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Catching Up on 24

So, I'm attempting to catch up on "24" (the TV show) before the sixth season begins in January. I don't think I'll make it. I'm using NetFlix, and with only two discs at a time and a 24-hour turn-around and reasonably fast four-day turn-around on returned discs, and five seasons on six discs, I'm looking at around 60 days, and that's without factoring in Sundays (no mail) and delays in watching two discs.

I'm not going to pay $40/season to download the episodes from iTunes. I'm not going to buy a season on DVD. I am looking for a faster way to catch up. So far, the best ideas I've got include "borrow the DVDs from a friend1," "rent the DVDs from Blockbuster2," or "work through NetFlix as fast as possible, and just save the new season on the TiVo without watching them.3"

Any ideas?

BTW, what was up with the camera guys in the first year? They couldn't stay out of the picture. Below is at least the third time in only 12 episodes that I saw a camera guy in the picture (far right):

Camera Guy On 24

Footnotes

  1. Nobody I know locally owns them.
  2. I've yet to investigate this, but I don't know if that's possible.
  3. I may be persuaded to up my NetFlix allocation from 3-per-month (the wife gets one), but I'm hoping there's a better solution.

10 Responses to "Catching Up on 24"

  1. I called BlockBuster. Apparently the first two seasons are 2 for $5 (times six discs each). The seasons after that are $3.99 apiece (per disc x 6). Since I'm at noon in season 1, that leaves three discs in season one and six in season two for a total cost of $22.50 (or slightly more, since I have an odd number). For seasons 3-5 the cost would be $72. So I'm looking at $100 to catch up via BlockBuster. Ouch.

  2. You could always download them using BitTorrent or from Usenet.

    I've used that to catch up on other shows before. The only problem is you are stuck watching them on a computer.

  3. You could switch from Netflix to Blockbuster's online service. The pricing is very similar, but Blockbuster has the advantage of giving you in-store rentals in addition to internet rentals. Right away, that's two extra DVDs per month using the coupons they give you.

    But it gets even better . . . As of this week, Blockbuster allows you to return Internet rentals in-store. This speeds up the turn around time by a little bit. Also, that internet rental that you return in-store entitles you to another free in-store rental. So, even at the 2-at-a-time plan on Blockbuster.com, you'd get 2 by mail (at a time), 2 in-store rentals per month, plus a free in-store rental for each internet rental you return.

    (No, i'm not an employee of Blockbuster, just a happy customer and I happened to be debating Netflix vs. Blockbuster with someone recently so it is all fresh in mind.)

  4. Joel Clermont said on November 3, 2006:

    You could switch from Netflix to Blockbuster's online service. The pricing is very similar, but Blockbuster has the advantage of giving you in-store rentals in addition to internet rentals. Right away, that's two extra DVDs per month using the coupons they give you.

    Thanks for the suggestion, but I'm not switching. Background information is here. The nearest BlockBuster is a 15-minute drive one way. It's not worth the trip to save $2 or even $3.99.

    Joel Clermont said on November 3, 2006:

    But it gets even better . . . As of this week, Blockbuster allows you to return Internet rentals in-store. This speeds up the turn around time by a little bit.

    Except that it doesn't. I heard on CNet's BuzzCast as well as from two friends that you should "expect an extra two business days to get the next movie in your queue" for movies returned to a store. So that's no benefit at all.

    Joel Clermont said on November 3, 2006:

    Also, that internet rental that you return in-store entitles you to another free in-store rental. So, even at the 2-at-a-time plan on Blockbuster.com, you'd get 2 by mail (at a time), 2 in-store rentals per month, plus a free in-store rental for each internet rental you return.

    I'd also "get" an extra 30 minutes of driving and hassle per movie. It's simply not worth it. Add in the ease of use granted to me by this app and it's really not worth it.

  5. Yeah, location is a big factor when considering the service. I'm not really in a major metropolitan area (I'm about 20 minutes north of Milwaukee), but as a former user of Netflix and a current user of BB, I can say in my experience there is no discernable difference in turn around time. BB does the same thing as Netflix where they mark a movie as returned the instant the tracking code is scanned by the Post Office.

    If they don't have a comparable "instant return" method for in-store returns then that is a major problem. I personally have not used the in-store return yet, but I will try it this week and see how it compares. I'll return one in-store and one via mail at the same time and see which is flagged as "returned" first.

    I'm not sure what the "expect an extra 2 days" turn around time is based on, but maybe that's it, the lack of USPS tracking.

    Also, I have a BB between my house and my office (that long 5 minute commute), so I suppose I'm better able to take advantage of the in-store factor. On another side note, my in-store coupons from BB allow me to rent videos or games, which is another major plus for me. Unfortunately, I'm grandfathered in, and new sign-ups get video-only coupons for in-store use.

    I'll definitely be watching this thread to see what other suggestions come up. Thanks for the reply. I'll also try and post my personal experience with the in-store return process at BB later next week.

  6. I can't say for sure since I didn't watch the first couple of seasons on TV, but I think that the reason you see the camera men in the shots is because they probably aired the first season in 4:3 instead of letter boxed or 16:9. They probably used an open matte technique during shooting, but were only blocking the scenes for the 4:3 format that would be seen on TV. When they released the season on DVD, they used the full image to give it a wide screen presentation, but the camera men were then visible in some of the shots. This is similar to what happens when some older movies are shown on TV, and you can see the boom mics in certain shots.

  7. Regarding the cameramen - the first year was '01, anybody know when Fox started broadcasting in HD? The SD eps were (and at least through season 4, continued to be) broadcast in 4x3 instead of letterboxed. The directors and cameramen probably did a lousy job of factoring in 16x9 aspect ratio when placing cameras.

    I've saw this hit a few different shows when switching from 4x3 to 16x9. It seems to be less common now that HD and 16x9 are more widely accepted.

  8. I'd vote for usenet. Use something like binsearch.net to search for the episodes. Download an NZB and open it w/ Unison, and you're all set. If you need a premium news host, I'd suggest NewsHosting. They have been rock solid for me for over a year.

  9. re: cameramen

    That screenshot looks like it's a 16:9 video. Well, I'm about 95% sure that the first season of 24 was shown as 4:3 on television. (I watched seasons 1-3, then gave up on the show as season 3 was basically a remake of season 1. I understand season 4 was better, but I'm just not interested anymore.)

    It's pretty common practice to shoot stuff in one format, but crop it to a different format. (typically they'll have a monitor with the cropped area marked, so they can tell what is in frame) .. in which case you don't care if someone shows up, as long as they're not in the part of the frame which you're going to air on TV. But it's a problem if they later decide to release it with the full uncropped source.

    I've heard about the same thing happening with some movies when they're put on DVD, where the push for "widescreen is better" has led some movies which were originally in a narrower format to be rereleased with extra material on the sides of the picture, often including cameramen, sound guys, etc.

  10. I have no suggestions. I am just glad you are finally taking my advice to watch 24. 🙂


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