show website), I’m hoping most would forgive me for concluding that ABC’s “someday” really means they are using the recursive mañana principle.

So at least I’ll be able to watch the Antares astronauts of 2052 visit a planet and wrestle with their personal demons. The rest of the backstory (and their Grand Tour of the planets) is apparently only known in an alternate universe where sci-fi shows get good ratings.

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