Here’s why new streaming services should be canceled. Follow Jezebel’s Cancel Tournament to see what ultimately gets canceled.
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Some of the greatest television of 2019 came via streaming services (PEN15, Undone), as did some of the worst, but even when it was the worst, it was still highly watchable. (The Morning Show, I’m looking at you... and I can’t tear my eyes away.)
Here, capitalism tells us its story all over again in a new medium: Thanks to streaming services we are swimming in shit that we don’t need and gargling the water. Thanks to Netflix, Noah Baumbach and Martin Scorsese films launch furious (but brief!) cultural battles (thanks to Twitter for that, as well). Thanks to Disney+, we have new messiah (Baby Yoda) and a new thing to be mad about since Disney didn’t get its shit together to merchandise our savior in time for Christmas. Thanks to Amazon, I can watch all 65 episodes of a serialized mid-‘80s Saturday morning cartoon-cum-advertisement for a haunted teddy bear that I’m sure only a handful of people alive besides myself even care to remember at this point, The Adventures of Teddy Ruxpin.
It has been suggested in studies that too much choice can be distressing and inhibit people. It’s also been suggested that it drives consumers away. But the proliferation of streaming services does not seem to be having this effect—in March, Forbes reported the results of a Deloitte survey, which found that more people now pay for streaming services than they do cable. It’s all so insidious too: A few dollars a month here, a few dollars a month there. None of it seems particularly bank-breaking in the moment, but soon you’re paying about as much you do for cable without the benefit of a single company bundling things together to get you to buy more (with the illusion of it being for less). You’re on your own here and now that everything is an event, FOMO is urging you to plop down more than ever on something that will take up your time, preventing you from work, reading a book, future planning, or quality bonding with your loved ones. Who needs real kids when you’ve got the Stranger Things kids at the push of a button? They don’t sass you. They don’t fart on your couch.
Look, I can’t imagine what my life would be like if I weren’t able to access dozens of works by Rainer Werner Fassbender within seconds of wanting to do so. I look forward to the forthcoming WarnerMedia streaming service as it will include a Gremlins prequel series exploring the early life of Gizmo and I just can’t imagine anything I’d like to know more about. PEN15 will be back for a second season, which means there is at least one thing to look forward to in 2020. Quibi is coming to chew through your life in small bites. Watch out, not that you will. Nor I. I’m as guilty as the next pop culture addict, but my god these drugs are strong and it’s so much easier to blame the dealers than own up to my role here. So fuck them for doing this to me.