Feeling Good With Frasier

What series did you last binge?

Chris and I recently started paying for CraveTv on top of Netflix each month to expand our non-cable using television selection. I have to say that CraveTV has one of the worst browsing interfaces I have ever encountered and it WILL drive you crazy, but it also has a number of quality programs that frasier 1.jpgNetflix Canada just does not provide. There are three BIG CraveTV wins in my books, the third being today’s blog topic inspiration, it has: Broad City, Nathan For You, and Frasier.

I have really fond memories of watching Frasier while I was growing up! My whole family appreciated it and I had been wanting it to come onto Netflix for years. Like anyone who was growing up during Frasier’s run on air, I saw them when the television allowed me opening.gifto see them and my schedule permitted. This means that I had definitely not seen every episode and with watching odd re-runs now and then I had not seen them consecutively either! Despite missing these story elements, I had fallen in love with Frasier many years ago. The older I got, the more I loved it (and understood the wit).

Finally, CraveTV granted my adult wish to watch Frasier all the way through to the end!

FUN FRASIER FACT:
During my re-watch, I learned while exploring a google search about the end credits (because that’s the kind of cool I am [researcher cool]) that the black and white photos of celebrities at the end of the credits were callers in that season of the show! As in, celebrities would call a direct line and often improv their fictional problems on the spot (read more on this here).

short shorts
Frasier hilariously has to wear Niles’ gym shorts in the third episode of the eleventh season – Frasier in these short-shorts makes me laugh everytime!

This re-watch did not disappoint!

I surprised and impressed myself with how much I remembered from a show that I grew up with, but had a late start in actually watching due to being young when it premiered. Frasier ran from 1993 to 2004 with a hefty eleven seasons including twenty-four episodes each for a total of 264 episodes. This past while, no matter what kind of day I had, while Chris was working in Malaysia for the month, I would come home to Summit and laugh with Frasier. It’s definitely the kind of go-to show to make me feel happy and that’s a pretty great quality to have.

MY FAVOURITE FRASIER MOMENT
Nothin’ But Net for Niles
My all-time favourite scene is when Frasier and Niles go to a Sonics game with their dad. Niles wins/gets seat-selected to shoot a basket from centre court for a chance to win prizing including some sort of pick-up truck (very Niles). I love this scene so much and it was all the way in season eight – I had to wait so long! Season 8 episode 15, Hooping Cranes, has my favourite scene, this is how it plays out:

3x05-Kisses-Sweeter-Than-Wine-frasier-17400011-720-540As a whole I really love Frasier, but it’s impossible to deny that the last season or so lacked a little in wit and included one too many horrible wigs. The writers did still end things nicely for their fans by giving us key moments and completed character story arcs. The finale went down easy like a classy glass of sherry that I have never tried, but Niles and Frasier would adore.

In my opinion, Frasier is one of the best sitcoms and deserves a proper re-watch (or first-time-watch for some of you), I encourage it!

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Cord-Cutting in Canada: Separating, Streaming, and Saving

Over four years ago, just as we were starting to date, my husband bought the house we now live in together. I remember helping him move in and him telling me about his plans to forego getting landline or cable services in his home. It all made so much sense to me and I had the easiest transition when I moved in. I rarely used the landline when I lived with my parents, except for times of frustration when hanging up on telemarketers, and I had already started watching a lot of television shows online. Flash-forward to today where Chris and I happily live (essentially) wireless and are extremely content with the money we save and the services we use.

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Our media set up!

Per month, we pay approximately $12.00 for Ultra 4K HD Canadian Netflix and have just subscribed to CraveTV services as well for another $9.00. On top of our streaming services we watch a lot of streamed TV on our computers so as you might have guessed, we definitely use a lot of internet. We pay roughly $62.00/mo. for our internet services (50 MB/second and 400GB internet usage which we have never gone over) with TekSavvy (a company that has lowered our rates twice now without any prompts [thanks TekSavvy]). What do you currently pay for television and internet services combined?

In terms of living without a landline, do it. If you presently pay monthly fees for mobile phone plans, why bother paying for the landline? I think we have come to a point in time where it is largely unnecessary in a household setting. It’s been so long since I’ve wondered “is it for me?” when a phone rings because I know that if someone needed me, my cell phone would be ringing.

We’re definitely not alone in this popular cord-cutting trend (we are technically cord-nevers rather than cord-cutters as we have never paid for cable or satellite since living on our own).

In figure 1, Statistics Canada survey results indicate that less and less Canadians are choosing to keep their landlines with each passing year.

Figure 1:

Cellphone and landline ownership rates in Canada 2011-2014
This table is from the CRTC’s “Communicaitons Monitoring Report 2016: Canada’s Communication System: An Overview for Canadians” (p. 19 of the downloadble PDF).

In figure 2, the graph shows the steady increase in prices for Broadcasting distribution undertakings (BDUs). Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) researchers state that their findings suggest “that the rise of mobile-only households does not solely reflect changing preferences but may also be driven by affordability.

“What are BDUs? Broadcasting distribution undertakings (BDUs) provide subscription television services to Canadians. They redistribute programming from conventional over‐the‐air television and radio stations. They also distribute pay audio and discretionary services (i.e. pay, specialty, pay‐per‐view (PPV) and video‐on‐demand (VOD)). Most BDUs are cable, national DTH satellite, or Internet protocol television (IPTV) service providers.” CRTC

Figure 2:

Price indices for communications services compared to the CPI
This table is from the CRTC’s “Communications Monitoring Report 2016: Canada’s Communication System: An Overview or Canadians” (p. 12 of the downloadable PDF).

Emily Jackson of the Financial Post writes that over half a million Canadians got rid of their landlines “between the first quarters of 2015 and 2016” alone. The number of Canadian cord-cutters during these quarters came to approximately 540,000 people – that’s almost double the population of my home town and it’s a lot of customers to lose in a short time period.

A huge reason to cut your ties with cable and landline companies is the cost saving which is why it makes sense that many millennials are involved in the movement. So many of us have post secondary school debt to worry about and are still struggling to find work in our fields with a lack of entry level job openings (a rant for another post). It’s important to note that cord-cutting isn’t just a youthful fad and that people of all ages are benefiting from changing over to streaming services.

My main reason for loving streaming services in comparison to BDUs is the lifestyle. I am no longer bound to the schedule of my television programs and don’t have to fast forward through commercials of PVR’d programs. The two most common questions that I get asked when preaching the cord-cutting lifestyle are:

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Screenshot from my current Twitter newsfeed.
  1. How do you get your news?
  2. What about sports?

For news, I follow local Twitter accounts to stay informed about my city and province or I access Reddit’s /r/WorldNews to keep up with international events. Both internet sources pride themselves on consistent updates from news platforms as well as citizen journalists and keep me possibly more up-to-date throughout the day than TV news viewers.

Sports…? Sports-smorts – Chris and I don’t really watch sports, but just because I don’t like to watch sports doesn’t mean that you don’t so I did a little homework for you and found out that the following sports oriented streaming services are available in Canada: SportsNet Now, Rogers GameCentre Live, MLB.TV, NBA League Pass, and NFL Game Pass.

sports services

Another alternative is the program Kodi, this streaming method allows me to find shows that aren’t available on Netflix or CraveTV, like Jeopardy! Kodi also provides you access to live sports streams and even the news.

So there you have it folks! Join Chris and I on the dark side of being thrifty and cutting the cord(s) – babies don’t need them and neither do you. Start by getting rid of your landline, it’s okay to slowly sever the cord with a knife if you want and this is the easiest way to start.

cordcutting.jpgHere’s some further reading on pros, cons, and some how-to’s on cord cutting. Maybe you’ll get lucky and start hating sports (it’ll save you money)!

  1. “Pros and Cons: Streaming Services vs. Cable TV”
  2. “10 Things to Consider before Cancelling Cable TV”
  3. “Cord Cutting 101: How to quit cable for online streaming video”