Dear streaming services of the world. First let it be known that I love what you do. Content on demand, gripping series and the occasional deep thought documentary? Sign me up baby! No I’m writing to you all today with a simple suggestion that I feel will improve what you do to no end, something I’m sure I’m not the only stream consumer that will benefit from..
This is directed to all the streaming services, except for you Presto.
Oh god, Presto. Gone but not forgotten – well, remembered by anyone that actually used it and completely glossed over by the rest of the world that was exploring the wonders of Netflix at the time. No seriously, we’re talking back in the early days of Netflix changing the world and when I was asked about my favourite show on it, I’d reveal that I didn’t have Netflix but I did try to get into things via Presto. And then I’d have to explain what Presto actually was.
So years ago, I got a Telstra T-Box to trial at home (and talk about on the show etc.) It was a digital TV receiver that also had Telstra’s version of Netflix on it, Presto. You could stream and also record shows on the hard drive. From memory if you had a T-Box and Bigpond broadband at the time, then you could stream for free.
The trouble was, I can’t remember there being much worth watching at the time (my little bloke loved Bo on the Go if that counted). Not to mention that the box itself was buggy and occasionally glitched out, causing all sorts of artifices all over the screen. Wonderful.
The T-Box comes with HD personal video recorder functionality and 320GB of hard drive storage. The Telstra T-Box is also a digital set top box enabling analog televisions to receive digital broadcasts and is ideal for people who wish to use their current TV as opposed to purchasing a new a digital TV.
T-Box also supports connection to home theatre systems with digital audio and standard audio connections. The device has HDMI, composite and component video connections to your TV
Telstra Bigpond customers can rent movies through their T-Box from BigPond movies, pricing starts at $3.99 per movie.
The T-Box receives remote software updates that automatically download and install. This requires the T-Box to be connected to a high speed Bigpond broadband connection such as Cable or ADSL 2+. The T-Box can be connected via ethernet or Wi-Fi.-From an article about the T-Box winning an award years ago.
Hilariously when I tried to give it back (after 6 months or so) the shop had completely forgotten I had it and since they’d moved to a sleeker and smaller unit, they just told me to keep it because what else was I going to do with it? So it stayed at home until eventually it bugged itself out so badly that I took it apart for the hard drive and that was the end of that (the service was crippled circa 2018 anyway rendering the box little more than a basic set top box.)
So sadly Presto (RIP) misses out on this innovation that I really feel will improve streaming services to no end. Everyone else is fair game though.
My proposal is just a simple warning.
When it comes to various TV series, streaming services already give us plenty of info – synopsis of what happens in the episode. The year it came out. Content rating, occasionally a user rating too. All that good stuff that may help us decide ‘Hey this Picard series looks alright, I might give this a go!’
What they don’t have and what they should? A warning if a series was never finished.
Yes what I’m proposing is just a single line as part of the rundown of any show on any of the streaming services that warns users if a show was never finished. Because seriously, how annoying is it when you’re a few seasons into your new favourite show only to find when you Google it to see when the next season of it starts, you suddenly get the bad news it was never renewed. That cliff hanger at the end of the last season shall forever more remain an unsolved mystery. The interwoven plot lines shall never be resolved neither will the revenge of the main character. Your favourite character? Sorry, they’re not coming back. Well not in this series you were really getting into anyway.
I’ve suffered through some good and bad shows where this has happened and my curiosity has remained unsaited. I want to know what happens next dammit!
It was so bad I couldn’t wait to see how worse it got
While Terminator The Sarah Connor Chronicles was my first ‘this last season had to end quickly on account of being canned’ experience, The Mist (Netflix) was my first taste of a series prematurely ending on streaming services. And given how bad the first series was (no seriously, I had great fun ripping into it back then) I really was looking forward to seeing it continue to spiral right off that television cliff side.
But no, it lasted just long enough for a sole season before someone looked at the ratings and thought ‘Egads! That’s not good! Better put some kind of cooking game show in its place instead!’ Which meant all the plot lines that made little sense never got resolved (although given the writing, there was a fair chance already they’d never get resolved anyway. But still..)
Then in a more recent example of ‘I wished you warned me that this was never finished’, the disappointing sudden end award went to American Gods.
Okay yes, this one got confusing more than once. And even though I could tell that things were taking some major turns in season 3 compared to the first 2, (it almost got a little Northern Exposure once Shadow started to make a life for himself in Lakeside) I still enjoyed it in a ‘this is different and also Ian McShane rocks’ vibe. But when Shadow just about sacrificed himself in the end of Season 3, I was still on board enough to wonder when season 4 would begin.
What I didn’t realise at the time was the troubles happening behind the scenes. They went through 4 show runners who all had different visions for the show and I wasn’t savvy enough to notice that a few characters from the first two seasons didn’t make it back for the third (not to mention the special guests in the third you’d never expect like Danny Trejo and Iwan Rheon.)
And I really feel this utter disappointment that it wasn’t coming back anytime soon would have been minimised somewhat had Amazon Prime put up a warning in the titles ‘By the way, don’t get heartbroken now but this never actually got finished..’ Just to save myself a bit of pain in the long run after I get heavily invested in…well just about any show really.
Please streaming services, heed my call
Netflix, Stan, Amazon Prime, Binge, Paramount even ABC iView please read this. Any streaming service worth their salt (no not you Presto), feel free to jump on board. Just a simple warning at the start of things just to save us all from much wailing and gnashing of teeth when we ended up searching for the bad news we didn’t want to admit to ourselves, that our newly beloved series is simply no more.
Is that too much to ask?