The Walking Dead is back on telly again and that’s got me feeling a tad bitter…

I’ve made the point several times on Nerds Assemble (like in episode 29) that I do not want to subscribe to Sky (for moral reasons and some others I’ll describe in more detail in a bit)  in order to be able to watch the latest SF and fantasy genre TV shows. There is no cable television access where I live. And I’ve stated repeatedly that I do not want to stream TV shows illegally over the internet (either through illegal sites or masking my IP address) – I can’t bring myself to do it, as it would be hypocritical of me as an aspiring scriptwriter.

And so I wait for boxset releases and now sometimes for a a series to wind-up on Netflix (more on that too in a bit). This wouldn’t be such a problem if it weren’t for the series that get shown on Sky and terrestrial channels – series aren’t released on boxsets until after they’ve finished airing on free channels, which means you often wait almost a year after the season originally started airing before you can buy it, or up to six months (sometimes more) after it’s finished on Sky.

Now none of this would be so much of an issue for me if I could pay for access to these TV series without going near Sky. But what do I have against subscribing to company’s satellite service beyond the Murdoch influenced moral reasons? I don’t appreciate the amount you have to pay for the service in order to access a small selection of TV that you actually want to watch. A lot of the channels involved in even the basic pack – I don’t want to go near. Even on the basic package, I want less than half of the Sky-only channels.

I know you know what I need: Hulu. Guess what? Back in 2010 Hulu gave up plans for expanding into the UK, it had been unable to reach any agreements with UK broadcasters, mostly, it seems, due to two reasons: 1) not being able to reach agreements over the advertising funded version of the service 2) conflicting with online services about to be rolled out by channels like ITV at the time. Then again, News Corp has got it’s paws in Hulu too, so I’d be getting access to more of what I want if Hulu was in the UK officially, but… yeah.

So, Netflix and Lovefilm… in the UK the selections on either service are pretty tamed back and they still take a while to get hold of series due to Sky.

The internet is a minefield for me when it comes to spoilers. Even reading SF magazines like SFX and SciFiNow is a dangerous occupation, because they take it as a given that most readers have Sky or cable. While it would be easy to blame my problems on the internet – where spoilers lurk – I do a pretty reasonable job of avoiding them.

No, what I really blame is the conscious decision that was made by terrestrial (read: free, except for license fee) channels in the UK to stop buying in so many US shows. As mentioned in the podcast episode I linked to earlier, as a result of spending issues created by the recession, by-in for US shows decreased on their side, paving the way for the likes of Sky to get the rights to many recent, popular shows.

Now if only The Walking Dead hadn’t been treated so badly by Channel 5 for season three this year, which we discussed in episode 47 of the podcast, maybe I wouldn’t be feeling like I’m in the TV doldrums. At least on Sky, shows tend to be treated with respect for their schedules.

  • Paul Blewitt

    It’s actually quite bad. Most UK TV is mostly reality TV, soaps or random random documentaries. While there’s still the odd thing out there that’s decent on TV, any UK person who knows anything about American TV will realise they usually get screwed – because the good stuff is on an advanced package on Sky or it’s not available at all. There’s quite a few things that I only hear about because they get a cult following online.

    Give us less repeats, more choice and most of all, more fiction!

    • milliways

      The non-advanced packages do have stuff, and most of what I’d want bar movies, but they come with so much crap.