Hulu Plus Plus Plus

Hulu

Hulu has really been upping their game lately. Obviously they have to work overtime to keep customers over the summer. Once all of the fall shows have had their finales and before they come back, what is there to watch on Hulu?

Adventure Time

In addition to 23 series from Adult Swim (I’m still looking forward to trying out Black Dynamite), Hulu added 10 for kids (Adventure Time, Samurai Jack, Ben 10, Regular Show, Dexter’s Laboratory, Ben 10 Omniverse, Flapjack, Foster, Gumball, and Steven Universe) from Cartoon Network.

They also have quite a few exclusives, such as Murder in the First. When the Mindy Kaling show was canceled by the network, Hulu snatched it up. I love the idea of streaming services rescuing worthy (and not-so-worthy) shows from oblivion.

Seinfeld

Taking a page out the Netflix playbook, Hulu has snagged the rights to the entire series of Seinfeld. They are obviously hoping that people will binge watch it as they did when Netflix acquired Friends early this year. Seinfeld starts June 24th.

As far as movies go, while they are not Hulu’s strong suit, Hulu still has an exclusive deal with Criterion to show almost their entire catalog. If you are interested in film history or the best of foreign cinema, definitely check them out.

New Netflix Streaming Releases for the Week of 5/5/15 Plus Hulu

Some television shows and family movies that I missed on yesterday’s Netflix update plus a Hulu update below

Comedy: D. L. Hughley: Clear

Anita

Documentary: Anita

Nobody's Fool

Drama: Knockout, Nobody’s Fool

Family: The Amazing Wizard of Paws, Bratz: Good Vibes, Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam, Lalaloopsy: Festival of Sugary Sweets, LeapFrog: Word Explorers, Wizards of Waverly Place

Television: Little Einsteins, Liv and Maddie, Sofia the First, Mighty Med, and new episodes of Special Agent Oso, Lab Rats, Quincy M.E., Kickin’ It, Switched at Birth, Melissa & Joey, and Royal Pains

Hulu

 

If you were thinking of ditching your Hulu Plus subscription because all the regular show seasons are coming to a close, Hulu would like you to think again. They recently made a huge deal with Adult Swim to stream full seasons of 23 of their biggest shows.

After thoroughly enjoying Michael Jai White in Black Dynamite, I’m pleased to get a chance to watch the animated series. Robot Chicken, Rick and Morty, Venture Bros. Aqua Teen Hunger Force, and lots more are available for animation fans to binge on.

Fun Friday – Hulu, Best Buy, Netflix

I was at Best Buy and happened to spot this:

Horror

 

I was lucky enough to dodge the Bieber bullet (lower right). My daughters are too old and my granddaughter too young. Still, I am not sure he belongs in the horror section.

Hulu

 

I spotted this on Hulu the other night. I understand service in the Middle East must be very difficult but, honestly, I would work on defusing (removing the part of an explosive that makes it explode) rather than diffusing (spreading over a large area) bombs. It would seem diffusing is something only the bomber would desire.

Netflix

 

 

I appreciate that Netflix wants to integrate with social media. They keep (visually) pushing me to recommend films to my friends. I understand that and would whole-heartedly recommend The Grand Budapest Hotel if that was what I had watched instead of the latest Asylum atrocity. /sigh

They have also revamped the search engine interface for the computer. Instead of an open search box in the upper right, you now have a search button. I’m not sure why one would add another layer to a commonly used function. Typing text in the box that opens up begins locating movies on the fly. The new search seems to be geared toward watching movies on the computer whereas I use mine to put stuff in the queue for viewing on the TV later.

Their search engine gets better with each iteration. It used to be just titles then titles and actors. Now you can search on titles, actors, directors, and genres. What would be really neat would be full imdb integration.

 

Spoilers – Entertainment Weekly and Kevin Smith

“A bad day at the movies is still better than a good day exercising.”

I normally never post spoilers. I am basically the anti-Entertainment Weekly. For those who don’t know, EW regularly spoils shows and movies just after they’ve aired. Recently they spoiled a major plot point from the third season of American Horror Story on the cover of their magazine BEFORE the episode even aired.

I have learned to skim or avoid any article about things I like. That said, a spoiler I do like is Kevin Smith’s movie series, Spoilers.

Spoilers

 

Spoilers with Kevin Smith (2014) – not rated but foul language is used.

Watch “Spoilers”, Kevin Smith’s movie “revue.” Spoilers is a multi-act film extravaganza mixing lively group chats, interviews with movie and pop culture icons, animated shorts and cinematic reenactments. Each week, Kevin, a special guest and movie lovers passionately sound off on the year’s most anticipated summer blockbusters, breaking down their favorite scenes and what should have been left on the cutting room floor.

After a year and a half hiatus, Kevin Smith’s Spoilers has returned. The first seven episodes of the second season are now available on Hulu. I enjoyed the first season more but the second season is still worth watching.

As the title implies/states, the movies covered are often spoiled so viewer beware.

Breaking Bad

 

* I finally got to finish watching Breaking Bad with only one character arc having been spoiled for me (by Entertainment Weekly naturally). Of course I won’t spoil anything for you but I will say that the ending was leagues more satisfying than the rather poor wrap-up to Dexter.

Valentine’s Day This ‘n’ That

House of Cards

 

* What a nice Valentine’s Day present from Netflix – season two of House of Cards. This series is awesome (though not quite on par with the British original) and Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright Penn are simply wonderful as a power couple.

Hulu

 

* Community is finally back. I caught the first two episodes of the new season on Hulu and they may have brought back the magic they lost last season.

Amazon Prime

 

* I forgot to mention that Amazon Prime has added season 4 of Justified to their instant offerings. We blitzed through all 13 episodes over the holidays and thoroughly enjoyed them.

Hulu & Netflix This ‘n’ That

Netflix

 

* After more than a month of separating our viewing habits into three separate profiles (four now as my wife wanted her own), the differences are starting to show in the recommendations. It’s by no means perfect but it is still an impressive engine.

* I like that Netflix emails me to let me know when new seasons of shows I have watched become available (Futurama, American Horror Story). Today however they emailed me to let me know a new horror movie was available (Devil’s Pass). I’m sure that I will give it a shot, even if it is yet still another found footage movie.

Hulu

* I had high hopes when Fangoria formed a channel on Hulu but now a month and a half after Halloween, they have essentially the same exact selection.

Huluween & Fangoria

Fangoria

Fangoria has a line of sponsored content on Hulu. I am not sure if it is just for Halloween but it can be found here. I loved Fangoria as a kid but honestly it is one of those magazines you read while waiting in the bookstore as Fangoria and all the monster magazines basically priced themselves out of the market ($8-10 for an issue filled with things I can read online?). Still Fangoria is an influential name in horror, my favorite genre.

Hulu

From the press release: “Hulu and Hulu Plus are getting an infusion of fan-favorite horror titles just in time for Halloween. Fangoria magazine and its distribution partner Brainstorm Media have teamed with Hulu on a new genre channel at hulu.com/fangoria, where a batch of curated horror flicks including William Lustig’s Maniac Cop 2, Takashi Miike’s Audition, and Lucio Fulci’s The House By The Cemetery will be made available. New titles will be added on an ongoing basis including releases from Magnolia, eOne, Phase 4, Millennium Entertainment, Scream Factory, Uncork’d and Doppelgänger Releasing.”

Audition

The Fangoria Hulu channel brings some much needed horror to Hulu. They currently have 40 movies from old cult movies like Maniac Cop 2 to fairly current releases from the Fangoria imprint like Hunger and Dark House. The best one at the moment (selections will rotate) is Audition though I warn you that this is a very disturbing film.

 

Netflix Roku Hulu Plus This ‘n’ That

Roku 3* We recently replaced our Xbox with a Roku 3 because we got tired of paying Microsoft $60 every year for the privilege of watching Netflix. We hardly ever played games on it and when we did, it was not online. I love that you can plug earbuds into the remote to watch movies quietly while others are sleeping. I haven’t actually used that feature yet but I think it’s cool.

* It also comes preloaded with Angry Birds Space. Is there anyone out there who thinks of the Roku 3 as a gaming platform? They also sell, via their channel store, versions of Pac-Man and Galaga for $5 a pop.

Hulu Plus* That said, Hulu Plus’ interface on the Roku 3 is horrendous. I always tell Hulu my favorite shows and put them in queue a la Netflix. This is what I have to do to watch the latest Daily Show in my queue:

The top 2/3 of the screen is taken up by the shows Hulu is currently promoting. Going down to the menu below, I skip past TV, movies, trailers, and kids before scrolling offscreen to queue. I select queue which brings me to favorites (seriously). I go down to queue (again) and select The Daily Show. It puts me on Series Details (again seriously). I go down to a queued episode and select it. Even after all of that, it wants to know if I want to play it or remove from queue or get more details or go to the series page or even see some suggestions from Hulu.

Well, I have some suggestions for Hulu. The printable one is, get me out of this design hell. I swear that the designers of this are probably the sort who would like to bring back rotary phones for the sheer joy of watching people dial a ‘9’.

Netflix* Netflix is doing an admirable job of trying to address the complete mess that is their recommendation system. They now have profiles you can set up for the various members of your household. Hopefully that means that at some point, it will stop recommending all the Disney movies I watch with my granddaughter.

On the other hand, they still haven’t fixed the easiest part of their recommendation system. If I have both watched AND rated something, how can Netflix call it a recommendation? Once upon a time my entire set of ten recommendations were all movies and shows that I had both rated and watched on Netflix. At least now it is down to one, Supernatural.

Another one is that if I have put it into my personal queue, it isn’t really a recommendation either.

/rantmodeoff

* OOPS Department: ActionFest’s August offering is I Declare War on Thursday August 15th at 7:30 p.m. For some reason I listed July’s ActionFest date.

 

End of June This ‘n’ That

Amazon Prime* Woohoo! Season three of Downton Abbey is now streaming free on Amazon Prime. Knowing that it was coming we waited. Unfortunately some friends on Facebook spoiled one of the pivotal events but I’m really looking forward to watching this ASAP.

* The fight for children’s viewership has begun. Amazon Prime has exclusive rights to many Nickelodeon properties such as Dora the Explorer, Spongebob Squarepants, and Blue’s Clues.

Netflix* Netflix has an exclusive deal with Dreamworks to develop new material based on their properties. First up is a series based on Turbo, an upcoming Dreamworks movie about a racing snail. Besides their own works, Dreamworks also owns the rights to Waldo, Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer, and Casper the Friendly Ghost. The Netflix Turbo series will premiere next year.

* Alert reader Tony umm alerted us to the fact that ALL Lego titles have been pulled from instant Netflix. Not sure why but may do a search later.

Hulu Plus* DirecTV is supposedly in serious talks to purchase Hulu for just a little over a billion dollars. I’m not sure what this will mean for Hulu. It would certainly be nice to get CBS on board but as long as I’m wishing – how about a freestanding HBO GO?

* I use an Xbox 360 for TV watching in the living room and a first generation Roku in the computer room. For those of you using Apple TV, it now does HBO Go and WatchESPN (still no Amazon Prime though).

Monday This n That

* CBS now has an app for iOS users. You can now watch The Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother, and CSI on your iPad or iPhone. Now if only they would put those shows on Hulu. I am always a year behind on How I Met Your Mother and The Big Bang Theory (and non-CBS shows Dexter, Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire, etc.).

* Not to be outdone ABC is going to have an app so that cable subscribers will be able to stream live TV without having to wait for the standard streaming program delay. On the other hand if you are a cable subscriber, why shouldn’t you already be able to do this?

* Verizon, like many companies before it, wants to change the way we pay for TV. They want to use their FiOS boxes to determine what their consumers are actually watching and pay the providers accordingly. While this is an intriguing idea, it is not dissimilar from efforts like Apple TV that have not borne fruit. Basically it won’t happen until the providers can see a way to make MORE profit from consumers and not less.

Hulu Plus* I don’t have an Apple TV but they got a snazzy new interface for Hulu. There are content categories across the top (TV, Movies, Kids, Queue, Etc.) and it tracks your viewing habits to suggest new episodes (presumably if you don’t already have them queued). Hopefully something similar will show up on Roku soon.

Star Trek Home Theater* Finally I love my home theater set up with movie posters over all the walls (including some autographed ones) but here’s a nice Star Trek themed home theater.