the revolution will be televised – but not on tv

02Jul05

over the past few months, i’ve been getting my hopes up that networks and studios are finally getting the relationship between the internet, file sharing, and television broadcast. the sci-fi channel actually made episodes of their new battlestar galactic series available for download as bittorrents. they released podcasts with a commentary track for each episode. i thought it was a great effort. the bbc made similar moves when they started up the new doctor who series recently as well. i really thought “this is it, the networks are having a breakthrough.” but as usual, i was getting ahead reality.

but this week my hopes were dashed. the first thing to put a stake in my heart was warner brothers response to the overwhelming popularity of the global frequency pilot. basically they said “fuck you. we don’t care if we stupidly canned the show, it’s ours and you shouldn’t be watching it.” even miramax, when the saw the popularity of shaolin soccer on the p2p networks, realized they better use their distributor rights and get the movie out in the US. of course it still took them a while to get it into the theatres, but they perked up their ears and got their asses in gear.

then, strike 2 came yesterday when i finally got around to watching this season of six feet under, which i’ve been faithfully downloading, but not watching since i don’t really have anyone to discuss it with. episode 1 wouldn’t play. so i checked the others episode 2 and 4 were fine, but 3 wouldn’t play either. so i got to redownload eps 1 + 3 and learn that i am not alone. apparently hbo has huge swaths of servers online joining six feet under torrents with the express purpose of fucking up downloads of the show. the pirate bay, being the awesome guys they are, have figgered out where those servers live and have blocked them from their seed of the torrent. still, that’s just dickish, and as the pirate boy points out, terribly inefficient.

the only good news is the the producer of global frequency has totally learned his lesson and has said next time if things don’t work out, he’ll make sure he can release the pilot as a download and then release a couple episodes at a time to dvd or as a paid download. sweet.

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