I grew up in the small town of Man in Logan County. At the time, we had only one stoplight. There was no movie theater or big-scale mall. So, it was a treat to see my parents or grandparents come home with a bagful of video cassettes from the now-defunct Video Magic. This was how I remember watching childhood classics such as E.T, Snow White and Old Yeller.
Now, with the wonders of Netflix, I can relive that same excitement every two or three days when I see that beautiful, red envelope waiting in my mailbox. As an added bonus, we can also stream a variety of programs and movies onto our Wii console. (Exercise programs and special interest topics are also available.)
Netflix started as a simple concept–providing customers with prepaid envelopes and a movie queue so that whenever you shipped one DVD back, you almost immediately got one in return. If something isn’t in stock on Netflix, they just send you the next thing in your queue. This was in contrast to Blockbuster, which frequently never had new releases in stock and your drive to the store was either wasted or you picked up a title that you didn’t really want. Netflix was such a success that it forced the former cinema rental giant to declare bankruptcy. Basic Netflix plans begin at $7.99 a month for unlimited online streaming on your computer, gaming console or other digital device.
We have the three DVDS-at-a-time plan, which is roughly $20 a month. We usually watch the discs within a couple days and have something fresh to watch on the weekends. My work week ends on Thursday and it’s always refreshing to go home and have a surprise from Netflix waiting. Thinking about it, that’s less than going out to the movies once and you don’t have to worry about someone talking or a child kicking the back of your seat.
What I love most about Netflix though is not the convenience or the speed. It’s the sheer number of titles from which to choose. Have a hankering to watch Joel, Crow and Tom Servo? Get up your Wii and have a multitude of Mystery Science Theater 3000 at your fingertips. Feel like a little Texas-style drama?
Put all the seasons of Dallas on your queue and enjoy the antics and overindulgence of the Ewing clan. Feel like zoning out and not having to concentrate on anything? Queue up the History of the Mullett documentary.
Since I’m just now nearing the 30-year milestone, I missed out on a lot of shows in the ‘70s and ‘80s that I was simply too young to appreciate. I never realized how funny Diff’rent Strokes was until recently. Gary Coleman was one of the most gifted child actors of all time and Netflix has given me the opportunity to see episodes from the comfort of my home — no time machine necessary.
In a related note, I’ve also been able to enjoy The Facts of Life, which was on in my preschool years. I have to say though, I’m partial to the first season. I’m still not sure why they got rid of most of the main cast only to add the new character of Jo. I missed seeing little Molly Ringwold with her mushroom haircut. I suppose Molly did okay for herself though ;)
My husband & I are finding ourselves turning to Netflix more and more each day. I’m not sure why we still have cable. When I was in my teens, I could enjoy the blocks of classic shows such as I Love Lucy, Dick Van Dyke, Mary Tyler Moore and I Dream of Jeannie on Nick at Nite and TV Land. Now, all these channels focus on are short-lived reality series and a number of programs featuring Joan Rivers. The Ricardos, Petries and Cleavers are gone. Thank goodness, the new generations of teens have Netflix so these incredible programs can live on.
So, thank you Netflix for making my prime-time something to look forward to again. And I don’t have to worry about being kind and rewinding, Netflix has done that for me too.