Mullis: The unpredictable entertainment custody arrangement

·3 min read

Like most people, I’ve stopped buying music and movies. The abandoned ruins of my entertainment library — in all its faded VHS, DVD, Blu-ray and CD glory — haven’t seen a new addition since 2013.

What happened in 2013?

I became a member of Netflix. And eventually Spotify and Hulu and Peacock and FUNimation and Disney Plus and whatever-the-stream-else that holds my favorite shows in the clouds. I no longer have custody of my entertainment. Instead, I pay monthly entertainment support.

I mainly stream new content, but every once in a while, I have an overwhelming desire to watch an old favorite. Sometimes it is for nostalgia. Sometimes it’s because I’m doing something monotonous, like filing paperwork, folding clothes or making dinner. It lessens the drudgery to have a beloved story with beloved characters delivering beloved dialogue in the background.

Recently, I was doing something monotonous and craved such a beloved story. My go-to is the BBC show “Sherlock” that aired on PBS from 2010-2017 — great writing, great acting, great storytelling, love, love, love.

I paid to see the final episode of “Sherlock” in the movie theater with my kids, who also love, love, love the show. I have the theme song as my cellphone ringtone. I can quote whole chunks of dialogue from the pilot episode to the season finale, which are not simple lines to memorize. And, up until very recently, I knew where to find this show on-demand — Netflix.

But it’s not there now.

This is not the first time Netflix or one of its streaming stepsisters has done this to me. A show will be there for years and then, poof, gone. No apologies. No warning.

Well, I suppose there was a warning. In a Google-induced tantrum, I found an announcement buried on the Internet. Apparently, I haven’t watched my favorite show since May, but still, the point remains — it wasn’t where I paid for it to be.

This sort of hooey wasn’t a problem when I had an up-to-date entertainment library. Watching an old favorite was just a matter of upending my video cabinet. Pre-2013 “Sherlock” would have been in that cabinet because it would have been on my Christmas list. That’s another thing streaming services took away — simple gift ideas.

No one puts movies or music on any gift list anymore. Why? Because that is not what these streaming services have trained us to do. They have trained us to pay them a monthly fee to access our entertainment whenever we want.

Even if I owned a copy of “Sherlock”, what would I do with it? My DVD, Blu-ray and VHS players are dusty relics, unplugged and unloved. My TV is smart, my laptop is nearly port-less and my cellphone is completely port-less. Data comes from the clouds, like rain, unless the streaming gods turn off the faucets.

I could rent my show from the same streaming services I already pay a monthly fee to watch...you know what? I can’t even finish that sentence. I’m ready to rage-quit all these streaming services.

But I know I won’t.

They know that I won’t, because their clouds are where I keep my stuff, even though, clearly, it’s not my stuff.

On the upside, I know what I want for Christmas now.

Nicole can be reached at www.NicoleLVMullis.com.

This article originally appeared on Battle Creek Enquirer: Mullis: The unpredictable entertainment custody arrangement

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