Cut the Cord: Pluto TV
November 2022. Volume 1, Issue 11.
Welcome back to Cut the Cord.
For a while I've had the idea of dedicating an issue of this newsletter (for those new here, we recommend great movies and tv shows on free streaming services so you can "cut the cord" from Netflix, Hulu, and others) entirely to one of these very services.
Tubi has become a not-so-secret, I've given plenty of love to the local-library-fueled Kanopy and Hoopla, and your streaming device might have already recommended their own service, like Peacock, Freevee, or Roku TV.
So let's talk about Pluto TV, one of my favorites, for not only having just about everything under the sun, but for giving it to us in both live and on-demand options:
Showtime, the premium tv network, costs a pretty penny in your cable package or more than $10 a month as a streaming service.
Or you could watch the preview channel on Pluto for free, kinda like how they used to have those free HBO weekends back in the day - do they still do that?
And it's legit stuff too - the best the channel has to offer. Haven't caught up with Dexter: New Blood yet? Binge it in a day. Interested in the all-star cast (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Uma Thurman, Kyle Chandler, Quentin Tarantino) on-screen for the true-ish story Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber? Be like me and watch the first three episodes and then never pick it up again.
I'm personally looking forward to checking out American Gigolo, the Jon Berenthal-led remake of the 1980 Paul Schrader/Richard Gere collaboration that I love so much.
The only downside is that it's just about the only channel without the "on-demand" feature, so you'll have to catch these previews while they play live.
Jeopardy! fans are ravenous. Despite there being over 200 new episodes produced per year, including the Tournament of Champions and various beloved themed weeks, it's not enough for those superfans.
They'll watch old episodes on YouTube, filmed from the tv on someone's shaky iPhone. They'll play that terrible mobile game. They'll read Jeopardy! books, like the great one from Jeopardy! expert Claire McNear.
I would know because I'm one of those people and have done all of those things.
But did you know that there's a 24/7 Jeopardy! station, rerunning old episodes from all throughout the Trebek era - including the mustachioed $100 answers years?
Now you do. Stop watching those YouTube channels, they all get shut down after a few days anyway. Trust me, I would know.
In the August edition of this very newsletter, I wrote the following about the Gordon Ramsay show Kitchen Nightmares:
Kitchen Nightmares is one of my favorite shows to watch if I just have like 20 minutes. I want to see Gordon eat some undercooked, oversalted, or down-right undigestable food. I want to see him make fun of them. I want to see him yell at them.
I don't care so much about actually turning the restaurant around. I've watched most of this series and I think I've finished like four episodes.
I just like to live in a fantasy world where I know more about running a restaurant than these people. Actually, I might...
All of the same can be said for the very similar Jon Taffer-led show Bar Rescue, where he does the same exact thing, but for bars instead of restaurants.
I'm obsessed with these types of shows. Really. When Taffer opened a bar in D.C., Taffer's Tavern, I rushed loved ones there right away. Not for the $8 Bud Light, the As-Seen-On Bar Rescue cocktails, or for the fish and chips, but to see it all in action, live and in the flesh.
The Godfather Trilogy
What is there to say about the Godfather movies that hasn't been said?
They're really good. Even the oft-maligned third entry can be found here in the form of the 2020 cut from Francis Ford Coppola, trimming a bit of the fat off.
So if reality tv isn't your thing, watch a literary masterpiece brought to life by some of cinema's greatest, both in front of and behind the camera.
Producers and creators will spend their entire lives praying to think of a show as successful and compelling as Survivor. One of the original reality shows of its kind, it's lasted a whopping 43 seasons and has no sign of slowing down. While I like the more recent seasons and watch them, I also love going back and seeing how the show started and evolved over time.
Survivor simultaneously manages to be a robust time capsule of political affairs, social norms, and the evolution of human nature in this millennium while also being instantly timeless and classic.
If somehow you haven't already seen Survivor, what are you waiting for? If you haven't watched it in a while, consider a revisit soon. If you're an avid fan, get caught up on every season!
If you know, you know. If you don't, you don't.
It's hard for me to recommend Degrassi to people who have never seen it because it's an acquired taste, and it's most palatable for those who grew up with it.
The acting can be cringe. The writing can be sloppy. The stories can be far-fetched. That all aside, Degrassi is a marvel of teen media. It has been pushing the envelope since the '80s with Degrassi Junior High, and continued well into Degrassi: The Next Generation (and Next Class, but I pretend that didn't exist because I'm a purist). Any controversial thing that was ever done in a teen-centered narrative was almost certainly done first by Degrassi, which is incredibly honorable.
If you're looking for a fine piece of cinema- maybe it's not the show for you. If you're looking for a peek into pop culture and teen media as we know it, consider it necessary homework and get started on Pluto.
Hallmark movies are not my thing, but they are a ton of people's things! And that's awesome!
Here are just some of the titles available on demand right now:
Pumpkin Pie Wars
Signed, Sealed, Delivered
A Ring By Spring
Kiss at Pine Lake
My Boyfriends' Dogs
Mom's Day Away
How to Train Your Husband
All's Fair in Love and Advertising
I Do, I Do, I Do
Riding the Bus with My Sister
If you like these movies - I'm sure those titles either sound great to you or are already in your rotation! If you're not the biggest fan of Hallmark's output - I promise every single one of those titles is real!
IMDB calls the program Classic Albums, "a closer look at how some of (the) classic albums that shaped different generations were conceived, produced, and recorded, featuring a selection of interviews with band members and producers."
So how about some music to round out this list?
Interested in the behind-the-scenes stories from everything from Meat Loaf's Bat Out of Hell to Fleetwood Mac's Rumours to Nirvana's Nevermind to The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds to Jay-Z's Reasonable Doubt to Elton John's Goodbye, Yellow Brick Road? No! What's wrong with you! Those really are some of the greatest albums of all time.
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